You are on page 1of 23

Family life Education: A study of concepts of rural and urban adolescent girls.

Neeru Sharma(Reader) Payal Mahajan( Scholar) Deptt of Home Science, University of Jammu, Jammu.180006

Family life education in its broader sense includes all educational efforts designed to make the most of family living. In this context the present study aimed at understanding the concept of family life education among the rural and urban adolescent girls of Jammu. The sample consisted of 400 girls, 200 from rural areas and 200 from urban areas of Jammu district. As the sample was selected from those who were in school ,a questionnaire was used to collect the data. This tool was based on the content in their books based on five key areas-health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, growth and development, gender sensitization, sibling relationships, personality development, family and interpersonal relationships. In the areas of growth and development issues like puberty, menstruation, and reproduction were included and results show that the adolescents knowledge regarding such issues was quite poor. The significance of the findings becomes apparent when one considers the fact that the school curriculum includes most of these topics. None of the respondents was able to give scientific explanation to queries based on these topics. In depth interviews and discussion with some of these girls showed that teachers avoid topics like Human reproduction, Puberty and Menarche and such sensitive issues are left for self study. Urban girls had relatively more knowledge about reproduction, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS. The girls want to have information and they want their mothers to be the source of this information but the communication among mothers and daughters on these issues is totally absent as these are taboo. Saheli approach was designed to provide answer to the queries of these girls and the mothers were motivated to talk to the girls on these issues.

Worlds adolescent population increased by 66% between 1960-1980 84% of them live in developing countries 2001 census of India put them at 795,936,816 approx The only universal definition in India is to mark adolescence as a period in which a person is no longer a child and not yet an adult.( Saraswati,1999) This points to an absence of strategies to deal with the adolescent growth spurt and its subsequent outcomesphysical, psycho-social and emotional. In societies marked by adult child continuity such as India the needs of the adolescents are often ignored by the ecosystems. Society not sure how to impart family life education to them

This need is particularly felt in India, because the school curriculum till now did not include the crucial elements of family, interpersonal relations, health, nutrition, and reproductive health such as sexual development during the period of adolescence, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse. There are contents on the biological aspects of the reproductive system, but education in these elements cannot be deemed complete just by simply giving the biological information.

There is a need to focus on physiological, emotional and sociocultural dimensions of the adolescent reproductive health in a holistic manner. After serious consideration, now a consensus has been reached on the issue of introduction of adolescence education in schools with a view to providing authentic knowledge to students regarding the process of growing up, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, and thereby influencing their attitude, behaviour and value orientation. This education ensures overall development of the adolescents.

There is an ardent need to understand the level of awareness of these concepts among the adolescents, especially girls who are more vulnerable because they dont have any say in their destiny. They need to be made aware about all these issues before they drop out for sibling care, sexual relationship like marriage, pregnancy, or due to poverty and socio cultural constraints, or before they face any major life shifts.

With too much emphasis on education and career the developmental needs are ignored
Finding no information from parents they turn to unreliable sources of information As age at marriage is delayed there is dire need to know their level of knowledge and to devise strategies to TALK to them on these developmental Issues


* Growth and development * HIV/AIDS, * Health and nutrition * Gender sensitization * Personality development * Family and interpersonal relationship



400 adolescent girls

200 Urban 73 wards of Jammu 23 wards

200 Rural 5 Tehsils


5 villages from each tehsil 2 schools from each tehsil 4 students from each school

2schools from Selection each ward 5 students from each school

*Questionnaire: Self Devised *Family Planning and birth control attitude scale : By Dr. Rajamanickam, Dep't of Psychology,Annamalai University (1998) DATA COLLECTION *School Based DATA ANALYSIS *Content ,and *Statistical using t test, coefficient of correlation and chi square

BACKGROUND INFORMATION Parents mean age 35 years Education level Matric to Graduation On an average they have 3-4 children Adolescents age distribution as shown in the figure.
80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
13-15 years 16-18 years

Urban Rural

Age wise distribution of adolescents

PARENT - CHILD RELATIONSHIP SCALE (PCRS) TABLE Showing Childrens Perception of Their Relation with Their Parents


Fathers Attitude Rural/Urban

MEAN t value

Mothers Attitude Rural/Urban

Mean t value

Protecting Symbolic punishment Rejecting Object Punishment Demanding Indifferent

35.4 29.9 24.7 23.0 31.2 23.7

36.1 28.5 22.5 21.9 32.0 32.0

1.425 2.291 2.752 1.497 1.180 13.08

35.1 30.3 22.6 23.1 31.6 24.5

37.3 30.3 23.6 23.2 33.0 27.7

3.659* 0.042 0.042 0.242 2.120* 5.537*

Symbolic Reward
Loving Object Reward Neglecting

31.6 25.8 21.6

35.2 31.2 24.1

5.396 7.750 3.41

32.4 26.0 22.4

35.7 30.9 23.2

5.141* 7.362* 1.145

* Difference significant at 0.05 level


Age at which adol starts attaining maturity: Girls 11-15 years Boys 11-15 years
Age at full maturity attained: Girls 15-19 years Boys 15-19 years Menstruation signifies: Youth Dirt Not aware Prior knowledge regarding.. Yes No



161(80.5) 171(86) 174(87) 104(52) 77(39) 31(16) 25(13) 126(63) 74(37)

112(56) 117(59) 191(96) 169(80) 56(28) 29(15) 56(28) 33(17) 167(84)

