Blog Original research

Adolescent and Parental Reactions to Puberty in Nigeria and Kenya: A Cross-Cultural and Intergenerational Comparison.

FREEJ Adolesc Health. 2017 Oct;61(4S):S35-S41. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.03.014.

Adolescent and Parental Reactions to Puberty in Nigeria and Kenya: A Cross-Cultural and Intergenerational Comparison.

Bello BM, Fatusi AO, Adepoju OE, Maina BW, Kabiru CW, Sommer M, Mmari K.


PURPOSE: This qualitative study assesses the cross-cultural and intergenerational reactions of young adolescents and parents to puberty in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya. METHODS: Sixty-six boys and girls (aged 11-13 years) and their parents participated in narrative interviews conducted in English or local languages in two urban poor settings in Ile-Ife and Nairobi. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, translated, and uploaded into Atlas.ti software for coding and analysis. RESULTS: Reactions of parents and adolescents to puberty were similar across both sites, with few exceptions. Adolescents’ reactions to bodily changes varied from anxiety to pride. Adolescents generally tend to desire greater privacy; trying to hide their developing bodies from others. Most female adolescents emphasized breast development as compared with menstruation as the mark for pubertal initiation, while males emphasized voice changes. Among some ethnic groups in Nairobi, parents and adolescents view male circumcision as the hallmark of adolescence. Parents in both sites reported that with pubertal changes, adolescents tend to become arrogant and engaged in sexual relationships. Parents’ reported responses to puberty include: educating adolescents on bodily changes; counseling on sexual relationships; and, provision of sanitary towels to females. Parents’ responses are generally focused more on daughters. Approaches used by mothers in educating adolescents varied from the provision of factual information to fear/scare tactics. Compared with their own generation, parents perceive that their own children achieve pubertal development earlier, receive more puberty-related education from mothers, and are more exposed to and influenced by media and information technologies. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents’ responses to their pubertal bodily changes include anxiety, shame, and pride. Adolescents desire greater privacy. Parents’ reactions were broadly supportive of their children’s pubertal transition, but mothers’ communication approaches may sometimes be inappropriate in terms of using fear/scare tactics.

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Archives Review

[Legal aspects of ritual circumcision].

Klin Padiatr. 2009 Dec;221(7):409-14. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1233494.

[Legal aspects of ritual circumcision]. [Article in German]

Schreiber M, Schott GE, Rascher W, Bender AW.

Abteilung für Kinderurologie, Urologische Klinik, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen.


Female circumcision (genital mutilation) is a criminal violation of human rights under German law. Even with consent of the person to be circumcised and/or her legal representative this procedure must not be carried out since a consent to female circumcision is unethical and therefore void. As much consent as there is on female circumcision the legal situation with ritual male circumcision is very unclear. In practice and unnoticed by the public male circumcision is carried out – be it for medical or ritual reasons – without deeper-going reflexions on the clearness of the medical indication or the legal situation with ritual circumcision. From the medical aspect there are big differences between female and male circumcision but also certain parallels. Various reasons, partly founded in prejudice and misinformation, make people refrain from regarding circumcision of boys also as illegal. Contrary to the prevailing opinion male circumcision also represents a bodily harm which a doctor can only carry out after a preoperative interview and with the consent of the affected person. Since ritual male circumcision does not serve the wellbeing of a child it is not possible for the parents to give their consent to the circumcision in lieu of the child. Male circumcision is only permitted if the child has given his consent and is thus only legally permitted if the child has reached an age at which he is mature enough to understand the meaning and extent of such an action which is hardly the case before he has completed his 16 (th) year.

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Archives Blog Review

Genital trauma in prepubertal girls and adolescents.

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Oct;23(5):307-14. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32834ab544.

Genital trauma in prepubertal girls and adolescents.

Merritt DF.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes Jewish Hospital, St Louis Children’s Hospital and Missouri Baptist Medical Center, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To look critically at recent research articles that pertain to children and adolescents who present with genital injuries. RECENT FINDINGS: Emerging evidence supports links to long-term psychological sequelae of child sexual abuse. Parents should be educated to instruct their children regarding types of child abuse and prevention. ‘Medicalization’ of female genital mutilation (FGM) by health providers, including ‘cutting or pricking’, is condemned by international organizations. SUMMARY: Genital injuries whether accidental or intentional need to be reported with standardized terminology to allow for comparisons between reported outcomes. Motor vehicle accidents associated with pelvic fractures may result in bladder or urethral trauma. Adverse long-term psychosocial behaviors may be sequelae of child sexual abuse. FGM is willful damage to healthy organs for nontherapeutic reasons, and a form of violence against girls and women. Healthcare providers should counsel women suffering from the consequences of FGM, advise them to seek care, counsel them to resist reinfibulation, and prevent this procedure from being performed on their daughters.

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Archives Blog Original research

[Surgery performed on healthy genitals of children–for how long? Debate about the conflict between parental rights and basic human rights of children]

Ugeskr Laeger. 2002 Dec 16;164(51):6045-7.

[Surgery performed on healthy genitals of children–for how long? Debate about the conflict between parental rights and basic human rights of children]. [Article in Danish]

Frisch M.

Comment in Ugeskr Laeger. 2002 Dec 16;164(51):6043.

No LINK to view this article online.