Stopping the family blame game
As a marriage and family counsellor, one of the major problems we deal with in many families is that of blame. Many women complain that the reward they get from their husbands after they might have put in so much to make them happy is blame, blame and more blame. Some husbands have also complained that instead of their wives telling them “well done,” all they get is blame. Unknown to many parents, when they think that they are correcting their children, the children are busy interpreting their action to be blame, blame and blame.
Many years ago, my wife and I hired some buses and took some youths to one of the Atlantic Ocean beaches in Badagry near Lagos. We prepared Jollof rice, chicken and soft drinks for everyone. Before we let them loose to play their different games and allow the ocean waters to splash on them, we sat them down to teach them the word of God, and how to draw them closer to their families.
At a stage I asked them, “Do your parents blame you a lot at home?” The answer surprised my wife and I. It was a very loud “yes,” while others said “yes ooooooo.” The next question we asked was, ‘Do you have younger ones in your home that you are older than?” Perhaps about 80 percent of them might have said “yes.” We now asked a third question: “Do you blame them when they do things wrong?” After about a second or two, they said “yes” and they all started laughing.
Before that day, many of those young people were only aware and murmured at their parents and guardians for always blaming them. It was that day they realised that they are also “blamers” and that they are a part of a vicious circle of blame that has had a negative socialising effect on families and society.
Judging other people and blaming them comes naturally to the average human being as a result of the sinful nature, which we inherited from Adam. Adam and Eve refused to take responsibility for doing what God told them not to do. Adam blamed the wife, while the wife, Eve blamed the devil.
In Nigeria and many other countries, blaming others has become an integral part of our way of life. How do we remove this vicious circle of blame from our marriages and families? First of all, many of us parents, elder siblings and leaders in work places have to admit the fact that we are too judgmental, and that we have a superiority complex and that we have the “Napoleon is always right” leadership attitude, as portrayed in George Orwell’s novel, “Animal Farm.” Without this, we cannot live at peace with ourselves and with people. To live at peace with yourself and all men, you have to purge yourself of a judgmental spirit.
Family leaders should sit down and study Matthew 7:1-5 and see how they can “cast the beam out of” their own eyes. People who know how to cast the beam out of their own eyes blame less and instead correct in love. They blame less because they also know that they might have done similar mistakes in the past or have problems in other areas of their lives. They recognise that, just as other people have faults, they also have faults.
Personally, this is the method I use that enables me correct people more and blame less. I’m still growing in it, but it is working for me and it will also work for your family. Do not be judgmental. Correct other people in calmness and love, the way you will want to be corrected. Love you.
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