Parenting practices of mothers of juvenile delinquents in Namuwongo slum, Kampala city
Nakitto, Diana Bakaluba Gloria
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ABSTRACT The study focused on the parenting practices of mothers of juvenile delinquents in Namuwongo slum in Kampala City. The study used qualitative research methods guided by a combination of data collection instruments including in-depth interview guides and key informant interview guides, and a purposive sampling method was used. The study area was Namuwongo slum. Data was collected from 3 mothers and 3 children and 4 key informants, including 2 community leaders and 2 members of community-based organizations that work with children and mothers. All mothers that participated in the study had children with a history of committing offenses for example abusing drugs, running away from home, assault, stealing, fighting, and smoking among others. These mothers consented on behalf of the children in order to participate in the study. The mothers shared the common ways of raising children and these were identified as warm, harsh, irresponsible, and liberal parenting practices which were linked to the recognized parenting styles in the reviewed literature which include authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful. The study revealed that mothers had tried to fulfill their duties; through warm parenting practices but were constrained by factors such as poverty, inadequate income, unsafe care communities, low-earning jobs that made them unresponsive to children’s physical and emotional needs and thus expressed irresponsible and liberal tendencies towards children, inclusive of parents' harshness that made children counter-aggressive and thus pushing them to engage in delinquent behaviour. It was shown that children whose mothers used warm parenting practices developed pro-social behaviour, for example, listening to parents, respecting rules, developing self-esteem, and becoming more resourceful at home. Mothers who were harsh, irresponsible, and liberal towards children led to the development of aggressive and oppositional behaviour among their children including the breaking of rules, verbal aggression, feelings of worthlessness, and disrespect of people in authority. The study revealed that besides parenting practices, other factors including peer pressure, delinquent parents, inadequate access to basic needs and parents overburdened by care responsibilities to a larger extent resulted in children’s acquisition of delinquent behaviour. Henceforth, collaborative efforts between the government, Police, and NGOs should be devoted to reducing such constraints that affect parenting which would, therefore, promote positive parenting practices that create healthy and positive parent-child secure relationships that foster children’s pro-social behaviour and thus reducing delinquent tendencies among children.