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Causes of family breakdown and its effects on Children by David Metaloro


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The increase of family breakdown down rate in Juba City has been due to alcohol and drugs addiction, financial problems, death, plus psychological, sexual and emotional abuse, threatening diseases like HIV/AIDs and inability to resolve conflict among others.
The objective of the study was to investigate the causes of family breakdown and its effects on the children in Juba City. The effects of family breakdown on children include difficulties in school, stress, early engagement in sexual activities, insecure and afraid of the future, depression and fear of being abandoned. The forms of family breakdown identified during the study include death, separation and divorce.
The rate of the family breakage was indicating 78.3%, though the study was based in Juba city, it reflects the entire country since all of the ten states’ habitants were included in study. Some of the cultural practices were found of backing up the high rate of family breakdown and such practices include force marriage, polygamy marriage, inheritance of widowers and high bride wealth.
The study proved communication skills, creation of family laws, supporting the children of the low families, marriage preparation and parenting new initiatives and information giving and mediation are the fundamental alternative solution to family breakdown.
In conclusion, the study proved the family breakdown affects the children performance in schools in line with other effects such as; stress, depression, fear of being abandoned, insecure and afraid of the future and torn in two among others.
In the end, the study recommended that the three stakeholders; government, NGOs and the academia to play respective role suggested to them by the researcher in accordance with the findings.

Published in: Education
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Causes of family breakdown and its effects on Children by David Metaloro

  1. 1. 1 CHAPTER ONE 1.0 Introduction. 1.1Background of the Study. This study is concerning the causes of family breakdown and its effects on children in Juba Town, Central Equatoria State, and South Sudan. In today's society, there are many different types of families. Some include intact, non-intact, single families, stepfamilies and a variety of others. Along with these different varieties of families there is one common incident that can cause the family structure to change. Family breakdown is an unplanned event in a family's life. It is something that affects each member of a family at different times and in different ways. About half of all marriages will end in breaking up, leaving one million children each year to deal with the process of family breakdown (Martin et aI, 2003). Family breakdown rates in the United States rose since the Civil war, decreased during the Great Depression while peaking in 1980, and have remained around fifty percent since then (Lazar et aI, 2004). Studies predict that thirty-eight percent of white children and seventy-five percent of black children born to married parents will experience family breakdown prior to sixteen years of age (Lazar et aI, 2004). The majority of these adolescents will become part of a remarried family prior to tuning eighteen years of age (Martin et aI, 2004). Due to this, their family structure will become different causing many changes and adjustments in their life but no any findings have convinced me on how family breakdown affects children. Families that come from lower incomes are more likely to breakup, which in turn cause these families to have a lower standard of living (Emery, 2004).
  2. 2. 2 Due to the lower incomes having a lower standard of living, Emery (2004) found that children may have to change schools, a parent may have to work longer hours, older children may be told they have limited choices for college and may have to deal with their parents fighting over financial issues. These are concerns that children may face after their parents’ divorce. This could add more stress, anxiety and emotions for an adolescent. Several changes can take place during a family’s breakdown. Some of these changes could include moving, loss of contact with a parent, involvement in conflict between the parents, and possibly financial difficulties (Lazar et aI, 2004). The changes can affect a person at different times and can affect genders in different ways at different points in the process (Hines, 2007). Bowlby, back in 1969 created a theory of attachment, and defined attachment as the relationship between parent and child, this attachment provides the child with an idea of how to form a relationship and adjust to various life experiences (Hines, 2007). The theory assumes that adult friendships or romantic relationship develop from parents or early caregivers examples. (Carranza et aI, 2009). Carranza et al (2009) also suggests that since these are formed early, a parental separation could cause the child to have relationship issues later in life. Family breakdown can change this attachment style and can make a child have feelings of anger, resentment and confusion, which can alter the child's ability to form meaningful relationships (Hines, 2007). This is one impact family breakdown can take on adolescents, after a parental divorce. It is hard for adolescents to understand this process, while trying to figure out who they are themselves. Family structure plays an important part in helping an adolescent adjust and understand to the changes in their life and body. It has
  3. 3. 3 been shown in prior studies that family structure is one of the factors that influence an adolescent's success (Hines, 2007). Building relationships and committing to a relationship is one of the impacts on adolescents during family breakdown. Research has shown that marital conflict can affect the development of intimate relationships during adolescents (Martin et aI, 2003). Along with building relationships, several other factors contribute to effected relationships. Adolescents and young adults have shown that they have trouble with commitment, lower trust in their partners, lower satisfaction, trouble with interpersonal skills and greater acceptance of breaking up (Fine & Harvey, 2006). According to CPC Acts; (March, 2014), when a family breaks up it is usually difficult for everyone. It is like a death which brings with it feelings of grief and loss. Most people need time to get used to the changes and each person’s response can be very different. Parents try to grapple with their own feelings while they make practical and very important decisions that will affect the whole family. Splitting up may mean the end of a special relationship between two adults, but not the end of a relationship between a child and a parent. Children need the ongoing love and support of both parents. The best outcome for a child is usually reached when both parents share the responsibility and all the decisions that affect their child. This means making a shift from being partners to being parenting partners (something more like business partners).
  4. 4. 4 Although most parents want to do their best, many parents do not handle this well and some create more suffering for their children who are already in pain from the break-up. For a small number of parents who can’t talk to each other, professional help is needed. The way in which parents handle splitting up and especially any conflict, has an enormous effect on the way children cope with their lives. 1.2Statement of the Problem. Broken families have become a disaster in Juba town which can result from separation due to illness, divorce or other issues. The break-up of a family has many negative impacts on the children. The children are more likely to act out against siblings, biological parents, or stepparents. Children also develop emotional issues, such as anger, resentment, loneliness, and depression, due to the change in the family unit. Children involved in broken families are also more likely to engage in early sexual activities and have difficulties in school. Third of family break-up children lose contact with fathers in ‘failing’ court system. (John Bingham, 2009), Tens of thousands of children a year are losing contact with their fathers because of “failing” family court system and disastrous custody arrangements, a study has found. One in three children whose parents separated or divorced over the last 20 years disclosed that they had lost contact permanently with their father. Almost a tenth of children from broken families said the acrimonious process had left them feeling suicidal while others later sought solace in drink, drugs or crime.
  5. 5. 5 They complained of feeling “isolated” and “used” while parents admitted having used children as “bargaining tools” against each other. Lawyers said the study showed that the court system itself was making family break-up more acrimonious with children used as "pawns". They warned that so-called “no fault” divorces were encouraging warring parents to channel their “bloodletting” into disputes over contact. The poll of 4,000 parents and children was carried out to provide a snapshot of the workings of the family court system exactly 20 years after the implementation of the landmark (Children Act, 1989). It found that a third of children from broken families had been tempted by drink or drugs while as many as 10 per cent had later become involved in crime. A quarter of the children said that they had been asked to lie to one parent by the other and 15 per cent said they had even been called on to “spy” for their mother or father. Meanwhile half of parents polled admitted deliberately drawing out the legal process for maximum benefit and more than two thirds conceded that they had used their children as “bargaining tools”. (Children Act, 1989), Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader and founder of the Centre for Social Justice, warned that young people were bearing the scars of a family breakdown “boom” and a resulting lack of father figures. “It is a mess, it needs a complete overhaul," he said. "It is an organization locked in secrecy and deeply unhelpful to the parents and the children and all too often able to exacerbate the problems that they are about to face.” (Children Act, 1989),
  6. 6. 6 David Laws, the Liberal Democrat children’s spokesman, added: “In too many cases the children become caught up in the crossfire between two warring parties in a system which sometimes encourages the parents to take entrenched positions.” Miss Davis called for compulsory mediation for parents hoping to use the divorce courts rather than the current ”tick box” exercise for those seeking legal aid. But a spokesman for the Children’s Society said that compulsion “goes against everything we have learned from many, many years of experience”. (Children Act, 1989), Delyth Morgan, the children’s minister, added: “Divorce and separation can have a devastating impact on children caught in the middle. “But this survey, looking as far back as 20 years ago, simply doesn’t reflect what support is available for families now’’. These states that there is clear needs for the current findings. (Children Act, 1989), 1.3 The Purpose of the Study. The purpose of the study is to find out the causes of family breakdown and its effects on children within Juba, South Sudan and creating awareness to government in order to formulate laws that govern families from breaking.
  7. 7. 7 1.4 Objectives of the Study. This study was directed by the following objectives; 1. To examine the root causes of family breakdown within Juba Town and other external influences. 2. To examine the effects of family break down on children’s mental, physical, emotional, and social wellbeing within the domain of the study. 3. To explore some alternative solutions to the overviewed causes of the family breakdown in Juba Town. 4. To observe appropriate ways of helping the affected children. 1.5 Research Questions. This study was conducted based on the following research questions which are openhanded to the objectives of the study. i. What are the causes of family breakdown in most families in Juba town, South Sudan? ii. How does family breakdown effects the children of the affected families mentally, physical, emotionally and socially? iii. What are the potential alternative solutions to the causes of family breakdown in Juba town? iv. How can the affected children be helped to live a normal life? 1.6 Hypothesis of the Research. This research will test the following assumptions: H1: There is no significant relationship between family breakdown and children low performance in school in Juba City.
