THE CHALLENGING ABSENCE OF ADULTS IN YOUTH-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS: THE CASE OF DISSENSION MANAGEMENT AMONG THE FAMILY MEMBERS OF HOUSEHOLDS HEADED BY A SIBLING IN RWANDA
This exploratory study looks at conflict and dissension occurring in youth-headed households in Rwanda. To gather qualitative data about these issues, seven focus group discussions were conducted with the heads of 41 youth-headed households. Results show that based on a participant’s personal experiences, conflict and dissension are common in youth-headed households, manifested in poor communication and the absence of positive interaction between members. The most often reported consequences of this conflict and dissension include household members leaving home and becoming separated from the family, coupled with and exacerbated by health problems and poverty. Participants also reported feeling psychological distress, social isolation, a lack of motivation, and suicidal thoughts. Where there is conflict, participants turn to their own friends or their parents’ friends for support. Participants also reported needing economic assistance and psychosocial support. Based on the focus group interviews, the researcher concludes that it would be beneficial to set up specific community-based structures that could deal with all issues of daily life and regulation facing youth-headed households. The researcher recommends that the training of youth-headed households in how to take on family responsibilities should be a national policy.
International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies
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Victoria, BC Canada
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