Can Parenting An Only Child Pose Problems?
Surely parenting is parenting whether you are raising an only child or half a dozen children. Well, not quite.
Fifty years ago about 10% of households in the United States were single child households and the perception of the only child was that he or she was often spoiled, lonely and socially inept. Today that figure has more than doubled to over 14 million children and the perception of the only child has changed markedly.
Only child parenting is immensely rewarding and there are many advantages to being able to focus your attention on the development of just one child. Most of us lead extremely busy lives these days and it is not always easy to devote the time that we would like to our family, but things are certainly a bit easier with just a single child. Bringing up children can also be a very expensive business and you may well be able to provide an only child with many things which you simply could not afford if you were trying to provide for several children.
Perhaps the most obvious advantage that you can often give an only child is that of a good education. Private education is horrendously expensive today and, while many families can afford to find the funds necessary to educate one child, meeting the cost of education for two or more children is often simply out of reach.
But there are of course two sides to the coin and there are also a few difficulties of only child parenting.
As human beings we are naturally social animals and many of the skills which we need in life are learnt through interaction with others and, in particular, from others within our own age group. This means there is tremendous value to be gained from the lessons which we learn from our brothers and sisters and from their experiences. It also means that we benefit from being a part of their wider circle of friends.
This element is of course missing in the one child family and, while the added attention from a loving and caring parent is certainly to be welcomed, it is no substitute for the lessons we can learn from a wider group of children within our own age bracket.
This brings with it special problems for only child parents so, throughout the pages of this website, we will not only try to look at the general problems presented by parenting, but will also examine the special difficulties that face those coping with only child parenting.