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Only children are not special snowflakes

(24 Posts)
ProserpinaColada Sun 15-Jan-17 08:12:50

This isn't a TAAT but it is inspired by a recent thread on this board PLUS many others on MN over the years

Some parents of onlies have got to stop thinking of our children as special snowflakes If they're good at conversing with others it's not because they've had plenty of interaction with adults (mumsnet myth) - they're just good at chatting, just like little Cyril who has plenty of siblings. If they're acting like a little shit then they're no different to little Dorothy who can be a little shit and she has siblings.

Onlies don't need socialising like puppies. When DD was 5 she would do Rainbows one night a week and swimming at the weekend. After a long day being bored rigid at school she might fancy going to the park or she might prefer to come home and chill in front of the telly. We'd play it by ear.

She is now a very gregarious 12 year old who can handle herself socially but - and this is a real life skill - she is happy in her own company and can occupy herself on YouTube for many an hour.

I would like to put this down to my superior parenting but actually I've spent a large part of her childhood ignoring her whilst I mess about on Mumsnet blush

So what I'm trying to say - with lots of waffling - is try not to make your only your 'project' - just treat them the same way you would if they had siblings: indulge them and ignore them!

bummedmummy Sun 15-Jan-17 22:11:30

Love this post.

stumblymonkey Sun 15-Jan-17 22:16:28

I was an only child. I'm a special snowflake and you can't tell me otherwise grin

retainertrainer Fri 20-Jan-17 13:00:43

You're right,I need to 'ignore' my DS a bit more. I do indulge him too much.

HSMMaCM Fri 27-Jan-17 12:37:20

Of course my dd is a special snowflake. It's a special skill to get that many clothes out of your wardrobe, onto the floor, just to look for the t-shirt she has leant to a friend.

Nessie71 Thu 23-Feb-17 07:36:47

Love this....my daughter is 7 and recently she has been a nightmare with friends getting stroppy because she cannot get her own way!! We never let her at home...but the amount of people who have said "but she is on her own" like that is a ok reason to be a shit!! But im sure there are kids with siblings who do this too.

MrsGB2225 Thu 23-Feb-17 07:43:22

My DH is an only child and he is definitely a special snowflake. His parents still run around after him and he's mid thirties!

Donthate Thu 23-Feb-17 07:46:14

Does the 'onlies' thing cause so much angst in other countries?

Have child/ children. Try to help them grow up in to reasonable adult/ adults. Don't indulge them too much, don't neglect them too much. But most of all, don't worry what others think if you are doing your best and can see your dc are turning out alright.

WindwardCircle Thu 23-Feb-17 07:48:59

My DD is the fourth generation female only child on the maternal side, she should be special snowflake squared!

Expellibramus Thu 23-Feb-17 07:53:53

After a long day being bored rigid at school she might fancy going to the park or she might prefer to come home and chill in front of the telly. We'd play it by ear.

I think maybe this is part of it. If I had an only I would do the same, but having two, they often have to put up with doing something because it fits in with plans the other child has. So I think they get a bit more used to doing things they might not want to, and sharing when they might not feel like it.

I'm not saying one situation is better than the other, just that it's a common difference.

ThePurpleOneWithTheNut Thu 23-Feb-17 07:59:17

I agree OP. I was an only but have 3dc myself. Mind you my parents were never indulgers in any shape or form. So I grew up with the assumption from others that as an only I was probably getting the snowflake treatment but wasn't.

Imavinoops Thu 23-Feb-17 08:02:27

gets out my only child tiara and starts prancing

I don't think it's onlies who always get the snowflake treatment, otherwise we wouldn't use the term PFB on MN. Very similar thing I think. wink

goes to find magic wand

Nicpem1982 Thu 23-Feb-17 08:03:50

I agree op - although I have siblings there's a 20 year age gap between me and my next eldest sibling so I was treated as a only child I too spent a lot of my childhood having to occupy myself

Nicpem1982 Thu 23-Feb-17 08:05:45

Sorry posted too soon

My dd is also an only and we try really hard to balance indulging her and leaving her to it and helping her build independence

AnnPerkins Thu 23-Feb-17 08:19:26

I loathe MN assumptions about o lies.

I don't think only dc have the monopoly on expecting their own way, DS has a lot of trouble with his friend's controlling ways. Friend has a little bro and they're very close. I suspect friend expects DS to do as he says like little bro does.

Expellibramus Thu 23-Feb-17 08:25:48

*I loathe MN assumptions about o lies.

I don't think only dc have the monopoly on expecting their own way, DS has a lot of trouble with his friend's controlling ways. Friend has a little bro and they're very close. I suspect friend expects DS to do as he says like little bro does.*

Obviously not the monopoly, no, I can't imagine anybody saying that.

