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LIGHTBRIDGE ACADEMY BLOG

Growing Up Only But Never Lonely

Somehow, society has many of us believing that only children are all spoiled, lonely, and selfish. Common knowledge tells us that only children are at a serious disadvantage when compared with children who have brothers and sisters and their parents are sometimes given similar labels. There is no basis for these social stereotypes and we all know whether you have one child or more, that parenting is a tough job. It’s our parenting style not the number of children we have that influences how an only child, any child for that matter, turns out. So with that in mind, all children are at risk for being spoiled.

“When are you going to have another child?” is the question many parents of ‘onlies’ hear from family, friends and even strangers. After all, how else will their toddler learn to share? How will their preschooler learn to relate to other children? So for many families the answer to, “When are you going to have another child?” is “Never.” Some parents may want more children and are unable to have them, but the majority of families with one child have made a conscious choice in selecting the one-child option. Why are parents choosing to have one child? There are many reasons: couples marrying later in life, women choosing career development before having children, the desire to maintain a certain quality of life, and of course, economic considerations. Children are expensive.

Having only one child is NOT a bad thing, despite the talks of society. Below are some positive points about having only one child.

  • Intelligence. Only children, like first-borns, generally have been found to score slightly higher on measures of intelligence than younger siblings. Diverging results of intelligence research may be explained by focusing on factors within the family unit that affect intellectual development. Such experiences might include, for example, parents' provision of an "enriched" intellectual environment.
  • Achievement. As is the case for intelligence, achievement (both academic and other kinds) in only and first-born children appears to be slightly greater than for later-born children. To explain this phenomenon, theorists have considered the specific relationship between parents and children. Presumably, achievement motivation originates in the high standards for mature behavior that parents impose on their only and first-born children.
  • Affiliation. Some research indicates that only children may be slightly less affiliative than their peers. Specific research findings have shown that only children may belong to fewer organizations, have fewer friends, and lead a less intense social life. However, these investigations have additionally noted that only children have a comparable number of close friends, assume leadership positions in clubs, and feel satisfied and happy with their lives.
  • Peer Popularity. Research on the popularity of only children also has been mixed. Some findings suggest that, because only and first-born children have no older siblings with whom to interact, they acquire a more autocratic and less cooperative interactive style than do other children.
  • Self-Esteem. Like peer popularity studies, investigations of self-esteem in the only child have netted mixed results. Different investigations have variously indicated that children in each of three groups (first-borns, last-borns, and only children) possess the highest level of self-esteem. Consistent findings may prove possible if further consideration is given to the types of self-esteem measures used, the age of the subjects, and parental and sibling contributions to the development of self-esteem.

Are There Advantages to Being an Only Child? There are definitely advantages for the parents, only one set of teeth to brush, besides our own, one college savings fund, and an absence of sibling rivalry. That alone, may be the greatest benefit. And only children may have a few advantages as a result of their special status, too, more attention from their parents, their own freedom from sibling rivalry and comparison, and access to more family resources. For only children, we have more time to focus on the general aspects of child development and learning and can give our children that individual attention that makes such a difference. Studies have proven that many only children often do better in life for the same reasons that first-borns do. First-borns have their parents’ individual attention for those important first few years and benefit from greater stimulation. As a result, only children, like first-borns, are often higher achievers later in life. In the case of the only child, this individual attention is available throughout childhood.

Relax, being a confident parent of an ‘only’ makes us question our parenting abilities. Errors in judgment come with the parenting territory. Don't worry about every little thing, we all make mistakes. Unfortunately, those of us with ‘onlies’ tend to think our child's problem stems from his or her singularity. Most times these issues are normal developmental stages and difficulties that any child, whether one or one of many, may experience.

 

 

Tags: #Only Child # socialization # childcare

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