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Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Stigma Of Being An Only Child And Other Life Lessons...

While we have been students at USU, we have enjoyed many wonderful associations and friendships within our little college campus community. We live in a building complex that is comprised of the buildings being configured into three buildings that form a triangle and are referred to as a triad. Our back yard is a huge shared open space where neighbor children run and play while parents visit with one another. It was heart wrenching two years ago when our closest friends and neighbors moved out of our triad and we have been slowly forging friendships ever since.
However, the warmth of our associations has dwindled and not been as strong lately. Our once inviting backyard has become a place of contention and envy. Liam, sadly, has become the brunt of much of the negativity. We have neighborhood children that tell him to ask his parents for snacks when they do not know we are within earshot. They then push him away when he returns with the treats and will not play with him or provide snacks in return. They also ask to play with his toys and then when he asks for a turn they become aggressive and fight with him. Parents are meant to watch their children at all times and yet sadly Bill and I are the only parents outside watching the children. We have become concerned about Liam as he has been bullied and taken advantage of. Lately we have been teaching him how to handle the situation in an assertive manner. But the backlash has been astounding! One of the children had the audacity to tell Bill that, "Liam is spoiled and cannot share because he is an only child." I was shocked! Every single day Liam has shared his toys, his food, his drinks, his treats and the children in the neighborhood have only used him and not returned his kindness or friendship. Liam has a huge heart, he values his friendships with others and has no guile. He gives willingly with no hesitation to children who are mean and cruel to him. How could he be accused of being spoiled or unable to share?? Bill did a really good job handling the situation but I was frustrated that the child's parent was not there to help discipline their own child.

Since the child is to young to understand what he was saying, I couldn't help but think that he was only repeating what his parents have told him. It hasn't escaped my notice that Liam is being judged by someone who is not even there monitoring the actions of their own child. Liam can't help the fact that he is an only child, its not a choice he made nor a choice that Bill or I made for ourselves either. We are incredibly blessed to have the one and only child we have. For us, it hasn't been a choice. Life handed this bag to us and we are trying to make the most of it as best as we can. Is it any one's prerogative how many children I have? Does it make it OK to treat Liam with cruelty because he doesn't have siblings? I think that no matter how many children you have the most important thing is to teach them to treat each other with kindness. Remember the golden rule: "Do unto others that you would have others do unto you." I come from a humongous family with more children than average and so I do not mean to give offense to anyone with x-amount of children, rather that it is more important WHAT we teach our children than how MANY children we have. We all love our children and they are important to us whether we have one or twenty, children are an inheritance from the Lord and I feel it an honor to be a mother to the one and only child I have been gifted with. Liam deserves to be treated with kindness just as everyone else does no matter how many children are in his family. And by the way, just so you know, I am OK with sharing snacks once in awhile but I am not a free restaurant that you can use for snacks, drinks, and treats on a daily basis, just in case you were wondering.

9 comments:

Sarah Kay said...

As a mother of an only child - I feel your pain. Liam sounds like a nice boy. I once had someone comment on how many toys Olivia had, implying that she, too, was spoiled.

As for helping others remember, we like the Thumper rule, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Best -

The Fullmers said...

Sarah Kay, thank you so much for your support. It is astounding what an only child is subjected too! Thanks for reminding me of the Thumper rule as well.

Michele said...

Moana, I cannot believe that is going on there! If I were still the RA I would totally help you with the situation. My heart aches when I read how Liam has been treated by the other children. You are wonderful parents and Liam is a very lucky boy. I hope there is a way for some kind of resolution to this situation.

The Fullmers said...

Thanks Michele, you were such a great RA, we miss having you here. We have not made our RA's aware of the situation since we have never met them or seen them. They are really hard to contact and it seems like they are only here for the free rent. Thanks for your concern, you rock.

Jana Perkins said...

Well Said Moana! Teaching your children kindness, no matter what the situation, is exceptionally important.

I beyond sadened and frustrated that is happening in AGVLG. I agree with everything you said. I know Liam as a sweet and caring boy. To think of him being judged as anything less fills me with anger! I can't imagine how hurt you must be over this.

I know he will make some great friends in kindergarten and hope they come play with him often.

The Fullmers said...

Thank you so much Jana, I appreciate your friendship and support. I hope your settling into your new place and loving home ownership. Have a great day, Moana

Alexa said...

The sad thing, is that the kids will probably outgrow this (although who knows if the next phase will be better or worse....), but the adults probably won't. When we'd have episodes with other kids, I used this info to decide what was normal, what was not, how long I was in for this behavior, and what I could look forward too:

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=997397a7c1d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=198bf4b13819d110VgnVCM1000003a94610aRCRD

I hope Liam is totally loving kindergarten and a new group of kids.... good thing he has such good parents! :)

The Fullmers said...

Lexa,
Thanks for your wisdom and perspective, I really appreciate your thoughts and advise. I think you rock, lots of love
Moana

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

For the love! What a little brat obviously coaches by his judgmental parents! You guys are fine parents and Liam is such a sweetheart! Sorry you have to deal with idiots!