Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mind Your Manners

"Because as an only child, you have your own little world." -Maynard James Keenan

Something has to be done. And quickly. Have you ever had that feeling of urgency come over you? Leg-shaking, nail-biting, eye-rolling, earth-shattering urgency? You notice something, even the smallest flaw in your child or your parenting. Then all of a sudden it becomes the most important thing in the world. You think about it constantly and you get angry at yourself and annoyed at your child.

No? Then maybe it's just me...

Even when she's being fresh, I find her amusing
We've noticed lately that the Peanut's manners need a little routine maintenance. The check engine light is flashing on my parental dashboard. What happened to "please?" Why does she demand things instead of asking for them? When did "may I" get replaced with "I want?"

And when we correct her, she's really going to get annoyed at us? I don't think so, my little friend.

I know the Peanut is a good little girl at heart. I know she hears me, even though she doesn't like to let on that she's listening. Just the other day during a play date at our house I overheard her tell her friend, "'I don't know' is a bad word." That's all me.  Whenever she answers us with, "I don't know" I tell her, "I don't know isn't an answer." NOT that it's a bad word. But at least she's listening to me. Kind of.

I've become more aware of her manners and how we give in to her wishes, most recently because of the strong possibility that Peanut will be an only child. That's not what we had planned. But you know what they say about making plans.

So until further notice, we need to start treating Peanut like an only child without allowing her to develop only child syndrome. You know, the general belief that the world revolves around you? And that other people merely exist to serve you in some way? And if they don't believe that then you have no use for them?

I know a lot of only children. I sit next to one at work. Trust me when I say that for the most part it ain't pretty. Still, he's one of my co-workers I like the most. So that's something. And there are plenty of bad-mannered children who have siblings.

We'll start with the manners. If she's going to expect the world to revolve around her, the least she can do is start saying please again, and ask nicely even if it's only a formality. But for the love of God if she doesn't start asking for things nicely I'm going to stop feeding her, period.

The irony is that if she does end up being an only child, we're going to be able to provide her with things we might not have been able to if we were to have a second. (See: spontaneous trip to Disney for her birthday in March.) And that may in turn end up spoiling her. 

There's a fine line between providing and spoiling. I think we often walk that fine line. Do we step over it sometimes? Sure. It's up to us to know the difference, and make sure Peanut does too. Only child or not, it still always comes down to love, and being her parents. 


  1. I don't know, I am the father of two girls, each of whom believe that the world revolves around them. Does that mean we should have a third? (Hint: the answer is "not really possible")

    What I do know is that whatever your doing already... keep doing that. Phases are phases, but more so, the kids who grow up with issues are the ones that are never corrected or told that what they are doing is not acceptable. And usually those kids have *gasp* parents who behave badly themselves.

    Just by writing the blog, you obviously care about how Peanut will be when she grows up. Sure there are hiccups along the way, but it will be a great reflection of your parenting skills when we are reading great things from her in twenty years, only child or not.

  2. It will be a fine line between spoiling and being able to give her things that an only child can get. I was the only child and the only grandchild for 10 years until the rest of my cousins came along. It's a fact, I was showered with attention, but I was raised with love, respect (and a little fear). You'll figure it out. Minding the matters is an excellent step.

  3. Awww I bet you'll be able to keep only child syndrome at bay! Best of luck with everything!!

    For Love of Cupcakes

  4. You have a great blog! Only child here and mine is an only child, too. Only child or not, all kids for a while think the world revolves around them. You've got the right idea, though. Love her, build into her and teach her. She sounds like a great kid. We've been reading a new book (actually "renewed", or re-released) I think you might like. It aligns with a lot of what you're saying and concerned about. It's called ...“She Calls Me Daddy: 7 Things You Need to Know About Building a Complete Daughter,” by Robert Wolgemuth. The original book came out in the 90s, a best-seller. It has great new input from his grown daughters from tea parties to all the facets of life. I think you would like it! Blessings! http://www.tyndale.com/She-Calls-Me-Daddy/9781589977853#.U7jH414Q7wI


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