The relationship between child rearing practices and adolescents’ attitudes toward sexual debut, Durban, South Africa.
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About 30% of South African teenagers between the ages of 13-19 years have reported unplanned pregnancy in their lives. One of the determinants of the teenage pregnancy and HIV is early sexual debut. Adolescents who engage in sexual activities at an early stage become expose to more sexual partners and more unprotected sex which results in HIV, Sexual Transmitted Infections and unplanned pregnancy. Parents have a significant influence in shaping adolescents’ attitudes towards sexual behaviours through parenting practices such as communication, supervision and monitoring. The present study examined the relationship between child rearing practices and adolescents’ attitudes towards sexual debut. It further investigated whether (authoritative, authoritarian and permissive) parenting styles predicted initiation of sexual debut. The study used a cross-sectional survey design to gather the data. A sample of 150 learners was used. The measurements that were used to collect data were Parenting Styles Dimension Questionnaire (PSDQ) and Attitudes towards sexual debut questionnaire. Results indicated that there is a small positive relationship between Perceived benefits of having sex and permissive parenting style. A small positive relationship between perceived shame and guilt associated with having sex and authoritative parenting style was found. Moreover, a small negative relationship was found between Perceived shame and guilt associated with having sex and authoritarian parenting style. Standard multiple regression indicated that permissive parenting style followed by authoritative parenting style made the strongest contribution to explaining the dependent variable (Attitudes towards sexual debut). Adolescents who are raised by parents that adopt permissive and authoritative parenting style are having positive attitudes toward sex which can lead them to engage in early sexual debut. However adolescents that are raised by authoritarian parents have negative attitudes which can delay early sexual debut.