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ATTITUDE OF PARENTS TOWARDS EARLY MARRIAGE
ATTITUDE OF PARENTS TOWARDS EARLY MARRIAGE
1.1 Background of the study
Marriage is a social institution that unites people in a special form of mutual dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. As a social practice entered into through a public act, religious or traditional ceremony, it reflects the purposes, character and customs of the society in which it is found. Many societies have norms that limit the age of young girls to enter into marriage, but in some cases the age limit does not take into consideration their physiological readiness for childbearing. Marriage often takes place at ages much earlier than the legally ratified minimum age. Early marriage is the marriage of children and adolescents below the age of 18 years.
In several culture girls are forced to be married at a very early age due to various reasons such as getting dowry, the fear of some parents that their daughters would get pregnant while at home.
It was considered shameful for a girl to get pregnant outside wedlock. Other factors include unequal power relations and economic hardship. This also exposes girls to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and abortions as common problems among adolescents worldwide. This also account as to why adolescents suffer more from related complications, such as maternal and infant death.
Early marriage put teenagers at risk because they are not fully physically developed to care for pregnancy, early marriage results in early and frequent child birth and subsequently an increase in family size.
Early marriage also denies girls the right to enjoy their childhood, the right to education and the right to a husband of her own choice and of her age. When young girls are forced to marry someone who is older than herself and if it happens that husband dies the chances of such girls to become a widow at an early age are high. But not only will that young mothers be left to take care the young children by themselves.
Because of bad customs and traditions, it is not guaranteed that these young wives will inherit their husband properties. Basically early marriages not only pose greater health risks for the young mother and the baby, but it also violate the girls right to make her own choice such customs must therefore be fought in all fronts.
Laws determine the ages, sexes, physical conditions, and relations to mention but a few for both parties contracting marriage. Early marriage is used to refer both formal marriage and informal unions in which a girl lives with a partner as if married before age of 18,Early marriage also known as child marriage is defined as “any marriage carried out below the age of18 years before the girl is physically, physiologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and child bearing ”Child on the other hand, involves other one or both spouses being children and may take place with or without formal registration and under civil religious or customary laws. We can trace the historical background to early by speculating the cultural context of the most of the people in the world.
In most societies early marriage has been practiced from time immemorial. The children used to be married after attaining puberty that is at around the age of 12 to 16.This used to be the case for most of the girls who used to be given to men as old as their fathers. The reason behind this is explained here after.
The girls engage in marriage soon after their attainment to puberty in order to avoid social scandals. If the girl becomes pregnant at her father’s house, all blames go to father or relatives.
It was taken to be a curse if a girl remains at home after her puberty. So the family has to ensure that their daughters are getting husbands soon after the attainment of the age. The families often take pride in their daughters’ marriage.
The family prestige depended on how many children their daughters bore for her husband. The chance of bearing many children was secured as early as possible
.Marriage of girls used to be a source of income to many families. This is how the parents used to pressurize their daughters to get married.
As for boys getting married, it depended on the economic status of the families. In rich families it was easy for a boy to secure a wife immediately after becoming of age.
With advent of awareness of human rights (especially women rights) women emancipation and economic setbacks due to overpopulation, some kind of restrictions or control an early marriage started. Let us thrown right to what has been happening in Nigeria.
The British introduced the laws which restricted marriage to monogamy. They enacted other laws which regulated marriage and divorce for various groups such as the Asians and Africans, Christians and non Christians.
During independent Tanganyika, the 1963 local customary declaration order codified the customary laws. However this did not change the Christian and Islamic marriage laws. Customary laws were practiced mostly in rural area but not in urban areas where there were tribal mixtures.
The Law recognizes both polygamy and monogamy. According to the Act a girl can get married at the age of 14 and above with the consent of her parents or guardians. Of course some amendments have been carried out on this Act in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2002 but there are still some controversies. These controversies arise due to cultural and religious differences, level of education and information accessibility as well as psychological disposition of the people.
Generally most girls become sexually active during adolescence. The rates are highest in several countries of sub Sahara Africa where girls aged between 16 and 19 are sexually active, thus leading millions of adolescents to have off-spring.
In Latin America and Caribbean about one third of women population give birth before the age of 20.Likewise in Sub-Saharan Africa more than half of women give birth before the age of 20.Early marriage and the subsequent forced marriages are due to outdated customs, culture and taboos. Frankly speaking some tribal cultures and norms encourage girls’ involvement in prostitution at a tender age.
The other reasons that encourage the young girls to be involved in early marriage are socio-economic pressure on the party of the parents. The latter force their children to drop out of school in order to earn a living on their own because they cannot take care of them.