  8. 8. 8 H0: There is significant relationship between family breakdown and children low performance in school in Juba City. 1.7Methodology of the Study. The methodology to be used for collecting the data is going to be based mainly on secondary data, documentary from libraries and completed field reports, workshops and seminars papers informal discussion with experienced staff responsible of the main offices. This chapter explains the approach and methods used in this study. It presents among others the research design, the study population geographical coverage, selection of the study participants, data collection methods and tools used, data processing and analysis. The primary data will be collected through direct questions to the target groups, observations and interviews to the staff that were responsible in the respondents in various descriptions. 1.8 The Scope of the Study. Concerning the nature of this study, more targets was put on the causes and the effects of family breakdown on children in Juba Town, South Sudan and will not drift beyond the territory of the causes and effects of family breakdown on children. 1.8.1 Area scope/Geographical scope. This research will be conducted in Juba city council, Juba County in Central Equatoria State. The topic of this research covers the causes of family
  9. 9. 9 breakdown and its effects on children and will try to find some solutions to this social problem. 1.8.2 Time scope. This research will cover the fulfilment of academic episode from 2010- 2013. The duration of this research work will be starting from 21st June to 31st August 2015. 1.9 Importance of the Study. This study will be more useful to the following stakeholders; To the government. The research information will benefit the government (GOSS) especially the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Directorate of Child Protection and Gender violence to formulate policies that will reduce family breakdown rate and creating suitable environment for the affected children. In line with the findings, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (GOSS), Directorate of Child Protection and the one of Social Welfare will use the findings to obtain the following; i. To evaluate the most causes of family breakdown. ii. To assess the impacts of family breakdown on the children. iii. To improve on their policies of approaching such problems. To the researchers. The research findings will be significant to the researchers who can use it as a launch pad for other researches/studies. The information will also be used in the Information and Resource Centers of Higher Institutions of Learning
  10. 10. 10 like universities that have Family Studies as a course for their students as well as the Resource Centers in Family Studies Institutions and their umbrella organizations. It will therefore be an additional reference for the social problem studies within the social institutions. 1.10 Research Organization. The following section is a discussion of the specific content of each chapter. Chapter One introduces the research topic and explains the statement of problem, the purpose and objectives of the study, and the guiding questions that formed the basis of the questionnaires and interviews are also expounded. The chapter introduces the methodology and scope of the study. The chapter also presents the significance of the research to various stakeholders who can significantly benefit from it. In addition to that, it also includes the research organization. Chapter Two includes a discussion of the study literature specific to the research topic and research objectives and questions. The literature review constitutes; definitions and concept of the research topic, preventive alternatives to the research problem. The chapter also views theoretical framework that explains the topic from the developed western world; North America, Britain and other African countries; Nigeria, South Africa, and South Sudan. Chapter Three is a detailed discussion of the methodology of the research. It discusses how the research will be carried out and the methods that will be use to collect, analyze and record the data. It also discusses the major challenges that will face during the data collection as well as the ways in which the challenges will be handled and the limitations of the study.
  11. 11. 11 The chapter also looks at how the respondents will be selected and the specific type of research instrument used on a particular respondent. The justification for the methodology use will also be presented in the chapter. Chapter Four discusses the findings from the study as guided by the research questions and objectives. The findings are discussed through presentations on graphs, charts and others. Chapter Five present the summaries of the findings as per the study objectives, conclusions are drown based on both the study findings and other relevant literature which are considered necessary and recommendation will be constructed vitally for the study.
  12. 12. 12 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 2.0 Introduction. Family breakdown is not an intended event in a family's life. It is something that can affect each individual of the family differently and at different times. Today a family chance of getting broken is of high percent. Since this is an event that is not intended to happen, many factors need to be considered when children are involved. Literature shows that children from broken families experience difficult adjustments such as social, academic, and behavioral compared to children of intact families, Doherty & Needle, (1991). Woosley et aI, (2009), also concluded that children from non-intact families tend to have lower psychological well-being as compared to those from intact families. This study will be searching at the impact that non- intact families can have on adolescent relationships. It will look at the impact on the parent to children relationship and the relationships that children have themselves. The review of literature will provide an overview of what has already been concluded about causes of family breakdown and its effects on the offspring. This will also look at the research questions that were presented in this study which were the alternative approaches toward the problem. Children can be put in a situation during the family breakdown that can cause a triangulation between family members. One researcher found that when parents form alliances with a child/adolescent against the other parent, the parent to parent and parent to child relationships become unclear (Buchanan, Maccoby, & Dornbusch, 1991). This type of relationship puts
  13. 13. 13 the child/adolescent into parent negotiations, tension and active conflicts causing and impact on their relationship. The interaction between parents can cause the child to have mixed feelings about what and whom they should be "siding" with. The theory of triangulation is considered a family systems theory (Buchanan, Maccoby, & Dornbusch, 1991). This theory will be the base for this study. This theory will aid in looking at the relationships that are formed after a parental divorce. The relationship between the child and parent is one factor that may change or add stress to all involved. The parent child relationships are representation of how the child views relationships not only with friends but also with a romantic partner (Bartell, 2001). Many changes occur during and after family breakdown that can impact this relationship. 2.1 Definitions and Concepts. 2.1.1 Family. Family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity (by recognized birth),affinity (by marriage), or co-residence and/or shared consumption (see Nurture kinship). Members of the immediate family may include, singularly or plurally, a spouse, parent, brother, sister, son and/or daughter. Members of the extended family may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces and/or siblings-in-law (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). In most societies, the family is the principal institution for the socialization of children. As the basic unit for raising children, anthropologists generally classify most family organization
  14. 14. 14 as matrifocal (a mother and her children); conjugal (a husband, his wife, and children; also called the nuclear family); avuncular (for example, a grandparent, a brother, his sister, and her children); or extended (parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent's family). Sexual relations among the members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo. "Family" is used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, nationhood, global village and humanism. The importance of strong marriage, healthy families, and well-adjusted children, has been the basis of a well functioning society. These aspects of a stable nation have been neglected over the past several generations. In essence, we have lost touch with the concept of the family and have nearly destroyed the individual in the process. Many individuals have chosen not to marry and some have chosen not to have children. In addition, our society has changed its concept of what constitutes a family, and we are adjusting our thoughts and behaviors regarding family values. It is a known fact, though, that our family experiences influence us well past childhood. Family interaction is the initial and most lasting influence that each of us will ever know. The way that we experience our family members determines what it means to us to be a human being. These experiences have formed the very basic and core belief about "who we are and how we behave". The reason that the family systems model works in helping individuals define their own lives is that the conceptual focus is on the family system as
  15. 15. 15 a whole, and not on one individual member. Individual symptoms are viewed as by-products of relationship struggles, situations that are inherent in growing up in a group of other people, whether biological family members or not. Interventions are thus geared toward understanding each individual's behavior patterns, roles and functions, and how they fit into the complex matrix of the specific family system. 2.1.2 Types of Families. 1. Conjugal (nuclear) family The term "nuclear family" is commonly used, especially in the United States, to refer to conjugal families. A "conjugal" family includes only the husband, the wife, and unmarried children who are not of age. Sociologists distinguish between conjugal families (relatively independent of the kindred of the parents and of other families in general) and nuclear families (which maintain relatively close ties with their kindred). However, in the 21st century, the "nuclear family", according to the 2010 Census, is "disappearing at a rapid rate are homes with "traditional" nuclear families—Mom, Dad and two children." The nuclear family is being replaced by other family structures such as blended parents, single parents, and domestic partnerships. 2. Matrifocal family. A "matrifocal" family consists of a mother and her children. Generally, these children are her biological offspring, although adoption of children is a practice in nearly every society. This kind of family is common where women have the resources to rear their children by themselves, or where men are more mobile than women.
  16. 16. 16 3. Extended family. The term "extended family" is also common, especially in United States. This term has two distinct meanings. First, it serves as a synonym of "consanguinal family" (consanguine means "of the same blood"). Second, in societies dominated by the conjugal family, it refers to "kindred" (an egocentric network of relatives that extends beyond the domestic group) who do not belong to the conjugal family. These types refer to ideal or normative structures found in particular societies. Any society will exhibit some underwear variation in the actual composition and conception of families. 4. Blended family. The term blended family or stepfamily describes families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children of the former family into the new family. Also in sociology, particularly in the works of social psychologist Michael Lamb, traditional family refers to "a middleclass family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children," and nontraditional to exceptions from this rule. Most of the US households are now non-traditional under this definition. In terms of communication patterns in families, there are a certain set of beliefs within the family that reflect how its members should communicate and interact. These family communication patterns arise from two underlying sets of beliefs. One being conversation orientation (the degree to which the importance of communication is valued) and two, conformity orientation (the degree to which families should emphasize similarities or differences regarding attitudes, beliefs, and values).
  17. 17. 17 2.1.3 Family Breakdown. Family breakdown is known as a point of divergence in which the family members union comes to an end and it happens when parents decide to separate, divorce, and/or death of a parent or parents. Parents may be tied up with their own emotional issues and not very supportive. Young people may face many emotions and problems as they get used to new circumstances. Many young people are concerned if their parents fight and might be worried that they will break up. This can mean worry about where they'll live, go to school, who they'll live with, if they'll see their other parent... But wait a minute - it hasn't happened yet! They may not break up - some people have learned to communicate in aggressive ways. People can learn new ways to communicate, but this might take time and help. The root cause of violent crime thus is found in failed intimate relationships of love in marriage and in the family. The breakdown of stable communities … flows directly from this failure. In contrast, addressing the root causes … requires an understanding of the crucial elements of supportive family and community life. Having families split up with mothers and fathers living separately from each other is always deeply disruptive, almost always sad and sometimes tragic for children of all ages from birth to adulthood. This fact is such a hard truth that it is usually offered well-diluted with reassurances about children being 'resilient' and quickly 'getting over it'. But the message is vital and the reassurances are false. Children are no more likely than parents themselves to 'get over' parental separation in the sense of forgetting about it or it ceasing to be important to them.
