11 August 2010

Raising an Only Child

Good grief.  An entire how-to on not making your kid a spoiled tyrant.  But did you note there wasn't any question about "is it legal?" or "what about socialization?" as there would be with homeschoolers.  Homeschoolers, the stereotype goes, have around 18 children each, but we need to worry about their socialization.  But the only child's socialization can be taken care of by inviting two friends over every Friday night for a sleepover.  According to the story, anyway. 

Homeschoolers, I guess, need to have about seven co-ops for everything so they see other children exist besides the other kids at the compound and even then?  Welll, they're not being socialized with people of beliefs that are radically different from the parents', so it doesn't count.  But publicly-educated children can somehow NEVER be exposed to the different worldview of Christianity, lest they start foaming at the mouth and writhing on the floor and we all have to start speaking Latin prayers.  (That, or their parents might get offended and sue. Pick one.)  Only Christian homeschoolers should make sure to get their kid indoctrinated by people with a "different" viewpoint.

I'm juuust not getting the mainstream media thing. 

I could understand a stereotype being explored with some sort of reasonable attempt at objectivity, but this article interviewed people who let their only child be an equal decision-making partner who then wonders why teachers and coaches don't fully implement her suggestions.  Woww. 

I'm a little odd myself, though, and find myself wondering why the article seemed to brush off having an only as a mostly economic thing.  Especially as the interviewed couples actually consider "going on vacation" and that sort of thing... I'm sure I could raise a kid or two for a year for the same amount of cash they're spending at the resort.  Which is fine if that's what they want to do, but let's not fool ourselves.  It isn't an economic thing.  They just want to live the luxurious lifestyle and not have to go through diapers twice.  How 'bout some honesty?  I figure readers can be ok with honesty.  I'm not too keen on changing diapers myself, what with having a 42-pound kid wearing them and all.

And the suggestion that the parents ignore their only child for two hours a day so he can explore activities and friendships on his own is just AWFUL.  When Patrick was a baby, he went everywhere I did except the shower and he was an awesome little friend.  He played with other children, too, in the apartment swimming pool.  I went to mommy groups and met other parents with tiny kids.  It was soo much fun.  Right now, I am *very* isolated.  I see people at church twice a week and say "hi."  The few times I've come out about my struggles, I've been told that so and so knew someone with SEVEN children, so...

Oh, yeah.  I'm sure it's the exact same thing, and they had the same struggles I do right now, nevermind that so and so raised her seven kids in the 1940's. *Whatever.*  My point being that people are all different and when we explore social trends, we really need to be careful about balancing insight into the trend and respect for the fact that people who are living the "trend" are all different.  I read this article thinking the people I know with only children are a much more balanced bunch and don't go out of their way apologizing for it or trying to somehow "make up for" the fact that their child is an only kid.  It is what it is, and I'm not seeing why somehow having one child is weird, two is normal, three is pushing it, but four or more children is classified as breeding like an animal and why don't they quit doing that.  Just saying. :)

13 comments:

  1. Nice post!
    I nearly choked when I read the bit about 2 hours of ignoring a child so they can explore!

    I would be thrilled if my toddler would allow ignoring for 10 minutes!

    I complete agree that blanket parenting rules are just ... well... impossible!

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  2. I forgot how funny you are!! Awesome!

    Can I comment on 2 posts in one? the lady with the white t-shirt. We went to the amusement park here and pre-teen and teen girls wearing white and then riding water rides. not what i wanted my kids or teen son to take in. hmmm...and no parents in sight for these girls.

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  3. I feel sorry for only children. That is all.. got to run.. got over 300 blog updates to catch up on! EEEkkkkk.

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  4. Mrs C, it is my fondest wish to become as brilliantly snarky as you. You, madam, are a riot.

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  5. I have a nephew who is an only. Complete strangers used to lecture his parents on the ill effects of not providing him with a sibling but he's turned out o.k. Even socialises on the odd occassion without mum dancing attendance. ☺

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  6. "But publicly-educated children can somehow NEVER be exposed to the different worldview of Christianity"

    Hahahahahaha!!!!!!

    Trust me, publicly educated children are exposed to plenty of Christianity. All.the.time. We just don't want them to have to pray to your god too.

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  7. Sirenity, I think sometimes five minutes of ignoring would even be a good thing... right, Mom? Right, Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? :)

    Zimms, I think the girls probably planned that if they're doing it in groups... ew.

    Hii, Chris!

    Thanks, Deb! I'm glad you liked my post. :)

    Ganeida, that is shocking! I could see chatting about the only thing if you know the folks pretty well, but the chastising and stuff is *over the top.*

    Purple, I disagree. Public schools do not expose children to the WORLDVIEW of Christianity.

    Though true, you may be exposed to "Christianity" insofar as some kid wears a dopey T-shirt or children tease each other or whatever, the Bible and Christian worldview is not studied or discussed in any depth whatsoever. And nobody said anything about forced prayer. You added that bit.

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  8. The bible is discussed in comparative religion classes as appropriate. When else should it be studied? But it's not studied as some true rule book like you'd like it to be.

    Why would children be taught a Christian Worldview or any other religious worldview in public school? We're just about through with public high school and I still haven't heard about any discussion about any religious worldview in any class.

    I'm stunned that you think children teasing each other about religion is appropriate. I guess as long as they're not "teasing" about something that's important to you, it's OK.

    Kids learn plenty about Christianity. We're lucky in that most of my children's teachers have not felt the need to tell the kids what they believe, but it has happened. And my kids have sung religious songs for the holiday program (I'm not talking Santa Claus stuff), along with the ever pious "Dreidel Dreidel". There have been no teachers telling kids about their beliefs about any other religion.

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  9. Purple:

    First off, you pop onto my blog and comment not on the larger substance of my post (only children in a particular article), but on about ONE sarcastic sentence in the middle of my post. Then you tell me that kids in public school shouldn't "have to pray" to my God.

    Um, which I never said.

    THEN, when I tried to clarify my position a bit more by saying that a dopey T-shirt or teasing is NOT a communication of a Christian worldview (did you see "Christian" in quotation marks? there was a reason for that), you jump on me to say that I "THINK" teasing is appropriate.

    Um, which I never said.

    Here's what I will say: further comments that I know are from you will be deleted. Go somewhere else.

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  10. Mrs. C., Purple popped onto the wrong blog . . . nobody puts words in Mrs. C.'s mouth!

    To me, the big picture problem here is society has forgotten personhood. Schools were designed around the industrial, factory model to produce a certain kind of employee. That doesn't work. Whether you homeschool or whether you school away from home, children are going to become who they are meant to be. I've seen kids from homeschools, public schools, and private schools with snotty, bratty attitudes. I've seen kids from all three live double lives. I've even seen kids from all three who turned out pretty well.

    I believe that parents do have a stronger influence on children than they think. But, I also think we ought to take great care in making sure we respect who they are, even when they are driving us up a wall.

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  11. Yep. And only children are growing up differently than my children, but they are still social beings. This whole article was full of hooey.

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  12. I am a homeschooling parent of an only child and wrote about this subject just recently. I hope you will not mind the link: The Double Whammy

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  13. Thanks! I'm coming over to visit!

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)