In 1978 an Anglican Clergyman (priest) Thomas Mathus issued a paper on increasing with giant steps, economic growth was in small steps. So there would be so many people while resources are limited. For him one of the courses for population boom was early marriages. He praises the natural calamities such as famine, floods and drought as blessings in disguise to man because they help to beat over population.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Despite being prevalent with profound impacts, child marriage in Nigeria attracts limited attention yet it has become a serious problem in most parts of the country particularly in rural areas that is Nyakitonto, Nyachenda, Nyamnyusi and Buhoro Many girls especially with 14 and 15 years are forced into marriage by parents or guardians or relatives therefore they facing a lot of problems [Children Dignity Forum, 2010] . For instance, those young female who forced to enter into early marriage does not able to cope with marriage life, because their age does not allow them to handle well the family matters. Adolescent mothers are also notable to reading the different gestures of their child such as illness, hunger, or pain. This puts both the mother and the child in poor health. Child marriages also deny girls an opportunity for education and decision making.
The parents\ guardians living in a poverty are often tempted to marry off their young girls to obtains bride price in which they believe will relieve them from the economic hardship, but in reality parents\ guardians are not familiar on the practice of young girls marriage and their impact of their health and welfare of young females.
Furthermore some society does not have a sufficient knowledge on the impact of child marriage that is why they are forcing their young girls to enter into early marriage. In reality, child marriage subjects a young girl to sexual activities at the tender age in which they are not physically mature, also young mothers face higher risks during pregnancies including complications such as heavy bleeding, fistula infection, anemia and enclampsia, which contribute to higher mortality rate of both mother and a child [Children Dignity Forum, 2010] .
In Nigeria, the system of marriage as guided by Marriage Act  contains loopholes that create ambiguity concerning of child marriages. For example, on the one hand it puts a limit on the acceptable age of marriage, while on the other hand it gives the parents the power of consent on marriage decisions. This was observed under S. 13 of the Law of Marriage Act, which states that“no person shall marrywho, being male, has not attained the apparent age of eighteen years or being female, has not attained the apparent age of fifteen years”.
Hence a child marriage are usually legitimized by national laws, for instant [ Marriage Act 1971] regardless of whether the child has an opportunity or is able to give full and informed consent, rendered many young girls to suffer severe physical, economic, biological, social and psychological problems, and also contravene several international human rights instruments
1.3 Research objectives
1.3. 1 The general objective:
The general objective of this proposed study was to investigate about social, cultural and economic factors contributing to early marriage among teenagers in Jos local governemrnt area .
1.3.2 Specific objectives:
The specific Objective of this proposed study were:
- To examine social factors contributing to early marriage among teenagers in Jos local governemrnt area .
- To analyze cultural factors contributing to early marriage among teenagers.
- To explore economic factors contributing to early marriage among teenagers.
1.4 Research hypothesis
H1 There was significant relationship between social factors and early marriage among teenagers. To test this, the following variables were used.
- Inadequate sex education.
- Inadequate social control in sexual matters.
- The distance between parents and children.
- Peer pressure.
- Environment influences.
- Parents conflicts
- Influence of mass media.
H2 There was significant relationship between cultural related factors and early marriage among teenagers in Jos local governemrnt area . To test this, the following variables were studied;
- Lack of Transparence.
- Negative attitude on Contraceptive.
- Shame or shyness.
- Lack of access to information.
- Inadequate parental care.
- Inadequate socialization in family and community.
- Traditional milestones.
H3 There was significant relationship between economic related factors and early marriage among teenagers.
To test these following variables were studied
- Meager economic resource.
- Lack of Credit facilities.
1.5 Significance of the study
The findings of this study and recommendations are an eye opener to parents to help them abandon early marriage among young girls. The findings help the Ministry concerned to come out with proper policy strategies to overcome the problem. The research also is adding new knowledge on the existing one on early marriage among young girls.
1.6 Limitation of the study
There are some hurdles which attempted to hinder this study to be conducted effectively, these were:-
Financial resources were the major obstacle to make the study to be easily implemented. The researcher was self – sponsored, and thus depended upon his meager salary.
The time required to accomplish the research work was too short and this made the researcher to focus on only one district in order to meet the time allocated.
Job Roles and Responsibilities
A researcher is a Divisional Officer and at the same time a student of MSC-HRM at the Open University of Nigeria. When conducting research and writing dissertation she was also supposed to perform her daily responsibilities which poses a lot of challenges to her.
Some of the respondents may have proper information about the study but they hide it because they do not understand the importance of the exercise.
1.7 Study delimitation