  18. 18. 18 As a family breaks up, the needs of the children should be the priority, and especially attachment science and emotional and social development, we know far more than earlier generations about what those needs are. I hope this study will help parents to face up to the enormity of the change their separation is bringing upon their children and offer ways in which they can choose to handle it so as to soften the impact on them. The message of this study, however, is that we can do better by children whose families break up. It does not suggest that parents should stay together 'for the sake of the children' but it gives facts of the outcome from family breakage. 2.1.4 Children. In this study, childhood refers to the ages between six and seventeen years. After the age of five to seven, children take a giant step, socially as well as intellectually. At no time are they more ready to learn (Oesterreich, 1995). In childhood, children typically spend less time with their families and parents, as relationships are formed with friends, teachers and others (DeBord, 1996). Some theorists like Freud and Piaget view childhood as a plateau, says Eccles (1999). According to them, childhood is a time when children develop mastery of the skills that they gained in pre-school and it is a time of experiencing adolescence. Freud referred to this as to psychosexual latency period. He sees the primary task for the child as the development of cognition. In other words, it is a period in which there is significant brain development, with corresponding leaps in the ability to think, process information, learn and participate in formal education (Frazier, 2008).
  19. 19. 19 Erikson believed that childhood is very important in personality development and, unlike Freud, felt that personality continued to develop beyond five years of age; Stevens, (1983). Eccles (1999) explains that; “psychological theorist Erik Erikson saw the period of middle childhood not as a plateau, but as an important time of transition from home into the wider social community”. Erikson characterized this time as a tension between industry and inferiority (Louww, Ede & Louw, 1998). For the purpose of this study, children in childhood can be seen as being between six and seventeen years of age; when they start school up to the last stage of adolescence. Louw, Ede and Louw (1998) describe childhood as a time relatively easy for physical development, but very important in cognitive, social, emotional and as sense of self-development. The childhood phase is known for many changes and a substantial amount of developmental tasks. Important milestones need to be reached. Each age and stage of development presents different issues and challenges. “Erikson regards each stage as a “psychosocial crisis” which arises and demands resolution before the next stage can be satisfactorily negotiated. Satisfactory learning and resolution of each crisis is necessary if the child is to manage the next ones satisfactorily” (Child & adolescent development, 2005). Something as traumatic as a family breakdown can handicap children in reaching certain developmental milestones. Children regress and have to start over to try and succeed in performing certain tasks. For the purpose of this study the different tasks that children need to complete before they move on to the next stage will be discussed.
  20. 20. 20 2.2 Stages of the Conflictual Process in Marriage. 1. Prior Conditions Stage; All family action has a history of events leading up to its observation. Given a family's rules and communication patterns, conflict arises out of a perceived violation of family rules, competition for scarce resources, undesired dependence of one member on another, or memory of previously unresolved family arguments. 2. Frustration/AwarenessStage;the prior condition becomes unbearable in the minds of the dissatisfied, and is characterized by frustration, a growing awareness of being threatened (the unhappy one), a growing awareness of being attacked by the unhappy one, message responses to frustration. The unhappy one may back off several times before the next stage. 3. Active Conflict Stage; conflict may be played out as calm, precise arguments or animated screaming matches, depending on the family's rules for handling disputes. This stage marks clear escalation from beginning hints of dissatisfaction to stronger tactics. Coalitions may be drawn and sides taken. 4. Accommodation/Solution Stage; Compromises occur, declaration of terms are made, negotiation occurs, or various management strategies are used here. 5. Follow- up/Aftermath Stage; this stage allows for entrenchment of family rules for conflict management, and includes re-eruptions, settlement, holding of grudges and hurt feelings.
  21. 21. 21 Other factors in family conflict include a family's patterns of conflict, such as fighting styles. A family may fight using reciprocal conflict in which opponent’s trade "licks". A family may use convergence on solutions, in which the couple work together to find solutions to their differences. In either case, the introduction of hurtful remarks further complicates the possibility of conflict resolution. Further, the human need for intimacy is often powerfully conciliatory. This need to be loved may invite the danger of momentary "make ups" which fend off the possibility of real conflict resolution. Making up too soon will almost guarantee a later fight or disagreement. 2.3 Ideas on Family Breakdown. Families are the bedrock of society. When families fall apart, society falls into social and cultural decline. Ultimately the breakdown of the American family is at the root of nearly every other social problem and pathology. Just a few decades ago, most children in America grew up in intact, two- parent families. Today, children who do so are a minority. Illegitimacy, divorce, and other lifestyle choices have radically altered the American family, and thus have altered the social landscape (Kerby Anderson, 1994). Karl Zinsmeister of the American Enterprise Institute has said, "There is a mountain of scientific evidence showing that when families disintegrate, children often end up with intellectual, physical and emotional scars that persist for life." He continues, "We talk about the drug crisis, the education crisis, and the problem of teen pregnancy and juvenile crime. But all these ills trace back predominantly to one source: broken families."
  22. 22. 22 Broken homes and broken hearts are not only the reason for so many social problems. They are also the reason for the incumbent economic difficulties we face as a culture. The moral foundation of society erodes as children learn the savage values of the street rather than the civilized values of culture. And government inevitably expands to intervene in family and social crises brought about by the breakdown of the family. Sociologist Daniel Yankelovich puts it this way: Americans suspect that the nation's economic difficulties are rooted not in technical economic forces (for example, exchange rates or capital formation) but in fundamental moral causes. There exists a deeply intuitive sense that the success of a market-based economy depends on a highly developed social morality--trustworthiness, honesty, concern for future generations, an ethic of service to others, a humane society that takes care of those in need, frugality instead of greed, high standards of quality and concern for community. These economically desirable social values, in turn, are seen as rooted in family values. Thus the link in public thinking between a healthy family and a robust economy, though indirect, is clear and firm. Social commentator Charles Murray believes that "illegitimacy is the single most important social problem of our time--more important than crime, drugs, poverty, illiteracy, welfare or homelessness because it drives everything else." The public costs of illegitimacy are very high. "Children born out of wedlock tend to have high infant mortality, low birth weight (with attendant morbidities), and high probabilities of being poor, not completing school, and staying on welfare themselves. As a matter of public policy, if not of morality, it pays for society to approve of marriage as the best setting for children, and to discourage having children out of wedlock."
  23. 23. 23 Barbara Dafoe Whitehead warned Americans of the cost of ignoring the breakdown of the family: If we fail to come to terms with the relationship between family structure and declining child well-being, then it will be increasingly difficult to improve children's life prospects, no matter how many new programs the federal government funds. Nor will we be able to make progress in bettering school performance or reducing crime or improving the quality of the nation's future work force--all domestic problems closely connected to family breakup. Worse, we may contribute to the problem by pursuing policies that actually increase family instability and breakup. 2.4 Correlated Causes of Family Breakdown on Children. Evidence on this subject was received from a diverse range of organisations including many federally funded service providers, church organisations, government bodies, legal centres, and associations representing a diverse range of community interests. In addition, individual submissions were received from academics, marriage celebrants, counselors, marriage educators through private citizens documenting their individual experiences of marriage breakdown. A common theme of these submissions is that the causes of marriage breakdown are complex, diverse and interactive and that no single factor can be isolated as the most significant or important reason for marriage breakdown. It is also evident that the views vary depending on the background and status of those who hold them, so that professionals in relationship development may hold theoretical understandings that differ widely from the personal experiences of individuals within the community.
