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Perception of Parents Towards the Needs of Adolescents Sex Education

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The literature for the study is reviewed under the following sub heading: Meaning of Sex Education
1. The need for Sex Education
2. Importance of Sex Education
3. Agencies for Sex Education
4. Parent involvement in Sex Education


The family is the principal unit socialization for children and, thus, it plays a powerful role in the sexual development of the children. As seen by Staton (1990:1), socialization is the comprehensive and consistent induction of an individual into the objective world of a society or a sector of it. This socialization begins in childhood when the individual becomes a member of the society. Primary socialization, as this is called, is a process rather than an event and it occurs until the individual becomes a functioning member of the society (Staton 1990:1). The foregoing argument clearly indicates the fact that what the child will become in the society is a responsibility of the parents. It is their God-given duty to bring up the child in the way that will make him or her a responsible citizen in society. For the child to behave in a sexually responsible way when he reaches adolescence, will depend on the amount of communication that takes place at home among family members. According to Miller, Kotchick, Dorsey, Forehand & Ham (1998:218) parents and other family members are in a unique position to help socialize adolescents into healthy sexual adults, both by providing accurate information about sex and by fostering responsible sexual decision-making skills. Parents are the primary teaches of their children.

They influence how children learn to think, use language, feel about themselves and others and organize experiences (Bundy & White 1990:322). However, research on the role of parents regarding the sexual development of their children, yields inconsistent results in that many parents assume that sexual development is social, emotional and academic growth of children (Osborne & De Onis 1997:20). Salus (1995:4) states that, though sexual education is primarily the task of parents, it is also the responsibility of all persons who have contact with children and is only part of the total integrated education for living. School counselors can extend their pro-active and primary prevention programmes to assist parents in fulfilling their role as the foremost sexuality educators of their children. Family Life Education in Natal Education Department (1990) suggests that the programme offered by school should reflect the needs and values of the school and the community and the school should discuss both the content and method of teaching sex education with its parent community before implementing the programme.

All parents have their own moral, religious and ethical positions on the subject and have the right to know both what is being taught and how it is being taught (NED 1990). Big breast and daddy so small or why Paul is having a hanging thing between his thigh and she is not. The answer to these questions should be simple and geared to the child level of understanding using terms and languages that are appropriate for male and female anatomy (Penis and Vulva). Nowadays, sex is being glamorized in books, television and movies. These places do not really encourage young ones to become chaste and also maintain conduct that gives them real happiness both now and in the future. Since they are curious to know about sex it will really be damaging if they are not given sex education both at home and in the school. Statement of Problem

There is increase problem in Nigeria today as to moral laxity, promiscuity, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), forced marriage, school dropout etc. among youths. The increase of these problems according Orieh (1981) has been attributed to ignorance of youth about sex education, confusion and frustration resulting from lack of awareness of both the home and the school about the need for sex education in the educational setting. Hence, the relevance of sex education in our educational setting is the justification of the study. Research Question

For the purpose of this study, the following research questions were raised. 1. Is there any difference in the attitude of teachers towards the relevance of sex education due to gender? 2. Is there any difference in the attitude of teachers towards the relevance of sex education due to educational status?

For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses have been drawn up for testing. 1. There is no significant difference in the attitude of teachers towards the relevance of sex education due to gender. 2. There is no significant difference in the attitude of teachers towards the relevance of sex education due to educational status.

1. Meaning and Concept of Sex Education
Sexual health is an important component of overall health and well-being. It is a major positive part of personal health and healthy living and it follows that “sexual health education or sex education should be available to all as an important component of health promotion and services (Oganwu, 2003) in principle, all including youth have a right to the information, motivation/personal insight and skills necessary to prevent negative sexual health outcomes (e.g. Sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, unplanned pregnancy) and also to enhance sexual health (e.g., maintenance of reproductive health, positive self image). In order to ensure that youth are equipped with the information, motivation/personal insigh and skills to protect their sexual and reproductive health, “it is imperative that schools, in cooperation with parents, the community, counselors in schools and also health care professionals, play a major role in sexual health education and promotion” (Oganwu, 2003). Talk about imparting sex education to young ones and you are bound to get clashing view points from people no matter where you are in the world.

