Selected aspects of parenting by mothers of children aged 1-3 years in a Medical Officer of Health area in Sri Lanka
Introduction: Good parenting during early childhood is protective against psychosocial problems and Non Communicable diseases later. Emotional care and discipline control are key domains of parenting, responsible for psychosocial development of a child. This study aimed to assess levels of emotional care and discipline control provided by mothers of children aged 1-3 years, in a Medical Officer of Health (MOH) area in Sri Lanka, to plan an effective
parenting skills promotion programme. Methods : A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted among systematically selected 400 mothers attending Well Baby Clinics in MOH area Kaduwela, using interviewer administered questionnaires. Frequency of performing practices related to study domains were determined for each mother. Total score of 61-100% was considered as ‘good’ level for emotional care and discipline control. Results: Response rate was 98.7% (n=400). Mean age of mothers was 26 years. A ‘good’ level of emotional care and discipline control were provided by 56.2% (n=225) and 38.8% (n=155) respectively. Almost 89% mothers said “I love you” to the child frequently, 75.5% encouraged child verbally for a good deed. However, 16.2% and 13% never read a story or played with child respectively. Only 50% taught family rules and good habits. Reason for punishment was explained by 56.2%. Negative reinforcement was practiced by 15.5% of mothers. Spanking and shaking the child in anger were done frequently by 4.3% and 1.8% respectively. Quarter (25.3%) scolded and 29.5% yelled at the child frequently. For a repeated bad behaviour, 35.7% of mothers never gave the same punishment. Implementation of a well organized parenting skills training programme is recommended.
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