THE ATTITUDE OF PARENTS TOWARD SEX EDUCATION IN OGBOGORO, OBIO/AKPOR L.G.A, RIVER STATE
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In traditional Nigerian setting, children are expected to obey their parents’ instruction without asking questions. It is assumed that the best way to prevent sexual immorality among youth and young adults is by keeping them almost completely if not completely ignorant of sex and sexuality matters, sometimes until their marriage night.
Some anxious parents might only mention one or some warnings about their daughter’s first menstrual experiences, while for the boys it is total black-out. In some Nigerian homes most especially in a rural set up children are shy at times to ask questions about sex and sexuality and those who are brave enough to ask are often stigmatized and constantly watched.
In recent times, the youth who constitute ages 10-24 and 36.7 per cent of the Nigerian population, are found to be highly vulnerable to antisocial behaviours such as violent crimes, unsafe sexual activities and drug abuse among others. The Nigerian Association for the Promotion of Adolescent Health and Development, (NAPAHD) has also alerted that, a hospital based research has shown that, 80 per cent of patients with abortion complications are adolescents. This assertion was based on the fact that, over 16 per cent of teenage females reported first sexual intercourse by age 15 while 8.3 per cent of boys of age 15 have also had their first encounters. This adolescents’ health dilemma has been attributed to their great lack of information and knowledge about the implications of their population behaviour on their sexual health and the general welfare of the nation. In this vain the introduction and institutionalisation of sexuality education became one of the immediate efforts made to address this problem to create awareness about these sexually based problems. The rational was to acquaint the youth with factual and accurate sexual information about the dimensions of sexual knowledge that will enable them understand and clarify their personal values, improve their sexual knowledge and sexual decision–making and promote their knowledge about how all these interact with socio-cultural and religious factors to affect personal well-being.
Early sexual activity among teenagers is on increase in many societies of the world today including Nigeria. This may be as a result of ignorance, lack of appropriate guidance and counselling, faster biological development, indiscipline and lack of moral education, inadequate parental care, bad role model of parents, adolescent rebellious attitude, child abuse, certain cultural influences and practice and the likes. However, traditional belief and taboos relating to assumption that sex education could lead to early knowledge of sexual matter and practice has resulted in resistance to teaching sex education in schools. However there is growing concern in the Nigeria society about the need and importance of sex education in the junior secondary schools.
Ignorance of sex and its associated problems is prevalent in and among secondary school students. The life of students are shattered with the passing of incorrect information among themselves, they get misled by others.
Today, the problems resulting from the lack of sex education to our youth are numerous. They are unwanted pregnancies, increase abortion, high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and high rates of sexual promiscuity. All these have led to inability to concentrate, poor school performance, deterioration of mental health of students, high rate of school drop outs, increase in illiteracy and over population. Consequently, the educational opportunity of Nigeria youth is greatly affected and this possess a great loss to the society. Religious bodies view sex education as premature, dangerous and likely to lead to sexual promiscuity. To behavioural scientists, the introduction of sex education is proper. However, despite the increasing sexual problems, parents and schools are still not providing teenagers with proper knowledge of sex.
Young people regard sex as fun rather than what it really is. They see it as a personal and private affair of the participants, which it is not. They take to themselves as a teacher (which is not good enough) and have been guided by mythologies and misconceptions about sex.
Many administrations have been greatly worried about the appropriate level of which sex education can be introduced, who should teach sex education, what to teach and what not to. It should however, be realized that sex education if properly given does not arouse morbid curiosity but does exactly the opposite to young people. Whereas, the misinformation, secret, misinterpretation and fables about sex functions leads to dangerous consequences. Therefore, information about sex education gives an insight to people understanding of sex functions.
It was Liewely-Jones Derek (2015) who noted that adults complain about the irresponsibility of teenagers about their lack of respect, about their morals and promiscuity, yet it is difficult to ask teenagers to develop responsibility when adults seen to be rejecting it and when society seems to be fragmenting it is as such it becomes particularly difficult to ask young people to maintain sexual responsibility. He/she needs to be alert to talk to someone close to him/her and not have to talk to his/her parents as strangers. If parents are unable to answer their questions regarding social, moral and sexual attitudes, then they have failed as parents and should not blame their children for failing. As children grow older, their interest in sex increases.
Sex problems have a very devastating effect on the individual in our society. Some people have wrong ideas about sex education as majority of Nigerian parents and teachers believe that the sex education of their children is the parent’s responsibility while some others would welcome its introduction into the school curriculum.
This is not surprising, considering the fact that many old people have their respective viewpoint about life.
With the greater freedom of discussion of sex in our society and the earlier maturity of children today, one would not consider the introduction of sex education to our teenagers too early. The introduction of proper sex education to our youths will reduce many of the societal problems now facing us.
The bringing together of boys and girls into the same schools creates problems of physical contact and emotional involvement which eventually culminate in arousing sexuality.
Sex education is one of the major determinants of future stability in families of the nation. Unfortunately, in Nigeria today while time and money are being spent on curriculum work and school environment, surprisingly, little time and attention are paid to the crucial issues of sex education.
Sex education is a comprehensive and systematic development program extending from infancy to maturity. It is the information and skills acquired by an individual to help the individual deal with human sexuality.
Sex education also helps adolescents to make realistic and responsible decisions about sexual behaviours such as dating practices, courtship, mate selection and social roles. (Esu, 2010). Sex education gives a detailed account on the development and understanding of the physical, mental, emotional, economic, social and psychological stages of human relations as they affect male and female relationship.
