Tips for Parenting the "Only" Child
A word on children who grow up without siblings. These children have the advantage of having undivided parental time, attention, and resources – just like a firstborn, but their advantage lasts a lifetime. This makes an only child take on all the characteristics of a firstborn – and they alone shoulder the ‘burden’ of meeting all their parental expectations.
Therefore they tend to be mature for their age, conscientious, reliable and leaders. They can have a difficult time interacting with their peers and making friends as they have not had the practice at home of sharing, negotiating, and cooperating with siblings.
Suggestions for parenting only children
- Resist the temptation to create a child who is a miniature you. Allow your child to explore different activities and interests.
- Be careful not to increase your child’s perfectionistic traits. Allow and encourage mistakes – for you and your child – as the way to learn.
- Help your child make friends.
- Invite friends over and encourage your child to share and cooperate.
- Encourage your child to join others in group activities – a soccer team, scouting
- Help your child appreciate the emotions of others.
- Encourage relaxation! Your only child may place undue stress and pressure on herself to reach goals. Help him realize it is also important to relax – and laugh.
- Remind your child that failures are not devastating and do not detract from your love for him.
For generalizations and guidelines for parenting children of other birth orders, please look below.