The term is actually quite a broad one use to describe teaching about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse and other aspects related to human sexual behavior. It is however pertinent to note that an appreciation of sex education in schools and the elimination of sexual abuses and misuse of youth should also be greatly influenced by the active participation of parents at home. Commenting on school responsibility in sex education, Oladepo and Akintayo (1991) explains that “sex education is a responsibility of both the school and parents. The parent’s primary role is to set the behavioral unit for their children. Fakunle (1986) suggested that in the early stage of personality development mostly in adolescent stage, sex education should be encouraged at home (family), particularly sexology (study of humans sexual behavior and physiology, (study of the normal function of living things) know how the body functions and sexual exchange fully enjoyed. From the above view, sex education can be said as a mechanism or procedures, which stands for the protection, improvement and development of the human family based on accepted ethical ideas.

Oladepo and Akintayo (1991) commented that sex education of his time was a work of deception focusing on biology while concealing excitement-arousal which sis what a pubescent individual is mostly interested in. he added that this emphasis, obscures what he believed to be a basic psychological principles that all worries and difficulties originate from unsatisfied sexual impulses. Strauss (1992)sees it as the education which teaches young ones what he or she should know for his or her personal conduct and relationship with others Rubin and Kirkendu (1994) on the other hand defines sex education as not merely a unity in reproduction and teaching of how babies are conceived and born, but that it has a far reaching scope and goal of helping young ones incorporate sexual norms into their present and future life so as to provide them with some basic understanding of virtually every aspect of it, so that by the time they attain full maturity, they will be able to recognize these, in order or them to be able to interact harmoniously with those whose sex norms differ from their own. Oladepo and Akintayo (1991) view sex education as a process of acquiring sex knowledge, positive attitude towards sexual acts, male and female relationship and the role of parents. Sex is not limited in fact to genital activities. In reality, sex describes a huge range of activities. On this basis, the concept of sex education can be outlined as followed:- i. Knowledge of human reproduction.

ii. Misuse and abuse of sex.
iii. The spread and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
iv. Dangers of adolescent pregnancy.
v. Importance of inter-personal relationship.
vi. Choosing a partner.
vii. Family planning, importance and methods.

A critical analysis of the above concepts of sex education, indicates that sex education is a wide discipline covering the wide broad field of psychology, medicine, biology physiology and anthropology. Therefore, to be able to teach sex education effectively, the individual should have a basic knowledge of the above field of study. According to Oganwu (2003), sex is a dimorphic concept in other words, it is the structural differentiation between male and female. It can be said as the functional activity used for procreation. The Need for Sex Education in Secondary Schools

A study on the Nigeria scene have revealed that a high percentage of youth expressed the view they should not engage in premarital sexual activity, 25%-50% disclosed that they were already sexually active. Then 25% of young girls interviewed revealed that their first experience of sexual inter-course was through rape or in a situation where consent was procured by force. There is early initiation of sexual activity. There is also high incidence of teenage pregnancy. Teenagers account for 80% of unsafe abortion complications treated in hospitals. Therefore there is need for young ones to establish and accept the role and responsibilities of their own gender by acquiring the knowledge of sex. This will help to set up a foundation for future development in their interpersonal relationship. Since it is a kind of holistic education, it will teach an individual about self-acceptance and the attitude and skills of interpersonal relationship.

