Is it lonely being an only child? The assumption that only children are spoilt, domineering, and antisocial is known as “only child syndrome,” although this is not the case. Learn how an only child’s personality develops and how to keep your youngster from behaving badly.
According to the US Census Bureau, single-child households have increased dramatically from 10 million in 1972 to almost 15 million in 2018. What is the cause of these statistics about only children? Many parents are consciously opting to have a single child, and they’re also marrying later in life, which can lead to reproductive issues and, as a result, a tiny family.
According to Susan Newman, PhD, a psychologist, mother of an only child, and author of Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only, the stigma previously associated with only children isn’t as severe as it was 30 years ago (Broadway Books, 2001).
“The most widespread myth—that having an only kid makes them spoiled, demanding, and socially incompetent,” says Newman, who has studied only children for two decades. “Only children, according to studies, are no different from other children. They aren’t any more spoilt, lonely, selfish, or unduly reliant on others.”
Is it lonely being an only child? And How to Avoid Being an Only Child?
Parents’ behaviours might sometimes contribute to the unfavourable characteristics linked with lone child syndrome. The most prevalent hazards and successful solutions for avoiding them are listed below.
Don’t be too protective of your only child.
“These parents have put all their eggs in one basket,” Newman says, “so it’s only normal for them to be more careful.” “When an only child begins to walk, his parents keep a close eye on him to ensure that he does not fall. When an only kid is involved in a quarrel with a friend, her parents intervene. If her parents are always meddling or fighting her fights, she will never learn how to navigate the world.”
Try to look the other way when it’s acceptable, and check in with siblings’ parents. Inquiring about their settings might assist you in finding a balance between protection and overprotection.
Encourage Interaction with Others
Only children may struggle to relate to classmates since they are the focus of their parents’ existence.
“Early socialising teaches kids how to share, take turns, and settle problems,” says, associate director of New York City’s Barnard College Center for Toddler Development. Ensure that your child has lots of opportunities to interact with other children her age through play dates and classes. If you live with close relatives, spending time with relatives in the same age range can also help with sibling socialising.
Don’t Have Irrational Expectations
Because the kid is their one chance at parental success, some only children become perfectionists in order to satisfy their parents, who may place high (or even ridiculous) expectations on them. Maintain realistic expectations for your child based on his age and natural talents, and reassure him that he does not need to be the greatest at everything.
For example, just because your kid enjoys drawing doesn’t imply she has to (or will) become a talented artist. Instead than focusing on the aim of making a small Picasso, focus on her enjoyment of the exercise.
“When Mommy and Daddy are the primary directors of a child’s life, an only child may wind up depending on their feedback before making a decision.”
“If you do and think for your child all the time, she won’t learn to do and think for herself,” Shimm explains. Give your kid easy options to set the tone for future decision-making: Does she want you to read her Babar or Curious George before she goes to bed?
Also, when your child is playing, try not to give too many suggestions, such as what colour crayon to use or where to put the puzzle piece. Your lone child will grow into a well-adjusted little person with a lot of love from you and some aid from friends.
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