217391 For Our Sons: Gender-targeted, culturally relevant, parent education to reduce sexual and related risks among young black males

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Athi Myint-U, EdM , Health and Human Development Programs, Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA
Deborah McLean Leow, MSW , Health and Human Development Programs, Education Development Center, Inc, New York, NY
Lydia O'Donnell, EdD , Health and Human Development Programs, Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA
While positive parenting practices are associated with reduced adolescent risk taking for both males and females, there are marked differences in how parents monitor, communicate, and set rules with their sons and daughters. Working with community advisors and focus groups of youth and parents in inner-city schools serving low-income families in communities with high levels of HIV, AIDS, and unplanned pregnancies, Healthy Futures developed a series of gender-targeted dramatic role-model stories to help parents support their children in making healthy sexual and related behavioral choices as they advance from 6th-9th grade. Challenges specific to parenting sons were identified, including parents' perceptions that males need less monitoring than females; greater difficulties communicating with sons than daughters; lower risk perceptions and fewer concerns about sons' sexual initiation and risks; attitudinal barriers reinforcing the perception that parents have less influence over sons' behaviors; and, given the large number of women who are single parents, unmet needs for positive male influences from both the extended family and community. Role model stories were developed and refined with community input to counter these challenges, including presenting strategies for effective parental monitoring, engaging in brief chats rather than lengthy discussions, increasing parents' knowledge and perceptions of the negative consequences of behavioral risks for sons as well daughters, and modeling positive ways to involve non-resident fathers and other males in providing consistent messages. Dissemination channels for distributing parent education materials are being tested and their relative advantages and disadvantages for reaching the target audience are discussed.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify three positive parenting practices that help parents support their sons through the transition to adolescence in communities where sexual initiation begins early and sexual and related risks are high. 2. List three challenges to positive parenting identified through focus groups and work with community advisors. 3. Discuss strategies for modeling positive parenting in ways that are sensitive to the needs of boys, culture, and context.

Keywords: Adolescents, Participatory Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the development of the parent education program that is being described, and led groups of parents, youth, and advisors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.