Raising an Only Child
Some people choose to have one child and some parents are blessed with only one child. Whatever you choose in regards to having children make sure you raise them to be kind, loving, happy, have empathy and compassion towards others. Many have this concept that an only child is spoiled but that is not always true. An only child has the advantage of having more attention from their parents but then that’s not always necessarily true either. Some only children are content if they have a few animals to keep them company and some have many friends. Parents can have a family of five children and they all might be spoiled and not have the good qualities of compassion and caring that an only child has. This is your job as parents to make sure that your child is feeling that they are loved and wanted no matter what the circumstances are.
Growing as an only child
Years ago only children were thought of as spoiled and lonely kids. Now times have changed and small families are very different from larger families. There are a whole different set of consequences and happiness. It’s important to let only children interact with their friends. Social events have to be planned differently for only kids even when they are just toddlers. It’s important to put an only child into preschool, different classes at the YMCA or other kid-friendly organizations in your city and also arrange have important playdates.
It’s important to schedule play dates in the only child’s home so they learn how to share their toys and parent’s. It’s also important to have playdates at a friend’s home for only children so they learn to see how other families interact. Make sure the kids are the same age so they may share the same interests. It has been said that only children are more mature so they like to be around older children because it’s easier for them to identify with older children.
Things to consider as a parent
Social skills for only kids are important except they don’t have the experience of playing rough in a kind way because they don’t have siblings. Sibling rivalry is referred to a chance to get along with other children daily. The difference of being an only child is they can’t play games and win or lose with siblings, wait their turn for the bathroom or a haircut, or join a group with their brother or sister. These kinds of things are hard for only kids and parents can help their kids be successful by teaching them how to share and showing others respect. Parents can also offer rewards to their only kids when they are being respectful and talk about consequences when their kids are being stubborn or selfish.
Teach your only child independence because only kids become close to their parents and may be very reliant on them for help with school work and activities. They need to learn to use their imagination so they can learn to play alone and work on activities for art. This way they can have an understanding of using crayons, markers, and pencils and use their talents to complete projects when they start school.
Parents should also give their only children some responsibilities like chores so the child can keep themselves busy and have fun without the parents being their only playmates. It’s also important to set boundaries because many times only children feel like adults because they are around adults all the time. Parents should be the decision makers and not the only children. It is good to let them have some say in certain matters but you don’t want them running the show.
Parents of only children need to have alone time together as well. It’s great to spend a lot of time with an only child but it’s important to get out and rekindle your relationship with your spouse. Set expectations that are realistic since many only children can be a bit talkative at the wrong times. It’s good to have expectations. It’s hard for parents to remember that these only children are just kids because they are overachievers and it’s a challenge to figure out what is age appropriate for these kids. Parents have trouble figuring out if they are pushing or not pushing their children enough. By age 8 or 9, they become mini you’s and find kids their own age boring and babyish. Make sure you keep your child a child as long as possible.
What to expect?
Don’t expect your only children to be perfect because these kids are people pleasers with adults because they identify with them easier. Don’t make your problems their problems just because you have higher expectations with an only child. Always make sure they understand unconditional love because they might want to please you based on being an overachiever. If they fail at something, they may think you don’t love them so reiterate what unconditional love is.
Be careful with giving in to what they want and let the grandparents know the same thing. Buying your child because you feel guilty is not a good idea. Only kids get an idea of knowing they can manipulate their family into getting them what they want and it’s never too late to pull back on the gift giving. You might see a few tantrums but you must remain firm and realize that gifts aren’t as important as the time you spend with your only child.
Make sure you are clear with all the relatives of your only child so they don’t pick up any negative behaviors or tantrums. They don’t have siblings so they don’t know what it is like to wait their turn so to stop the attitude that starts to develop here are some tips.
- Put gratification on the back burner
- House rules
All parents of only kids have much to learn and if your child isn’t always happy, it’s part of human nature. Don’t do everything your child demands of you or you will regret this behavior. You don’t want your child to think it’s either “my way or the highway”! That is what will happen if you start giving in all the time.
Unconditional love is the most important quality you can give your child so they will thrive and grow into a mature and lovely adult. You and your only child can become the best of friends as long as they realize that you are the parents. This is the kind of friendship that will last a lifetime.