I had always envisioned that I would have at least two children, perhaps a brood…but as we all know life as a parent rarely bares any resemblance to the stuff we dreamed about beforehand, and for a whole host of reasons, we – like an increasing number of families – have decided to have only one child.
But I can’t help sometimes thinking in that doing so I am robbing my daughter of something she will never know – sibling love. I have lost count of the times people have insinuated to me that a only child is a lonely child. But given that my sister and I had practically no relationship growing up with an almost five year age gap which made us totally unable to relate to each other, it did make me wonder….is an only child really a lonely child?
In this day and age – in the age of playgroups, playdates and clubs of every kind possibly imaginable, it did make me question….does an only child even have the chance to be lonely? My daughter is forever hanging out with other children either at our home or their homes, has loads of friends at school and out of school, has a full, rich and vibrant life which quite frankly makes ME look like the loser. Lonely…doesn’t really seem to be a word that seems to describe her existence so far.
The there is the idea that only children are selfish. Yes, perhaps some only children might be selfish, if they have been spoilt rotten because they are an only child, but I have raised my daughter to always know she is not the centre of the universe, that she has to wait her turn, and that she has to be kind and compassionate to others.
So is my daughter odd, selfish, a loner or an outcast because she has no siblings? Absolutely not. In this day and age when more and more parents are choosing to stop at one, I think the concept of an only child being a lonely child is quite frankly, for the most part, outdated.
But that’s just my hunch. There are also so many studies that actually point to some really positive character traits in only children. Those such as better confidence and self-esteem for starters. So surely it can’t be that bad a thing?
However having said all of that, I DO think the key to having a happy only child is to make sure they are well socialized so they can have the opportunity to form connections with others outside their mum and dad unit which will stand them in good stead for their journey into adulthood. Something I admit to actively working on but I can’t speak for others.
The upshot? Being an only child is no longer something to be pitied, and can actually be quite a positive thing. And if you don’t believe me, read more about what being an only child says about you according to science.
Do you have an only child? What do you think of the above? Or perhaps you are of the view that an only child IS a lonely and selfish child? Do share in a comment below.
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