Guide to Parenting an Only Child

mother and daughter

In the past, experts regarded an “only child” of a family as spoilt, oversensitive, socially incompetent, and a ‘disease in itself.’ However, the tide has shifted. As the population of sole children increases and people get more educated, their stereotypes have also started to fade, and their social standing has improved.

According to research, there is no longer a dominant form of family in the U.S. as 22% of mothers now prefer having one child. The numbers have doubled as it significantly increased from 11% recorded in 1976. Although a small family differs considerably from a large one, there are considerable difficulties and pleasures to be found in raising kids of each kind.

Try to avoid spoiling or overindulging the child.

The hazards of raising lone children include giving them more than they can handle. When no siblings are waiting in line for toys and presents, it is much easier to choose. Having only one child has the benefit of allowing parents to spoil them.

We may tame this propensity by imposing constraints. Establish a limit for the number of presents, rewards, or allowance for each, and adhere to it. Another good option is to provide them the means to deserve what they desire. For example, if they want to play the latest video game, or go to a concert with their friends, let them earn it by accomplishing tasks you assign. This can help slow down the gratification process and help children better understand the worth of acquiring what they want.

Children shouldn’t be treated like adults.

When a home has only one kid, parents tend to regard them as grownups rather than young children. Often, between the ages of 8 and 9, youngsters display increased mature behavior and have adult-like habits. This attitude becomes much easier for parents to understand and be comfortable with; thus, it is often tolerated. However, it doesn’t diminish the fact that children are still children. Therefore, they must be treated as such.

Research shows that the ability of the prefrontal cortex to perform complex cognitive tasks does not reach maturity until the age of adulthood. That’s why even teenagers will act on an impulse since their prefrontal brain is not completely matured. Thus, parents need to recognize that children’s impulsive actions have had to do with this fact.

We shouldn’t expect youngsters to have the capabilities of an adult simply because they haven’t reached those stages of growth yet. Let them enjoy their childhood. After all, we only get to pass by this stage once.

children at school

Encourage your child to socialize

A paper in the Journal of Social and Human Relations by Kitzman and Lockwood indicated that kids who grow up without a sibling are less capable of dealing with their peer’s disagreement. This is most likely due to a lack of frequent dispute resolution exercises with either a sibling, parents, or friends. Indeed, interaction, in general, is crucial.

However, if you don’t have access to human interaction due to health and safety reasons, you may also allow your child to bond with an animal instead. This will help them develop empathy, responsibility, and compassion while also improving their physical and emotional well-being. However, before adopting a pet, ensure to take essential steps for your child and your home’s safety. For example, have your pets vaccinated and do a regular check-up to avoid contagious diseases and viruses.

If you have a dog, consider enrolling them in puppy training classes to help you better understand their requirements, thereby making you a better owner. It can also be an excellent source of exercise and open up new opportunities for your child. The more well-behaved your dog is, the simpler it is for your kid to bond with them.

Moreover, as much as parental involvement is beneficial, parents should also let their children handle and resolve their own disagreements with peers whenever feasible. This teaches kids how to work together with their classmates and settle disputes independently. In some instances, parents are unwilling to allow their kids to experience pain and attempt to interfere in peer connections if they think their kids may be injured.

Teaching children conflict resolution skills means teaching them how to handle common scenarios. Training them on resolving peer disagreements and seeking adult assistance only when absolutely required, such as the risk of physical injury, benefits their social skills.

Parents and child development professionals agree that the undivided attention that only children receive from their parents is either a favorable or harmful influence. Despite the hazards, offering unconditional love to your only kid is a surefire way to ensure they have a happy and successful life. In fact, many parents who have only one kid describe their relationship with the children as a beautiful friendship.

And the best thing about it is it’s a lifelong relationship.

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