11 Things NOT to say to a parent of an Only Child

only.jpg

With a single child households on the rise, it’s time everyone got on board with what onlies and parents of onlies already know: Only children may grow up differently, but they’re just as awesome. I put together this list of comments that I really don’t like to be asked or say.

  1. “He must be really lonely.”

First of all, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. I can say that only children are actually less likely to feel lonely because they have more experience being alone. We’re comfortable hanging out with ourselves and often have rich inner lives. That said, it’s important to make sure only children have lots of opportunities to play with other kids, so if you’re really concerned about the sibling-free boy down the street, I’m sure his parents would be happy to send him over for a play date.

  1. “He won’t have anyone to help take care of you when you’re old.”

While this technically may be true, there’s no guarantee that the children in a bigger family will share the work of caring for a parent, anyway. We have all heard about families where one sibling becomes the de fact of caretaker, whether he or she wants to or not. This is a situation that’s impossible to predict, so it’s just hurtful to make someone feel guilty for it.

  1. “It must be so easy with just one child.”

Well, yes and no. Yes, parents of only children don’t have to referee sibling fights, fill out school forms in triplicate, or spend nearly a decade changing diapers. But some of us made that choice because we know that we would have trouble managing a bigger family. When other parents start complaining about the stress of having multiple kids, I resist the urge to remind them that they chose to have a bigger family.

  1. “You’re not a real parent until you have more than one.”

Several parents told me they’d heard variations of this hurtful line, as if only-child moms “fall somewhere between a mother and an aunt on the challenge and commitment spectrum,” as a friend described it. We may have “just” one, but we have the important job of protecting and nurturing that life and feel all the same fears, worries, and boundless love other parents feel.

  1. “You don’t want him to grow up to be spoiled, do you?”

Trust me; parents of only children have internalized this stereotype so deeply that most of us are hyper-vigilant about not “spoiling” our kids. Even so, it’s a given that an only child is going to get more focused attention from his parents. Research shows this is a positive in terms of self-esteem, achievement, and even intelligence.

  1. “You’re selfish for not having another child.”

Does anybody know me or know my situation or the reasons for not to have another baby? That is another topic.

  1. “That must be why he is so shy.”

First of all, there is nothing wrong with being shy or introverted. The shy, withdrawn only-child stereotype is so pervasive that for a long time people believed is true, that is another topic.

  1. “He doesn’t seem like an only child.”

That’s a loaded complement if I’ve ever heard one. All kids have selfish and bratty moments, but only children are more quickly defined by these labels than kids from bigger families. Conversely, some people see an only child who actually has empathy and social skills as a rare unicorn. The reality is that all kids are in the process of acquiring these skills and should be allowed some mistakes as they grow.

  1. “What if he doesn’t have kids and you never get to be a grandmother?”

Well, yes, I’ll be a little disappointed if I never experience being a grandparent, but having more than one child just to ensure it happens doesn’t seem like the smartest gamble. Plenty of people never have kids. I want my child to grow up to be happy with his choices, not with pressure to make me a grandmother.

  1. 1 “Are you having another?”

Variations include “Just one?” and “Don’t you want one of each?” I especially like this sneaky one from the grandparents: “Our friends are asking us if you’re having another baby.” It should go without saying, but these are very personal questions. Some people will be happy to respond that they’re “one and done,” but others may have painful reasons behind their family size—money troubles, marriage problems, medical conditions.

  1. “He needs a sibling.”

I love my child dearly, but I try hard not to give in to him every whim and want, and that includes creating another human being for him to play with. There is no guarantee that siblings will be friends. I felt completely identified in this article Follow my blog for more informative and interesting articles about parenting and motherhood’s experiences.

 

 

11 Things NOT to say to a parent of an Only Child

only.jpg

With a single child households on the rise, it’s time everyone got on board with what onlies and parents of onlies already know: Only children may grow up differently, but they’re just as awesome. I put together this list of comments that I really don’t like to be asked or say.

  1. “He must be really lonely.”

First of all, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. I can say that only children are actually less likely to feel lonely because they have more experience being alone. We’re comfortable hanging out with ourselves and often have rich inner lives. That said, it’s important to make sure only children have lots of opportunities to play with other kids, so if you’re really concerned about the sibling-free boy down the street, I’m sure his parents would be happy to send him over for a play date.

  1. “He won’t have anyone to help take care of you when you’re old.”

