Unique children: stop to received ideas

Being parent of a single child is far from simple. The gaze posed on them by the entourage and the society is sometimes (often) heavy with imprecisions. How can we blame, assume and circumvent the educational pitfalls, to raise our child serenely? The answers of Dr. Anne-Catherine Pernot-Masson.

Have a single child: a murky or imposed decision?

What would be your ideal number of children? To this question, the answer most frequently given is "three". This figure is the one that best fills the current family dreams, the one that seems to guarantee both the development of the child in the siblings and the ideal family vision of the mothers. Needless to say, the single child is not on the list ...

Attention to the wonder child!

Signs that the pressure on these parents is real: it comes from the undertones and negative judgments of other mothers, but also sometimes from the family. "One parent of a single child may feel some discomfort with other mothers surrounded by real children, when it is not guilt" observed during his consultations, Dr. Anne- Catherine Pernot Masson, child psychiatrist and family therapist. Their smiles can mean: "One child is not really a job, while two or three ...". Pressure can also affect the child, often categorized as selfish, capricious and lonely, and even associable. Who has not thought or heard in front of an unbearable child in society: "it is a single child, everything is explained!". If it is not always easy to "brave" the standard, it is nevertheless necessary. "For oneself and for the child" recommends Dr. Anne-Catherine Pernot-Masson.

Parry to the tyrant child

It happens that for personal reasons, some people, do not wish to have other children. "This is the case when parents, and more precisely the mother, are very invested in a professional life, which requires a lot of availability," says our expert. Others are afraid of not being able to assume a second one on the physical, psychic or organizational level. The biological clock also plays an important role. When the first child is conceived shortly before the quarantine, it is more difficult for the mother to manage another very close maternity. This decision can also be taken for reasons of health (maternal cancer, genetic disease ...). Finally, financial difficulties can also count. "It happens more often than one would think," says Dr. Anne-Marie Pernot-Masson.

Give your chances to the sociable child

One might think wrongly that raising a single child is easy! Especially when you have two or four and more. Let us not be mistaken, the challenge is different but just as real. The pitfalls are there. "When we have only one child, most often we are tempted to focus our attention on him" warns the child psychiatrist. A behavior that can be double edged. The fact of being loved unconditionally gives him a definite asset in life, namely a good self-confidence. Indeed, he is often convinced to "fill" his parents, since they do not feel the need to give him little brothers and sisters.

A benefit, which also involves risks, namely enormous pressure. "Thus idealized and carrying all parental expectations, the slightest false step can be fatal" warns our expert. In case of "failed" school report card or gap in school behavior, the rejection threatens ... The problem for these wonderful children, once greater, is to seek to conform to the wishes of their parents, to Keep their love, or on the contrary, displease excessively. In both cases, the "damage" can be significant.

Our advice: Try not to focus solely on the child, your ability to invest in the professional and social sphere, will lessen this pressure on him.

He does nothing but his head, and you yield often ... sometimes too much! If you had three like him, probably you would have put the Ola, but then you finally manage the situation. It is better to straighten the bar, "because a child needs limits, and learn the no, otherwise he will not manage his frustration," says Dr. Anne-Catherine Pernot-Masson. She recommends establishing rules, limits and sticking to it! And above all learn not to give it all.

Moreover, by letting it pass everything, you risk attracting the wrath of your entourage, when it will behave to the identical outside. Growing up the ranks of those who think that unique children are "so capricious."

The one child does not have the opportunity to experience either competition or solidarity with brothers and sisters. But both are important relational assets in terms of flourishing with others. If the child experiences interrelated difficulties, they may appear at school. He can either exclude himself, because he does not know how to go about it, or, on the contrary, seek the exclusive attention of the mistress by being noticed.

It is recommended to open the family outside! To prepare him for life in society, encourage meetings with his cousins ​​and classmates ... Sign him up at a sports club if he is a starter. During the holidays, you can also send it to a colony. Then, it will be able both to cultivate interiority, an asset that gives him its status as a child alone, and sociability with others.

Discover the parent in you, Dr. Anne-Catherine Pernot Masson, Editions Payot, 187 pages, Price: 8,50 €