The general objectives of sex education include:
- To help adolescents to develop moral attitude and ideals in relation to sex and family.
- To develop desirable habits, behaviour patterns and conduct in accordance with such attitudes and ideals.
- To acquire knowledge of matters related to the physiology of human reproduction and aspects of family life.
- To learn to use the proper terminology in referencing the body.
- To become aware of some of the possible consequences and outcomes of various forms of conduct.
- To correct and alleviate some of the common anxieties and misconceptions in the field of sexual adjustment.
- To contribute to the emotional and social adjustment of the individuals so that he can function adequately as a member of a family and eventually as a parent (Esu, 2010).
Emphasizing further on the importance of sex education, IsangedighiandEffiom in Ejue (2012) outlined five reasons for pre-marital sexuality:
- The nature of adolescence: Adolescence according to Isangedighi is a period marked by increased self-awareness, increased sex drive and a period of development of self-identity. Some adolescents are by nature, very inquisitive. Such adolescents would want to have an experience of sex. Sex education is very necessary at this stage to help such adolescents receive information on how to channel their sex drive to other creative activities until they are fully matured for it.
- Exposure to modernity: Culture is dynamic. It changes with time and according to technological innovations. The improvement in technology has also caused a serious drift from what adolescents consider as old school values and ethics to what they call modern life. Improvement in technology also brought modernity to the media and film industry. The television, film, internet and music have significant influence on adolescents’ sexuality. They tend to put in practice what they see, hear, read. These influences pose a danger to adolescents’ sexual lives, hence the need for sex education.
- 3. Peer group influence: Adolescents experience social acceptance when they conform to the rules governing their peer relation group. Some adolescents are lured into sexual relationship by their peers who may have experienced it in one way or the other.
- Parental attitude, care and control:Isangedighi and Effiom in Ejue (2012) pointed out that parents are the first group of people who set moral standards for their children. They operate as role models to their children. When parents are permissive in their parenting style, it exposes adolescents into pre-marital sex. There are other categories of parents engage in extra marital sexual relationship without reservation. Adolescents from such families are at risk as their parents may not bother about their sexual activities. Such adolescents need sex education.
- Eroding sexual morality: Moral laxity on the part of the adolescents can also be a reason for pre-marital sexuality. Effiom and Ejue (2012) explained that it is not uncommon to find a parent engaging in sexual activities with his daughter’s girlfriend. It is also not uncommon to find teachers and pastors who should be custodians of morality, engaging in sexual activities with adolescents. In order to curb adolescents’ sexuality, and to prepare the youths for a greater tomorrow, sex education to adolescents in secondary schools is therefore very important. Adolescents need sexual information to help them adjust psychologically, emotionally, socially and economically.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to Olayinka (2007) in Esu (2010), sex is good because it is for procreation but man has made the act detriment to its existence. Everybody at one time or the other is guilty of sexual perversion either from the act, thought, feeling or sight and this indiscriminate sexual practice is more amongst the secondary school age baskets.
The above assertion further stated that there is a general misunderstanding that sex information will give room for promiscuity, premarital pregnancies and venereal diseases.
The problem of the study is that most parents in Ogbogoro, Obio/Akpor L.G.A of Rivers state are not fully prepared to answer questions on sexuality. Some parents are also glued to their cultural values, ethics and religious practices that they consider sex education sinful. Empirical studies have shown that even adolescents welcome sex education at various levels of the educational system. The crux of this study attempted to answer the question: What are The Attitude Of Parents Toward Sex Education In Ogbogoro, Obio/Akpor L.G.A, River State?
- PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to investigate the attitude of parents toward sex education in Ogbogoro, Obio/Akpor L.G.A, River State.
Specifically the study intends to determine the;
- Attitude of parents towards the acceptance of sex education
- Attitude of parents towards the method of teaching sex education in junior secondary schools and
- Attitude of parents towards the benefits of teaching sex education in junior secondary schools in Ogbogoro, Obio/Akpor L.G.A, River State.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The outcome of this research work will enable the readers not only to identity the need for introducing the course sex education into the junior secondary schools curriculum, but will also assist in the enumeration of the problems occurring due to the non-introduction of sex education into secondary schools and possible solution to the elimination of such associated problems. It will also help the readers to understand that the babies got from unwanted pregnancy by school girls may be fatherless, thus they will always create problems to their parents and also the society in general.
It is hoped that through the findings, the various misconceptions on the issue of sex education will be corrected. There can be nothing more damaging to effective sex reduction than shame, embarrassment and untruthfulness on timidity about sex. It is also hoped that a solution to the problems affecting sex education will be achieved so that meaningful sex education will be taught to our youths.
Solving the issue of sex education will go far in improving on the health of every individual, school performance, population growth and therefore lighten the standard of living.
With the knowledge and not ignorance of sex education, youth will be in a better position to understand the challenges of growing up and the values of sex as well as its pit falls.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research area covered was the geographical expression known in Ogbogoro, Obio/Akpor L.G.A, River State.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
These research questions were formulated to guide this study:
- Is Parental attitude towards sex education to adolescents in significantly negative?
- Is there no significant difference between literate and illiterate parents in their perception of sex education adolescents?
- Who do parents think should provide sex education/information to students in secondary schools?
- At what level do parent think sex education should be taught in secondary schools?
- The teaching of sex education should be limited to female teachers.
- The teaching of sex education in secondary schools will reduce the rate of dropout that is caused by indiscriminate sexual activities.
- The knowledge of sex education can reduce the rate of deaths that occur during the abortion of unwanted pregnancies.