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Settling Disputes Among Siblings: Child Experts, Nigerian Parents, Share Their Experiences And What Works For Them

Settling Disputes Among Siblings: Child Experts, Nigerian Parents, Share Their Experiences And What Works For Them

Today, a lot of families are suffering from disunity over the decision made while settling a dispute between siblings years back. While it is important that disputes are resolved, most parents forgot to ensure that it is rightly done.

Parents need to understand that their kids are different and it is important that they are treated so without being sentimental about it.

A laundryman and father, Kayode Ogunlana, notes that parents have to be very careful while making decisions during a dispute between or among siblings because sometimes, things are not what they seem to be.

He shares his experience with his kids with PUNCH,

“Thorough investigations need to be done when settling issues. Sometimes, what seems right might be wrong and if a wrong decision is made, one has set a bad precedent that may take time to correct.

In my case, two of my boys had an issue. Dayo came to report with a bleeding nose and he was also crying. Immediately, I called Akintola and he tried to explain himself but I was too concerned about his bleeding brother that I didn’t bother to allow him to say anything. We attended to the bleeding and I had Akin punished. He cried throughout that day and refused to eat till we moved on from the issue.

However, Akin became a shadow of himself in the house. He was seen to be uninterested in many things and was not the happy and bubbling boy we all knew at home anymore. He became cold to everybody and would only be in their room. He loved playing Ludo game but that wouldn’t make him come out too.

On my end, I even tried to bully him to do some of these things and asked nonchalantly what was wrong and he claimed everything was fine. I realised that it was not something I could just let go of when all the members of the family and even neighbours started complaining and noticing his new behaviour, and he wouldn’t speak to me.

I reached out to their Sunday School teacher, who he was close to, and explained things to him. The conversation he had with the teacher made him open up and that was when we realised that he was unjustly punished and chastised for what he knew nothing about and that Dayo was just manipulative of the entire situation.”

Ogunlana says that from that experience, he has learnt to become cautious when making decisions and he now takes his time to know every detail before proceeding to settle a dispute between his kids.

A banker, Ummkulthum Adesanya, notes that it is important that parents encourage siblings to settle disputes among themselves and not carry over an issue without being resolved. She says,

“Parents should be very close to their children. Many siblings’ dispute that have gone worse because parents feel that issues between siblings are minor issues. We have siblings who have become family men and have decided to cut off their families because of the disputes that were left unresolved when they were younger.

“When parents hear about the tiniest issue, they should find a way to have them resolved and encourage the kids to forgive one another. When the issues aren’t resolved, they breed hate and disgust among siblings and this does not help in the quest to build a secure and happy family in the future.”

SEE ALSO: Should Parents Intervene When Siblings Fight? See What Experts Have To Say

Adesanya explains that she resolved the protracted challenge she had with her elder sister last year which lasted for over 30 years.

Also sharing her experience, a petty trader, Omotayo John, says parents should not judge a sibling over the other when trying to resolve disputes. She states,

“When parents judge a sibling over the other, it creates a gap between them and further set them apart. However, parents should try to strike a balance when settling issues and ensure that they reach a fair solution. I spoke to my two children months ago, they had been fighting over the side of the bed space to sleep. That’s how little the fight can be and I was surprised.

Both wanted the side of the wall and didn’t want to sleep at the extreme for fear of falling off the bed while sleeping. I had to tell them that the elder should sleep at that extreme and leave the younger ones to stay on the most protected side which is close to the wall.

I used that moment to encourage them to protect people that are younger than them. The older one apologised and promised to protect his younger siblings while that one promised to protect the baby I was going to be soon delivered of.”

John notes that if she had judged and not advised appropriately, the situation would have created a big fight among his children, which she might not be able to handle.

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Saheed Agbaje, a butcher, says best way to settle disputes among siblings is to teach them how to love one another. He says:

“When kids have genuine love for one another, they will find it easy to forgive one another because the most important part of love is forgiveness. When this is taught, kids will rarely engage in disputes and when they do, they’ll be able to settle their own issues without blowing it out of proportion.”

A child psychologist, Daniel Akindele, notes that children reflect what they see from the adults around them. He says,

“When kids fight, it’s because they’ve started seeing others do it. However, it is left for the parents to know how best to deal with the situation. Parents should ensure that they speak to their children about how well to behave and relate with one another.

“However, when disputes do happen, parents should tell their children that it is not best to fight. Let them know that disputes have the tendency to breed hatred which is not good for the family’s future. The beautiful thing about it is that kids listen to what adults tell them. They tend not to doubt what adults say because they know that adults are more experienced than them, they’ll become better.”

ALSO SEE: Seven Effective Ways To Avoid Unhealthy Rivalry Among Siblings: Mrs Judith Omoye’s Story

Another child development expert, Fatimatu Yunus-Ibrahim, says kids are meant to be guided positively in order to achieve effective dispute resolution. She says,

“Many parents refuse to listen to their children when there are issues and assume that because they are kids, it is not important, however, it will surprise many parents that they’re not only setting up these kids against their own siblings, rather, they are creating a chain of avoidable quarrels among people who are outside the family.

“Kids should be informed that they can only sustain good relationships with other people when they have a good relationship with their siblings. When they see that as important, they learn to cope, to forgive and to do things in unity.”

She added that parents should also find a way to make siblings do many things together and this process aids kids and make them take conscious and sane decisions.

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