Written by Pamela Daniel and published on 08 June 2021.
A single child is usually seen as a loner or a spoilt brat which is not true. Here are some facts that dispel this myth along with the many advantages and disadvantages of being an only child
Have you ever known someone, who grew up as a single child, probably your best friend or spouse?
If you did, you would have noticed the perks they enjoyed at home, like not having to share or not having to get into endless fights with siblings. It is, however, very easy to identify the only child. They are usually natural leaders and fiercely independent. Here are some facts about single children:
Single child syndrome is a term to describe the perception that children without siblings are introverts, selfish, insecure, bratty and impatient.
Contrary to popular belief that the only child tends to be shy and withdrawn, current studies reveal that single children socialize more outside their family. However, they do miss out on early socialization with siblings.
With an ever-increasing cost of living and fast-evolving lifestyle patterns, a good number of today's parents prefer having a single child. It has become easier for parents to manage one child, in the nuclear family setup which is the norm nowadays.
University of Texas Professor, Toni Falbo has worked to reverse stereotypes of the single child since the 70s. Falbo and her co-researcher Denise F Polit conducted research in 1986 among children and families from all backgrounds. The results of the study determined that only children scored higher in terms of self-confidence and academic achievement.
Payal, 27, and an only child, says, "It probably would have been more fun during playtime and less lonely at home as a child. However, I wouldn't be who I am today and achieved all that I have, without the constant and undivided attention my parents have given me till date and still continue to."
Mona, 27, who is the middle child out of three, says, "It was fun and chaotic all at the same time growing up with an older and younger sibling. I always did fight for the attention of my parents, but as we grew up, my siblings and I stuck by and supported each other through the issues and obstacles we faced as independent individuals. I would do it all over again if I had to."
Both show a high level of appreciation of the relationships they received at home. Studies in the US and China infer that social circles depend on individuals rather than being raised as a single child or otherwise.
1. Being selfish
Myth: The only child is selfish and not familiar with the idea of "sharing is caring."
Fact: This myth has been disproved many times as a sharing mentality can be taught even without having siblings.
2. Not a genius
Myth: Being an only child doesn't make the child smarter in terms of IQ or creativity as compared to those children who grew up with siblings.
Fact: Being smarter and more creative is reflective of an individual despite his/her relationships at home, and it is not the main contributor.
3. Spoiled and unsociable
Myth: This is a common misconception as a child's behavior and discipline are taught and shaped by parents.
Fact: According to sociologist Susan Newman, "With or without siblings, so many children are spoiled because parents can't say no to their children."