Parenting Practices among Mothers in Obubra, Cross River State, Nigeria: An Exploratory Study
INTRODUCTION: More than half of Nigeria’s children under the age of five are at risk of poor development that may be linked to parenting practices. OBJECTIVE: This study explores parenting practices among mothers in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State. MATERIALS AND METHOD: Using a Cross-Sectional descriptive design, focus group discussions were held at three communities in Obubra with mothers aged 18 and older. With a sample size of 19, each FGD lasted about 60-90 minutes. Audio tapes were transcribed and data were analyzed to generate themes. Ethical principles were duly observed. RESULTS: Themes influencing parenting included pre- and post-pregnancy support, social support from female family members, and religious, and cultural practices. Participants attended ante-natal clinics but some gave birth at home or at a Traditional Birth Attendant’s (TBA). Some believed that parenting skills are acquired as a child while observing one’s own mother, and practicing with younger siblings. Others said they acquired parenting skills while parenting their own children. Female family members helped mothers with everyday caregiving responsibilities. Corporal punishment was widely practiced. Other harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation were on the decline. CONCLUSION: Culture, religion, and reliance on female family members play a strong role in parenting, presenting both positive and negative attributes. Using appropriate behavioural change theories, evidence can be provided to these support systems to aid mothers to acquire skills and information necessary for positive parenting practices.
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