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The Seven Common Sins Of Parenting An Only Child Review by Kelly Miller

By Carolyn White
Published By Jossey-Bass
A Wiley Imprint
989 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94103-1741

I took a particular interest in reviewing this book, being the parent of an only child (by God's design and not my own), and I was intrigued not only by the title, but by the author herself. Carolyn White, editor of Only Child Magazine, shares candidly about the hidden problems that can arise in one child households, and in any household for that matter. Problems such as overindulgence, overprotection, failure to discipline, overcompensation, seeking perfection, treating your child like an adult, and overpraising.

This 190 page, soft-covered book is based on the author's own candid experiences in raising a single child, interviewing hundred's of families, and extensive research as editor of a magazine. Think not that Ms. White is pointing a finger and critisizing single child families, but rather emphasizing that "all of us have committed these sins at some time while raising our children (including me). The idea is to arrive at a point where we commit them as infrequently as possible." Her practical, yet seasoned advice beckons the reader to double check their own parenting boundaries, while maintaining the good boundaries in effect. A nice surprise is a self-test at the end of each chapter, which emphasizes key points made in the previous passage.

At first I thought this book was going to be a stereotypical bash on raising only-children. However, it didn't take but a minute after opening the book to discover that this was a woman who could keenly identify with the secondary fertility issues that many women face after birthing their first child. Although society may label us in many ways, Ms. White pleasantly demystifies the dogma of parenting an only child. She shares her journey through multiple miscarriages, fertility treatments, and the large expense of adoption. I cried with her as she shared the heartbreaking story of trying to explain to her daughter why "Mommy couldn't have another child." I could relate, and appreciated her candor on these fragile subjects.

Along with the touching, "real" moments in the book comes the assurance that you can raise an only child, successfully and they can grow up joyful, confident and balanced even without siblings. This is a guide book for all parents and families, and a must read! Whether you have one child, or ten, the wisdom in this book will help you identify possible problems you may have in raising your child.

Publishers Note: Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint books are available at your local bookstore, all major online booksellers and or by calling 800-956-7739. In Canada, call 800-567-4797.

-- Product Review by Kelly Miller, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2006