By Carl E. Pickhardt Ph.D.
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Extra info for The Future of Your Only Child: How to Guide Your Child to a Happy and Successful Life
To defuse this emotional response, parents must exercise their predictive responsibility—helping their child learn how to anticipate likely ways the change may realistically alter her life. “If we can predict, then we can prepare,” they can explain. Then, using the framework of the four kinds of changes, they can sit down and brainstorm all the hard speciﬁcs that will start, stop, increase, and decrease with the move. ” The message parents want to give the child is that while change always creates challenges, many can be anticipated and prepared for.
The ﬁrstborn and only child is more likely to embrace the status quo and defend it, in contrast to laterborns, who claim more freedom of diversity and so are more open to the experience of change. Laterborns identify with parents less. Much research supports the view that “laterborns should score higher than ﬁrstborns on Openness to Experience, a dimension that is associated with being unconventional, adventurous, and rebellious. This prediction stems from the lesser identiﬁcation that laterborns have with parents .
HELPING YOUR CHILD COPE WITH CHANGE To begin this education, parents can explain it in terms the child can identify and understand. What is change? They can begin with a working deﬁnition: Change is that process that takes us from an old to a new, from the same to a different, from a familiar to a strange, from a known to an unknown situation, condition, or relationship. They can then break down the process operationally into four basic kinds of events that always signify that change is occurring: • whenever something starts happening, • whenever something stops happening, CONSTANCY • whenever something increases, • whenever something decreases.