Vroeë adolessente se persepsies van hulle primêre versorgers se betrokkenheid by die skoolgemeenskap in 'n hoë–risiko omgewing
This research involves the exploration of the potential, as well as the problems, of early adolescents’ relationships in the context of the school-and-home in a high-risk community in South Africa. Although researchers indicate that school performance and academic success is of key importance concerning positive youth development (You & Nguen, 2011), many South African adolescents are still part of the high incidence of repeating greades and drop-out statictics in this country (Louw, Bayat & Eigelaar-Meets, 2011). This study highlights one of the factors for school success, namely, the involvement of primary care givers in the school community. There is a need to explore adolescents’ perceptions of their primary care givers’ involvement in the school community, within the context of a high-risk South African community, since research within Positive Psychology also explores those resources which promote wellbeing and resilient coping. This study made use of the qualitative method and the results have been presented in an article format, as part of the dissertation. The aim of the article was to explore early adolescents’ perceptions of their primary care-givers’ involvement in the school community in a high-risk community. Participants (N=12) between the ages of twelve to fourteen years, from one school in the Delft Community, Cape Peninsula, were chosen in an un-biased fashion. The Delft community is one of the twenty identified high-risk communities in South Africa. Demographic information shows that the majority of the participants’ care-givers are not the biological parents. The findings indicate that early adolescents percieve their primary caregivers’ involvement in the school community, in a high-risk community, in the following ways: The meeting of basic needs, such as the provision of food, clothing and a home is essential for the adolescent’s school career; the emotional colour of the involvement of care givers is mostly negative, since school visitations involve the handling of problems, or the prevention of further problems; the early adolescent’s understanding of school success greatly matches that of his/her primary care- givers and is seen mostly in terms of either “pass” or “fail”; and early adolescents’ school careers and primary care-givers’ involvement within the context of a high-risk community involve experiences such as the exposure to continued poverty with various implications such as hunger, walking to school in an unsafe environment, as well as gang-violence, crime and substance abuse. This study shows that, besides the challenges that are associated with the adolescent life-phase, early adolescents also have to deal with various other problems that emanate from a high-risk community. These problems are generally matters of survival, and it is clear that these risks further strain well-being and the development thereof. Poor involvement of primary caregivers in the school community is one of the realities which early adolescents in a high-risk community have to deal with, and this poor involvement is indicative of not providing life essentials, as well as personal interest and encouragement. It is further the experience of negative emotions, such as fear in general and the “scared-ness” indicates adolescents’ fear for their own safety, as well as that of their friends and family. The participants in this study have all been affected directly and/or indirectly by the trauma of gang violence and the untimely death of a family member. In the midst of these challenges, the primary caregivers are mostly uninvolved in these vulnerable adolescents’ lives. Primary care-givers visit the school community mainly when they are summoned to handle “problems”. Primary care-givers generally have a negative association with the school community. The less negative experience of emotions indicates the absence of serious problems, such as the not-completion of school work. The scarce occurrence of positive emotions, such as primary care-givers that show compassion with early adolescents when they experience disappointment, is actually part of the participants’ experiences. The primary care- givers’ active helping with the early adolescents’ school tasks is uncommon and it is mostly focused on the prevention of the repetition of school grades. The presence of a family member (extended family) with school meetings has great value for the early adolescents’ perception of family as a protective factor for the well-being of the young person. This study presents an important contribution to Positive Psychology, as valuable information is presented to understand the early adolescent’s well-being and the context thereof. The specific descriptions of early adolescents’ perceptions of the involvement of their primary care-givers in the school community provide a description of the potential which can be unlocked in school-and-life choices. Findings have implications for policies regarding the promotion of well-being. Recommendations for further study are given. Possibilities for application includes the importance of the ecological impact and of partnerships, so that problems and the development of well-being can be addressed by primary care givers, school communities, faith communities, NGOs and universities.
- Humanities