Hudson Valley Parent

HVP January 2019

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n January 2019 handicap. Instead, he would remind me that he "turned out ok, and so did my only-child mother. Right?" I must admit, Mike's response allayed some of my fears regarding Saige, especially given that in the case of my husband, his mother, and myself, the most socially inept of the group would probably be me, the one with the sibling! Nurture your child's socio -emotional development Most parents believe that a child's socio-emotional development is influenced by both nature and nurture-type factors. This explains why typically, modern parents of only children place importance on seeking out opportunities for their child to learn behaviors such as sharing, compromise and how to appropriately interact with their By JILL VALENTINO F or the first eight years of her life, my daughter Saige was an only child. This was not planned; a struggle with secondary infertility extended my original desire of a three-year age gap between children to a gap of eight years. For me, growing up with a younger sibling had, I felt, taught me many important socio-emotional life lessons that I likely would not have learned otherwise. For a while, as the parent of not just an only child but an only grandchild (on both sides), I had some pretty hefty concerns regarding Saige growing up without the benefits I believed having a sibling would give her. My husband Mike, an only child himself, didn't share my concerns regarding Saige's sibling-free status as a possible developmental peers. By actively socializing their children, parents of "onlies" can help satisfy the nurture half of their child's socio-emotional development. My mother-in-law Barbara Valentino of Newburgh was quite ahead of her time when it came to ensuring that her son had adequate socialization opportunities as a child. "I sent him to a sitter who had five other children, nursery school early, and a magnet school so that he would meet and interact with children of different backgrounds," Valentino explains. "Mike's father and I always stressed courtesy, consideration of others, and sharing throughout Mike's childhood. He participated in ski club and frequently spent time with his cousins." Barbara made it a point to give her son a variety of experiences as a child, and by taking part in activities such as cycling competitions and karate, Does your only child struggle with sharing? Socialization opportunities to teach kids life lessons Hannah Black (right) says that she empowers her young daughter to communicate her feelings. She praises sharing behaviors but doesn't force it.

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