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The impact of becoming the only child at home
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 10:25 am
amother Birch wrote:
I have what I consider to be two only children because of the age difference and difference in interests. They are each very demanding. I totally relate.


Any advice you can share?
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 10:29 am
amother Apple wrote:
Did he really change that much or are you noticing more because he’s your main focus?
Also, it’s lonely and boring to be the only child home. I’d cut him some slack.


He's been our main focus for a while already as he was the only one at home during most of the day, however something has clearly shifted since he became truly the only one at home.

I know it's hard for him so we turn a blind eye as much as we can but I'd love to help him in a more concrete way.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:11 am
amother Brass wrote:
My youngest sister had a year when she was the only one living at home, when she was about fourteen. She said she was going to spend the time being an only child, and getting as spoiled as she could possibly manage. I don't know about spoiled, but she did get a lot of attention that year, and had treats that were too expensive for a family but ok for one.


Just keep in mind that an only child like that is missing siblings in her life. Yeah I do mean that.
I have a 14 year old who has two older siblings in their 20's. No one in her age range (not my choice - Hashem's). Grew up with older sisters who got to do things that she wouldn't do for a few years, she was always the one in the family being put to bed, not going to sleepaway camp when they went (she has been the only child), big sisters going with friends on vacation and she's left behind, etc...with no company. That's challenging for a child (when she was 2, she asked me when she was going to be older than her sisters. I tried explaining why that was never going to happen. She was so upset.)

So yeah, she does end up getting some priveleges and treats that others might not get, but it all balances out.
(and no she's not ultra spoiled....just a little. And we are concerned for her chinuch and we try to get her opportunities that other teens her age have that we feel are healthy..... She frequently helps out at her aunt's house with 3 little ones, knows how to do baths and pajamas, babysits for our neighbor's kids, can change a diaper, etc...)

OP....definitely put your foot down about house rules (and yeah, it's harder when they are the only child having to do those house rules). She has to pick up after herself, keep her room neat, go to sleep on time, put her dinner plate away, and help out here and there. Explain the importance of being a mentch to him. But don't be afraid of the priveleges he gets as long as it comes along with obligations too.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:14 am
amother OP wrote:
He's been our main focus for a while already as he was the only one at home during most of the day, however something has clearly shifted since he became truly the only one at home.

I know it's hard for him so we turn a blind eye as much as we can but I'd love to help him in a more concrete way.


Are there chessed opportunities for him to get involved in that can give him a sense of Achrayus - responsibility to others?

My DD went with her big sister yesterday to stock the Bikur Cholim room at a local hospital and scrub down the counters....we try to give her opportunities to help out, because it's good for her.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:32 am
I love that, Chayelle, and I'm so happy to hear from someone who can relate.

How did you find it when the older kids were away (I know it was only temporary, like during the summer) and you had just your youngest DD at home?
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amother




Lily
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:33 am
amother Camellia wrote:
That's my opinion with having an only.

You can beg to differ.

It is inevitable that she is more spoiled. Even if I am consciously trying not to overdo anything, fact is, she gets my undivided resources being money, time and attention.

Perhaps we're defining spoiled differently.

I mean to say, that she is getting way more investment than say I was when growing up in a huge family.

If by “spoiled” you mean you can invest more emotional energy into her because you don’t have other kids around then I don’t see why this is so negative. You say yourself “way more investment” which IMHO is a good, not a negative thing.

I am an only child and the description of us on this site is horrific. Being an only child means as an adult, I don’t have live parents and my kids don’t have grandparents or first cousins on my side. Think hard before you talk about only children in such a negative way.

I had a child who was an only for six years and I don’t consider him spoiled at all. We had a fantastic relationship at that time. I was a much better parent IMHO when I had one versus the big bunch of kids I am overstretched with now.

My youngest is significantly younger than his older siblings. Honestly, I can’t wait until he is the only one at home and I am not embroiled in older teen/adult dramas and can focus on him.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:36 am
The extra privileges are awesome opportunities but DS is feeling very hard done by that he is on his own. He has lots of friends over but they can't replace siblings.
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amother




Lily
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:44 am
amother OP wrote:
The extra privileges are awesome opportunities but DS is feeling very hard done by that he is on his own. He has lots of friends over but they can't replace siblings.

So hopefully he can visit his siblings. It is good he misses them and wants to maintain a relationship with them.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 11:46 am
amother OP wrote:
I love that, Chayelle, and I'm so happy to hear from someone who can relate.

How did you find it when the older kids were away (I know it was only temporary, like during the summer) and you had just your youngest DD at home?


