Parent-Child Communication about Growing Up: Experiences and Perspectives of Mothers and Daughters in Informal Settlements in Nairobi

Joanna Crichton, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Latifat Ibsomi, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Parent-child communication is often associated with improved health and behavioral outcomes in adolescents. Cultural and community factors affect parenting practices and their impacts on adolescents. This study explores mother-daughter communication about sexual maturation in Korogocho, an informal settlement in Nairobi. We use data from 29 interviews and 18 focus group discussions with girls and mothers aged 12-49. Most girls view their mothers as the best source of information for girls about menstruation and express a desire for reliable information, conveyed to them early and repeatedly. However, in reality, many girls have limited discussion with their parents or guardians. Mothers described cultural taboos, embarrassment, lack of information, and uncertainty about appropriate parenting approaches as barriers to communicating with their daughters. Poverty further undermines mother-daughter communication due to psychological pressures on mothers, high prevalence of substance abuse, and a lack of time and privacy to engage with daughters.

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Presented in Poster Session 7