  24. 24. 24 Given the diversity of views presented to the inquiry, the Committee sees value in providing a summary of the most common themes presented in submissions. These themes can be broadly categorized into socio-economic, cultural and inter-personal factors. 2.4.1 Unemployment and Work Related Problems. A discernible and quite striking trend noted in submissions was the importance attached to unemployment and other work related issues as factors contributing to marriage and relationship breakdown. Many submissions, particularly from welfare organisations suggested that the pressures placed on family life from unemployment are great and have a strong impact on the well being of relationships. Unemployment not only has the effect of causing financial hardship but also lowers self esteem, creates isolation and limits the ability of families to lead fulfilling lives in the community. Similarly, at the other end of the spectrum, other families, due to financial pressures and fear of losing employment, are working longer hours with a consequent reduction in time for family. This in turn places additional stress and pressure on family life. Comments included: 1. Poverty associated with lack of adequate employment is a pressing issue. Unemployment, underemployment and the changing nature of paid work from full time permanent toward casual employment all contribute to reduced financial security, lowered expectations, isolation and disharmony for some families. Families are faced with increasing pressure from this changing nature of paid work. These uncertainties limit the ability of families to purchase homes, have
  25. 25. 25 access to credit or lead fulfilling lives in the community. This pressure has a strong impact upon the well being of their relationships. 2. Many families struggle with poverty, unemployment or the uncertainty and fear of unemployment. Children growing up in such families frequently have lower expectations of stable economic futures. 3. Financial strains are a major factor in family breakdown. Families are spending less time together and the inability of various family members to communicate effectively with each other is an outcome of this. This is exacerbated by some employers who refuse to recognize that workers have family responsibilities. 4. The difficulties which couples face in dealing with social pressures can exacerbate relationship problems. For example, the economic demands of long periods of unemployment can prove too great for some. Work practices which are 'family unfriendly' can reduce the ability of couples to resolve differences. The pace of change, combined with high levels of uncertainty about the future of jobs etc. can be very destabilizing. 2.4.2 Cultural Themes. In terms of cultural issues, a strong theme coming through submissions is that the redefinition of gender roles has had a major impact on marriage and the family. In the wake of the Women’s Movement, women now have a radically new view of their role and status in society and many men are still uncertain how to respond to this change. Submissions on this theme came from a diverse range of groups and included the following comments:
  26. 26. 26 1. Economic factors and the rights of women to choose to work have changed the dynamics of relationships over the past 20 years ... Role models provided by parents are not always relevant roles for the current generation where more women need to work. 2. The influence of the feminist agenda of equality has made the style of relationships change. The traditional roles of earlier generations have become more diverse with several styles of relationships. Conflict and breakdown may occur when one or the other partner changes and the other do not understand how to renegotiate their role within a relationship. 3. The rapidly changing status of women and the resultant demands on men being aspects of social changes to which many people have not adjusted, particularly in relation to concepts of marriage. 4. The current patterns of marital breakdown is caused by the fact that the basic personal and cultural norms of gender are changing ... However there is little preparedness on men's part, ... for a conscious accommodation to changes on the part of so many women. 5. Changing roles of both men and women have challenged expectations of marriages and lead to uncertain and unrealistic divisions of labour within families. 6. The greater participation of women, then married women and finally married women with dependent children in the paid work force has had widespread ramifications for fertility, expectations of marriage and the roles of men and women in relation to their family responsibilities. 7. Some proponents of radical feminism have been quite hostile to the institutions of marriage and family . . . feminism sees divorce as
  27. 27. 27 liberation from an oppressive institution, not a break up of a sacred trust. 2.4.3 Ambivalence towards Marriage. A cultural theme coming through many submissions was that modern negative images of marriage undermine marital stability. Dr. Moira Eastman, from the Australian Catholic University, presented the most scholarly submission on this theme when she referred to society's ambivalence towards marriage. She argued that one of the most important contributors to marriage and relationship breakdown is ambivalence (and possibly even hostility) towards the concept of marriage especially in academia, the government, bureaucracy, social services, public policy and the media. In Dr. Eastman's opinion, perhaps the strongest evidence of ambivalence to marriage (and family) is that in at least two major policy areas, the positive contributions made by marriage and family are not acknowledged. One area of this ‘silencing’ is the domestic economy and the other is the contribution of marriage and family to health. She referred to the fact that despite its significant contribution to the national economy, the domestic economy is ‘neglected, disregarded, slighted and put out of the collective mind’. Similarly, marital status is a significant factor impacting on health, outweighing in impact the factor of smoking or not smoking. Despite this evidence, national health strategies ignore the role of marital status, family stability and family processes in creating or undermining health. Dr. Eastman also argued that one reason for marriage's marginal status is that there are many 'myths of marriage' or widely accepted negative beliefs about marriage such as: marriage is good for men and bad for women,
  28. 28. 28 marriage contributes to health and well-being for men but makes women sick and unhappy, that marriage is a hitting licence; that violence and abuse are typical within marriage; that marriage was originally designed to facilitate both the maintenance of class inequality and the oppression of women and that to propose to reduce the amount of family breakdown is actually to attack, demean and stigmatize those who have experienced marriage break-down. These views culminate in some overarching beliefs one of which is that current trends towards high levels of marriage/relationship breakdown cannot and should not be reversed. To attempt to reverse them is to force people back into violent and demeaning relationships. It involves placing a stigma on the unmarried, separated, divorced and those in de facto marriages. Another overarching belief is that ‘support’ of marriage is of concern only to those of the extreme right – especially Christian fundamentalists or other minority groups who for various reasons are unable to listen to the facts that show that marriage is an essentially unjust, unsafe and even violent social arrangement. Dr. Eastman concluded that: There is absolutely no evidence to support the above negative beliefs about marriage and family and the evidence to refute them is extremely strong and constantly growing (Eastman 1996). But unless the prevalence of these negative views of marriage is taken into account, and unless the government understands that there is a scholarly critique of these views, and becomes informed of this critique and on the basis of that information makes policy that supports families and marriages as an essential component of family
  29. 29. 29 life, then the cultural forces will overwhelm any purely ‘educative’ approaches that may be developed. 2.4.4 Individualism. Several submissions suggested that many couples enter marriage believing that individual rights and needs should override the good of the marriage partnership. Such couples, it is argued, have been poorly trained or equipped for a lifetime of commitment. They often have unrealistic exceptions of the challenge of marriage and the media images of blissful relationships contribute to high expectations without necessarily the concurrent skills. Mr. David Blankenhorn, President of the Institute for American Values, told the Committee that there has been a generational change in attitude to the meaning of marriage and marriage commitment, and a strong move towards commitment to self and individualism. From his research in the US Mr. Blankenhorn would argue that this is the principal reason for the weakening of marriage as an institution. Other submissions suggested that with an increased life expectancy, couples committing to life-long commitments are looking forward to very much longer years of marriage than that of their great-grandparents. This brings with it added stresses and the greater likelihood that couples may outgrow one another. 2.4.5 Communication. On an interpersonal level, the most common factor cited as causing marital breakdown was poor communication skills. The Community Mediation Service of Tasmania suggested that with the majority of counseling sessions
  30. 30. 30 in their experience, it is clear that many individuals are not able to clearly and assertively state their needs to avoid the build-up of resentment or anger which becomes destructive to the marriage. 1. Partners frequently express that their emotions have not been acknowledged; the teaching of listening skills appears to be important. It is expressed that partners would like to be listened to without a defensive/aggressive response. There appears to be a lack of social/relationship skills in dealing with problems in relationships: parties need assistance in developing negotiation skills to relate effectively. 2. Marriages and relationships are directly affected by the couple's ability to communicate. Where communication is poor, couples experience emotional isolation, uncertainty, neglect and sexual difficulties and sometimes seek intimacy outside the primary relationship. 2.4.6 Parenting. A lack of parenting skills was cited by some social welfare groups as placing stress on families. Organisations such as Mary mead and Home-Start Australia argued that the child rearing years are some of the most stressful and couples approach parenting with little or no preparation. There are often few supports to deal with this and no longer are extended families available to support young parents. It was also suggested that the time when children reach adolescence is a very demanding time for many parents, and relationships may be under threat due to these associated pressures. One submission further suggested that the
  31. 31. 31 trend toward adult children remaining longer in their family of origin and third generation unemployment also created added stress on families. 2.4.7 Domestic Violence. Domestic violence was cited in many submissions as a major reason for marriage breakdown. Evidence from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre31, the Women’s Action Alliance32, the Northern Suburbs Family Resources Centre Inc33, Kids Helpline, Lifeline, Women's Legal Service (Qld), Family Services Australia, Ballarat Children’s Home38, the Australian Association of Social Workers39 and the Queensland Government40 all suggested that they had practical experience to indicate that domestic violence wreaked devastation upon many families. This submission agreed that violence is a major contributor to the breakdown in relationships. Comments included: At the Domestic Violence Resource Centre, we are daily confronted with the devastation wreaked upon families by violent individuals. The cycle of violence that often repeats from one generation to the next and which puts marriage under threat from the outset. Violence and the abuse of power are evident in all types of families with many men viewing their partners and children as their property. There is plenty of evidence that violence is a major contributor to the breakdown in relationships. Where issues of power are dominant, the result is often violence, trauma, sexual abuse or social isolation affecting mainly women and children.
