Parent's knowledge on sexuality and perceptions towards discussing sexuality with their adoloscent children : (a comparative study of rural and urban Communities)

Thumbnail Image
Tolosi, Mwinga N.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Adolescence is a critical phase in human development. It is a period during which young people experience great and rapid changes in their bodies and is often associated with risk taking behavior and experimentation resulting from peer pressures. To over come such, parents need to talk to their children about growing up and measures needed to overcome pressures. The study sought to determine rural and urban parents' knowledge on sexuality and their perceptions towards discussing sexuality with their adolescent children. Their knowledge and perceptions were then compared for similarities and/ or differences. A cross-sectional comparative study design was carried out in Ndanda rural area in Mongu District of Western Province and Woodlands low density residential compound in Lusaka. A total sample of 236 parents (118 from each area) was randomly selected from parents who were keeping adolescent children aged between 10 and 19 years. Systematic sampling method was employed in selecting them. A semi - structured questionnaire consisting of pre-coded and open - ended questions was used for data collection. Focus group discussions were also held with rural parents who were not part of the interviews. The study revealed that there was no significance difference in rural and urban parents' level of knowledge on sexuality (P = 0.446). Education of parents was found not influencing their level of knowledge on sexuality. According to the findings, 85 (72.0%) of urban parents with college vi level of education and 75 (63.6%) rural parents with primary level of education had knowledge on sexuality. Parents source of information on sexuality differed. According to the findings, 87.8% of urban parents obtained information through the media while 61.6% of parents in the rural area received advise from family members. These results demonstrated that environment in which parents live determined their source of information on sexuality. Communication between parents and children on issues pertaining to sexuality existed in both areas. The results revealed that 107 (90.7%) of rural and 103 (87.3%) of urban parents had started discussing sexuality with their children. However, 15 (12.7%) of urban and 11 (9.3%) of rural parents had not started discussing sexuality with their children. The age at which discussions were started was also established. Findings show that 58 (54.2%) parents from the rural area and 47 (45.6%) from the urban initiated the discussions when their children were between 10 and 14 years. The type of information parents found easy to discuss with children differed in the two areas. Those in the rural area found it easy to advise their children on manual work (65.4%) while those in the urban (54.4%) advised their children to refrain from promiscuous activities. The study further established that little was said about the changes in sexual characteristics of the adolescents, despite it being an important topic. In conclusion parents in both areas were knowledgeable about sexuality and their levels of knowledge were not significantly different.
Adolescence , Parenting , Parents and children