Family;Blood is thicker than water...

We cannot and do not choose which biological family we are born into, but if we could, would we want to change that? Is blood really thicker than water?

The family is the first base of all the relationships we form. It is the first group that an individual comes in contact with and it"s role is to socialise the individual and regulate his demeanour and conduct, whilst at the same time teaching him about the different cultural and religious values and expectations that society has. It is the foundation on which who we are, morally, socially and emotionally is formed.

For this time only, we will focus on the parents and the children. Focus will also be on what other cultures call the "extended family. I stress the extended because in most African cultures, if there is any relation by ancestry or genealogy, then you are not an extension but nuclear.

A family supplies basic physical, economic and emotional support for the members. From this an individual then gets a sense of belonging and validation of who s/he is and their role, not only in the family or society, but in the world as a whole. In order to function well, there are rules and regulations that evolve around the structure.

All families are not without scuffles! Despite sharing the same genealogy individuals in this group have different and unique perceptions of the world. There are issues of sibling rivalry, abuse, neglect, alcoholism, financial issues which can shake this seemingly solid and stable group. Also how parents deal with their teenage children will also impact greatly on the nature of their relationship. Problems need to be addressed as a group in order to relate well to one another.


SIBLING RIVALRY

This is when there are tensions among siblings. These tensions though mild in some cases can be hurtful and demeaning and even lead to bullying. In most cases it involves verbal abuse and teasing but can turn to physical abuse. In the worst case scenario,this can lead to death, yes death.So the issue of rivalry must be adressed.

The main causes of tensions amongst siblings:

  • competing for parental attention or recognition
  • perceived favouritism of one child over the other
  • parents perception of what each child"s role is
  • if the child feels they are less loved or needed
  • arrival of a baby causing jealousy
  • ethnic and cultural attitudes towards certain genders, whereby one gender is perceived to be more important than the other
  • labels in the family,where one child is perceived to be smarter, and the other useless

These tensions among siblings affects self esteem. The bullied sibling feels worthless and can rebel as a result.

How to curb this problem:

  • parents should not take sides
  • desist from interferring to solve the arguements
  • avoid name calling
  • make each child feel special
  • point out that although each child is different you love them the same
  • avoid preferential treatment
  • spend time with all your kids

Despite the precautions parents take in trying to be impartial towards their children , it is extremely difficult. The thing about life is no matter how much you are told you are important actions will always relay themselves more than words. Be extremely cautious in dealing with your kids, because despite feeling like you dont show you like one more than the other, children can always tell these things.

Parents have a moral obligaton to fend and care for their children, no matter what. In some instances though, parents can neglect their duties, thus neglecting their children.Most people fail to provide the most basic needs such as food, health, education.This constitutes as abusive behaviour. Abuse can be emotional or physical. Is there a difference between corporate punishment and abuse?

Over time abused children become truant, run away from home at an early age or become deliquentThese children become bitter and withdraw from society. They ridicule the social values they were taught because they have no relevance in their lives. And do you blame them? So the next time you think of labelling someone a misfit, think of what they might have gone through to make them the way they are. Do not be quick to judge.

And another thing, money should never be used as a replacement for the parent. Money cannot hug or listen to your chid"s stories. They need you, so make a little timeto spend as a family rather than lavish them with presents that have no emotional significance whatsoever. And well if you are not lucky enough to have lots of money, supply your child with the basic needs and they will be forever grateful.

Discipline and respect are essential to function well. Children can have their own say but at the end of the day what the parent says goes because they know best.

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