Parenting Partiality by parents can lead to hatred among siblings

pulse Ghana writer, Alice Adu shares her experience on how partiality by her parents resulted in conflict among herself and sisters.

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play Parents, don't play favourites! (File photo)
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When I was 14, I ordered my younger sister to wash the cooking utensils as I decided to rather sweep the bedroom.

She refused. She went out to play.

When she returned, I gave her the beating of her life which resulted in a brawl between us. She lost; the fight and one of her front teeth which had come loose. And we have never been friends since.

I am the first of five kids - four girls and a boy.

Growing up we were the best of friends; although I would always separate from them every morning as I was in a different school, we would meet at home a happy bunch, eager to share experiences of how our individual days went.

We would eat together, take our baths together and sleep in the same room - even sometimes on the same bed.

Although I was the eldest, I made them feel we were equals because honestly the age differences weren’t much - at most a two year interval between each of us.

Myself with my sister play

Myself with my sister

 

Things however took a different turn when we got to our teens.

We would quarrel and fight at the least chance we got, it felt like an evil had befallen us, especially the one right after me. She is stout in stature and tall, whereas myself, being the eldest, was smallish and very often referred to as ‘cute’.

Sometimes I felt she was being fooled by her body size.

She could rubbish instructions I gave her and walk away.

Stephanie Adu and Patience Adu play Stephanie Adu and Patience Adu

 

A cross section of the public I spoke to revealed that they are friends with their sibling.

Adelaide Serwaah Ampomah, a 25 year old student of the Institute of Professional Studies said she is friends with her siblings. According to her, she’d do “virtually everything together” with her sister. They would sleep, bathe, eat and even wear the same clothes most times.

Miss Dennis Appiah, a banker, said “I love them, we are just three girls and it’s all fun”.

Mr Walker Desmond, 30, said,  “I am friends with my siblings they are all I have got,” and the same was reiterated by Francis Brown who quipped, “yes, of course I am the only boy so my sisters pamper me”.

However, others who I could relate to, said they are not friends with their siblings.

Daisy, a 26 year old journalist,  mentioned that she is not friends with her siblings, and that she fights all the time with them.

Another kindred soul, Mr Darko Boateng revealed: “No, we are not friends, and I can’t seem to place a hand on it, we don’t flow and I believe it runs in the family.”

After accumulating the divergent views, I decided to speak with Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, a psychologist who said broken homes and parent’s preferences for a particular child can cause or contribute to fights amongst siblings.

“It depends on the environment and unfairness some parents met out.

“If  a child is mostly maltreated he or she will definitely express hatred or anger towards other siblings.”

He further stated that some parents even love some children better than others because they are beautiful.

So he advised parents to spread love evenly so as to bring peace amongst siblings.

“I believe if parents love their children and make sure that there’s no partiality, siblings will become the best friends ever,” he added.

I must say I share with Doctor Kingsley Nyarko on this because, just when I felt all this was happening, I had a conversation with my mum about it and she confessed that indeed, at a point she had a favourite because she had suffered entirely through childbirth with my sister but she then again mentioned that, now she loves us equally.

Similar thing happened when my dad publicly declared that I was his favourite child and I believed that was another reason for our petty fights.

Alice Adu play Alice Adu

 

I advise parents to be extremely careful when dealing with their children especially with regards to favoritism.

And I advise anybody in a similar instance to patch up things, who knows!

According to Mame Adjei, both her parents are Ghanaians; her Dad became a diplomat after continuing his studies in India – something that gave her the inspiration to be more than the world supposed a girl from Ghana could be and no just remain a village champion.

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