Love51 Thu 23-Feb-17 08:32:36

People like to see patterns, it is the way out brains work. So dd and her cousin apparently clash sometimes because they are both the eldest sibling, and apparently used to being in charge. Anything ds can't do that dd could at the same age is because he's a lazy boy (she had a freaky special talent in one area where he is normal, also at 3 he's slightly less interested than she was in craft). The rules are eldests are bossy, middles are ignored, youngests are mavericks, and onlies 'need' more time with others / to learn to share.
Although apparently kids learn to share by being shared with. So maybe parents of onlies need to buy colouring pens / Lego / sweets for themselves and allow dc to have a turn. #logicalfallacy
There may be a chance children are just people, who 90% of the time are lovely and 10% of the time are possessed by a desire to want their own way.

Crazyhorselady Thu 23-Feb-17 08:50:30

My little girl is an only child. I struggled. Her grandparents on her dad's side spoil her for being an only then I'm left dealing with her acting a spoilt brat. I bring her up how I was brought up. Yes I indulge her but she's my princess. I keep horses so for her 3rd birthday got her a pony (she just turned 3 at xmas). My brother n sis have 4 & 3 kids n my sis also has 3 step kids lol. So she isn't stuck for ppl to play with but they also say they can't do something cuz if their kids. My little girl is kept occupied up at horse. Plus f I had anymore kids I don't think I cud afford anymore ponies lol.

JaxingJump Thu 23-Feb-17 09:07:49

I only know one only and he's a special snowflake in the nicest way possible. His mum spends all her time and energy with him. But that's her style of parenting too. I don't think it's a negative, they are literally best friends. He needs a lot of attention but at the same time is a really great kid. Some of that because of personality but also some because of the way he interacts and learns from his intensively one-on-one with his mum. There are some advantages and some disadvantages to being an only and they all have their own personalities of course but the one I know is thriving and has huge expectations for attention, explainations, calm words. The stress levels in their house are way lower than in mine where 3 under 4 spend half the day attacking each other and crying. When I have any of them on their own for a few hours it's so peaceful and lovely to spend time with them but having 3 and having 1 is simply different.

Pluses and minuses to every set up.

AgainstTheOddsNo2 Thu 23-Feb-17 09:49:59

Actually my only dd is has aspergers and she does have to be socialised "like a dog" as you put it. Soctal stuff is very much a learnt behaviour for her which she finds very difficult and needs practice. If she had close in age siblings she could get this practice at home but she doesn't.

That doesn't mean she gets away with everything. She still has rules she still has to do chores and she still gets told no.

AnnPerkins Thu 23-Feb-17 11:12:53

I posted in a hurry earlier. What I wanted to say was I hate it when I'm reading a thread about a child's behaviour and someone always pipes up 'Is he/she an only child?' Like that should explain anything hmm.

You can find a way to explain any behaviour in a child: they're an only child, they're an eldest/youngest/middle child, they're from a large family. Any characteristic can be attributed to any position within a family if that's your bias of choice.

ProserpinaColada Thu 23-Feb-17 11:57:17

I think maybe this is part of it. If I had an only I would do the same, but having two, they often have to put up with doing something because it fits in with plans the other child has. So I think they get a bit more used to doing things they might not want to, and sharing when they might not feel like it

Nope, not letting you get away with that grin

OP here - the part you quoted from my first post was addressing some parents-of-onlies (henceforth known as POOs!) who worry that they have to fill their child's every waking hour with play dates, activities or <shudders> actually play with the snowflakes themselves!

My DD is used to fitting around my schedule, friends' schedules, accommodating other people's wishes, making compromises, sharing. You don't need a sibling to learn any of these things, indeed I know plenty of non-onlies who are incapable of doing so.

Millionprammiles Thu 23-Feb-17 13:29:01

"There may be a chance children are just people, who 90% of the time are lovely and 10% of the time are possessed by a desire to want their own way."

Exactly this.

There's a tendency to blame character traits on a lack of siblings - whereas you rarely hear "oh he plays quite roughly, he must be used to beating the crap out of his little brother" grin

Its perfectly possible that a child is less than enamoured with another child's younger sibling not because they're an only "and not used to having to share with others" but because they thought they were having a playdate with their friend, not babysitting a toddler while the parents drink wine and ignore them....

applesareredandgreen Thu 23-Feb-17 18:15:46

My DS is an 'only'. he's nearly 16 . I've lurked and occasionally posted on MN on and off for about 8 years (mostly on boards which are not about parenting ) and i never realised that there was a board specifically around only children ! I have obviously been ignoring my special snowflake's very individual needs!

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