  32. 32. 32 2.5 Family Approaches. It is generally assumed today that the modern family has undergone significant transformations in its structure. We are told that societal changes have contributed to a sharp reduction in the percentage of classical “typical” families, principally "nuclear" families. Replacing these, we are made to understand, are childless families, one-parent families, other family configurations, and quasi-family units based on non-marital cohabitation. This argument of the decline has been advanced for a number of decades, but little research has been conducted to test the premise. Bane (1976) disagreed with that conclusion and pointed out that family sizes were getting smaller and mobility was splitting up some families, but the family remained as a functional social institution. The main contention of this paper is that analysis of changing family patterns is distorted by the definition of the family that is generally used and the way relevant data are collected. In support of this contention, two different approaches will be used to gauge family status, and the two will be compared. First, the standard demographic approach to defining and measuring the family concept will be reviewed. Second, the genealogical view of the family will be examined. A comparison will then be made of the two perspectives and their consequences for understanding the nature of changes in the modern family. 2.5.1 Standard Demographic Approach. The family is generally recognized as an element of a broader kinship network that links ancestors and descendants of a person. Most published
  33. 33. 33 statistics on the family are based on census or household survey questions and responses. In the United States (and, for the most part, throughout the world), the "family" is defined in censuses and surveys as two or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption, and living in the same residence (Fields and Casper 2001). The first part of the definition excludes non-marital cohabitation but can include extended as well as nuclear family members. However, the second part of the definition severely restricts family composition by limiting the family members to those who share living facilities under the same roof (Glick 1957). This standard definition is basically an accommodation to requirements of data collection in censuses and surveys in which identifying population in geographic contexts down to the separate dwelling unit is necessary. Moreover, the questions needed to identify non-residential family members would be burdensome and the information costly to obtain. Persons who might be considered part of a family but do not reside at the same residential address are not included in demographic data. They may be part of a family at another address or they may be living alone or in group quarters (housing for a substantial number of unrelated individuals). This is the case even if such persons live close by (maybe even next door) and/or visit or otherwise regularly communicate (by phone or mail) with their family of origin. Additionally, because of census and survey residence rules, college students living in a college community and some long-term workers at remote places are excluded from the family group even if their intention is to return to the family's residence after school or work is completed. In other words, the family definition is controlled by the
  34. 34. 34 household definition, where households describe current or potential housing markets. In fact, some persons who meet the standard demographic definition of the family and are included may have little association with other family members in the same residence. For example, they may have different schedules of sleep, work, or other activities, and they may not communicate by phone or mail. Their inclusion in the family is pro forma and based only on the given family definition. These facts raise questions about the boundaries of the standard demographic definition of the family and its consequences for interpretations of how family structure might be changing over time. 2.5.2 The Genealogical Approach. Genealogy is the study of family structural history, drawing basically on demographic data sources such as censuses, birth and death certificates, immigration records, and other administrative records. The aim of genealogical research is to construct a family tree of ancestors and dependents of a key person (Smith and Mineau 2003). The tree can be limited in its extension to cousins and other persons remotely related, but typically the attempt is to be inclusive of related kin. Some genealogists prefer the term "family history" to "genealogy" because the latter term implies a genetic connection that may not be real because of questionable paternity and because it would not apply to adoptive persons. Many types of information can be included in family trees, but the pattern of relationships is not dependent on residential locations. Residence can be one
  35. 35. 35 item of information for each individual in the tree, along with such items as dates of birth and death, place of birth, occupation, and other personal markers. One can examine a family tree and extract a family structure using a variety of family definitions, based on how extensive one wishes to consider the family (Finnegan and Drake 1994). Family trees typically distinguish between living and dead members of the family, so that several family definitions can be applied to only living members. In this sense, the genealogical approach to looking at family structure provides for a broader range of family forms than is possible from the demographic approach. Thus, one can describe a couple and their offspring, living together or not; a multi-generation family, living together or not; as well as extended family groupings. Genealogies have not been incorporated into family research very much. Smith (1987) indicates that obtaining any type of kin count or structure (and, by implication, residence-based families) "is often difficult or impossible …. Genealogical research, even when done with the aid of computers, is labour- intensive and requires extensive archival data." The use of genealogies in demographic research has been heavily oriented to estimating population size, as well as fertility and mortality of communities. Because sets of family trees are often hard to come by, the broader kinship network that the family tree describes can be obtained by having survey respondents reconstruct the history of a family’s changing structure by tracing the family’s evolution from the marriage date of a couple to the point where only one member of the family group is still living.
  36. 36. 36 2.6 Types of Marriage and Family Conflicts. Differences in a marital system's characteristics will influence the type of conflict that may occur. 2.6.1 Endogenous Conflicts are those in which the situation is defined as a conflict by agreement between the people involved. These are also known as Structural Conflicts, or relationship oriented conflict. A family breakdown concludes the awareness of sexual infidelity and disagreement about its relevance because we have laws and norms regarding the sexually exclusive nature of marriage. This is the "You've hurt me by your actions, but we can work things out by talking." type of conflict. 2.6.2 Exogenous Conflicts are those in which there is no pre-existing system for the resolution of this type of conflict. With this, the "I hate your guts" kind of conflict, there is little to be discussed. Exogenous conflicts are also known as Instrumental Conflicts. 2.6.3 Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Structures are those in which members of the marital dyad have the same resources and perceive their power base as equal. Escalation of conflict here might result in rapid coming to blows and violence because each believes he or she can win. Asymmetrical structures are those in which members of the marital dyad do not have the same resources, which results in some variation of a dominant/submissive relationship. Escalation of conflict is not as likely because one member is perceived as more power. Within either symmetrical or asymmetrical marital structures, Issues Oriented Conflict will reside. This is conflict over specific situations or
  37. 37. 37 events--conflict over the disposition of family resources, for example. The autonomy issue--distance regulation in systems language--is one. The "privilege" issue--money, power, resources--is another. Both autonomy and privilege issues are accounted for by Dahrendorf, who simultaneously sees all conflict and the social order as resulting from the Unequal Distribution of Authority in society. Just as the authority structure of bureaucracies serves as the principle basis for conflict in the larger society, so is the authority structure of "normal" marriages and families (patriarchy in our society). Unlike the secondary, bureaucratic, relationships of inter-institutional interaction, primary relationships (i.e., husband/wife, parent/child) are characterized by level of intimacy. 2.7 Explanation of Theory Related to Family. By the way, theories can be used to study society -- millions of people in a state, in a country, or even at the world level. 2.7.1 Family Systems Theory. When understanding the family, the Family Systems Theory has proven to be very powerful. Family Systems Theory claims that the family is understood best by conceptualizing it as a complex, dynamic, and changing collection of parts, subsystems and family members. Much like a mechanic would interface with the computer system of a broken-down car to diagnose which systems are broken (transmission, electric, fuel, etc.) and repair it, a therapist or researcher would interact with family members to diagnose how and where the systems of the family are in need of repair or intervention. To fully understand what is meant by systems and subsystems, look at Figure 6
  38. 38. 38 below. Family Systems Theory comes under the Functional Theory umbrella and shares the functional approach of considering the dysfunctions and functions of complex groups and organizations. Today multi-generational family systems are becoming more common, but there are typically only three generations: the married adult child and his or her spouse and children move back home. Juan and Maria raised their two children, Anna and José, with tremendous support from grandparents. Maria's mother is a college graduate and has been a big help to José, who is a sophomore in junior college and a basketball team member. Juan's mother and father are the oldest family members and are becoming more and more dependent. Juan's mother requires some daily care from Maria. 2.8 Used Alternative Solutions on Family Breakdown. 2.8.1 The Family Law. The intensive debate that the preceding Bill stimulated in both Houses during the drafting stages was largely focused on the needs of children, with the positive outcome that children’s issues have achieved a high media and public profile. The introduction to the Act outlines its purpose to support marriages in the interests of children and contains a number of measures aimed to reduce the conflict associated with family breakdown, in particular the removal of fault as a fact to evidence the ground for divorce and encouragement (by information giving and fiscal support) for couples to actively consider mediation. Measures to encourage parents to cooperate in joint future planning include: time to debate the outcome of separation (minimum one year) and possible routes to reconciliation; an imperative to receive and digest information about the effects of the decision to separate
  39. 39. 39 on themselves and their children; effective ways of approaching domestic violence and the protection of mothers and children; assessment of suitability for mediation; and mediation, not adjudication, as a preferred option for most parents. 2.8.2 Information Giving and Mediation. Mediation services have to be available in a country following the Finer Committee recommendation that a more conciliatory approach to the ending of marriage would be of more assistance to parents than separate adversarial representation. Mediation affords the opportunity for both parents to meet together with trained mediator(s) to plan living and contact arrangements and, if they choose, future financial provision for the family. Few of the wide range of professionals who provide services for families and children are aware of the importance of mediation and the availability of services has been limited by financial constraints. Setting up new services to provide information about the process and consequences of family breakage and the expansion of mediation services were piloted in UK by the Lord Chancellor’s Department and the Legal Aid Board in different parts of the country during 1997. One major advantage of identifying the problem areas for children in the present climate of family change and considering ways in which children may become vulnerable is to assist in the development of strategies to help parents support their children. It is important that paediatricians and other doctors understand both the philosophy and the practicalities of the Family Law Act 1996 and the associated information giving sessions and mediation
  40. 40. 40 services. They may also, however, be able to provide a different form of support in a clinical setting. When parents contemplate separation, they often look first for support from within their own family circle and friendship networks. Unfortunately, just at a time when all their resources are needed, access becomes complicated by family and friends assuming divided loyalties, and by the secrecy which often surrounds the decision of one partner to leave. Several studies have indicated that the family doctor is often the first person outside the family to be consulted by parents. Parents consider such a consultation as within the realms of normality and often produce physical symptoms as an outward sign of the inward emotional distress which is often the as yet unacknowledged trigger for the visit. Parents recognize that help for the range of problems that they face, often for the first time, is hard to find, confusing, and often only available when crisis points are reached. In response to these findings that parents would welcome assistance at an early stage, One Plus One have developed a programme (Brief Encounters) which aims to provide health professionals with skills to enable the brief consultations possible in busy clinical practices to more effectively support and direct couples to other services, and to use the time available to them to best advantage. Professionals are aware of the front line part they play in the support of families, yet when they seek a service to which patients could be referred at an early stage of a relationship problem when there is still a commitment to resolve differences, they may find that they lack specific knowledge about the referral route to an effective service. Relate counselors and others from
  41. 41. 41 similar organisations are increasingly providing services on primary health care premises, and in line with government directives have re-emphasised their role in persuading couples to reconsider their decision to breaking up. On the whole there is as yet little assistance for families as a matter of course when extraneous support is necessary. It is hoped that new initiatives will be encouraged by the philosophy of the Family Law Act 1996. 2.8.3 Supporting Children. For children whose parents are going through, or have completed, divorce, there is little or no provision for separate advice and counseling outside the therapeutic setting in which paediatricians often see children. Because of their unique relationship with children and parents as trusted and non- labeling professionals they may have a real opportunity for diagnosis and treatment. Recognizing the possibility of symptoms having a functional basis may be the key to moving forward for a child or young person with recurrent pain, sleep disorders, school difficulties, chronic fatigue syndrome, eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, or a variety of other symptoms. There are clearly situations where immediate presumptions that in reordered families these issues are responsible for symptomatology can be more damaging than therapeutic. The clinical appointment offers an occasion for these issues to be raised with parents and a possible “treatment” plan discussed which may have more to do with the reorganization of family dynamics than medical intervention. Few professionals other than general practitioners have similar access and ability to address most areas of a child’s life and paediatricians as “outside opinions” may have more clinical power and a more effective armamentarium of interventions at their disposal. Paediatricians as a group is also in a position where their power to
  42. 42. 42 lobby policy makers would be expected to result in new genuine initiatives to support children before recognized symptoms require orthodox treatment. Some professionals consider that the school environment could provide a safe arena to discuss the shared problems of family separation and reorganization. Successful small scale interventions involving parents and children have been introduced in the USA (N Kalter et al, Time limited developmental facilitation groups for children of divorce: early adolescence manual; unpublished manuscript, University of Michigan, 1993). In the UK there are pockets of good practice where family issues are part of a school personal and social education programme, but there is room for development. Organisations such as Relate have two pilot programmes to provide counseling for adolescents in Northern Ireland and the Midlands (Relate teen, details from Relate Marriage Guidance, Rugby). Some mediation services provide the opportunity for children to be involved either directly or by being offered a separate mediation session. In both public and private law all ways of involving children raise important ethical issues surrounding confidentiality and the safeguarding of children’s interests which have yet to be addressed, but require urgent attention. The implementation of the Children Act 1989 highlighted the fact that the medical and legal professions had important contributions to make to the practice of each other and allied professions. The National Council for Family Proceedings, based in Bristol, and the Family Justice Studies Committee under the direction of The Rt Hon Lord Justice Thorpe are promoting ways of developing interdisciplinary training and cooperation to promote understanding of the legal, medical, psychological, and social influences which affect families and children.
