Original Research

The family dynamics of children on the streets of Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria

Abimbola M. Obimakinde, Moosa Shabir
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 4| a5774 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v65i1.5774 | © 2023 Abimbola Margaret Obimakinde, Moosa Shabir | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 May 2023 | Published: 14 December 2023

About the author(s)

Abimbola M. Obimakinde, Family Medicine Unit, Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; and Department of Family Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria; and Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Moosa Shabir, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Children roaming the streets estimated at 1 in 10 by a 2021 United Nation Children’s Funds (UNICEF) report is a growing problem, in cities of lower- and middle-income African countries. Studies of street children with no family ties abound, but there is a paucity of studies on children on the street who exist within families and return home daily. We explored the family dynamics of children on the streets of Ibadan, emphasising family structure, resources and relationships.

Methods: Using an exploratory design based on a qualitative approach 53 participants were interviewed, including children on the streets, parental figures, child-welfare officers and street shop owners. Participants were selected from streets in the five urban local government areas of Ibadan, Nigeria. Recorded data were transcribed, and framework analysis was performed.

Results: The family dynamics included family structural problems, poor family resources and poor parent-child relationships. The family structural problems included: broken homes, large families and ambivalence around polygamy as subthemes. Family resources comprised: poor economic resources, poor social resources, educational challenges, cultural ambivalence and spiritual backdrops. The family relationships patterns included: poor adaptability, economic-oriented partnership, poor growth support, poor emotional connection and poor family bonding.

Conclusion: The dynamics driving a family’s choice for child streetism in Ibadan, mostly to hawk, are devaluation of family life, parenting irresponsibility, and poor filial relationship, underscored by economic constraints and socio-cultural decadence. The results of this research buttress the need for family-level interventions to forestall the escalating phenomenon of child streetism in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Contribution: This research highlights the family dynamics of children on the streets, and buttresses family-level interventions are necessary to forestall escalating child-streetism in Ibadan, Nigeria.


Keywords

family dynamics; streetism; hawking; children; interpersonal relationship; SCREEM; APGAR; Ibadan

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

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