The Seven Common Sins of Parenting An Only Child: A Guide for Parents and Families
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As the parent of an only child, are you frustrated because you find yourself overindulging and overcompensating? Do you treat your child like an adult, overpraise, or overprotect him? Have you expected perfection from your child yet failed to make rules and implement them consistently? If you are not a perfect parent of an only child, you are not alone. Based on the real-life experiences of Carolyn White—editor of Only Child, parent, and educator—and hundreds of interviews with only children and parents of only children, The Seven Common Sins of Parenting an Only Child celebrates the special rewards and opportunities of the single-child family and offers a practical (and often humorous) guide for overcoming the most common errors parents can make when rearing an only child.
so calm, but when I asked her, she just laughed and said, “I’ve been through it before, and unless Terry is near something really dangerous, like the sharp edge of a table or a bottle of ammonia, I know that she will survive because her brother did. A few encounters with the ﬂoor may cause a bump or two, but eventually she will become more steady.” Sibling families have been around the block, and after the ﬁrst bruise the second doesn’t seem as bad, and the third barely makes an impression.
grow. But ﬁrst, we need to take stock of our own concerns and understand what and why they are. Although we want our kids to be aware, we don’t want to infect them with our fears. You may want to do some self-analysis and ask yourself a few questions: • Were you neglected as a child? If you were, do you confuse need with love? • Were you mistreated in any way as a child? If you were, has it caused you to spend excessive time making sure that your child is safe? • Has anything dangerous happened
performance with material gifts teach their child that doing a good job 174 THE SEVEN COMMON SINS OF PARENTING AN ONLY CHILD equals, “I deserve something” instead of, “I’m proud of myself.” There is a difference between overindulgence and using material things as praise. The parent who overindulges a child usually does so spontaneously and without a speciﬁc purpose. Or they may overindulge because they don’t know how to do anything else. But when a child is given a Tiffany bracelet for getting
they love most in the world. Inappropriate praise can lead to an only child becoming an outsider with other kids. The child who claims supremacy at school because he is supreme at home may ﬁnd himself confronting some peers who don’t welcome him. When Kurt left elementary school for middle school, he had a difﬁcult time making new friends. He found himself jostling for position. He thought he was pretty cool because his parents never let him forget that he was special. So instead of waiting and
outside while feeling insecure on the inside. How Parents Can Avoid Overpraising Their Only Child These strategies will help you moderate the overpraising habit: • When discussing your child’s accomplishments, avoid superlatives. Make the language of praise speciﬁc and descriptive. 180 THE SEVEN COMMON SINS OF PARENTING AN ONLY CHILD • Offer constructive criticism along with speciﬁc praise. This will make your child more secure with her strengths and help her identify what she needs to