When I was a child, I always imagined that I could be an only child-of course, not the only child of my real parents, but the parents in my imagination, they will always put me first and put all the money It is all spent on me, and life will be centered on me.
I imagined that they would buy me a horse, and I would live in my own princess room with my own maid waiting for me. Of course, the mother I imagined will stay with me around the clock, fulfilling my every wish and pampering me.
Obviously, this fantasy is unrealistic. In fact, I grew up in a family with six children. My parents are very caring and very nice. If I continue to immerse myself in a fantasy life, then I will destroy myself-because I will not learn any life skills, such as responsibility, sharing, giving to others, serving others, hard work, or selflessness, etc.
Of course, for some people, becoming an only child is indeed a dream. Therefore, parents must be aware of some issues related to raising only children. Here are some necessary suggestions for parents.
Avoid Over-Spoiling or Spoiling Children
For only children, the most dangerous thing is that their parents give too much and spoil them. This situation is more likely to happen if no siblings want toys and gifts. After all, with only one child, we can easily indulge them.
However, we can curb this trend by setting restrictions. Determine how many gifts or specific amounts there are for each holiday and stick to this limit.
You can also let them get what they want. If they buy the latest video games, let them do housework to make money so that they realize that making money is not easy. This can not only help them delay satisfaction, but also let them know the value of getting what they desire.
Don’t Treat Children Like Adults at Home
Since there is only one child in the family, it is easy for parents to treat them as adults. At around 8 or 9 years old, many children will show a sense of maturity, accompanied by adult-like behavior. Parents can easily accept this behavior because they understand it. However, the child is still a child, so they still need to be treated as a child.
The “RaisingChildren.net” website explains that the prefrontal cortex of the brain does not fully develop until adulthood. Even teenagers will act impulsively because their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed.
Parents need to understand that impulsive behavior happens to their children because of this. Therefore, we cannot expect children to grow up because they have not matured yet. Allow them to be children. After all, they only have this chance once in their lives.
Let Your Kids Interact with Their Peers
A research article published by Kitzman and Lockwood in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (2020) found that growing up without siblings Children are less able to deal with conflicts with peers. This may be due to the lack of regular conflict resolution activities with siblings.
Therefore, socializing with peers is crucial. But even so, parents should allow their children to resolve conflicts between themselves and their peers whenever possible. This will teach them how to get along with their peers and how to resolve conflicts independently.
Usually, parents want to protect their children, and if they see their children are emotionally hurt, they will interfere with peer interactions. Parents should teach their children conflict resolution skills by talking about how to react in these situations. Teach them how to deal with conflicts between peers, and only seek adult intervention when necessary (such as the risk of physical injury), which helps children develop social skills.
Set Realistic Expectations
When adults raise only one child, all their hopes and dreams will be wrapped in them. However, parents should set realistic expectations. Children are independent individuals, they are not you. They are themselves, so they have their own talents, abilities, and abilities, different from you. You should evaluate them based on their abilities, not yours.
It may be unreasonable to expect a child to become a super sports star and enter the Ivy League. Because every child is special and unique.
If a person has four children, we may see one good at sports, another good at academics, another good at art, and one even because he is still young and his talents and abilities are completely unknown. When you have only one child, we cannot expect them to realize all the dreams, hopes and ambitions of a family of six.
Find out what your child might be good at in life. They may have activities that they are good at, and activities that they are not good at. Encourage them in everything they do, but don’t set unreasonable and unachievable expectations.
Let Them Do Housework to Develop a Sense of Responsibility
When you have a child, it is much easier to do housework, because one child is enough to help with laundry and cleaning.
But parents with three children are more likely to ask their children to share housework when necessary. In a larger family, one parent is totally unable to cope with chaos and work.
The only child in the family must be required to do housework. Because it can help them learn responsibility. At the same time, they will also learn practical life skills, such as how to fold clothes, how to properly wash the dishes, and how to clean the room with a vacuum cleaner.
Doing housework can empower them, especially if they can be rewarded for doing extra housework, so that they can get what they want.
Don’t Always Make Them Happy
Children want the attention and time of their parents. It is good for parents to treat their children like this, but there should be a balance.
For example, if a mother staying at home has only one child, she does not need to play with the child all day. Parents need time to complete their work and housework, as well as time for themselves.
It is easy for parents to feel guilty for not playing with their children, especially when the children keep asking their parents to play together. When it comes to entertainment, parents should set reasonable expectations for their children.
For example, a full-time mother might say to her only child: “I want to play a train with you for 20 minutes, and then you can play by yourself for 20 minutes, and I will do the laundry.”
It helps to find children who are the same age as yours to play with. This can help children get the time they are born to desire to play with others. When they have no companions or siblings to play with, they will rely on their parents to be their playmates.
Parents can find friends who are the same age as their children and provide them with the games they need and want to participate in.
Find Some Activities for Your Children to Participate with Their Peers
Before I gave birth to our twins, our family had only one daughter. This is a great opportunity for me. I can go out of the house, find some places, participate in some activities, and let our daughter communicate with her peers.
She was over a year old by then, so she was ready to play with other children and participate in activities that would help her grow.
For example, a children’s playground on weekends, a gathering point for children in the community, and an additional tutoring class if economic conditions permit.
For parents raising only children, the most important thing is to understand that their children need to socialize with peers. Since they have no siblings, parents must let their children out of the house and find a place where they can play with children of the same age.
Parents can consciously look for activities and courses suitable for their children’s age. Then, they can also use this opportunity to connect with other parents so that the children can play with their new friends in the future.