The dialogical relationship between adolescents and parents : prevention of risk behaviour
Risk behaviour amongst adolescents represents a major public health challenge in South Africa particularly when considering the statistics on sexually active youth, adolescent pregnancies, smoking, drinking and drug abuse amongst the youth. Although various reasons can be given to explain this phenomenon, the parent–adolescent relationship has proven to be a huge factor in the prevention of risk behaviour. However, even though the importance of such a relationship has been proven, risk behaviour amongst adolescents still persists. This study specifically looks at the dialogical parent–adolescent relationship and how adolescents who engage in risk behaviour are affected by the relationship and how it can prevent risk behaviour. The content of section A explains the orientation towards the research, the problem rationale and the goals and objectives of the study. The researcher followed a qualitative approach as she tried to obtain an understanding of adolescent risk behaviour and how the nature of the dialogical parent–adolescent relationship could prevent such risk behaviour. Semi–structured interviews were conducted with five girls and three boys who lived in Pretoria, as well as with their parents. The adolescents were between the ages of 14 and 17 and all engaged in risk behaviour. In section B a literature study is given with a brief outline of the methodology that was used. Specific focus falls on the findings of the study. Section C contains the summary, evaluation and conclusions of the overall study. This research was done in order to make recommendations to parents of adolescents who engage in risk behaviour as a possible way to prevent it. This study highlighted how unprepared and uninformed parents were in terms of their parental skills and the needs of their adolescent children. The study also highlighted the need of the adolescents to be validated, and the lack of understanding and warmth in the manner that their parents relate to them. Adolescents still need parental guidance and a sense of belonging. The very poor relationships that exist between parents and adolescents strengthened the researcher’s hypothesis that the adolescents get involved in a range of dubious activities and their parents’ ineffectiveness to intervene and assist their adolescents through these challenging times, may lead to risk behaviour.
- ETD@PUK