Influence of parent-teacher interactions on the initiation of sexual practices among teenagers: A qualitative study of Kawuku Secondary School, Mukono District, Uganda
Ssuka, Jonathan Kizito
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Introduction: Several studies recommend a multisectoral approach to promote positive sexual behaviors among young people. Minimal literature exists on the influence of parent-teacher interaction on sexual behaviors of young people. Objective: To examine the influence of parent-teacher interaction on initiation of sexual practices among teenagers in Kawuku Secondary School (S.S.), Mukono District, Uganda Methods: Qualitative phenomenological design was used. The respondents were: 12 parents who had children in the school, six teachers who had been in the school for at least three years and 18 teenagers 13-19 years of age from the school. In-depth structured interview and focus group discussions (FGDs) were held. We looked at whether parents interacted with teachers on matters regarding their children’s sexual behaviors, the frequency and content discussed and how this impacted on the sexual decisions and practices of young people concerned. Results: Interaction facilitated the flow of protective information and guidance that delayed sexual debut and improved the sexual behaviors among the teenagers. Most of the teenagers whose parents were in close interaction with their teachers attributed their present sexual behaviors to the raised consciousness and continuous monitoring and communication from either party. A number of barriers hindered effectiveness of parentteacher interaction. These included lack of appropriate sexual information among parents, parents’ fear to discuss sexual experiences with young people, poor parenting, limited confidentiality among teachers and so on. Conclusion: When parents have the right sexual information and interact well with teachers on matters regarding sexual behaviors of their children, positive sexual behaviors and delayed sexual debut among teenagers is facilitated.
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