While this technically may be true, there’s no guarantee that the children in a bigger family will share the work of caring for a parent, anyway. We have all heard about families where one sibling becomes the de fact of caretaker, whether he or she wants to or not. This is a situation that’s impossible to predict, so it’s just hurtful to make someone feel guilty for it.

  1. “It must be so easy with just one child.”

Well, yes and no. Yes, parents of only children don’t have to referee sibling fights, fill out school forms in triplicate, or spend nearly a decade changing diapers. But some of us made that choice because we know that we would have trouble managing a bigger family. When other parents start complaining about the stress of having multiple kids, I resist the urge to remind them that they chose to have a bigger family.

  1. “You’re not a real parent until you have more than one.”

Several parents told me they’d heard variations of this hurtful line, as if only-child moms “fall somewhere between a mother and an aunt on the challenge and commitment spectrum,” as a friend described it. We may have “just” one, but we have the important job of protecting and nurturing that life and feel all the same fears, worries, and boundless love other parents feel.

  1. “You don’t want him to grow up to be spoiled, do you?”

Trust me; parents of only children have internalized this stereotype so deeply that most of us are hyper-vigilant about not “spoiling” our kids. Even so, it’s a given that an only child is going to get more focused attention from his parents. Research shows this is a positive in terms of self-esteem, achievement, and even intelligence.

  1. “You’re selfish for not having another child.”

Does anybody know me or know my situation or the reasons for not to have another baby? That is another topic.

  1. “That must be why he is so shy.”

First of all, there is nothing wrong with being shy or introverted. The shy, withdrawn only-child stereotype is so pervasive that for a long time people believed is true, that is another topic.

  1. “He doesn’t seem like an only child.”

That’s a loaded complement if I’ve ever heard one. All kids have selfish and bratty moments, but only children are more quickly defined by these labels than kids from bigger families. Conversely, some people see an only child who actually has empathy and social skills as a rare unicorn. The reality is that all kids are in the process of acquiring these skills and should be allowed some mistakes as they grow.

  1. “What if he doesn’t have kids and you never get to be a grandmother?”

Well, yes, I’ll be a little disappointed if I never experience being a grandparent, but having more than one child just to ensure it happens doesn’t seem like the smartest gamble. Plenty of people never have kids. I want my child to grow up to be happy with his choices, not with pressure to make me a grandmother.

  1. 1 “Are you having another?”

Variations include “Just one?” and “Don’t you want one of each?” I especially like this sneaky one from the grandparents: “Our friends are asking us if you’re having another baby.” It should go without saying, but these are very personal questions. Some people will be happy to respond that they’re “one and done,” but others may have painful reasons behind their family size—money troubles, marriage problems, medical conditions.

  1. “He needs a sibling.”

I love my child dearly, but I try hard not to give in to him every whim and want, and that includes creating another human being for him to play with. There is no guarantee that siblings will be friends. I felt completely identified in this article Follow my blog for more informative and interesting articles about parenting and motherhood’s experiences.

 

 

I DON’T HAVE A “MOM TRIBE”

tribe

Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, maybe it’s because I’m sarcastic or weird. I don’t know exactly what the reason is, but what I do know is that I don’t have a “mom tribe” and I’m learning that that’s okay even that sometimes I feel like I am not okay with that statement.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t occasionally jealous of those moms who do. I see pics on social media of moms going running together. I read updates about how thankful these women are for their “tribe” to pick them up when they’re feeling down. They go on vacations together or have massive play dates with their kids or swap childcare so they can get a date night. They’re practically inseparable and are forever grateful to the women who understand and love them.

I’m not hating. I think it is fabulous when women love on and encourage and lift one another up. I think the world can change when a group of women get together and decide they’re going to do something epic. Hearing women speak about how they feel like they’ve found their “people” makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

I can be happy for them, and at peace with the fact that I don’t have the same. I’m a mom who’s a bit on the fringe of the social circles.

Don’t get me wrong: I have mom friends and we do get together every once in a while and commiserate over the trials and tribulations of toddlers and small children whose main mission is to destroy us. And I do have friends who “get me,” but these women are few and far between not to mention far away from me, so do I have a tribe? A group of women where we’re all friends and we all get together and do stuff and have group hugs and game nights? Nope, I don;t have that.

There are, of course, downsides to this situation. I don’t have many people to call on if I’m in dire need of a sanity break and want someone to watch my kids for a few hours. I also don’t have a group of women I can reach out to watch the kids so my husband and I can go out on dates together. If I plan far enough ahead I can make these things happen, but it seems like having “a tribe” would allow these events to come to fruition much faster than what I’m used to. It sounds like when you have a tribe you’re hardly ever in want because someone is always willing to drop what they’re doing to rescue you because they get it and they live close by and they want to reach out a hand.

