Relationship between parental behaviour towards adolescents and their manifest aggression in Nairobi secondary schools
Kinai, T. K.
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The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of parental behaviour on adolescent manifest aggression in Nairobi Secondary Schools. It examined whether adolescent aggression was related to: parents' emotional interactions with adolescents, parental supervision, parental methods of controlling and disciplining adolescents, consistency of parents in enforcing discipline, family interactions and parents' socio-economic status. The study explored whether there were sex differences in manifest aggression of adolescents. The study sample consisted of 672 secondary school students (336 boys and 336 girls) from 6 schools stratified and randomly selected from Nairobi Province. The Chi-square test of significance at the p < 0.05 level was used to test the hypotheses. The findings of the study showed that: adolescents whose parents were harsh were significantly more aggressive than those adolescents whose parents were loving. Adolescents whose aggressive than those adolescents whose parents monitored their movements, activities and social contacts. Adolescents whose parents used punishment and threats were significantly more aggressive than those adolescents whose parents used inductive reasoning and reinforcement. Adolescents whose parents enforced discipline inconsistently were significantly more aggressive than those adolescents whose parents enforced discipline consistently. Adolescents who experienced tension and conflicts in their families were significantly more aggressive than those from harmonious homes. There were significant sex differences in manifest aggression of adolescents. Boys were found to be more aggressive than girls. Parents' socio-economic status did not seem to influence adolescent manifest aggression. Factor analysis of the variables of parental behaviour that influenced adolescent manifest aggression showed that Factor 1 accounted for 68.2% and was composed of parental methods of disciplining and controlling adolescents, family interactions and parents' emotional interactions with adolescents. Factor 2 accounted for 22.2% and was composed of consistency of parents in enforcing discipline and parental supervision. Factor 3 accounted for 9.6% and was composed of parents' socio-economic status. In relation to these findings it was recommended that: (i) Parents should establish good relationships with their adolescents, monitor their movements, activities and choice of friends, give guidance and correct antisocial behaviours which emerge. (ii) They should use inductive reasoning and reinforcement rather than punishment and threats, since inductive reasoning is related to responsible adolescent behaviour and punishment tends to increase hostility in the punished persons. (iii) They should enforce discipline consistently for adolescents to know what is expected of them. (iv) They should create conducive family environments where members respect and support each other for proper development of adolescents. (v) They should teach their children good manners including how to solve their problems amicably. The general conclusion was that parental behaviour seemed to influence adolescent manifest aggression in Nairobi province, an urban area. More research should be carried out in other areas in Kenya to get a wide scope of the relative influence of parental behaviour on adolescent aggression. Research to investigate the influence of other variables such as peer pressure, television and comics on adolescent aggression needs to be done.