  43. 43. 43 2.8.4 Marriage Preparation and Parenting: new initiatives. The public debate about marriage which surrounded the passage of the Family Law Bill through the UK Parliament has given a welcome emphasis to the necessity of preparing young people for long term adult relationships and parenting. Programmes which concentrate on the realities of marriage and the demands made by the arrival and management of children are being set up in various parts of the country in conjunction with Relate, the London Marriage Guidance Council, and One plus one. Partnerships are also being formed with religious and ethnic groups such as the Jewish Marriage Council and the Afro-Caribbean support group, and those from the Asian community who represent and demand different beliefs and responses. 2.8.5 Education to Communicate. A Schools Sex Education Programme at present being offered in some areas of the UK is based on methods of assisting pupils to acquire negotiation and communication skills within personal relationships and to withstand pressure more effectively. Evaluation has shown that it is possible to influence both beliefs and behaviour in a school based intervention. Conflict is a feature of every viable personal relationship. Concentration on the acquisition of skills to successfully resolve conflict rather than deny or ignore its existence in everyday life may help to reduce the increasing numbers of children who find themselves at the centre of such continuing adult disputes.
  44. 44. 44 CHAPTER THREE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.0 Introduction. This chapter discusses how data collection was carried out before the distinct research study was done and it explains how the flow of collection of data was done. The data were collected using structured questionnaires and interviews. Thus, this chapter on methodology is devoted to research design, research population, sample size and sampling procedure, research instrument; validity and reliability of the instrument, data gathering procedures, data analysis, ethical considerations and limitations of the study. 3.1 Research Design. Quantitative and qualitative research was use for the researcher to understand the causes of family breakdown and its effects on children. The quantitative method which was descriptive in nature helped in explaining the information from the field to draw conclusive decisions. The research method was use to describe non qualitative factors such as clients motivation, communication as well as organizational variables that cannot be measured in qualitative terms. Therefore research design includes; 3.1.1 ResearchApproach. The study used combined approach, positivism and phenomenological approach that is qualitative and quantitative research method for data collection was use to test the hypothesis using various statistical measures to examine the causes of family breakdown and its effects on children in Juba
  45. 45. 45 City of South Sudan. This was used because the study focused on peoples’ lives, behaviors and their influential motives, because it is complex to handles family issues if not approach tactfully. 3.1.2 ResearchStrategy. A survey in Juba City was carried out to establish how Family alternative solutions have improve the family breakage issues of families within the three Payams of Juba City; Kator, Munuki and Juba. It identified the methods to be used and some constraints like failure to access data in Family history. 3. 2 Study Population. A study population is generally a large collection of individuals or objects that is the main focus of a scientific query. For this case, Juba City was chosen to be the study population with elevation of 550 m (1,800 ft). Juba is the capital and largest city of the Republic of South Sudan. It also serves as the capital of Central Equatoria, one of the ten states of South Sudan. The City is situated on the White Nile and functions as the seat and metropolis of Juba. Juba itself was established in 1922 as a small town by a number of Greek traders which were mostly supplying the British Army at the time. Although their number never exceeded 2,000 inhabitants, together with a much larger number of the native Bari tribe with whom they had excellent relationship. In 2005, Juba's population was 163,442. Based on analysis of aerial photos, the best estimate of several donors working in Juba calculated the 2006 population at approximately 250,000. The 5th Sudan Population and
  46. 46. 46 Housing Census took place in April/May 2008, stating the population of Juba County to be 372,413 (the majority residing in Juba City, which dominates the county), but the results were rejected by the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan. Juba is developing very rapidly due to oil money and the Chinese coming for work and development. In 2011, the population of the City of Juba is estimated at approximately 372,410, but may potentially be more. As of 2013, the City is growing at a rate of 4.23%. 3.3 Sample Size. Due to the large sizes of population, the researcher often cannot test every individual in the entire city because it is too expensive and time-consuming. However, the major three Payams; Kator, Juba and Munuki were chosen in which 15 individuals were selected from Kator, 11 from Juba Payam and 34 from Munuki Payam making up 60 respondents. TABLE 3.1:showing the selectionofrespondents from each of the three Payams The residential areas of the respondents Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Kator 15 25.0 25.0 25.0 Juba 11 18.3 18.3 43.3 Munuki 34 56.7 56.7 100.0 Total 60 100.0 100.0 Source: Field work, 2015. 3. 4 Sample Selection. Purposive sampling technique was used by the researcher during the study because this study was small where the population samples required a
  47. 47. 47 limited number but significant number of people whose responses met the objectives of the study. 3. 5 Data collection. a) Primary Sources. Data for this research was generated from observation, and informal interviews were conducted among the illiterate community members. Administering questionnaires to them facilitated the method better. More responses were solicited through the interviews with the key informants such as the students and some government employees. This strategy helped to generate information with respect to causes of family breakdown and its effect on children. Focus group interviews were also conducted to generate data from the residents of Kator, Juba and Munuki Payam concerning the effects of family breakdown and its effects on children. This method was useful because the researcher was able to get responses from different individuals. Data was also collected from vulnerable groups such as the elderly, youth, and persons with disabilities and the women within those localities. b) Secondary Sources. Data was generated from other sources, which facilitated the review of literature: University of Juba Library, UNDP Library, Human Rights Commission Library, Peace and Development Library, Home Library, GOSS Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Documentation. Information got included national strategic plans, text books, government policies, workshop and seminar reports and journals.
  48. 48. 48 3. 6 ResearchInstruments. a) Questionnaires. A self administered questionnaire was administered to the Juba City residents such as the students, health officer, religious leaders, local chiefs, teachers, and government staff residing in the selected three Payams; Kator, Juba and Munuki. The sample for the citizens was not limited to specific groups of either sex, student, rich, poor, working class or unemployed but to those who have been instrumental in spearheading the effort against family breakdown, and need some changes in the welfare of the children within Juba City and the entire nation. The structured questionnaire was used to conduct interviews with the parents or guardian and children in social institutions. The respondents were selected regardless of their occupation but on the knowledge and experiences of family issues. The researcher was able to get detailed information because of the open ended nature of the questionnaire, which the respondents who could read and write preferred. b) Interview Schedule. The use of the interview schedule was important for this study because of the need to have detailed and information about family breakdown and its effects on children in Juba City. The structured interviews were administered to the selected respondents in the residents who were found to be knowledgeable and experimental of the problem under investigation. In addition, it enabled some respondents who could not read and write to participate in the research. A set of well-defined and highly standardized questions was used.
