Help! Managing Only Child Syndrome.

I need help!  Some severe behavioral issues are rearing their head & I need some ideas.

B is most often a well behaved, polite young man.  People comment all the time on how sweet & considerate he is.  And it’s true.  In a group setting with other children, at school, or with adults, he is great.  We are pretty tough on him when it comes to please & thank you’s, being respectful and not using “bad words” like stupid, hate, sucks & bored.

However, I have recently noticed a glitch in this operation.  When interacting with other only children, in his home environment, he is selfish, mean, and short tempered.  He screams while playing video games meant for teamwork, “calls” first turns or for specific color plates etc, and melts down when the other child doesn’t want to play the same thing he does.

My theory is that when he plays with children with siblings, they are used to compromising so they let him get his way.  Or if he is at school, he knows what is expected of him in order to be considered a “good boy”.  But surrounded by his stuff, with another child that is used to getting their way, everything goes to crap!  Like screaming, crying, kicking, hitting CRAP!

How do you teach a child to share & compromise when there is no one to share or compromise with on a daily basis?  We never intended for him to be an only child….and we’re working on changing it!…so we never put a great amount of thought into preventing those stereotypical behavioral concerns that may come with it.

Does anyone have any experience with this?  Any suggestions?


4 thoughts on “Help! Managing Only Child Syndrome.

  1. Jolene says:

    We had and only child for 7 yrs. 10 mo. and I am an only child, so rest assured he will be just fine either way it turns out (well, as “fine” as any of us. LOL). We started winning and getting his “goat” when we thought it could be a teaching moment…. Hardest thing for me as mom was seeing him have a tough time with a friend, and trying to understand why other kids don’t listen or respect each other (like he experiences with mom and dad in our family relationship). They just never get to experience someone being mean just to get you mad, like a sibling would. We work on that and teaching him to “let it roll of his back”. I don’t remember that as a kid, but boys and girls are different. People used to say to us all the time how they couldn’t believe he was a only child, which is nonsense. All kids are spoiled these days. Trust your judgement! I am sure you guys are doing great parenting!

  2. Heh, heh, heh. I could go to town on this one. But I won’t. I’ll point you in the right direction. Read the Love and Logic books by Jim Fay. And FYI buying your kids crap all the time and letting them play video games causes behavior problems.

  3. Jessica says:

    As an only child myself, I can relate to being at that age where you just don’t want to share your stuff. The only advice I can give you is try to nip the behavior in the bud. When he has a meltdown, immediately give out a punishment that will hit home with him. If he’s fighting over a toy, then he loses it for a day, two days- whatever you feel is appropriate. But also be very mindful to explain to him WHY he’s being punished. My parents did this with me (especially after spanking), and so I always understood exactly what behavior was expected of me, what wasn’t appropriate, and what I shouldn’t do if I didn’t want to get punished. Be firm about it, and ALWAYS follow through. He’ll get the message- it sounds like he’s already well-behaved, but needs to understand that his “good boy” behavior is expected out him at all times. With only children, selfishness can be a real issue- be mindful to praise anything you see him do selflessly. Positive reinforcement never hurts!

  4. IVIRGIN says:

    Let’s be honest, those are his things in his home in his domain. Who would want to share? We have 3 children, the oldest two are 5 yrs, 5 days apart and the younger two are 14 months apart. it doesn’t matter who comes over, they still argue, complain, say they don’t want to share, get upset when someone doesn’t want to play their games. It’s NORMAL! Children learn to share, but I would work on TAKING TURNS over forcing your child to SHARE something they understand but refuse to think logically about when other children are invading their space. Adults do it all of the time, and for the record you can have decent non spoiled children even with buying them tons of crap and letting them play video games. It’s the lesson you give them through all of the things they have and how they got it. Give them chores and ways to earn money, and when they can afford to buy something they have learned a lesson. Saving money is a great way to get what I want or I can save money and get something really big… Either way, you are the parent and we can only give you suggestions… take them with a grain of salt. I’m sure your son will learn the appropriate way to deal with other children in his space and you will be there to help him through his issues that he has. Have you asked him what goes through his mind when other children comes to his house and what he expects to happen.

    Asking him what he feels and how you can help him always works as well 🙂

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