An investigation of the disciplinary styles and problems of nairobi parents with children in standard eight
Kibera, Catherine Wanjiku
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The field of disciplining children has a lot of interest for study because of it influence on the child's character in adulthood. Unfortunately, few studies have been undertaken in Kenya in this area. Hence prompting of this study. A descriptive survey design was used in this study. Questionnaires were first developed. pilot-tested for validity and then distributed to parents with children in standard eight in Nairobi. The study sample was drawn from eight randomly selected City Commission schools in airobi. The sample size comprising two hundred parents were randomly selected from the sampled schools and each child took home a questionnaire to be completed by the parent. One hundred and fifty five (155) parents responded. The questionnaire was to elicit information on child discipline. Tables were used to present the analyzed data using descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings revealed that almost all the children were in the adolescent age group. They were either first or second borns and had good school performance. Most families had between three to four children. Many parents were between 35 - 45 years old and had some secondary education. A large number were employed and in the middle and high income group. Most of the respondents were men. Guided by Bamurinds model parents were classified according to their dis iplinary approaches. Most parents were found to be authoritative while a few others were permissive. The chi-square tests showed that the child's school performance and the parent's level of education affected the parental disciplinary styles. Most parents effectively communicated their values and expectations to their children. They talked and re-explained desired behaviour. In the different ages parent's methods of discipline changed. Many parents used dialogue with small children. pre-adolescents and adolescents to correct misbehaviour. In middle-childhood the use of punitive measures was high. On other disciplinary issues. parents felt that the Church and teachers had a positive effect on reinforcing their disciplinary efforts and the media and the children's peers had negative effects. They also felt that as parents they had the primary responsibility of disciplining their children and the schocls effort was secondary. so schools could not fully be blamed for their children s misbehaviour. Parenting classes were viewed positively by many parents and they felt they would benefit from shared ideas and other parent's experiences. A few of the respondents felt that parents were too diverse to fit into a formal classroom environment. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made on ways in which parents can improve their communication skills and forums that can be used to educate pajents. Since the influence of education on discipline cannot be under scored, it was recommended that parenting classes be conducted using existing forums like Parents Teachers Association meetings, and simplified parenting classes be introduced to the school curriculum. It was also recommended that existing forums like the Church, clubs. be used to encourage open communication between children and parents. Councelling services should also be made available and affordable. Finally. the researcher recommended that further research be carried out on this issue.