The Relationship between Decision Making, Level of Attachment, Circumstances at Conception and Environment in Healthy Child Development: A Case of Children Growing up in Kampala and Wakiso Districts


Parenting is a responsibility one finds himself or herself under voluntarily or involuntary. During adolescence, gradual changes that may be cognitive, emotional, biological, physical and social or environment occur. The qualities of changes are influenced by how well decisions are made at different levels of interaction (cognition, instinct or biology, emotional, social and/or natural environment) in relation to one’s sexuality. It all begins at conception –through important stages of birth, special care of newborns, weaning, and child in playful stage, socialization and learning, gender roles or interests, young stardom, youthful period and adulthood.


The study explored parents’ basis of taking on the responsibilities, quality and level of attachment, parent’s ability and circumstances under which she or he conceived and the parent’s nature of the environment and lifestyle. It went on to find specific relationships between parent’s decision making and quality of attachment, circumstances at conception and attachment, nature of environment and attachment –and environmental, itself, and decision making.


The target groups were young parents (18 years to 45 years) subjected to both structured survey questions and focused group discussions (FGD); and children (8 to 18 years) that participated in FGD only. The study had 52 participants of which 33% were from urban areas, 10% (urban) and 58% rural; 40% males and 60% females. SPSS tool was used for data analysis. Appropriate questions were constructed that enabled participants –to freely and honestly speak out from their own experiences. Group focused discussions with equal number of girls and boys (2:2); and adults (women and men) =3:3 were convened guided by specific themes –regarding gender issues, human rights, risky behaviors and behavior change, relations with parents, knowledge of life goals and problem solving amidst family and environment hazards. Unique cases were also sought of how children from poor backgrounds and as for parenting care managed to succeed late in life.



Correlation between decision making and quality of attachment was significant –showed by r=0.317, where p= 0.05.

Correlation between circumstances faced at conception and quality and level of attachment was significant (r=0.261, and p=0.05).

Correlation between environment and level and quality of attachment was weak on left side of the curve, but stronger on another –indicated by r=0.124, when p=0.05, and greater in comparison on another side of the curve r=0.381: p=0.05).

Correlation between environment and decision making was weak on both sides of the curve –determined by r=0.187, p=0.05; r= 0.184; p=0.05.


From FDGs, equal treatment between boys and girls was emphasized (4:4) and (6:6) so that they both benefitted from development opportunities; of education (both formal and informal) and employment. Friendliness between parents and children was highlighted (4:4) –with correcting behavior attached to light beating -with strongest emphasis put on friendly talking with children (6:6). However, to parents, family planning was still a big challenge –as hardly at all did men approve of it (regarding condom use), while women complained of hemorrhage and delayed resumption of pregnancy as most negative (2:6). Furthermore, condom use was out of every parent’s mind, given the fact that they were married (6:6). 1:6 of parents said that, because her husband did not care about family planning, she adopted inject-plan secretly. 2:6 of women nurtured a norm that alcohol eased delivery and was associated to healthy and pretty babies.


Overall, there were weak significant relationships among variables studied, such as decision making over whether to have children or not and attachment to them, circumstances at birth and quality of attachment, environment factors or influence and quality of attachment, as well as environment influence and decision to have children. The weak relationship maybe attributed to the rural and demographic nature of the population, where behaviour is traditionally set and inherited rather than conscious awareness of influence by other factors that influence it. It is rather traditional and natural roles and obligations under such circumstances that influence behaviour objectively. The population was also scattered and small for a quantitative aspect of study to be used and relied upon. Thus, the qualitative strategy was most suitable under such ccircumstances.


The weak roles of parents to ensure child health growth and development was by and large a result of poverty. This greatly hampered healthy and informed decision making, especially among recent parents. In rural and semi-urban areas, it is only mainly men who went to work while women stayed home to cook and bare children. In the same category, the nature of jobs determined by their level of education did not at the same time help meet children development needs as women complained of men’s negligence. There is, thus, a need to start life skills education, poverty alleviation program and reproductive health (or health education) programs to help better family-life situation
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