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How can I make my daughter adjust to the reality?

Q: My daughter is 5 and a half years old. She has lately started imagining having a little brother or sister to play with. Most of her friends have had a baby being born in their house. Now, she is telling people that I am pregnant and she and the baby will sleep in one room. She says that she has prayed to god and it will definitely come true, even though I have told her the contrary. I am almost 40 years old and have no plans for another child. How do I deal with her needs? Do single children grow up to be lonely or have other emotional problems? Presently, she seems to be well- adjusted and happy, though slightly shy and timid. What can I do to make up for the fun she misses out on growing up with siblings? I get her to socialise as much as possible. How can I help her adjust to the reality, that she's a single child?

A:Many children have imaginary playmates, when they are lonely. What your little girl is doing is expressing what she would wish as if it were a fact. You could arrange for her to have her age mates in the neighbourhood or classmates come and play with her. If there are cousins, they could also be interacting with her more frequently, so that it becomes like a sibling bond. All these would not be a substitute for a real baby in the house, in her view. But she will have to accept reality. There are many people who have grown up well and happy as only children. Being an only child is not a problem in itself. Some parents consider adoption of a child to provide a companion for their child, but that is a decision that has to be taken after proper deliberation and discussion. Giving her an interesting extra-curricular activity, where she can meet other children in a reasonably informal setting (Art class, Play group, Music etc). Your child has a vivid imagination. You could make puppets and let her tell stories to other children. You will have to work out some activity that she enjoys doing and where her talents have an expression. All the best.

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