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Parenting an Only Child: the Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only Paperback – August 14, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Forget about Leave It to Beaver, argues Newman (Little Things Mean a Lot) in this revised edition. These days, who needs siblings? They cost more money, demand more time and clutter up the house. One child may be the perfect balance for career types who want a family, or for older parents unwilling or unable to go through another pregnancy. Newman first lays out and debunks myths about the sad lives of only children: "onlies" or "singletons" are not shy, aggressive, spoiled or maladjusted. In the book's most trying section, she presents research and testimonies from parents of only children and from "adult onlies," which are helpful but occasionally sound somewhat scripted. She often seems defensive, and sometimes attacks families with multiple children noting, for example, that having four children is no longer "socially acceptable," or that only children see therapists more frequently simply because their parents are more attuned to their emotions. Yet discussing a case of sibling rivalry, she somewhat smugly recounts that the older child had to see a therapist because of aggression. This selectivity grates, especially later when she addresses exactly those issues that she previously dubbed myths e.g., the spoiled child, or "little adult syndrome." Nonetheless, she expertly discusses the finer points of raising an only child, with tips for encouraging sharing, making sure your child isn't running the household and guarding against a "state-of-the-art Child" that would help any parent in our affluent, child-centered times. Though she is generally too biased to help parents who are equivocating about family size, Newman's appealing, no-nonsense delivery and solid, reassuring advice will behoove those who already know that they will have only one child. (On-sale Aug. 14)

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Since almost a third of today's American parents are opting for one-child families, only children have become a popular subject for books in the past year (Ellie McGrath, My One and Only , LJ 6/15/89). Newman, author of several YA nonfiction titles, talks about the pressures facing parents to have larger families but argues that one child fits very well into the modern lifestyle. After enumerating the positive aspects of being and parenting an only child, Newman discusses the negatives but counters with practical advice on how to avoid common pitfalls. Much of the book's advice is useful for parenting in general, but parents of onlies will find this a particularly helpful guide.
-Marguerite Mroz, Baltimore Cty. P.L.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Revised and Upd edition (August 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767906292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767906296
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a social psychologist, for decades I have focused on relationship and family issues from enriching parent-child and family connections to reaching a sensible balance between work and family, from preventing child abduction and alcohol abuse to getting along better with your parents when you are all adults, and more. The material for my articles and books comes from extensive interviewing and evaluation often combined with the studies and findings of other psychologists, psychiatrists, and related experts. My goal is to provide readers the most accurate, objective, and useful insights available on the topic.

I believe conflicts and disturbing problems can be eased, if not solved, and most relationships improved when people are willing to make the effort. My books are created and designed to give you the information and tools to help you succeed in making a better, happier life for yourself, your children, your parents, partner, friends, and work colleagues.

Those considering or raising an only child will find interesting discussions at my Psychology Today magazine blog: Singletons

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 152 people found the following review helpful By "bobbidipity" on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I expected this book to be about PARENTING an only child per its title and was disappointed. Susan Newman did touch on some important issues such as teaching sharing and respectfulness and avoiding loneliness, although there wasn't a lot of meat to the chapters on these subjects. She also discussed being careful not to have excessive expectations of an only child, which I found interesting. However, a great deal of this book was devoted to justifying the decision to have an only child. If you're struggling with your family planning choices and would like someone to tell you repeatedly you're doing the right thing, you may enjoy this book. At this point, I don't need justification, I need information on addressing relevant issues so that I can be the best possible parent to my child. I also do not need reasons why my decision to have an only child is "superior" to the paths other families choose and was a little disturbed by the author's tone. Bottom line: this book effectively identifies some concerns of parents of only children, but I will be looking elsewhere for more substantial parenting support.
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By isu94 on August 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
My husband and I had pretty much decided not to have anymore children but still had some reservations. However after reading this book I can say that I am much more at ease with the decision. Dr. Newman did so much research and includes quotes and other examples directly not only from educators and doctors, but from real people who are the parents of only children and, most importantly, only children themselves. The reader gets a broad spectrum of input from many different people yet the author ensures that the most important point remain clear--that only children are not deprived, spoiled, overly dependent or social recluses. Dr. Newman, along with her myriad of real-life interviewees, truly takes a stand against the ideas that society has implanted into the minds of parents, making them believe that their child will grow up "missing something" or be maladjusted simply because they do not have a sibling. Dr. Newman also makes sure to include what "not" to do as the parent of an only...some common traps and other unintentional mistakes parents of onlies can make. My son is only three, so this book gave me tremendous insight, advice and suggestions on how to not treat him like an "only child," but simply how to love him as an individual person, regardless of anything else. This book is really about common sense. ALL children go through stages of clinginess, hitting or other beahvioral problems, difficulty with sharing, etc. Yet only children tend to get singled out when these things occur because ignorant people assume they don't have the social skills like a child with a sibling. A child can also prefer to play alone or enjoy solitary activities, siblings or not.Read more ›
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By E. Bushman on November 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
After taking parenting classes, listening to audio tapes and reading any book on parenting I finally found a book, and author, that really answered all of my questions. Parenting an Only Child by Dr. Susan Newman has been the first book I've highlighted sections of since college and my co-worders love to borrow. Here is just a little of a teaser:
If you are even thinking about having only one child, and haven't made your decision yet, you MUST read this book. It will remove any guilt and pressure.
Attempting to shield your only child is perhaps the easiest trap into which you can fall. As soon as you start interfering, tears will flow and dependence will begin to blossom.
Don't focus on oneness. (This was Dr Newman's answer to my e-mail query, "Should I start an only child play group?")
Involve your child as much as possible in activities that do not center on him, such as team sports, summer trips or camp programs.
Playdates, playdates, playdates! The more your child shares his toys, his meals, and even his bedtime rituals at sleepovers the more she will learn how to get along with others. Onlies have to search these out daily as they don't have the built-in play available with a sibling. In effect, create sibling relationships so he gets noncontrolling behavior modeling from other sources.
Advance reminders help an only child to your going out without him. Rebellion against your going out is one of the most obvious indications that your child is seeking control.
So that about sums up my favorite parts but not the entire value of the book. So either try and get your hands on my highlighted well worn copy if you dare or spend the $13 for your own. I guarantee it's cheaper than counseling! And one last thing, thank you Dr. Newman for the best parenting book I've ever read!
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By K. Gerson on February 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I have read on deciding to stop with one child. My husband and I wanted our first born to be an only, but struggled with all the stereotypical concerns. This book addressed EVERY one of our concerns and helped us feel better about our decision. Although the book did talk about women's careers as an impetus for this decision (I am a stay at home mom), I still found the book very applicable and informative. I would recommend this book to anyone thinking about having an only child. The second half of the book deals with parenting an only child and is a very good resource for those who have already made the decision.
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