Parenting an Only Child
My son is an only child. For the most part, I’m OK with him staying this way. However, many parents of only children say they feel pressured by friends and family to have a second child.
There is a widespread belief that only children are deprived of social interaction. Some people claim they are selfish, spoiled, and manipulative.
This is not necessarily based in fact, though. Birth order research suggests that most only children have personalities that are similar to the firstborn son or daughter in a larger family. For example, both firstborns and only children are often very intelligent, ambitious, and articulate.
If you’re concerned about the development of your only child, remember that parenting styles have a substantial impact on a child’s well-being.
Here are some tips:
- Create opportunities for social interaction by encouraging your child to participate in playgroups, religious organizations, athletic events, and other organized recreational activities.
- Resist the urge to push your child to act like a miniature adult. Talk to other parents to learn more about expectations for age-appropriate behaviors. (This has been an ongoing struggle for me, but I’d like to think I’m getting better as time passes.)
- Make an effort to teach your child about sharing, teamwork, and having empathy for others. Read books about friendship with your toddler and praise your older child for demonstrating these positive behaviors.
Are you the parent of an only child? If so, do you often feel pressured to have another child? How do you make sure that your child doesn’t feel deprived by the lack of a sibling?
Photo credit: jade via morgueFile