Raising an Only Child
Times have changed in the USA. Fifty years ago only children represented just 10% of all children under 18 years. Now according to the latest US Census Bureau data there are 18 million only children, accounting for 20% of all children under 18 years.
There is a vast difference between big and small families, and both come with entirely different challenges and rewards. Some things to consider when you have an only child:
- Social interaction (with no siblings around make sure there is the opportunity for plenty of interaction with other children with preschool, play dates, etc.)
- Social skills (turn taking with their peers, sharing toys with others)
- Independence (often only children are very close with their parents and become very dependent – they become the main source of entertainment with their child) Instructing your child to participate in chores can help.
- Indulgence (being the only child can cause an only child to be bombarded with gifts. Set limits!)
- Setting boundaries (make sure the only child does not become the 3rd partner in a marriage!)
- Age appropriate (make sure that your only child does have a childhood!)
It is important to remember that the undivided attention an only child receives from his parents can either be positive or negative. Try to avoid some of the common pitfalls.