Knowledge regarding Reproduction, Nutrition and Health

Responses Reproductive organ: Female Uterus Not Aware Male Testis and Penis Not Aware Diet required during menstruation: Balanced food Avoid sour food Increase quantity Food fads Nutrients deficient in a pregnant Indian womans diet: Iron Protein and minerals Not aware Health is: Balanced diet and fitness Good diet Not aware URBAN(%AGE) N=200 RURAL(%AGE) N=200

116(58) 35(18)
64(32) 22(11) 81(41) 15(8) 11(6) 40(20)

66(33) 95(48)
25(13) 131(66) 176(88) 6(3) 1(2) 10(5)

138(69) 23(12) 39(20) 165(83) 17(9) 18(9)

9(5) 191(96) 92(46) 89(45) 19(10)

Knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS

HIV is Not Aware AIDS is Not Aware Disease Acquired immuno deficiency syndrome AIDs can spread through... HIV Physical Relations Infection Blood Transfusion Not Aware Is AIDS curable? Yes No Not Aware

147(740 110(550 54(27) 22(11)

145(12) 101(51) 90(45) 2(1)

50(25) 26(13) 9(5) 11(6) 104(52) 57(29) 40(20) -

15(8) 43(22) 21(11) 32(16) 89(45) 95(48) 43(22) 62(31)

Preferred Source of Information regarding issues in FLE

60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Teacher and m other Mother only Teacher only Books

Urban Rural

Showing Adolescents Source of Information Regarding Issues in FLE

Source Of Information

Urban (%age) School going n=200

Rural (%age) School going n=200

Who should provide education regarding these issues? Teacher & Mother Mother Teacher Books & Parents Doctor Friends & Sister Not aware

66(33) 62(31) 28(14) 27(13.5) 9(4.5) 4(2) 4(2)

48(24) 36(18) 110(55) 4(2) 9(4.5) 13(6.5) 4(2)

At what age should this education be provided? 10-15 years 16-30 years Not aware

156(78) 38(19) 6(3)

128(64) 20(10) 52(26)

Extent of information to be provided in this regard? Full /In-depth Acc to age Not much Not aware

154 (77) 24(12) 20(10) 4(2)

165(82.5) 14(7) 20(10) 4(2)

India on verge of disaster if it doesnt equip its adolescents for healthy living personal and interpersonal The vision of learning is confined to homework and tuitions Searching information by interacting with the right medium is not ingrained either in culture or curriculum Education system teaching them to be independent Awareness level of both urban as well as rural adolescent girls was quite poor regarding different issues in Family Life Education-puberty, menarche, reproductive system and organs, nutrition, health, HIV/AIDS etc. None able to give any scientific explanation for the same even though topics included in the curriculum Some even said that when a boy kisses a girl she becomes pregnant There were more misconceptions and lesser knowledge about HIV/AIDS and menstrual cycle.

Parent child relationship scale revealed that parents were protective about their adolescent daughters and hence they didnt want to expose their daughters to the information that they believe is harmful ,too soon They believe that over exposure may lead to experimentation They also dont know how to start the discussion about these topics and hence they leave it Chapters regarding these issues not considered important by the rural parents. Low educational status of mothers is responsible for this Savara and Sridhar(1992) found that parents and teachers avoid mention of sex in their day to day relation with their children because it is still considered as taboo and they lack scientific knowledge about these. Sibling relations were positive but sensitive issues were discussed with friends only Sample believe that mothers and teachers should provide them education regarding these issues at the age of 10-15 years of age Teachers hesitate in discussing these topics and they are usually left for self study Primary source of information is peers Adolescents have positive attitude towards information seeking and a lot of queries Sachdeva(1998) found that basic knowledge regarding anatomy and functions was obtained primarily through friends and books ,rarely from parents.

Age age at marriage is being delayed due to education and career awareness But techniques to deal with developmental needs of adolescents still requires to be built up in a society which still is faced with the issues of early marriage Fathers deny any role in this and they have left it to the mothers. Sensitive issues like growth and development, familial relationships, personality development etc should be looked beyond the academic achievement

Interpersonal skills AND PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT ARE INCOMPLETE without community interactions, but these children are so busy with their academic pursuits that the only time left is spent with media or peer
Individualization is setting in because of Lack of Time

Policy Implications
Adolescents should consider their mothers as friends Should not hesitate in clarifying their doubts

Should avoid information from unreliable sources

Indulge in extra curricular activities , learn about healthy competition and skills required for group work. This would give them a chance to develop healthy heterosexual relationships and teach them that there are other ways of getting along with peer group

Policy implications
Break the barrier with your child Take a calm approach when children requires this information Parents hesitation may lead to development of biased concepts The child may start hiding information Childs age should be kept in mind while discussion


Establish warm, friendly, open minded classroom climate Encourage healthy querying Teacher should have a direct, unemotional and unembarrassed approach Enable students to make wise choices Give appropriate information Question box approach has been found successful Teaching aids and scientific approach should be used Train in peer interaction

Messages to your child

Your body belongs to you You have right to say no Tell your mother if you are uncomfortable about something It is not your fault if someone hurts you You have right to be protected

Messages to be incorporated in the text

Socialization and stereotyping with specific emphasis on gender issues. b Self, body, and clarifying confusions on sexuality. b Emphasizing the rights of children over their body, the right to say No, the right to a safe environment. b Issues of child sexual abuse and sexual health. b Exploring a concept of the self and self-esteem b Notions around our body and puberty - the fears and insecurities around it, examining societal norms vis--vis an individuals likes and dislikes, role models, and imaging. b Emotion, caring, and love, sources of information, responsibility vis-vis HIV/AIDS. b Family and relationships and molding children as motivators for other children (peer educator development).