  49. 49. 49 c) Interview Guide. The researcher used interview guide for unstructured interviews to facilitate interviews and the focus group discussions. The target groups comprised youth, women, elders and persons with disabilities. This was a suitable method for the research because of its flexibility and advantage of helping the researcher to capture specific information from those who were interviewed. The method also gave the researcher full freedom to ask questions in whatever manner he desired. It also allowed and facilitated interaction on controversial issues with key informants on important issues that were not raised in the questionnaire. d) Observation. This method gave direction for the researcher to observe and present the situation of families and children in Juba City. He was also able to compare the information generated by the other methods above. This method was articulate because the data consisted of detailed descriptions of participants’ behaviours and the full range of human interactions. The method also provided the researcher with direct observation of available facts. e) Internet. This was used by the researcher to establish whether previous research, workshops, conferences and media reports adequately addressed the data collected from the study. f) Documentary Analysis. The data from document analysis yielded excerpts, quotations, or passages from records, correspondences and official reports, which the researcher
  50. 50. 50 used to establish whether previous research, media reports, text books and seminar or conference reports addressed the information gathered from the study within the domain of the study. g) Data Analysis. This research study was based on a thorough description of the characteristics, processes, transactions and contexts that constitute the phenomenon being studied, as well as an account of the researcher’s role in constructing this description. The data generated from the observations, interviews schedules, interview guides and questionnaires as well as from the documentary reviews was transcribed, grouped and categorized into cording frames indicative of the themes that emerged. These were then linked to the objectives of the study and were later generalized and argued out in a detailed research report. 3.7 Data Processing and Analysis. The data collected, was processed and analyzed using statistical packages for social science (SPSS) and tools like tables, graphs, charts, and percentages to get information from the study. After collecting the data through questionnaires, and observation of the data, data will be tallied, edited, coded and tabulated so as to give similar information. Editing will be done to ensure completeness, accuracy, consistency and uniformity of the work. Coding will involved classifying the data collected into their meaningful categories; each category will be given a name or code to enable easy analysis. Data coded was worked out in percentages and put in tables, graphs, charts and percentage for easy interpretation.
  51. 51. 51 3. 8 Limitation of the Study. This study of family breakdown has its own limitations that range from social, political and economical point of view. These limitations include the following; i. Financial Constraint: the study was very expensive because it involves types of materials and distributing them to various respective places which involves transport to the field as well as financing other duties towards the success of the research. ii. Communication Barriers: The commonly used language in Juba Town is Arabic language that becomes very difficult for me to ask some technical questions. The translation of English to Arabic is so difficult, iii. Unwillingness of the Community in Delivering Information: Others think that I am from the government and they are weary in giving the same information which has no fruit realized. iv. Bad Weather: The climate condition of Juba Town is mostly characterized by hot weather which makes it hard to travel from one place to the other to collect for information. v. Literature Limitation: Further limitations include limitation of literature and amount of time for the researcher. 3.9 Conclusion. The field research was successfully conducted because of the positive response and cooperation of the lovely citizens of South Sudan residing in Juba City i.e. children, parents, teachers, students, government employee and entire community. However, information gathering from the internet proved
  52. 52. 52 expensive and information on family issues were scattered through the newspapers, government reports, UN reports, workshop and conference reports as well as unpublished work. The researcher established an index system to categorize the various themes. Towards the end of field work, the researcher felt impatient, nervous because of the need to frequent different Payams to have the questionnaires filled by the correspondents and returned. However, all the 60 questionnaires were completed and returned on the expected time period.
  53. 53. 53 CHAPTER FOUR DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS 4.0 Introduction. The objective of this study was to investigate the causes and effects of family breakdown in Juba City of South Sudan. This chapter presents the analysis and the findings and examines the framework that addresses various family breakdown issues. The study reflects on the roles of the stakeholders in preventing family breakdown in Juba City. It identifies causes, effects, recommendations and possible solutions of family breakdown on children in Juba City. The following is the presentation. 4.1 General Background on personal Information. This section presents the general characteristics of the respondents. These include the response s gender, marital status, age brackets, educational level, occupation, religion and state of the respondents. These are presented in the subsequent sections. Table 4.1.1 showing the gender of the Respondents. Gender of Respondents Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Male 36 60.0 60.0 60.0 Female 24 40.0 40.0 100.0 Total 60 100.0 100.0 Source; field work, 2015. According to table 4.1.1, total number of 60 people participated answering the questionnaire in which males dominated the participation. The finding indicated that 36 males participated in answering the questionnaire while 24
  54. 54. 54 females only. This study shows that there was no discrimination in term of sampling whereby males dominated by 60% and females were 40%. Therefore, the two percentages respectfully participated on the causes and effects of family breakdown on children. Figure 4.1.1 showing the marital status of the respondents. Source; field work, 2015. The study reveals that 50% of the respondents were single people, 41.7% were married respondents and 5.0% were widowers while divorced and widows equally by 1.7%.
  55. 55. 55 The figure above shows that single are the majority leading by 50%, followed by married 41.7% then widower 5.0% and the minimum are the divorced and the widow 1.7% respectively. This sampling included various marital status categories for full understanding of why families breakdown and its effects on the off-springs in Juba City. Figure 4.1.2 showing the age bracket of the Respondents. Source; field work, 2015. This figure indicated that 1.7% are age category 16-18, 71.7% for respondents from age category 19-29, 13.3% belongs to age bracket 30-45,
  56. 56. 56 10.0% for respondents from age bracket 46-55 and finally, 3.2% for those respondents from age category 56 and above. Therefore, the results indicated that age category 19-29 responded in large number of 43 out of 60 respondents, followed by age category 30-45 by 8 respondents out of 60. Although the age brackets 46-55, 56 and above, and finally, 16-18 responded in less numbers of 6, 2 and 1 respectfully, the sampling included all the age categories. Figure 4.1.3 showing the Educational level of the Respondents. Source; field work, 2015. From the above figure, the survey sampling indicated that 4 degree holders responded in answering the questionnaires, 13 were certificate and diploma
  57. 57. 57 holders, 15 were secondary levers and finally, 28 respondents end up in primary level. However, those ended in primary level responded in the largest percentage of 46.7%, followed by secondary levers by 25.0% and then the certificate and diploma levers by 21.7% and the limited number were the degree holders by 6.7%. This implies that, large number of the respondents dropped out or ended up in the primary level whereby they are the ones experiencing the huge effects of family breakdown in Juba City of South Sudan. Figure 4.1.4 Showing the Occupation of the sample Population. Source; field work, 2015.
  58. 58. 58 The above figure indicates that the high percentage of the respondents’ occupation were the unemployed indicating 50.0%, followed by the self employed shows 35.0% and then lastly were the government employed people with limited turn up of 15%. The highest level of unemployment resulted from the low level of education and self employed too. Out of 60 respondents, only 9 people are government employees viewing that, majority of the people are not employed as one of the factors contributing to the causes of family breakdown. Figure 4.1.5 Showing the Religious affiliation of the Respondents. Source; field work, 2015.
  59. 59. 59 From the above figure, the sample survey proved that majority of the people responded are Christians 83.33% of the study population, less majority are Muslims by 10.0%, the minority are the Animists by 5.0% and Judaists by 1.67%. This implies that Christians are the majority in Juba City. The sampling was not based on religious line but on the causes of family breakdown and its effects on children. This is done because religious difference was assumed to be one of the causes of family breakdown. Figure 4.1.6 Showing the Respondents’ states of Origin. Source; field work, 2015.
  60. 60. 60 From the figure 4.1.6, the sample survey represented all the ten states of South Sudan. The studies specify that Central Equatoria comprises of 53.3% of the respondents, Jonglei was represented by 3.3% of the sample population, Eastern Equatoria with 13.3%, Warrap with 6.7%, Western Equatoria with 6.7%, Lakes with 3.3%, Unity with 1.7%, W. Bahr el Ghazal with 6.7%, N. Bahr el Ghazal with 3.3% and finally, Upper Nile sate represented by 1.7% of the entire sample population of 60 respondents. The figure 4.1.7 shows that Central Equatoria state contributed more to the study by 53.3% out of the respondent rate of 100.00% followed by WES, LS, JS, EES,WS, US, WBGS, NBGS and UNS. 4.2 Empirical Facts about the Variables of the Study. Data presented in this section majorly focused study questions. The data was organized to guide the study and this analyzes are presented by the research questions. Table 4.2.1 showing whether family breakdown is common in their localities within Juba City. Is family breakdown common in your locality within Juba City? Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Yes 47 78.3 78.3 78.3 No 13 21.7 21.7 100.0 Total 60 100.0 100.0 Source; field work, 2015. According to table 4.2.1, most respondents agreed that family breakdown is commonly practiced at their neighborhood with 78.3% out of respondents’
  61. 61. 61 rate of 100.00%. Meanwhile, 21.7% of the respondents claimed that family breakdown was hardly practiced from their residential area. This implies that family breakdown indicating high in Juba City of South Sudan. Thus, immediate alternatives have to be taken. Table 4.2.2 showing those who are the victims and those who are not the victims of family breakdown. Are you a victim of Family breakdown? Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Yes 24 40.0 40.0 40.0 No 36 60.0 60.0 100.0 Total 60 100.0 100.0 Source; field work, 2015. From the above table, respondents were asked whether they were victims of family breakdown or not. Therefore, majority was not affected but fewer majorities was affected of different forms of family breakdown. From the table 4.2.2, proves that 60% of the study population was not affected while 40% of the study population was affected of family breakdown. Even though those affected were less than those who were not affected, family breakdown may widen into alarming issues than possible within a short period of time if measurable alternatives were not taken to reduce its severe stage than profound. According to Kerby Anderson, (1994) families are the bedrock of society. When families fall apart, society falls into social and cultural decline.
