Perceptions and experiences of parenting, co-parenting and parental adjustment among adolescent mothers and adolescent fathers in Windhoek, Namibia
Keywords:Adolescent mother, adolescent father, experience, co-parenting, perception, parenting, parental adjustment, Namibia
Adolescent pregnancy and parenting have become a major challenge globally due to the psychological adjustment of adolescents during pregnancy and transition to parenthood. Parenthood during adolescents holds not only health risks but also the emotional, psychological, social and economic risks for the adolescent parents and their children. The aim of the study was to explore experiences and perceptions of parenting, co-parenting and parental adjustment among adolescent mothers and adolescent fathers in Namibia. The study employed a qualitative approach with an explorative design. The study population were adolescent mothers and adolescent fathers who were co-parenting in Windhoek, Namibia. Participants were aged between 15 and 19 years. Participants such as adolescent mothers (n = 14) were purposively selected using exclusion and inclusion criteria, while, adolescent fathers (n=7) were snowball sampled. Data was collected through semi-structured interview and Focus Group Discussion till data saturation. Tesch’s method was used in data analyses. The study found that participants value the importance of parenting and co-parenting relationship in the provision of financial, emotional, and physical wellbeing of both the adolescent mothers and babies. The study
revealed positive experiences by adolescent parents such as being joyful and happy to be a parent and being changed - a responsible parent. The study also recorded negative experiences. Design of preventive family programmes and support through counselling
to cope with parenting, co-parenting and parental adjustment are recommendations flowing from the findings.
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