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How do you help an only child develop coping strategies for difficult situations?

(4 Posts)
wonderingstar01 Tue 14-Oct-14 17:29:58

My DD is an only child, aged 13. It seems to me that kids in her school who have been brought up with siblings are far better at dealing with anxiety and confidence problems than she is.

My natural tendency as a mum is to fix, fix, fix and I know it's doing her no favours. How do you balance giving your child the life skills to cope with negative aspects of life whilst making sure you remain the care-taker of their state of mind?

Caniaskaquestion Sun 19-Oct-14 12:22:37

Well, I have a sibling, an older brother, and have always struggled with confidence and anxiety, so it might not be an only child thing. In fact the negative comparisons teachers made between me and my brother ( who was exceptionally good at maths and science in a school with very low academic success. My brother studied maths at Oxford) probably contributed to my low confidence!
I am not sure you should see yourself as the caretaker of her mental state. She needs to take control of this herself. I have found mindfulness, and meditation and yoga helpful in managing my anxiety. If it helps, over my life I have become much better and much more resilient, so your daughter may find her own way in time.
I think there is a lot of attention at the moment on building emotional resilience in children so you could maybe try googling that to see what strategies are suggested?
Sorry not to be more helpful. I will be watching this thread though, as I am interested in this topic for my own ds after my childhood experiences!

Reasontobelieve Thu 30-Oct-14 19:37:43

I think that there are so many other factors outside being an only child that might impact upon an individual's confidence, that it is impossible to see it in isolation. I have met lots of people who have siblings who are not confident and have admitted this to me. Similarly, I have come across only children who fall into both camps. I am an only child and am confident in most situations, I have a friend who isn't - but we are from different backgrounds.

Even so, as the parent of a dd who is also 13, it is something that I have always kept my eye on. I think it is because I have always wanted to make sure that she was as confident as possible - but I would have done the same if we had more children.

One of the strategies that I have followed since she was quite young, is to put her in slightly testing situations, where she would need to cope. For example, sending her on holiday play schemes where she didn't know anyone - this was also true of her secondary school. I also give her a reasonable amount of independence. For example today, she went into London with some friends and she was able to get them to different areas of interest based on previous trips with us.

Inevitably there have been situations that have been upsetting for both of us. For example, she was with a difficult group of girls at primary school and when I look back, I feel that I should have intervened more.

I think that you can help her take care of her state of mind, just by talking about situations. I often do this, even if my dd doesn't want to listen! Unless a situation has got out of hand, I don't think that you can fix things, as they are beyond the age when this works. If you think about it, you won't be able to do this when she leaves home, so it is probably best to step back now. Although this is difficult, just think that with every negative experience that she takes on now, she will be far more ready to deal with something similar when she is older.

Heyho111 Tue 02-Dec-14 20:05:41

I don't think this has to do with being an only child but more about their personality.
Teen girls can have quite volatile relationships. One minute they are lovely to each other , the next quite cruel ! When you listen to them talk there is loads of criticising , strong opinions and it can sound nasty. Lots of girls sail through it shrugging any nasty or bossy remarks off. Other girls feel the nasty remarks and get hurt and upset by them.
When our child is the latter all we can do is try to minimalise what is happening. Make it feel stupid and insignificant. Never get involved it will make it far worse if you do (unless it is bullying)
I hated this stage. Good luck.

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