5 Things Learned Growing Up Abroad with Ghanaian Parents

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Every family has a unique dynamic that is imprinted onto those family’s members.  Unique traditions, drama, competition, achievements, success and everything in between can occur in a person’s household. Growing up in a Ghanaian household is filled with its share of laughter, tears and everything else.  If you want to know 5 things that are learned while growing up with Ghanaian parents in the United States, continue reading!

1. Ghanaian Parents Are Right No Matter What…Always!
If your mother, father, uncle, aunt, older cousin, grandmother tells you something and they are not correct, you better heed their advice anyway.  The saying “I’m right, even when I’m wrong” is a staple in a Ghanaian household.  Try to voice your opinion and you will automatically be labeled as rebellious, hardheaded, disrespectful, “too-know.” Only when you get older, have a family, an established career and growing grey hairs will you ever be able to voice your view on a subject; even then you’ll still be wrong!

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Flabbergasted Ghanaian Mother.  Source: i.ytimg.com

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Ghanaian mother cooking for her family while taking care of child. Source: opic.gov

2. If You Are a Female, You Better Know How to Cook, Clean, and Rear Children.
Becoming a wife and mother is an expectation for a woman in a Ghanaian household.  Not if, but when you get married and have children you will have to be fully capable of cooking a massive meal from scratch, taking care of small children, and keeping your dwelling neat and habitable at all times while juggling school and/or work.  Do not let a visitor, better yet your parents or in-laws catch you slipping on your womanly duties or you may risk being gossiped about or threatened with having your husband married off to a woman proficient at maintaining a home.  It is imperative to keep your house in order.

3. Men Are Not Required to Help You with Household Duties…Ever.
A typical Ghanaian household may consist of a man having a job while a woman may also work outside of the home, attend school or be a worker and student at the same time. The man is charged with supporting his wife and children and has enough pressure to deal with. A woman must not complain about how tired or burnout she may be and needs to suck it up and get all of her duties completed in an adequate time frame.  To clarify, not all Ghanaian men are like this as some are taught to cook and clean for themselves, but the majority will want their wife to take care of the household duties.

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Stressed man. Source: www.omgvoice.com

4. Dating? You Better Think Again
Ghanaian parents couldn’t care less if you’re “in love” with that boy in class or that girl down the street.  Your priorities are school, chores and taking care of your siblings. Maybe you can go to your friend’s house…once every two years. You’ll learn to become best friends with cousins and the children of close family friends.

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Young Ghanaian Couple.
Michael Blackson. Source: http://www.tlcafrica.com/michael_blackson.jp

5Learn to Communicate with Sounds, Gestures, and Looks…Words Are Not Always Necessary
Ghanaian parents will not always feel the need to explain their thoughts, wishes or concerns.  A click of the mouth can mean yes or no, a stern look or rolled eyes mean listen or else the consequences may be severe and a head nod may mean “go ahead and do it and you’ll see what will happen” or a job well done.

Growing up with Ghanaian parents will have you in stitches, occasionally scratching your head and asking why lord? Overall, you will learn how to be incredibly strong, resilient, hardworking, and how to be an efficient member of any society.

Disclaimer: This does not apply to every Ghanaian Household and is meant to be a satirical expression of growing up in a Ghanaian and Muslim abode while being born and raised in New York City, U.S.A. These are my personal experiences. No harm intended!


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About Farida Dawkins
Greetings! Farida Dawkins hails from New York City and is a mother, blogger, writer, Master of Social Work candidate, Jollof lover, and Air Force Veteran. Farida enjoys reading and writing about Ghanaian and African American issues, Ghanaian entertainment, music, fashion, make-up, and beauty. In addition to writing on the only way is Ghana, check her out at faridadawkins.blogspot.com.

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