The One Child
One children are usually well behaved, self-sufficient, orderly, organized, principled, and do things without their parents even having to ask. They are usually bright children who have a game plan for their lives and pretty much keep themselves on course. However, they can also be nervous, anxious, timid, rigid, and regimented. They typically internalize the rules and regulations of their parents' religion or ideology and punish themselves if they do something wrong. They may set very high standards for themselves and drive themselves, and everyone around them, crazy trying to achieve them. They may take everything too seriously, setting impossible standards. It's important to help One children lighten up and act like the children they are. You can spot the One children that are working too hard — they are desperately trying to avoid both external and internal criticism, that is, they have an obsessive need to appear as if everything they do or say is perfect.
How to nurture a One child: Teach her to lighten up, encourage her playfulness, and reassure her that it's okay to step over a few lines or screw up once in a while. Help her express herself through art or music. Reassure her that everyone stumbles once in a while. Teach her the art of moderation; praise her for things she does well, and try not to criticize her (she does enough of that to herself). Take the focus off competition and encourage her to do things just because they're fun. And help her learn to make decisions based on what she really wants instead of what she thinks she should want.
Some behavioral problems that may indicate possible danger ahead when it comes to raising One children:
They may punish themselves if they make even a simple mistake.
They often have rigid ways of doing things that they refuse to alter.
They criticize other children for petty reasons.
They order other children around, and occasionally do the same to their parents.
They think they are the only ones who know how to do something right.
They put down their parents for failing to meet an arbitrary standard.
They latch onto a belief system and rigidly adhere to its principles.
They have difficulty letting their hair down, being silly, or simply having fun.
They can be extremely serious at a young age.
One children usually have a narrow view of themselves and really benefit from encouragement to broaden their horizons. The last thing they need is highly structured lives or to be criticized — they'll do enough of that on their own. Instead, a One child needs to loosen up, allow herself to make mistakes, give herself a little elbowroom when it comes to strictures, and find opportunities to think outside of the box.