An exploration of adolescent substance users and the parent-child relationship in Mitchell's Plain
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Adolescence is a stage in a young person's life between childhood and adulthood and is characterized by rapid, intensive life changes and adaptations. During this stage, the parentchild interaction is vital, as it helps the adolescent to make informed decisions in life. The aim of this current study is to explore the parent-child relationship of adolescent substance users, aged between 14 and 17 years, and their parents, specifically mothers. The researcher chose to utilize a mixed methods approach, consisting of both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis, to gather comprehensive evidence. A sequential exploratory mixed methods design was selected for the study. Data was collected by means of self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Purposive sampling was used to select the 45 adolescent substance users and their 45 mothers, as parents, from the community of Mitchell's Plain. A further sample of 5 willing adolescents and their 5 mothers was selected randomly to participate in the semi-structured interviews, to further probe the nature of the parent-child relationship. The Attachment Theory was employed as a theoretical framework. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme, version 25, was used to analyse the quantitative data. Descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlation and independent tests were applied to the data. The findings of this study revealed that the majority of the respondents had different perceptions of the parent-child relationship. The thematic analysis was used for qualitative data and the data was analysed by making use of the qualitative analysis stages as guidelines to identify the main themes that emerged from the data. Confidentiality and anonymity was maintained throughout the study. There were significant differences and similarities on the perceptions of both the parents and adolescent substance users. They agreed on what the parent-child relationship is, as well as how a parent should interact with the child; however, there were differences on how they perceived their relationship with each other, regarding the different components of the parentchild relationship. Recommendations are provided for parents and children on positive parent-child relationship, future research, intervention programmes and policy development.