Perceived parenting behavior and its relationship to levels of self esteem among the adolescents in secondary Schools in Nairobi County
Introduction: Parents play an important role in shaping their children’s character and are considered an important determinant in several aspects of their children’s outcome including how they view themselves. Parent child relationship is important and influential to the child’s self esteem as posited by several researchers mainly in Europe. The concept of self esteem and the role it plays on a person has been described in many personality theories. Local studies on the subject are scanty though those done in Europe reported statistical significant relationship with self esteem. The current study set out to investigate whether there is a relationship between levels of self esteem and their perception of their parent parental behavior in public day secondary schools in the Nairobi County, Kenya. Method: A random sample of school going adolescents was taken from a stratified sample of 6 day public secondary schools in Nairobi County (Kenya). Self administered instruments were used to measure perceived parental behavior and levels of self esteem in a total of 454 students. Variables in the study included demographic data, parenting styles/forms of child abuse and levels of self esteem. Results: Mothers were ranked high on emotional neglect compared to fathers. However, adolescents did not perceive their mothers as physically neglectful towards them compared to their fathers who they perceived as physically neglectful. Fathers were also ranked high on physical abuse compared to mothers. Further analysis revealed that authoritarian parenting style and the four forms of child abuse were negatively correlated to levels of self esteem. Conclusions: This study suggests that parental behavior has a statistical significant association with adolescents’ level of self esteem. Factors that play a role in low self esteem needs to be explored. This study paves way for future studies around the topic of parenting and levels of self esteem, and creates a deeper understanding on the subject.