Wednesday, May 03, 2006

7 Common Sins

As promised here are a few little things from the book The 7 Common Sins of Parenting an Only Child, by Carolyn White. I know most that read this have more than one child but I think these are 'sins' that we can commit even with more children, trust me, I've seen it. The 7 sins are: Overindulgence, Overprotection, Failure to Discipline, Overcompensation, Seeking Perfection, Treating your Child as an Adult and Overpraising. Carolyn says that a lot of these sins happen because of the guilt parents feel for only having one child. Whether you feel guilty because you can't physically have one (even though you'd like to) or even if you've made the conscious decision to have only one child(like we have) can still feel guilty. Like, I sometimes feel I'm jipping the kid out of a little brother or sister (which she still asks for). I may feel this way for the rest of my life, I'll never know. There are times that I'm totally okay with my decision...there are times I doubt. So anyway, I think the sins are pretty self explanatory. The book goes a lot into giving examples and such. At the end of each section she does give you advice on how to avoid these sins. So I thought I'd write a few of these down. This may end up being a little long. So here we go, ways to avoid:
Don't try and give your child everything you didn't have growing up. She doesn't know what she's missing.
- Allow your child to do things "wrong." Let him learn from his mistakes, as long as it doesn't endanger him.
- Be good to yourself as well as you child. Make time for you. Your child will respect you for it.
- Learn to say no and mean it. Don't let your 4 year old litigator convince you to change what you know it best for her.
- Teach you child the value of money by encouraging her to work. Whether it be babysitting or doing extra chores for you.
- Discuss trust with your child. Have faith that your family's values system will inform your child's decisions as she grows.
- Let you child solve problems on her own. Don't always be there to pick up the pieces.
- Be cognizant of your child's true abilities at different stages of development. Give her opportunities to have adventures and opportunities to fail.
- Be aware of those times when it's important to let go. Then ease up without letting your child feel your fear. Let him find out how well he can manage on his own.
Failure to Discipline
Honor the difference between discipline and punishment. You don't have to punish unless discipline falls apart.
- Rules should be clear and reasonable. Make the consequences of not following the rules just as clear. Your being a pushover will only make everyone miserable.
- Remember, meaningful discipline will not happen overnight.
- Children and parents are not created equal. We have more privileges than they do because we have earned them. They must earn theirs too.
- Reward good behavior. We all need the spiritual boost that positive reinforcement gives.
- Don't compare you family to other families. Every family is different.
- Remember, having a sibling does not guarantee a constant companion for your child. As children grow older, they can grow apart and they may even dislike eachother.
- When friends and family make negative comments about only children, say, "Our family is perfect just the way it is." Educate them about only children.
Seeking Perfection
- Work on knowing who your child really is, instead of who you want them to be.
- separate love and approval. One does not depend on the other.
- Accept the fact that your child will sometimes make poor decisions and that she will learn from them. Perfection is for God, not humans.
Treating your kid like an Adult
Work on making your home a place where your kid can be a kid.
- Don't give you child too much information about your relationship with your spouse. She only need to know that your there to guide and protect her.
- Children are not equipped to make adult decisions with you.
- Create boundaries. When your tempted to make your child part of your marriage or marital conflicts, think again. Remember that your child loves you both and shouldn't be made to choose.
Make praise specific and descriptive.
- Offer constructive criticism along with specific praise.
- When your child tires something difficult, say things like, "Do your best, and don't be afraid if it doesn't work out. You can always try again." But saying, "Of course, you can do it" doesn't tell her you fully understand the elements of doing something tough. You're more likely to overwhelm her with pressure rather than giving her the confidence she needs.

Okay, well that's it. It's a really good book. For those with onlies (or with only one living with them) it's a must read. I'm so glad I read it. Hope this wasn't too boring.


surcie said...

Wow, that sounds like a book I should read!

surcie said...

Wow, that sounds like a book I should read!

Heather said...

Kim that sounds like a great book!! Thank you for posting that-it was such an encouragement

Michelle said...

I really enojoyed reading this..especially since we are going down this route....

Michelle said...

Man i can't spell! Sorry

Natalie said...

Hi Kim,

Sorry this isn't exactly related to this post, but I saw your post the "Morphing into Mama" blog regarding spanking...I'm a freelance writer working on an article on spanking for a national parenting magazine, and wondered if I might interview you (by phone) for the article. What caught my eye about your post is that although you don't spank your daughter, you're questioning whether or not spanking might have some merit.

If you'd like more information about the article, feel free to email me: nlorenzi (at) earthlink (dot) com.