“At present the number of single child home has been increasing. There are more possibilities for those children to grow adamant, temperamental and not able to socialize with others. This kind of challenge is termed as ‘single child syndrome’.
But, “There is no such thing called ‘single child syndrome’ at all. Be it one child or more, the character and behavior of a child is determined only by the way he or she is brought up by the parents”. Dr Subramanian, Pediatrician from Chennai, refutes the syndrome with conviction, sharing the reasons for his stand.
“In 1900’s Dr Stanley Hall, a psychiatrist from the US coined the terminology ‘single child syndrome’. He meant that the children who are brought up singly tend to remain more self centered, adamant and not able to live with others. He determined that all these single children surely develop these characters in due course.
But during 1950 and 1970’s his views were proved wrong. Consecutively many psychologists proved the world that like any other children with their siblings, single children too would be able to live more responsibly and with maturity.
Take for example of the present time. In a home with single child, it is commonly believed that the child would not develop the habit of ‘sharing’. But is it possible for us to prove that those who grow with siblings will surely grow the habit of sharing? The parents of today force themselves to get toys or food items individually for each child of the family for the fear of quarrel between them. If so, how will they gain the habit of sharing?
Nevertheless, if we look deep into these allegations about single child the whole problem of it is found to be only with their parents. They tend to nurture a feeling of ‘We have only one child’, and therefore pamper their children more and more, destroying all their good characters completely. If these parents stop this practice and correct themselves, there is no need to believe this single child syndrome”. While he is refuting the syndrome, he describes some of the do’s and don’ts for the parents of single children.
Do these things!
They don’t get opportunity to live with other children when they are single at their home. Therefore it is helpful to take them to the homes of your friends and relatives. Especially during holidays they can be made to stay with the children of your relatives. These opportunities will help them naturally learn the habit of ‘adjustment’ with others.
Your children reflect you. Therefore, first of all you can practice sharing with others. On witnessing your sharing they will also learn to share things with others.
Particularly, teach them about self esteem. In their own language make them understand ‘Others too are also equal in all respect like you. So, do not treat anyone with disrespect’.
Single children are spending most of their time with TV, computers and video games. So, it is better to divert their attention to many other interesting engagements like art, music, karate and sports activities. But one thing is important; do not compel them to learn an engagement activity which they do not like. It will lead them to be psychologically stressed.
Don’t tend to be careless with respect to their character as you have only one child. Particularly, try to improve their ‘table manners’, the way they behave with others.
Parents are many who keep the children under their supervision most of the time. If you are monitoring them continuously, their ability to be independent will go down. Besides, they will tend to develop aversion towards you, unnecessarily. Hence, keep an eye on them whenever it is required and allow them to be themselves in other times.
Make use of every opportunity to take them out. Practically make them learn how to adapt themselves according to the changing situations in a common place.
Avoid these things!
Don’t pamper your child too much because of singleness. Be cautious about it as it will make them take undue advantage and there is a chance for them to go astray.
Don’t ever speak to your child saying ‘what we earn is only for you’. They take it to their advantage thereby demanding many things without realizing the value of money.
Do not encourage them to be adamant. If you yield to their pressure once, they will tend to expect it every time.
Don’t ever try to show your love by means of getting them expensive products. Relentlessly keep showing your love by simple means of surprise visit of their friends to your home, having dinner under moonlight on the terrace, enjoying cycling together and so on. Then only they will be able to realize that there are many better things beyond the reach of money.
Let them experience simple failures in their life. Then only they will be able to stand strong during adverse conditions. They will also try to come out of it. If they don’t know what is failure, then they will tend to be aversive of failures after they are grown up , which will lead them to choose committing suicide when they face failures. Therefore, let their childhood is filled with both success and failures.
Don’t ever compare your children with others. If you keep humiliating him they will gradually keep grumbling about it within and shrink themselves.
Don’t keep telling ‘My son will eat only if I feed him’; ‘she’ll find it difficult to comb her hair if I am absent’. Gradually, train them do their work on their own. Don’t forget to know that such kind of your pampering will make them lazier and also incapable being independent.
There are many who are excessively possessive about their children, especially the mothers. This will gradually impact the life of both mother and child badly. Therefore keep natural bonding with your child and also provide opportunity for them to live in harmony with others.
(This article written in Tamil by Kavitha has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)