  62. 62. 62 Ultimately the breakdown of the American family is at the root of nearly every other social problem and pathology. Just a few decades ago, most children grew up in intact, two-parent families. Today, children who do so are a minority. Illegitimacy, divorce, and other lifestyle choices have radically altered the family, and thus have altered the social landscape. Figure 4.2.1 showing the forms of family breakdownthat affectedthe victims at the table 4.2.2 Source; field work, 2015.
  63. 63. 63 The Figure 4.2.2 shows that 8.33% of the families of the respondents broke in legal way of divorce and 37.50% broke through illegal means of separation while 54.17% of the victims of family breakdown, their families end up by the death of highly supporting family member. Thus, within the sample area, divorce was not highly practiced by the people, rather they suggested separation where by third party is not involved in calming the situation. This happens when the individuals failed to sort out their issues, then they end up separating. But, death is not an intended even but only nature. Figure 4.2.3 showing the groups of those who agreed and those who disagreed that their cultural practices encourages family Breakdown. Source; field work, 2015.
  64. 64. 64 According to Figure4.2.3, respondents views was asked whether their cultural practices backup with family breakdown or not. Thus, the study indicated that 12 respondents claimed that their cultures backup with family breakdown while 48 respondents disregarded the claims. Nevertheless, the views of the 20% of those respondents who claims that their cultural practices are backing up with family breakdown was appealed to depend their claim, however, they further proceeded by illuminating that, their cultures supportfamily breakdown on the following procession; 1. Polygamous structure; marrying many wives may leads to less or non- support to the other wives and this may lead to their withdrawal making up a family breakdown. 2. Majority stated that forced marriage is one of the dangerous factors contributing to family breakdown. They further enlightened that marriage is a long journey that is driven by love, but that long journey with love, it is like a house build on sound soils that can be washed away if heavy rain rained. 3. Inheritance has been one of the claims that triggered family breakdown, togetherness comes from desire. 4. High bride wealth has been believed by other respondents to be the alarming cause other than the rest. 5. However, others stipulated that marrying barren partner is unwanted by most cultures within Juba city i.e. cultures encourages family breakdown. For those respondents who claimed that cultural practices doesn’t encourage family breakdown depended their argument on the following believes; 1. Marriage is an everlasting contract that proceeded beyond death of the partner i.e. even though the husband dies, the wife can be inherited by
  65. 65. 65 the husband’s closet relative yet producing children for the dead person. 2. Most of the cultures in Juba City discourages family breakdown with a believed that it is a shame for married people to break i.e. indicating the partners weakness. 3. Some cultures gives heavy fine for the individual who is willing to breakaway, for example, if a woman is willing to break the marriage, her relatives have to return the bride wealth of the husband through compensation if they gave birth to child/children. Figure 4.2.4 showing views ofthose who acknowledgedthat the current family structure has a multitude change in comparisonto the past and those who did not acknowledgedthe changes. Source; field work, 2015.
  66. 66. 66 The figure above, indicated that 58.33% of the respondents claimed that the family system from its old way of the structure to the modern era structure. While 41.67% of the respondents viewed the family system that there was nothing in the family structure, they believed that old family structure yet existed in the modern era. However, the 58.33% of the respondents who believed that there are some changes in family structure within the three Payams of Juba City to identify the changes. Their views saw the changes in the following perspectives; 1. Civilization and modernization; nearly half of the cultural norms, beliefs, customs, attitudes and practices are not longer existing due to the current forms of civilization that most of the communities are passing through. This include shifting a family from extended to nuclear where the aged people are facing some challenges. 2. Changing of the gender role; women used to be known as housekeepers but today, women are represented in any of the social, political, economical, and religious settings. 3. LBGT; formally, marriage was characterized of male to female naturally, but in the current society, marriage can be between male to males known as gay marriage, and female to females known as lesbian marriage or bisexual for both, forming a group known as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). Due to mixed cultural practices in Juba city, such practices are knocking at the gate.
  67. 67. 67 4.3 Causes ofFamily Breakdown Table 4.3.1 showing the major causes offamily breakdownby ticking the appropriate choices. Causes of family breakdown Strongly agree Agree Not sure Disagree Strongly disagree F % F % f % f % f % Physical, sexual and emotional abuses 30 50 17 28.3 12 20 1 1.67 0 0 Addiction to alcohol and drugs 39 65 19 31.67 1 1.67 0 0 0 0 Religious and cultural differences 6 10 27 45 12 20 14 23.3 1 1.67 High Expectations 22 36.7 19 31.67 16 26.7 3 5 5 8.3 Lack of Communication Skills 15 25 30 50 9 15 5 8.3 1 1.67 Inability to resolve conflicts 29 48.3 24 40 5 8.3 1 1.67 1 1.67 Different priorities and interests 17 28.3 20 33.3 16 26.7 6 10 1 1.67 Financial problem 33 55 16 26.67 5 8.3 4 6.67 2 3.3 The disappearing of intimacy 12 20 18 30 20 7 11.67 3 5 Getting in for wrong reasons 13 21.7 18 30 18 30 9 15 2 3.3 Death 33 55 16 26.67 3 5 5 8.3 3 5 Threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS 30 50 17 28.3 6 10 3 5 4 6.67 Source; field work, 2015.
  68. 68. 68 According to table 4.3.1, 39 respondents strongly agreed that addiction to alcohol and drugs is the major cause of family breakdown constituting 65.0% of strongly agreed, 31.67% of the respondents agreed. After addiction, 55.0% strongly agreed and 26.67% agreed both on financial problem and death respectively, however, it can’t means that the two are causing the family breakdown at the same rate. From the above figure, 6.67% disagreed and 3.3 strongly disagreed that financial problem doesn’t have relationship with family breakdown, while 8.3% disagreed and 5% strongly disagreed that death doesn’t cause family breakdown. This indicated that financial problems has high rate of causing family breakdown than death. Physical, sexual and emotional abuses has been correlated with threatening diseases like HIV/AIDs providing equal results in strongly agreed by 50.0% and agreed by 28.3%. According to the analyzes, physical, sexual and emotional abuse is rated high because it has only 1.67% disagreed and 0% strongly disagreed compared to 5% disagreed and 6.67% strongly disagreed on threatening diseases like HIV/AIDs. Inability to resolve conflicts is rated as number six major cause of family breakdown with 48.3% of strongly agreed and 40.0% of agreed, even though 8.3% are not sure while 1.67% disagreed and 1.67% strongly disagreed. Nevertheless, some of the other causes of family breakdown are rated as; high expectation with 36.7% of strongly agreed, different priorities and interests with 28.3% of strongly agreed, lack of communication with 25.0% of strongly agreed and getting in for wrong reasons with 21.7% of strongly agreed.
  69. 69. 69 The last two rated causes include the disappearance of intimacy 20.0% of strongly agreed and religious and cultural differences rated with 10.0% of strongly agreed. 4.4 The effects of family breakdownon children in Juba City. Figure 4.4.1, showing the effects of family breakdownin Juba City. Source; field work, 2015. According to Figure 4.4.1, the analyzes indicate that having difficulties in school is one of the major effects of family breakdown on children rated with 16.12%, followed by stress which is rated with 15.46%, early engagement in sexual activities, then insecure and afraid of the future is rated with 12.50%, depression is also one of the effects of family breakdown on children rated with 11.84%.
  70. 70. 70 Other effects of family breakdown on children from the above figure includes; 9.21% for fearful of being abandoned, 8.55% for resentment, 8.22% for torn in two and finally 4.93% for powerless. Therefore, difficulties in school is the major effect, while powerless is the less effect of family breakdown on children. 4.5 Solutions to Family Breakdownin Juba City. Table 4.5.1 showing some of the Alternative Solutions to Family Breakdown. Alternative solutions to family breakdown Very Good Good Fair Frequency % frequency % frequency % Creation of family laws 37 61.67 15 25.0 8 13.3 Information giving and mediation 24 40.0 24 40.0 12 20.0 Supporting children 36 60.0 13 21.67 11 18.3 Marriage preparation and parenting: new initiatives 26 43.3 25 41.67 9 15.0 Education to communicate 38 63.3 13 21.67 9 15.0 Source; field work, 2015. According to the research findings, the respondents rated the alternative solutions to family break down as follows; 61.67% for creation of family laws as very good, 40.0% for information giving and mediation, 60.0% for
  71. 71. 71 supporting children, 43.3% for marriage preparation and parenting new initiatives and finally, 63.3% for education to communicate. Therefore, the analyzes indicated that, among all, the best alternative solution to family breakdown was the education to communicate and followed by creation of family laws. Supporting children was rated to be number three and marriage preparation and parenting new initiative rated among the best four. Finally, the last alternative solution rated was information giving and mediation. 4.5.1 How can the affected children be helped to live a normal life. The respondents from different Payams of Juba City enlightened that, the affected children can be helped in various ways such as; providing shelters, education, medication, freedom of expression, counseling, and clothing them as a primary source of helping. The results viewed the secondary necessities as; empowering the children at their late childhood with entrepreneurial ideas, communication skills to the tormented children, creation of recreational centres, adaptation practices to those who are willing, outing programmes, provision of social needs such as love, compassion and caring. Finally, government should take this into account by initiating policies and programmes that make the children free from any effects. These programmes include health insurances, compulsory education to all and financial supports to the children where necessary.