Sex education will also help to lesson or reduce risk behaviors in teenagers such as engaging in an unprotected sex which can result in unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease STD’s. the need for young people to cultivate a sense of responsibility towards others as oneself will also be fulfill. The need fort sex education in the school can also be seen from the fact that many parents are shy about talking/teaching their children on this subject. Sex education impacted through schools can also prove to be a significant and effective method of bettering the youngster’s sex-related knowledge, attitude and bahaviour. Also youngster’s usually derives information on sex and related subjects from sources like friends, books, the media comprising advertising, television, magazines and the internet. The problem with all these sources is that, they may or may not really provide them with correct and accurate information. As such, sex education in school will help to transfer authentic information and in the process, also correct any misinformation that they may have apart from adding to their already existing knowledge. Importance of Sex Education for Adolescent

While sex education is already part of a number of Western Countries such as the United States, its implementation in Nigeria schools recently kicked up a massive discussion. However, the proponents of sex education in schools usually underscore the following benefits advantages in support of their view. A well developed and implemented school-based sex education programme can effectively help young people reduce their risk of STI/HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy. In addition, it should also be emphasized here that an important goal of sexuality education is to provide insights into broader aspects of sexuality, including sexual well-being and rewarding interpersonal relationships (Oganwu, 2003). It will also help to provide young people with information on a wide range of sexual health topics including puberty, reproduction, healthy relationships, STI/AIDs prevention, birth control, abstinence, sexual orientation, and sexual abuse/coercion (Rueben, 1979). Effective sex education will also support informed decision-making by providing individuals with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, personal insight, motivation and behavioral skills that are consistent with each individual’s personal values and choices.

For many young people, these personal values and choices will lead to the decision to abstain from sexual intercourse and other sexual activities. In addition, particularly for young teens who have not yet become sexually active, delaying first intercourse can also be an effective way for adolescents to avoid unwanted pregnancy and STI/HIV infection. Sexuality education programmes which focus on delaying first intercourse as part of a broadly based curriculum that also focuses on contraceptive/safer sex practices can help some adolescents who have been sexually active to have a re-think an also see the need to quit until they are physically and emotionally ready for it. It is a fact that more and more teens these days are engaging into pregnancy sex. This further underscores the need for sex education to students. This will help them to make better informed decision about their personal sexual activities. Sex education imparted through school can also prove to be a significance and effective method of bettering and behavior.

Sex education is also importance because many parents (especially in African) are shy about talking/teaching their children on this subject The provision of information about sexual orientation also helps to fulfill the sexual health education needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students such as homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation can be addressed. Through sex education children will be able to establish and accept the role and responsibility of their own gender by acquiring the knowledge of sex. It also enable young ones understand the body structures of men and women and acquire the knowledge about birth. Through sex education, young people will be able to develop a positive sense of their own sexuality by creating opportunities for them to consider all aspects of sexuality, ask questions and also understand that there are adults who supports them as they learn about this part of themselves. Agencies for Sex Education

In order to ensure that youth are equipped with the information, motivation/personal insight, and skills to protect their sexual and reproductive health, it is imperative that schools, in cooperation with parents, the community, and healthcare professionals play major role in sexual health education and promotion (Oganwu 2004). Parent and guardians are a primary and important source of sexual health education for young people. This is because adolescents often look to their families as one of several preferred sources of sexual health information king et al (1988). In addition, most young people also agree according to Byers et al (2003) that sexual health education should be a shared responsibility between parents and schools. Other agencies for the promotion of sex education will include The Mass Media: This refers to both electronic and the print media. E.g. Radio, television, journals, newspaper, cinema etc. all these can play a major roles as an agency for sex education. Byers (2003) states that the mass media has educated the Nigeria teenagers to a great extent. A popular programme on Delta Rainbow Television (DRTV) titled “I NEED TO KNOW”. It is meant to educate young people sex issue including the awareness of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs) and also the danger of early marriage.

