Is It Fair A Child Has No Siblings?
Being an only child doesn’t mean you are always happy!
My wife and I only have one child. It wasn’t a decision we made easily because our son is our miracle baby. It took us years to have him. We wanted more than one child but life and fertility issues have not allowed us that opportunity (see Our Story – National Infertility Week). I believe that being an only child is a blessing and a curse. I know that only children are generally more independent, adaptable and have an academic edge. I also know that as you get older you begin to wonder about lack of family bonds.
Are we being fair to our children if they have no siblings?
I have placed a lot of thought into this question over the last week. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my three-year-old son wanted to know where my siblings were. I told him that I am an only child and I don’t have any brothers or sisters. My answer made my son frown at me, tell me he was sorry and walk away.
As I was growing up it was very rare seeing less than two children with a parent. In fact, as late as 1980 only 10% of U.S families had just one child. Being an only child I remember the stereotypes I faced from others. People would hear that I had no siblings and it was “assumed” that I was selfish, bratty and spoiled.
The stereotypes of being an only child persist today because of Granville Stanley Hall an American psychologist and educator. He supervised the study Of Peculiar and Exceptional Children in 1896 where he concluded, ”Being an only child is a disease in itself.” Many people still believe that having only one child is harmful to childhood development.
Only Children Benefits
1. Academic success - Parents are able to spend more time and resources on one child than on multiple children. If a parent only has one child they want them to succeed and tend to give greater focus on helping their child meet their goals.
2. Self-sufficient - An only child doesn’t have siblings to problem solve or learn from. Only children are sometimes expected to play alone which encourages independence. The independence they learn is a life skill they can use throughout adulthood for solving problems they come up against.
3. Maturity – Only children tend to become more mature and have a greater sense of responsibility than children with siblings. A parent that has one child doesn’t have to worry about what other children are doing in their family. A parent can concentrate all of their effort on making sure their one child knows the difference between right and wrong. As a general rule, an only child gets in less trouble because someone is always watching them.
4. Parental Relationship – Parents help built a strong relationship with their child because they are easily accessible. A parent is more likely to take part in school functions, holidays and special events. Most children that don’t have siblings have good communication and a strong relationship with their parents throughout their life.
I can’t tell you if it is better to have one child or multiple children. I can tell you when a person decides to have a child it is a life altering event for most adults. Most people quickly discover it is harder being responsible for another human being than it is for themselves. Parents must have an understanding of long-term goals, learning time management skills, and daily financial planning.
In today’s economic environment parents have to decide if they can afford more than one child. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, parents will spend a minimum of $212,000 raising a child that was born in 2011 until their eighteenth birthday (not including college expenses). Economically some parents are more comfortable with just one child.
Playtime is important!
The main thing an only child needs is a strong family support system. The better the support system the more benefits a child will receive. As an only child’s parent, I know that it is important that I am supportive to his needs as a child. Children without siblings need to bond and learn to interact with other children. Many only children lack the socialization skills they need for early childhood. I make sure that my son has the opportunities to play with other kids.
Whether you have one child or multiple children, it takes work. The more effort and time we spent as parents with our children the more benefits they can receive.
Deciding to have more than one child is a difficult decision. How do you feel about having more than one child? Do you think that only children are missing out on things in life? Are only children spoiled and over indulged? Tell me in the comments!
You can read my last post here: Is Spanking Child Abuse? If you like this post you can follow me on my facebook fan page, Dadblunders.
Tags: childhood development
, fertility issues