Single Child Parenting: A bird’s eye view

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In today’s generation, single child households are very common. Some statistics put that at close to 10% which is a huge number given our population. Many parents have decided that having one child and providing it the best is the right option for them. This is such a different scenario from a few decades ago when large households were the norm. So what are the common personality traits of parents who have an only child?

  • Over protective parents: Parents of only children are usually over protective. They have a tougher time giving permission for field trips and overall letting go of their children.
  • High Expectations: Parents of only children also have high expectations from their children, as a result of which only children sometimes tend to be perfectionists
  • Driven: Parents of only children drive themselves harder to give their children everything that they believe is possible within their control. They will ensure that their child excels at school, be involved in all activities and have an in depth knowledge of what is going on in their child’s life.
  • Indulgent: They tend to be usually more indulgent than other parents and will cater to their child’s demands more than parents with more than one child.

The following are the common characteristics of an only child:

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  • They have high confidence and self esteem
  • They usually are high on academic achievement
  • They are highly independent and organized
  • They are mature beyond their years as they spend a lot of time with adults
  • They are sensitive to criticism

Probably, the one emotional thing that the child loses out by being an only child is the practice of having conflict with siblings and learning how to resolve them.  This is a valuable life lesson which a child learns in the comfort of home. The second thing which parents are concerned about only children is loneliness – Not having a playmate around all the time. This is solved for some by having cousins around, by living in communities with a lot of children and by being engaged in a lot of after school activities. Getting a pet is also another strategy by many parents.

 

Tips for parents raising an only child:

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  • You don’t need to entertain them all the time. Provide them with books and activities but do not set expectations that you have to entertain them constantly.
  • Don’t micro-manage: It is common to see that parents of only children tend to micro manage their children’s projects, homework- pretty much everything. Let them make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Enroll them in team sports and club activities to give them ample opportunities to build their cooperation skills
  • While this is not necessarily an issue only with the single child, try to limit your indulgences and the urge to cater to every whim of the child
  • Not having another child to distract parents, might lead to parents having very high expectations for their only child, which is a lot of pressure on the child. Parents need to stay conscious of this and allow the child to explore their passions and desires.

Raising an only child certainly is a lesser burden on the family’s finances and time and parents might be able to spend a lot more quality time on the child. However there are a few adjustments that need to be made to ensure that your child grows up a well balanced adult.

 

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