Programme of this nature can be a source of help to our young ones. The community can also be another agency for sex education since moral and religious values are the fabric attitudes and beliefs from it, the community can do well to organize programmes that will influence teenagers positively, as in the case in Out-Jeremi community where a similar programme was organized by SPDC in 2000. Another agency is religious organization (Church): The various religious bodies are also not left out in the race. They can do well to in still in members moral and values that are up building and that can benefits them (especially young people). The school as stated by UNESCO is another ideal forum for imparting sex education because of their ability to reach so many children and adolescent and also because of their standing as trusted sources of information within the community. Healthcare professionals can also play a major role in the promotion of sexual health education. PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN SEX EDUCATION

2.2.1 Parent Sexual Knowledge
According to research (Mellanby, Phelps & Tripp 1992:455; Simanski 1998:33; Reis & Seidi 1989:247; Baldwin & Bauer 1994:165) many parents would like to provide the information on sexual issues to their own children but find themselves hindered by their own uncertainties or lack knowledge. These parents need more information themselves before they can increase their involvement in sex education. Some parents believe that they do not know enough about sexual topics to discuss them with their children because their own parent were usually not the primary source of their sex education.

As a result, they lack a familial model (Benshoof & Alexander 1993:288). Green & Sollie (1989:152) and king & Lorusso (1997:58) support this statement by saying that due to lack of knowledge parents feel uncomfortable talking with children about sexual topics. Simanski (1998:33) asserts that adolescent’s sexuality may be threatening to adults who may not have resolved their own sexuality issues. On the study by Hodson & Wamlper (1986:13) parents prefer and expect to be the primary sources of information to their children in spite of the fact that they reported that their own parents provided them with little information on the sexual topics. Only for the non-sensitive topics, like birth, menstruation and body difference did a higher percentage of parents report receiving most of their information from a parent (Hodson & Wampler 1986:16)

Pick & Palos (1995:668) emphasize that the parents:-
* Need to think carefully about their own attitudes and what they want to transmit to their children * Should know clearly if their intentions match their attitudes. * Need to talk more openly about sex.

* Need to resist the tendency to be afraid of what their children may hear. * Must recognize that they only source of information for their children. According to the above points, parents are the main source of information regarding sex and can help enlighten their children. All these however, depend on the particular parenting style a parent demonstrates. 2.2.2 Parenting Style

Research has shown that parental rearing styles namely:- authoritative (i) parenting style (ii) authoritarian (iii) indulgent and disengaged or neglectful parenting styles, as will be discussed in turn, are related to adolescent sexual behavior (Taris & Semin, 1998:69, Lamanna & Riedmann 1994:399, Benshoff & Alexander 1993:288). As used by Lamanna & Riedmann (1994:400). Baumrind’s typology of parenting, tries to clarify the problem surrounding child rearing in society. This draws the discussion to the said typology of parenting. Authoritative Parenting

According to Chess & Thomas (2987:41) authoritative parenting is both nurturant and demanding. The necessary parental warmth and love yearned for by all adolescents are provided. This brings about a sense of security and openness among children. Problems are freely discussed and views are exchanged between parents and children. A homely environment emerges and when this occurs, sexual issues normally arise and are dealt with as they arise. This parental style is viewed as ideal for raising balanced, independent and discipline young adults who easily can differentiate the wrong from right, reality from fake and good from bad. Through the nurturant element of authoritative parenting style, the demands that go with it are not too hard.

