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The Only Child

- Anuradha

More and more couples are opting to have just one child. Keep some points in mind while raising your 'only child'

Studies show that more and more women are opting to have just one child. The reasons for this are quite varied. Some decide not to opt for a second child in order to balance a career with motherhood. Others have financial constraints. Bringing up a child these days is quite expensive with education taking up a major chunk of the parent's financial resources. 

Hence, parent's feel that the pressure on them will be too much with more than one child.

But the reason for stopping at just one child isn't always financial. Women are getting married at a later age than they did previously. The delay can set the stage for secondary infertility -- a woman's inability to become pregnant a second time.

Whatever the reasons couples opt to have a single child, they can be rest assured that "Only Child" isn't the dirty phrase it was a generation ago. 

In fact it is now a parenting trend. A paper published in 1888 maligned the only child by describing him/her as "selfish and self centered". However with the passing of a century the findings of the paper are no longer relevant and further studies have shown that there is not much difference between a first-born and a single child. In fact it has been noticed rthat single children have higher achievement levels because of the undivided attention, support and involvement they get from their parent's in all their activities. 

Tiger Woods, Indira Gandhi, Issac Newton were all single children! And while learning to share and adjust are normally learnt from siblings, these can also be learnt as a result of spending 8 hours at school each day!!

Bringing up an only child is not without its challenges: 

  • The child is the center of the parent's universe and hence their expectations are high. The pressure on the child to be a "super child" is immense. Learn to tone down your expectations and instead concentrate on making your child a good human being rather than a super human being!
  • Resist the temptation to overindulge your child as this gives him the mentality that "I always get what I want", which can cause serious problems as he grows up.
  • Create opportunities for your child to interact with a peer group either by taking him to play areas where he interacts with other kids or enrolling him as a member of a club, where he can make friends.
  • The only child tends to have a strong bond with his parent's, which can soon turn into dependence for everything from homework to entertainment.
  • Remember: It is not necessary to keep your child happy all the time by finding things to keep him occupied. Reduce your child's dependence on you and let him find things to do and how to do them without your involvement.
  • Encourage your child to share things with friends, cousins and show your appreciation by rewarding him with words of encouragement.
So avoid these common mistakes parents make and make a positive contribution to your child's development.

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