The role of parent-child communication in addressing sexuality challenges among adolescents
Adolescence is tough time for young people. Young people aged between 10 and 24 years account for about 30% of the world's population-about 1.7 billion people in total but are by no means a 'homogeneous group. At the lower end of the age range, they consist of pre-teenage girls and boys most of whom are not yet sexually active. At the upper end, they consist of physically and sexually mature young women and men, virtually all of whom have been sexually active for some years. There is also enormous diversity among the youth of the same age, depending on the individual's level of physical, psychological and sexual development. One feature common to young people in many parts of the world, however, is their potential vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) The parents have a responsibility of mentoring the adolescents to effectively handle the challenges of adolescents. The study showed that parent-child communication is very weak and that is why adolescents have problems. The objectives were to find out the contents of parent-child communication, what is the manner of communication, the results of poor parent-child communication and ways of improving parent-child communication. The study, under literature review looked at general challenges of adolescents, sexuality and adolescents, HIV/AIDS and adolescents, abortion pregnancies, STls, the role of parent- child communication on sexuality and effective communication. It also employed two theories: communication theory and theory of socialization to shed more light on the topic. The research design was survey method involving questionnaire for adolescents as well as parents. The research was carried out in Ruai location, Embakasi division, Njiru District, Nairobi Province. The target population consisted of 80 respondents of between 10-19yr olds in and out of school. Of these, 42 were females while 38 were males. Parents were interviewed to give more insight on the issues discussed with the adolescents. The study used stratified, simple random and systematic sampling. Data collection using questionnaires involved oral interviews, Focused Group Discussions, Key informants interviews, secondary data, Case study and observation. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented using tables, diagrams, percentages, and frequency distribution. Qualitative data was used to identify themes. The study showed that few parents discussed serious topics like sex with the adolescents and they got information about sex issues from friends, internet, media and least of all parents. In respect to the findings and conclusions of the study, the following recommendations were made: the government through the relevant ministries to organize compulsory seminars and workshops on how parents should relate and communicate with the adolescents on the challenges of adolescence. The Ministry of Health should establish more and strengthen the existing Youth Friendly Centers to counsel and make adequate follow ups. Ministry of education should strengthen the existing guidance and counseling departments in schools by freeing the counseling teacher from teaching duties so as to concentrate only on counseling. Non governmental organizations in collaboration with other stake holders should support the government's effort in helping the youth. The community should organize activities that bring together parents and adolescents. Those who tend to move-toward crime should be identified through community policing then assisted to be reintegrated in the community, local churches should organize youth camps geared towards teaching the adolescents what parents have failed to do. Pastors should help parents and adolescents to be close to each other to beat the challenges of adolescence.