Demands for high moral standards, upholding family values, aiming and settling for the best in life and improvement on self-concept. Children from such parents tend to be competent and productive citizens. Adolescents make responsible sexual decisions and, they become successful in life. The fact that question from adolescents are received with a positive attitude, sex related issues are easy to raise. It is as a result of this style of parenting that stress, which often besets all adolescents, is minimized or lessened. Unlike other parenting practices, this one produces learners who believe in themselves, value and respect themselves and are confident about what they will become in life. The draws the analysis to the next parenting style, the authoritarian. Authoritarian Parenting
When parents begin to shape, control and evaluate the child’s behavior in accordance with pre-established absolute standards, this is referred to as authoritarian parenting style (Chess & Thomas 1987:41). Characterising this type of parenting style is harsh and stern commands to the children. Fear grips the adolescent and causes withdrawal. Communication breaks down and no questions are asked, thus forcing the child to appeal to his or her peers fro answers and suggestions. Decisions about sex are kept secret and, more often than not, are irresponsible. This is the kind of parenting style Lammanna and Riedmann (1994:387) refer to as autocratic discipline. According to them, children brought up by such parents fall victim to teenage pregnancy and sexual promiscuity. There is fear and tension at home but away from home there are friends, bits of advice and recognition from peers. Some parental styles are worse than others, but the one discussed above is destructive in all of its processes and, in various ways, produces undesirable characters among the children. Equally dangerous is yet another extreme style called “indulgent” parenting, discussed below. Indulgent Parenting

Unlike the authoritarian parenting style which treats the child as a robot, the indulgent style is frivolous, affirmative and permissive. It is described by Lamanna & Riedmann (1994:386) as nurturing, but with few demands. Parents seem to adopt a leissez-faire attitude. Children are allowed to set their own goals and establish their own rules. Guidance from parents is insignificant and the child may either swim or sink. The result of this style is that children cannot distinguished between a morally incorrect and prudent behavior. They grow up like birds or some other form of animals which fend for themselves to survive. Worse still, comes the disengaged or neglectful style which will be explained in the next paragraph. Disengaged or neglectful parenting

This type of parenting according to Black, Ricardo & Stanton (1997:176) is neither demanding nor nurturant. Parents become apathetic and children of such parents normally turn to sexual partners for their unmet intimacy needs. No one seems to be interested in offering sex education to the children born to this type of a parental style. According to Lamanna & Riedmann (1994:389) the ideal parent is the authoritative parent who demands maturity and effectively punishes forbidden behavior after having clearly stated the rules, but who listens to the child’s point of view, respects the child and encourages the child’s self-development and independence. As children reach adolescence limits can be based more and more on democratic discipline, whereby all family members involved have some say. Both parents and children should attempt to compromise whenever possible. Negotiations and conflict resolutions are important components of communication that can be practiced within families.

Miller, Forehand & Kotchick (1999:87) assume that less parental monitoring and more permissive parental values about adolescent and sexual behavior would predict more frequent intercourse by adolescents, more sexual partners and earlier ages at first intercourse. Black et al (1997:189) concur with the above statement in saying that monitoring communicates parental care and concern while limiting exposure to environmental threats or challenges. According to jay & Wilson (1998:521) sexual permissiveness and intercourse are related to parental discipline and control. Simanski (1998:35) observes that children who perceive their parents to be friendly and attentive, report less sexual activity throughout their high school and college years. Parents who monitor their adolescents’ activities are more vigilant about teaching safer sex practices. In conclusion, parents have to come together to share ideas regarding sexual education. Some sexual problems experienced by adolescents stem from how they are being brought up. Parental guidance can be the answer to the sexual problems in our country. Parental values and socio-economic status may also have a negative influence on the child’s sexual behavior, hence this also needs to be discussed. 2.2.3 Parental values and socio-economic status

Parental values and socio-economic status of the family have an influence on the adolescents’ sexual behavior. Jammot & Jammot (1992:194) state that permissive parental attitudes and values have been related to earlier sexual activity among teens. Adolescents who seem to perceive that their parents disapprove of sexual activity have been less likely to be sexually active. According to Lottes & Kuriloff (1994:204), parental values which are the predictors of adolescents’ sexual behavior are influenced by the family’s ethnic and religious background. Jaccard, Dittus & Gordon |(1998:249) assert that religiosity leads to more supportive family relationships, which may increase communication between parents and teens, thereby leading to greater awareness of sexual activity. Research has cited religion as an important influence in sexual standards and behavior (Jay & Wilson 1998:521; Lottes & Kuriloff 1994:206). Regular religious participation might provide adolescents with a value system that encourages responsible sexual behavior in the form of abstinence (Abma et al 1998:13; Jammot & Jammot 1992:197; Jay & Wilson 1998:527). In their study, Heaton & Jacobson (1994:293) compare Catholics to those with no religious preferences are less likely to marry, more likely to divorce and initiate sexual activity at a younger age.

