A sociological analysis of parenting practices towards adolescent sexual behaviour: the case study of Dar es Salaam and Kibaha, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study was undertaken in order to find out why adolescent sexuality is on the increase in our community and to provide a sociological explanation. In order to understand better the adolescent sexual behaviour, a theoretical framework was adopted with two strands to explain the research problem: (1) the Social Eclectic Critique which assumed that behaviour of adolescents is conditioned by physiological factor and specific social environment and (2) the Social Learning Theory, also assumed that human behaviour in general and adolescent sexual behaviour in particular is a function of the personality and environment, externally determined and regulated by a continuous interaction, cognitive behavioural and environmetal determinants and conditioned by patterns of child-parent relationship and communication through socialization involving role giving and role taking. The study was conducted both in urban areas of Kinondoni district, Dar es Salaam city and in rural areas of Kibaha district, Coast region. About 208 parents i.e. 102 fathers and 106 mothers, and 187 adolescents i.e. 90 boys and 97 girls were sampled. About 74% of them were students attending primary schools. The major findings have shown that girls attain puberty much early at the age of 8 years and ending up at the age of 17 years, while boys achieved puberty at the age of 12 years and ended up at the age of 17 like the girls. About 80% of the boys and 75.3% of the girls had attained puberty. The age of sex start for girls was 7 years and 8 years for boys.The majority of girls begin sexual intercourse between 10 and 15 years and boys start between 12 and 15 years. About 74.2% of the adolescent had started heterosexual intercourse. Also more boys than girls in the study areas abused some kinds of drugs and other illicit substances such as alcohol,bhang,cigarate and cocaine which influence into many types of risks,including sexuality. The findings have shown that there is lack of vital information and knowledge on sex, sexuality, sexual affairs and safe sexual practices. The study also found that 67.3% of the parents were aware that many adolescents had started sexual intercourse and knew the dangers of premarital and adolescents sexuality. But the majority of the parents did nothing to restrain their children and adolescents from these sexual behaviour and took no disciplinary measures. It was also found that 31.8 of the parents assented to provide their adolescents with sex intruction /education, guidance, counselling and constant warnings against premarital sex and 17.3% sanction strict regulations and controls over the outings and movements of the adolescents. In conclusion the study confirmed the assumption that lack of parenting practices at the family level was a factor contributing towards increased adolescent sexuality. Therefore, it has been argued that the duty of the parents should and must always be to provide effective and continuos socialization of their children and adolescents and restrain them from engaging all kinds of mis-behaviours. It is also suggested that if we want to promote the good health of the adolescents in the country, the govenment should introduse sex education in both primary and secondary schools immediately. Also the govenment should legalize use of contraceptives by all adolescents and without discrimination.
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Adolescents, Sexual behaviour, Teenage parents, Tanzania
Kondo, R. K(1994) A sociological analysis of parenting practices towards adolescent sexual behaviour: the case study of Dar es Salaam and Kibaha, Tanzania, masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (