Parental Connectedness: High Risk Behavior


This is the second in a series of blogs about parent-child connectedness.

Recent research from eight African countries surveyed adolescents to learn rates of different high-risk behaviors, including sex at an early age.

Researchers discovered that 27.3% had experienced sexual debut before age 15. Boys and girls with sexual debut at younger than age 15 were more likely to report alcohol, tobacco and drug use, truancy, poor parental- or guardian-connectedness, sedentary behavior, having been in a physical fight and receiving a serious injury.

For girls, mental distress and poor economic status were associated with early coital debut, for boys being bullied and having poor parental or guardian supervision were associated were the primary triggers.

The study found that parental- or guardian-connectedness was a strong protective factor in preventing many high-risk behaviors.

Prevention of high-risk behaviors certainly starts at home and begins at a very young age. Research reports that developing great parenting relationships with your youngsters and connecting with them at a very early age is the foundation of a successful strategy to prevent high-risk behaviors and keep your children safe.

Spend time with your kids and talk to them from your heart.


Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.