According to researchers into “only child syndrome”, children who grow up without a sibling are no more selfish than those who have brothers and sisters.
What exactly is “only child syndrome”?
Only child syndrome implies that children raised without siblings are more likely to be spoilt, unwilling to share, and less willing to accept compromise. Only children are often regarded to be more selfish, demanding, and impulsive than those with siblings.?
Since they don’t have siblings to interact with, only children are also believed to be lonely and poorly socialised. They are thought to be incapable of socialising with other children since they haven’t had to share their toys, space, and parents’ attention with others.
Only child syndrome is a myth
Modern psychologists have since challenged and debunked the many theories behind only children syndrome and agree that many?different factors help shape a child’s character. Research also shows that parenting styles between parents of only children and parents of multiple children are not drastically different and that people with only one child are not necessarily overprotective of their children or likely to spoil them.
What builds a child’s character and personality?
In truth, some children are naturally more demanding and impulsive than others. Some children are shy, while others are extroverted. They would be this way regardless of whether they had siblings or not.
In many cases, a child’s character is built by the way in which they have been parented. As long as a child is socialised from a young age, is brought up in a safe and loving environment, receives effective discipline, is taught right from wrong, and is given affection and attention, all children – those with siblings and those without – can have happy childhoods and grow up to be normal, adjusted adults.?
Do only children battle to make friends?
Another misconception bunked is the belief that only children are lonely and battle to make friends. In truth, only children have just as many friends as children with siblings. Alone time does not have a negative impact on an only child’s ability to make friends and maintain friendships.?
Because children are well socialised at school, through play dates and through other opportunities like extra-murals, only children are not more lonely than their peers. In fact, only children tend to cherish friendships and think of their friends as family, making only children loyal long-term friends.
Being an only child can be beneficial
Toni Falbo, a psychologist who has studied children for over 40 years, discovered that the extra attention children could occasionally receive as an only child has a ‘good’ impact on their life. Because they were not deprived of affection and had better parent-child connections, they demonstrated a lower desire for attachments.?
In addition, Erika Karres, author of Make Your Kids Smarter, says only children typically have strong personalities and know who they are because their needs aren’t overlooked, and they don’t compete for attention.