• Posted on: 8 June 2016


Parental Involvement in Adolescent Health and Development

Parenting is a tough job especially with teenagers. For one, they get exposed to words, visuals, and situations that are not normally found or experienced at home. In school and in environments outside the home, the pressure to conform to the standards of certain dominant groups is also huge. Oftentimes, the process of learning is by experience and depending on inherent traits combined with guidance (or the lack thereof) at school and at home, teenagers will either grow stronger emotionally and more independent or succumb to peer pressure and engage in vices and early sexual adventures.

Cognizant of the pivotal role of parents in building the character of their children, the Population Commission (POPCOM) commissioned the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) in 2012 to undertake a study that will gauge parents in terms of their knowledge, perceptions and attitudes regarding parent-adolescent relationship, their level of involvement in the different types of parent-child activities, and their perception of their role as parents in addressing health risks of their adolescent children. The goal was to come up with hard evidence towards the formulation of an enhanced Parent Education Program on Adolescent Health and Development in the country.

A mix-methods approach composed of qualitative and quantitative tools was undertaken to holistically capture the current status of parent-adolescent relationship. Specifically, nine focus group discussions were carried out among 71 parents having at least one child aged 10-19 in selected areas across the country while a cross-sectional survey using household and individual questionnaires was undertaken in Metro Manila and Bohol province to reflect differences, if any, on urban and rural settings, respectively. The survey had a representative sample of 1,618 parents composed of 806 mothers and 812 fathers with at least one child aged 10-19 years.

The survey showed meaningful differences as well as similarities in terms of respondent profile based on location. Generally, the respondent parents were in their 40s and finished at least elementary or stepped into high school. Many were married but the miniscule number who had their marriages dissolved or living-in was more apparent in Metro Manila than in Bohol. Respondents from the latter were more religious and conservative compared to their metropolitan counterparts. Economically though, Metro Manila respondents were better off.

The following are some of the notable findings from the study.

Parent-Adolescent Child Relationship-Authoritarian

The authoritarian form is still held as best parenting method by the majority with 91% and 82% of Bohol and Metro Manila of respondents, respectively. Permissive parents constitute a minority but the difference between urban and rural settings is noteworthy at 12% and 3% respectively. There is little difference between mothers and fathers in this regard but mothers in Metro Manila are more supportive, trustful, and warm than fathers.

Parental Role in Adolescent Health and Development

Respondents from Metro Manila especially mothers have a greater awareness of the meaning of sex education over the rest. They have a more comprehensive understanding about its role in premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, methods of contraception including condoms, boy/girl relationships, childbearing, sexually transmitted infections and same sex relationships, among others. Conversely, the more conservative respondents from Bohol have a more negative attitude, associating it with family planning.

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