I don’t have that. I have a few mom friends who aren’t conveniently located, so for the most part, it’s just me doing my mom thing on my own. And I’ve spent enough time bemoaning the fact I don’t have my people, and I’m pretty much done with that now. I’m at peace with who I am and that I don’t fit into any of the mom groups I’m surrounded by. I’m hanging out on the edges, and occasionally, I get invited into the inner circle, but it’s never for long.

And that’s okay.

I’m not mad at them. And I don’t feel sorry for me.

I like myself. I like my situation. I like the fact that I can be unabashedly me, and I don’t have an ongoing group text message about who is watching whose kids while whoever goes out for date night. I’m a bit independent and autonomous, and that’s where I’m at and I’m at peace with it.

I’ve heard rumors that once my kids are in school I’ll make friends with the parents of my kids’ friends so maybe I’ll someday have my own tribe. For now, though, I accept where I’m at and am relieved to be done trying to find my soul sisters. I’m quite a catch, so I trust that someday they’ll find me.
 

A boy or a girl thing? Do not teach this to your children

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Do not teach this to your children…

The scene is familiar and sometimes happens to me having a boy and I can tell you I make the same mistake: My son is playing in the dirt with his trucks, cars, yelling and being loud, and of course full of energy. He’s just a happy kid playing outside and probably myself or some family member make an exclamation: he is just a boy, boys are like that or boy are more hyper than girls etc… just to mention some comments.

It is a common phrase, and even my friends and family have joked about our own children in this way. The boy we’re talking about is noisy, active and loud. Maybe he’s or will be destructive or disorganized, but I am realizing I am having issues with this comments that I personally make myself.

We are promoting a traditional and obsolete gender label. I know many people swear or believe that boys are naturally different from girls, and that may be true. But the way we talk to, or comment about it is not well about how we treat our children and the prospects and expectations we are creating. When we expect boys to be noisy, loud and active, we are tutoring them to be exactly that.

We are creating behaviors and personality based on gender. Being active does not have a gender. There’s no sex in being shy or loud or delicate, there is not gender in being funny, smart, lazy or motivated. Anyone can have these characteristics anyway beside of the sex, and our culture assigns them one anyway.

They don’t need to make a behavior a male or female thing, and what is not even appropriate and I include myself, is to do it in front of kids, every kid is different. Although some boys are loud and rough, some are more reserved and sensitive, there are plenty of boys at both who prefer read than play outside, boys who talk quietly and don’t yell out in class or on the yard. We all know that there is not just one way of being a boy or a girl. But when we say things like, “He’s all boy,” we’re creating and celebrating a pyramid of qualities. We’re saying that this is the way to be a boy.

Girls are also reaching this message. They are learning that some type of behaviors are recognized with being a boy and may feel the need to distance themselves from those types of individuals. Anyway, kids are learning what adults think boys and girls should be and how they should act from these types of comments.

If we don’t want our children to be aggressive or destructive or bad-mannered, don’t defend these actions, teach them what’s right and what is not. Expect more from me also, and I will expect something different from others. Follow my blog for more tips and informative articles.

Monica 🙂

WHY FIRST FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT

friend

I don’t want to think about my child alone, and kindergarten’ friendships are more important than you think, especially for boys. Boys with good friendships in kindergarten with lots of sharing, and peaceful relations had fewer behavior problems and better social skills by third grade, according to a study from the University of Illinois.

Since collaboration and teamwork is a big part of learning and education, kids who have trouble adapting are at a disadvantage academically.

Here are some tips on how to try to avoid these problems :

Don’t be afraid to raise the issue with the teacher. Ask the teacher questions about how your child is socializing and interacting with others. Some schools offer social skills programs that your kid can join.

Read and buy books that showcase good friendships, like Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel. But any book that can serve as a model about friendship and relationship, and mention your child’s friend’s names.

Act on solutions to playground problems: Little kids incline closer to imagined classmates, compliment kind gestures by pointing out the positive emotions for example you can mention them something like “You must feel really proud of yourself that you shared your new ball with Sam.”

Act as the party planner: Organize play dates with your kids’ friend, two or three  members in the group are enough to socialize with their mother also, and at the same time  the kids will get more involve between them out of the school schedule.