5-6 YEARS OLD Here are 10 state­ments you should never say to a mum of an only child.

It’s tempt­ing to pass judge­ment on par­ents with just one child, but don’t. DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON high­lights com­mon state­ments that could back­fire on you.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

The most com­mon stereo­type of an only child is that he is pre­co­cious, aloof, self-cen­tred and lack­ing in so­cial skills. But the re­al­ity is usu­ally quite dif­fer­ent.

Here are 10 state­ments you should never say to a mum of an only child – and if you are one, share this on your so­cial me­dia feed.

“You are so lucky to have only one child.”

You might think that be­cause you have two or three chil­dren and you imag­ine it would be won­der­ful to have fewer de­mands made on you. But maybe the mother des­per­ately wants more chil­dren but can’t have them, for ex­am­ple, for med­i­cal rea­sons. If so, she won’t think she is at all lucky.

“Don’t you wish you had an­other child as well?”

That state­ment is a #fail on ev­ery level. If she did wish she had an­other baby, then ob­vi­ously she is un­happy about the sit­u­a­tion. And if she doesn’t want one, she does not need you to chal­lenge her par­ent­ing choices. It’s her fam­ily life, not yours.

“He’s prob­a­bly very spoilt.”

Ev­ery child has the po­ten­tial to be spoilt by their par­ents, grand­par­ents, and ex­tended fam­ily, not just an only child. Any­way, just be­cause par­ents of an only child spend their money just on him does not mean that they are overindul­gent or that they have un­lim­ited re­sources.

“Ev­ery child needs a sib­ling.”

Even if a kid did have a brother or sis­ter, there is no guar­an­tee that all the chil­dren would get on with each other. Much de­pends on their in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­i­ties, the age gap be­tween them, and the way their par­ents raise them.

“Don’t you worry that he gets lonely be­ing on his own?”

The chances are that par­ents of an only child this age make sure he has plenty of so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties, other than school, by tak­ing him to en­rich­ment classes and out­ings with other fam­i­lies.

They also make spe­cial ef­fort to ar­range play­dates so that their lit­tle one has plenty of com­pany.

“You can af­ford much more be­cause you’ve only got one child.”

You should not make as­sump­tions about other fam­i­lies’ wealth. Un­less you are aware of their to­tal monthly in­come and ex­penses, you do not know their true finan­cial sit­u­a­tion or the eco­nomic pres­sures they face even though their fam­ily is smaller than yours.

“He’ll have difculty shar­ing with oth­ers.”

Most chil­dren strug­gle to share with their sib­lings and peers be­cause it in­volves giv­ing away some­thing for noth­ing. An only child will learn to share through in­ter­act­ing with the other chil­dren whom he meets in school and else­where.

“He be­haves that way be­cause he’s an only child.”

It’s easy to at­tribute ev­ery­thing to one as­pect. For ex­am­ple, you might say he’s like that be­cause his par­ents have sep­a­rated, or he does that be­cause he is an only child. In re­al­ity, how­ever, a kid’s be­hav­iour is in­flu­enced by a whole range of fac­tors.

“It won’t be easy for him when he starts school.”

Preschool can be quite a shock for any child who has not had to work with other chil­dren or learn in a group. One of the many things an only child learns from at­tend­ing preschool is how to get on with oth­ers, how to learn as part of a team, and how to co­op­er­ate with his peers.

“He must be so de­pen­dent on you.”

Re­search stud­ies have shown that only chil­dren tend to be very in­de­pen­dent, more so than kids with sib­lings, pos­si­bly be­cause they are raised in an adult-only home. As a re­sult of that en­vi­ron­ment, they typ­i­cally learn to be­come in­de­pen­dent at an early age.

Ev­ery child has the po­ten­tial to be spoilt by their par­ents, grand­par­ents, and ex­tended fam­ily, not just an only child.

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