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One Response to Parenting The Only Child

  1. Kristin  

    Nice article! I am an only child and agree with a lot of these! Yes yes yes on the estate planning stuff, as an adult I am really really starting to appreciate what my parents have done to help with this when the time comes.

    There are two other things I’d add. One is to record and preserve what you can (to a reasonable extent, of course!) of your only child’s childhood via photos and videos, stories or notes jotted down, journals, scrapbooks, whatever. Writing down important dates, itineraries for big trips, whatever seems fun and memorable. I see how my parents, husband, friends and their siblings have such fun reminiscing and correcting each other about various childhood events, and I have this fear (perhaps due to my sloppy memory, I don’t know) that when my parents are gone, I will have nobody to help me remember this stuff — my story in the early years. I truly value the photos of my childhood my parents do have for me, and some memorabilia saved, just to allow me to remember or date various things that happened in my life.

    The other is somewhat related, though probably more important. I think it is really great for families with only children to try as much as they can to build a community or “tribe” of other families, with and without kids, to be close to and support as your child grows. Ideally (though I know this is hard to predict!) for the long haul, into adulthood – people who the only child knows is there if things happen, who will be around to talk to about those above-mentioned memories, who remember how things were years ago, etc.

    For me, my extended family (aunts/uncles/cousins) fills this role, as do various family friends from my parents work, and more, who’ve stuck around and become solid, familiar and loved members of my larger “family”.