The influence of parent -adolescent communication on sexual and reproductive behavior of adolescents: Case study of Kibera Slums
The study investigated the influence of parent-adolescent communication on sexual and reproductive behavior by focusing on households in Kibera slums, Nairobi County. The study had three objectives. The first objective was to find out how parents communicate sexual and reproductive information with adolescents and its influence on their behavior. The second objective was to assess the influence of parent-adolescent communication on sexual and reproductive behavior. Lastly the study was to identify the challenges of parent-adolescent communication and their influence on sexual and reproductive behavior. The study was guided by Rommetveit and Blackar communication model and Heinz Kuhut’s Object Relations Theory of the Self. The target population of this study comprised parents and adolescents in households in Kibera slum of Nairobi County. Random walk sampling technique was used to select the parents and adolescents who participated in the study. Kibera slum was purposively sampled. Quantitative data was collected from respondents through the survey method using a questionnaire. It was analyzed using descriptive statistics. It was then presented in percentages and pie charts. Qualitative data was collected through interviews. It was analyzed thematically and presented in narrative form. The study found out that 50.7%, of the adolescents were exposed to sex education while 32.3% of the parents had exposed their children to sex education. Parent-adolescent communication on sex issues occurred at the point where the adolescents had enrolled to institutions of learning. Parent-adolescent communication on sex issues was found to occur regularly as thirty-nine percent of adolescents received sex education monthly, twelve percent received sex education weekly however nine percent never received sex education. On the other hand twenty four percent of parents give sex education monthly, nine percent gives sex education weekly but nine percent never give sex education. A slight variance was found to exist on the awareness about adolescent’s sexual activeness between household heads and the adolescents. Conversations between adolescents and their parent were found to influence sexual behavior as fifty one percent of the adolescents agreed that conversations between them and their parents influence their sexual behavior. Fifty three percent of adolescent and thirty seven percent of household head agreed that there is a sex related topic they find easy to discuss. First in ranking was abstinence, this was followed by sex with an unknown partner, petting behaviors, safe sex and masturbation respectively. On the other hand oral sex as well as communicating anal sex were not easy to discuss. The most common reasons that pose the greatest challenge to parent in discussing sex related topic with adolescents was general communication problems, and conversations about specific topics (e.g. masturbation, safe sex practices). Based on the findings discussed, this study recommended that parent-adolescent communication should occur more often unlike the current monthly frequency to enhance the observed positive effects on sexual behaviors amongst adolescents. Parent-adolescent topics on sexual and reproductive behavior should also include topics on the sexual activeness of adolescent so as to reduce the variance on the awareness about adolescent’s sexual activeness between household heads and the adolescents.
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