The religious participation of parents therefore, lessens the rate of sexual activity among adolescents. Another factor that leads to lack of communication between the parent and the adolescent, is the socio-economic status of the family. Rice (1992:35) asserts that the lower socio-economic status families tend to have hierarchical rigid parental relationships with adolescents. The parents are repeatedly seen as closed or inaccessible to the adolescent’s communication. The home atmosphere is one of imperatives and absolutes, physical violence and psychological distance, if not rejection, by the adults (Rice 1992:35). In such environments, parents cannot discuss sexual matters with their adolescents. If it is done, it would be more prescriptive and value laden. The family structure also has an influence on perception of parents thereby to adolescent’s sexual activity. According to research (Jay & Wilson 1998:86; Black et al 1997:174; Miller et al 1999:86).

Family influence can be divided into two categories viz:- (1) Family structure variable (e.g. single parenting or absence of parents) (2) Family-process variables (e.g. parental behavior and attitudes in the socialization of adolescents). Structural family variables are said to be static and are not immediately susceptible to change through intervention. They have not played a prominent role in understanding adolescent sexual behavior. Parental behavior and attitudes are considered critical in the socialization of adolescents. Kotchick, Dorsery, Miller & Forehand (1999:101) support the assertion that family is an important source of influence during the sexual socialization of adolescents. Adolescents who have single parents are predicted to be more sexually active. Young, Jensen, Olsen & Cundick (1991:978) support this statement by referring to family structure as an important variable which correlates with sexual attitudes and behaviors. In the studies quoted above, the adolescent females from divorced and female-headed families, showed a higher incidence of sexual activity, involving a greater number of sexual partners and with a higher probability of unwanted pregnancy.

They further say that a two parent family is an important factor in lowering entry into sexual experience, because in the two-parent home there are two adult role models available for guidance, emotional support and greater financial stability (Young et al 1991:983). Peer pressure poses a threat to parental values. Peers more commonly fulfill the role of parents as sex educators by frequently providing basic misinformation and perpetuating myths about sexuality (Baldwin & Bauer 1994:162; Benshoff & Alexander 1993:289). Peers are notorious for being sources of sexual misinformation and it is often very difficult to dispel the sexual myths that are likely to espouse sexual values that conflict with parents’ values. Furstenberg (1998:249) mentions economic development as a factor that affects the parental values by promoting the youth’s autonomy, decline of parental authority and an increase in gender equality through the extension of education and these, then, foster higher rates of sexually activity among the young.

This is likely to be accompanied by a drop in age of the menarche which results in the increase of earlier sexual behavior and risk of unintended pregnancy for the sexual active adolescents. According to the above research (Furstenberg 1998:249) economic changes give rice to a transformation of culture that makes sexual activity more appealing and acceptable. Access to western media appeals to a youth’s age group identity through music, dress and language and promotes a message of liberation, self development and marginality from traditional ways of life and these messages, directly or indirectly, encourage sexual freedom without simultaneously encouraging responsibility for sexual behavior (Furstenberg 1998:249). Economic development in the form of educational systems increase opportunities for contact between the sexes beyond the scrutiny of elders and this leads to the rise in incidence of sexual intercourse among adolescents (Furstenberg 1998:249).

Chapter one has served as an introductory orientation to the present study, the problem to be researched, aims, methods and course of the investigation. This chapter also defines some of the concepts dealt with, so as to clarify their meaning within the research. This chapter reviews the literature on perception of parents towards the needs of adolescents sex education. –

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