Parenting the Only Child

Practical parents knew the importance of family planning especially those who are living in the middle class and below economic status. Although budgeting is a lot easier than having two or more children to account for, parenting in the real sense of the word may be really complicated having an only child.  There are things to put in consideration in raising the ‘only child’:

Boosting Emotional Strength

Inevitably, being the only child – he becomes the center of everybody’s attention. The scenario would be - there is always someone to look after him, do something for him, bring him presents and gifts and he is even showered with so much attention that in some way or another teaches him to be emotionally dependent.

Adversities even small become too much to bear being confronted alone. Emotional strength comes from ability to control one’s emotion, create logical decisions and choices – parents would not go wrong to regulate some circumstances to avoid such weakness surface in your child’s upbringing.




We must inculcate to the child the value of independence in a subtle way – starting from small stuff like taking a bath alone – this teaches him to rely on his own ability to decide what to do  and what he thinks can help him accomplish the task by himself BUT it is important to assist the child first until he becomes accustomed to the routine. Gradually let go from assisting to supervising then to full-pledged independence from you.

Try to be calm in situations that the child gets hurt – if he bumped himself somewhere, stumbled etc. If you notice, the child never starts to react helplessly until you shout and show too much worry. Sometimes the child does not have intentions of hysterical crying. The immediate reaction is to look around for help and see who is looking. If you have managed to compose yourself and treat it as ordinary occurrence you are in a way teaching emotional strength. Or doing reverse Psychology like telling the child ‘wow, my brave little superhero…’ or just hitting the object that hurt him like a joke.
A broken toy is nothing – that it can be repaired or replaced or even forgotten. That is life, everything comes to an end. Bring your child to the toy store but do not try to buy the exact copy of the toy if possible – to let him learn that he can try out some different toys that may give him the same enjoyment and maybe more than what he expects. And he can use that same treatment to similar situations in real life in the near future. We have this proverb that everything a child learns is from kindergarten…I forgot who is the author. Only means almost all of the reactions and the way the child handle things start from the beginning.  I truly believe in it – the best example is on studying, if the child does not learn to adapt in the very first school experience he would find it difficult in the years to come.

Let him resolve little problems by himself or guide him a bit in dealing with other children.  Crying can not solve anything.

Sociability Credo

If you have an extended family living in a compound or adjacent location, bring your child along and let him socialize with cousins and other children. Exposure to church activities (joining the children’s choir) and other social activities will bring the child to a real-life learning experience – mingling with other children as well as adults. But first he needs to learn to respect others – acknowledging ownerships and the value of sharing. Some exercises like buying big size bread and cutting it in front of him to show you give importance to everybody in the house, tell good funny stories that will make the bonding time happy and light.

Sometimes, we do not just need to set examples alone to teach them although it is really important BUT it is equally important to SAY (verbally) what a child needs to learn.  It does not hurt to tell him it is bad to interrupt while others are talking (let them finish), to criticize other’s opinion (everybody is entitled to his own opinion – and there is no WRONG opinion, opinion is based on perception – that is how somebody sees it, so be it, it wont hurt to respect others’ opinion even if it does not go with yours).  Like for example, his playmate thinks that his own stuff is better than his – there is no need to argue. That is his opinion, you have yours.

Spoiling Tendency

Being a single child – and sometimes the first grandchild in the family, spoiling is likely. Parents can take control of the situation – and it is always a good rule to keep in mind that everything that is too much is bad. Examples are condoning physical attacks to other children even to you as parents.  Avoid cartoons showing such hostile attitude like ‘Tom & J----’ – I watched some episodes and found out that my children are watching beating and competing and all other bad attitudes to endanger other’s life – for children’s young minds it MAY appear good although it is really not.

Balancing the Child’s Egocentricity

MOST maybe not all ‘ONLY CHILD’ can be spoiled which brings egocentric attitude – that he may perceive that the world is revolving just around him, that he is the nucleus of everybody’s attention, he is always right, he is always the best (conceited), inconsiderate of others and might assume that other’s opinion is awfully bad and nothing comes better than his own. This is resulting to difficulty in dealing with other people.

To counteract this attitude, always tell the child that everybody can be great paired with effort and perseverance and that everybody’s opinion is as important as his and ‘two heads are better than one’ – that as the worn-out cliché says ‘No man is an Island…’. Like what I have said in my other article ‘Keeping One’s Feet on the Ground’ Being Humble at All Times, we co-exist even with plants what more with other people and living by the The Golden Rule Never Fades on my another article is such a nice outlook in life. If those visions are mounted inside your child’s heart, you will never go wrong on upbringing.

For other Parenting Articles/Tips see the Parenting Page of this blog. See the Page Categories on the right side bar of this page.
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Family, Daily Living & Style by Angelita Galiza-Madera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.