It's hard sometimes. I am sometimes her only entertainment. Sometimes we will go out for a Shabbos meal, like to a relative in the area (we hardly ever eat out - we're usually big homebodies) because it makes things more exciting and less overwhelming. Two weeks ago on Shabbos afternoon I walked her across town in the heat to get together with my niece, and then walked back. I came home red as a tomato. I end up doing these things for her because she gets so bored....It's not easy.
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amother




Camellia
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 12:09 pm
amother Lily wrote:
If by “spoiled” you mean you can invest more emotional energy into her because you don’t have other kids around then I don’t see why this is so negative. You say yourself “way more investment” which IMHO is a good, not a negative thing.

I am an only child and the description of us on this site is horrific. Being an only child means as an adult, I don’t have live parents and my kids don’t have grandparents or first cousins on my side. Think hard before you talk about only children in such a negative way.

I had a child who was an only for six years and I don’t consider him spoiled at all. We had a fantastic relationship at that time. I was a much better parent IMHO when I had one versus the big bunch of kids I am overstretched with now.

My youngest is significantly younger than his older siblings. Honestly, I can’t wait until he is the only one at home and I am not embroiled in older teen/adult dramas and can focus on him.


I specifically didn't use the word love.

You can never invest enough love in a child and that is not the same as attention, money and time which I wrote about.

P.s. I would love to have been an only. My siblings are not assests in my life at all!!

Just the contrary.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 2:13 pm
amother Lily wrote:
So hopefully he can visit his siblings. It is good he misses them and wants to maintain a relationship with them.


His siblings are in yeshiva abroad so no visits but he's definitely looking forward to bein hazmanim.
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amother




Birch
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 2:31 pm
amother OP wrote:
Any advice you can share?


So first off all ditch the pity. I can see that you feel bad for him. I don't think that's helpful. My kids are very lucky and I tell them all the time how lucky they are. They have their own room, lots of toys that they don't need to share, lots of space, we can do things easily and be on the go, we can go away with friends because we have room in the car.

I originally didn't want to give advice because I really don't have any. But since you asked I basically make up for it by having lots of activities for them to do, having an open house with lots of friends over and also trying to get them to learn skills so they can keep themselves busy. For example, sewing, musical instruments, jump rope, sports etc...

I also get things that I like doing with them. So when I buy a game I will buy something that I know I will enjoy playing because 50 percent of them time I am playing with them (usually only one of them)

Also it's important to have structure (which I'm not good at) even only children never have enough time with their parents. Kids want all of us. So just letting him know that you need time from 5-6 for yourself but after supper you will play a long game of Monopoly with him.

Find things you will like to do with him. Going for walks, playing a sport, going to see a sunset, reading with him, baking with him. Whatever you can both bond on.

Hope this is helpful. I am no perfect parent and I haven't got this down pat at all.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 3:00 pm
amother Birch wrote:
So first off all ditch the pity. I can see that you feel bad for him. I don't think that's helpful. My kids are very lucky and I tell them all the time how lucky they are. They have their own room, lots of toys that they don't need to share, lots of space, we can do things easily and be on the go, we can go away with friends because we have room in the car.

I originally didn't want to give advice because I really don't have any. But since you asked I basically make up for it by having lots of activities for them to do, having an open house with lots of friends over and also trying to get them to learn skills so they can keep themselves busy. For example, sewing, musical instruments, jump rope, sports etc...

I also get things that I like doing with them. So when I buy a game I will buy something that I know I will enjoy playing because 50 percent of them time I am playing with them (usually only one of them)

Also it's important to have structure (which I'm not good at) even only children never have enough time with their parents. Kids want all of us. So just letting him know that you need time from 5-6 for yourself but after supper you will play a long game of Monopoly with him.

Find things you will like to do with him. Going for walks, playing a sport, going to see a sunset, reading with him, baking with him. Whatever you can both bond on.

Hope this is helpful. I am no perfect parent and I haven't got this down pat at all.


You're right. I need to ditch the pity. I don't actually think he has reason to feel sorry for himself, I just feel bad that he's taking it so hard.

We've talked about how lucky he is over the years but he has yet to acknowledge it.

Thanks for sharing.
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amother




Birch
 

Post Wed, Sep 07 2022, 3:33 pm
amother OP wrote:
You're right. I need to ditch the pity. I don't actually think he has reason to feel sorry for himself, I just feel bad that he's taking it so hard.

We've talked about how lucky he is over the years but he has yet to acknowledge it.

Thanks for sharing.


It's the job of children to complain.

The other day I asked my daughter what "I'm bored" means. She said that it means "Mommy I want you to help me figure out what is the best thing to do!"
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