Mother-adolescent conversations about sex: factors that determine the extent of communication for families in Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya
Many parents are opposed to providing information regarding sexual matters to their children. A good number of those opposed to this practice do so on the premise that having their children exposed to this information is dangerous, especially when they are younger. Parents are generally uneasy about any sexuality discussions, particularly in this age where HIV/AIDS is rampant. Most mothers have reported their hesitance towards speaking to their children about sexuality, either because they fear that the children may construe this as suspicion of their sexual behaviour or they don’t think their concerns will be considered seriously. This becomes even harder when the need to address more sensitive subjects arises, i.e. discussing boyfriends, girlfriends, contraceptives and sexual behaviours among others. While these mothers appreciate the importance of having these sensitive discussions, they report being unable to broach the discussions as frequently as they should. This circumvention of sensitive sexuality-related discussions also in part contributes to adolescents not having enough information they can leverage for self-protection. As such, there is sufficient reason to conclude that many families within Tharaka-Nithi County have difficulty having mother-adolescent discussions on sexuality-related matters, necessitating a study such as this one.