Tips on raising an only child

The Seven Common Sins of Parenting an Only Child: A Guide for Parents and Families, by Carolyn White, Jossey-Bass, 2004, $16.95.

Short stuff: Book review

Parenthood is one place that is never free of guilt. Being a parent of an only child ratchets up the guilt. How do you raise an only child who’s not lonely and spoiled?

Carolyn White, editor of Only Child magazine, has written a guide to answer just that question. White isn’t a doctor, but an educator and mom of an only child. Keep that grain of salt in mind as you work your way though the seven sins. Overall her advice is spot on, especially when dealing with perfectionism. Yet, as the eldest of three girls and married to an oldest child, a lot of her advice is applicable to other families."Don’t over praise, don’t expect it all, don’t send them out in a plastic bubble.”

It’s comforting to know that White violates her own rules, which is why she wrote the book. When you read something and think,"Oh, my gosh, I do that!” you know immediately you aren’t the only one.

I do agree that having an only child may concentrate our failings and accentuate our errors. I don’t believe, as society would like us to believe, that most of our errors will wash away by giving a child a sibling. White does a great job addressing society’s messages to us while at the same time pointing out our flaws. White is like that great friend who tells you that you tucked your skirt in your underwear. She is honest, blunt, and, I do believe, often correct.

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