Stepmothers — Are They Good Or Bad?

By Daily Graphic

This week, we bring you interviews of children concerning their experiences with their stepmums. Please read on.

Ama, 11 years

I used to live with my mum in Kumasi but I was brought to Accra to live with my dad and my stepmum.

When my mum broke the news to me, I knew I could not do anything about it but wondered how my new mum would be like.

I wondered how she was going to treat me, considering all the weird stories I had heard about stepmothers.

However, it is almost two years now and we have lived together peacefully. I have not seen my mum ever since I left Kumasi but I sometimes talk to her on the telephone.

Though I am happy with my stepmum, I miss my mum a lot.

Janet, 12 years

It is almost a year now since I came to stay with my stepmother.

I used to live with my mother before my father came for me. He told my mother that my stepmother had had a baby and needed someone to help her with the house chores.

My duty in the house is to sweep the compound, wash dishes and fetch water for the entire household. I used to wash the baby's diapers but my stepmum always complained that I didn't wash them well so now she does it herself.

She does not treat me well at all. Sometimes she refuses to give me food, with the excuse that I am not able to wake up early to perform my duties.

When I complain to my father and ask him for money to buy food, he tells me he hasn't got money, so I sometimes go to bed without eating.

Beatrice, 11 years

Although I don't remember the exact time I came to live with my stepmum, I have never known my biological mum. I have two other siblings and two stepbrothers but we live together in harmony.

I try as much as possible to do my work and even help my other siblings with the house chores.

Though occasionally we make mistakes and she corrects and scolds us, I think she does it out of love. I have grown to love her as my own mum and does not have any ill-feeling towards her.

Jonathan, 12 years

I started living with my stepmum a few months ago and throughout my stay with her she has been very nice and patient.

She is so caring that sometimes when my dad refuses to give me something I go to her and she gladly gives it to me. She even goes to the extent of topping up my pocket money sometimes.

Because of her kind gesture, I always make sure I don't offend her and do as she says. I always go the extra mile just to please her.

Even though she is very good to me, I would prefer living with my real mother.

Charity, 16 years

I sometimes feel sad because I don't have any siblings to discuss issues bothering me with them.

I moved in with my stepmum just a month ago and so far it has been good.

Although one day she accused me wrongly of something I did not do and beat me up without waiting for my explanation, I still like her. She is very strict and I know it is her right to set rules for me and I have to obey them.

Eric, 15 years

The thought of me staying with my stepmum, instead of my biological mum, puts me off.

I feel so miserable because she tells lies about me to my dad. I wake up as early as 4.00 a.m. each day and woe betides me if she finds me sleeping after that time. She will throw cold water on me and beat me mercilessly.

She always finds fault with everything I do so I live in fear. She does not spare my dad when he takes sides with me; she insults him as well.

“My wish is to live with my real mum but I'm afraid that if I leave my dad will not provide my needs and that may affect my schooling. It is my desire to have a good job in the future so I will bear all the insults and humiliation and wait patiently for a better time.”

Note: Any abused child can contact the Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DOVVSU) on the following numbers for assistance: 687744; 775677 and a toll-free number 1622 for MTN users.