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The family is the oldest institution on earth, and plays a vital role in human society. Throughout history, the family institution has always exited.
According to the international Encyclopedia of the social sciences, of all the agent of socialization, the family has been described the most immediate and most important. It is recognized that most of the world’s societies are characterized by one or two types of the family organization both of which revolve around a relatively permanent mother and Father relationship.
In the nuclear family characteristic of the most Western societies, the family unit is made up of mother, father and immediate children. Extended family which account for a greater proportion of the world’s population are composed of parents, immediate children, grandparents and on occasion other relatives. In the arrangement, grandparents are looked after by their children. The secret of family happiness (1996).
A number of important social changes have taken place in the family unit in recent decades. Many of them linked with wider implications for the understanding of the contemporary Nigeria family and its role in child rearing.
“in oriental societies, strong extended family ties were traditional. However, under the influence of western style individualism and the stress of economic problems, the traditional extended family is weakening. Many in Germany seem to be abandoning the traditional family altogether. The 1990’s saw 35% of all Germany household made up of two individuals. The French too are marrying less often and those who do marry, divorce more often earlier than those used to be the case. Growing number prefer to live together without the responsibilities of marriages. No doubt, divorce is becoming increasingly common. There has been a surge in the number of single parent families, the secret of family happiness (1996).
With increasing urbanization, the formerly cohesive community group of which the family was as intrinsic part is largely disappearing. Nuclear families typically live in large proportion and transient suburban communities or in equally characterized by a high degree of isolation one form another.
Ebingha (2003) explained that during the pre-colonial era. The traditional Nigeria family was made up of some rather independent or village-like units. With the coming of colonization and rapid urbanization, most traditional compound dwellers were replaced by small houses designed for a nuclear family. One of the results of the increased mobility of family unit is a significant reduction in security both for parents and for children. Parents alone must face child rearing problem. Unlike the close unit communities, contemporary urban and suburban ghetto habours a wide range of values and lifestyles, these providing either few adult models for the developing child a providing a contradictory assortment of models.
Despite these changes in the family institution, the Family is still central to the lives of children. At an early age, they find themselves completely dependent on the family. The family provides the growing child with feelings of security, belongingness, satisfaction of emotional needs, provision of physical and material needs and promoting psychological growth. The family is also the major transmitter of cultural information in the early years, a role that is later partly taken over by schools and peer groups.
The work presents the role of family in the prevention of HIV/AIDs amongst youths in the Nigeria society using Oshilimi South Local Government Area as a case study.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
HIV/AIDs is a universal problem in February 2002, they were about 40 million HIV infected persons worldwide. Most of these cases of HIV/AIDs have been reported in sub-Saharan Africa about 6 million people get infected every year, Nwachukwu (2002).
Research shows that infected people come from all socio-economic class, all races and all faiths. The main mode of transmission is through sexual intercourse. Other means such as transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of unsterilized sharp objects and mother to child transmission are also responsible for the spread of the disease.
The problem of HIV/AIDs and the resultant consequences are enormous and the family which is the first of socialization of the individual has a lot of role to play in curbing the spread of the disease.
1.2 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of the study is to access the influence of the socio-economic background of the family (parents especially) on prevention of HIV/AIDs amongst youths.
The specific objectives are:
- To determine if the educational status of parents has a correlation with the practice of behavior that could lead to HIV/AIDs amongst the youth (their children).
- To determine if the economic status of parents has an influence on behavior of youths, that could lead to HIV/AIDs.
- To determine the influence of communication between parents and children and how this helps to reduce behaviors that could lead to HIV/AIDs.
1.3 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
- The higher the educational level of parents, the lower the rate of behavior that could lead to the spread of HIV/AIDs amongst the youths, and the lower the educational level of parents, the more youths will engage in behaviours that promote the spread of HIV/AIDs.
- The higher the economic status of parents the lower the rate of behaviours promoting the spread of HIV/AIDs amongst youths and the lower of economic status of parents the higher the engaging of behavior that promote HIV/AIDs.
- The smaller the communication gap between parents and children, the less risky behavior engaged in by the youth and the wider the communication gap between parents and children the higher the tendency to engage in behaviours that promote the spread of HIV/AIDs.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study derives its relevance from the fact that when completed It will increase the knowledge and understanding of the influence of the family in preventing HIV/AIDs amongst youths in Oshimili South Local Government and in Nigeria at large.
Findings could also enable the relevant authorities to act appropriately in enlightening the public on the important role of the family in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDs menace.
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- HIV: Human Immune Deficiency virus
- AIDs: acquired Immune deficiency syndrome
- Youth: a young person above childhood and early adulthood (between 15 and 26 years, for the purpose of this study).
- Risky behavior: Those acts that are engaged in by individuals that could encourage the contacting and spread of HIV/AIDs – acts such as unprotected sex, sharing of sharp objects, transfusion of unscreened blood etc.
- Communication: Free interaction between parents and children (on sex and sex related issues).
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