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.
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 difculty 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.