From my experience, I have found that parents of only children tend to be highly critical, exacting, and perfectionist. They tend to push their children into being the best that they can be and expect no quarter when their children make errors and mistakes. It seems that parents of only children want their children to be totally omniscient regarding their lives and circumstances. I remember a friend of mine, an only child like myself, whose father totally berated her for accidentally spilling juice on the cupboard, calling her inept and clumsy. Furthermore, many parents of only children pin all their hopes and dreams on their only children and often live through them.
Au contraire, I have found parents in multichild families to be more relaxed regarding their children's behaviors. They have such a wider experience of parenting that they are not as anxious regarding their children's so-called foibles. These children are not punished for making mistakes and/or falling. Parents in multichild families see their children more as unique individuals with their own goals and desires. They tend to enjoy their children more and are not fraught with worry. They love their children, of course, but are not as overly intrusive as parents of only children are. They are of the live and let live mentality than parents of only children. Do you agree with this premise?
No experience to post about an only child. But, you are spot on with families with multi children. And many put more of an effort for that special one of the group, then the group of children as a whole. Many grandparents are guilty of the same. The gloat over one grandchild at the expense of the others. Not intentionally, I hope, but human nature to reward the best. The best at least in their minds.
I agree, and I can also see plenty of other benefits of having siblings, including the learning experience of coping with disagreement, working as a team and general communication.
I'm not a big fan of generalizing about any group of people; but if it's true that some parents on only children are tougher on them; maybe there's a chicken/egg thing with that...
I can can see how people who aren't naturally good with/comfortable with children may have one but may not be inclined to have more. Even something like "pinning all one's hopes and dreams" on his child isn't the healthiest thing, let alone things like berating a child for a spill.
Again, generalizing isn't good; but I can see how a lot of people would go ahead and have one child "because it's what people do", discover once they have that one child that they aren't as exactly "naturals" at being parents, and realize they shouldn't have more. In other words, I don't necessarily think that having additional children helps parents who aren't "naturals" learn to be better parents; and I don't think a parent who is "a natural" and only has one child will be guilty of an unhealthy degree pressure or expectations on his/her child.
I agree with Lisa, I think it is more about parental personality. Those who are tougher and less forgiving, etc might be more inclined to have only one child. They might be the type to feel inconvenienced by children or feel like they should focus on that one child to make him/her the best of the best. I know plenty of only child homes in which the parents are just like those you describe as multichild parents to be.
I myself have a multichild family- we have 5 kids- and I would say we are pretty much like you described, but I don't think I would be much different if I only had one. It's not in my personality.
I totally agree with you and LisaHW. It is the personality of the parents involved in the raising of their children. What I am stating that many parents of only children tend to be exacting and perfectionistic in that their only child is their one and only. Because of this, these parents want ONLY the best for their children and take and tolerate no quarter when their child errs.
I personally knew a mother from my elementary school days whose mother expected her to be in the top of her class. This mother constantly informed the teachers how brilliant her daughter was to every teacher. This daughter was not allowed to make mistakes as that would be less than honorable to the mother. In other words, this child was ON constantly.
Many parents of only children expect their children to be perfect at all times. They also decide the lifepaths of their children, never giving them a voice regarding their own goals, wants, and desires. Please note that I see nothing absolutely wrong with being an only child as it is the best birth order to be. Only children receive the undivided attention of their parents and they are free to explore and be whom they wish to be without the interference of siblings.
However, there are some parents who take the issue of their only children too morbidly far. These are the parents I am addressing. Yes, there are some parents who are overly involved in the "nurturing" of their only child as there are parents of multichild families who practice issues of favoritism and scapegoating of some of their children. There are negatives to both some only-child families and some multichild families. This is all I am saying. I was an only child and had parents who pushed me to achieve even though they were loving parents. I enjoyed my childhood and would not wish to be anything else. I just wanted to state that there are some parents of only children who take things too far much to the detriment of their children.
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