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The Only Child-Lucky Or Spoiled?

May 18, 2008
In the past, large families were commonplace with an average of 3 children being the common statistic. Having only one child was rare, and that child was assumed to be a spoiled, rotten brat. In recent years, due to improved birth control and the fact that many couples are waiting until they are older to have children, only children are becoming more common. This does not mean that there are a large percentage of single-child homes however. Many people still feel that having an only child is undesirable and that having at least two children is necessary for normal childhood development to occur. Although there are some disadvantages to having an only child, there are also some advantages to the situation.

Only children seem to do better in school than children from average-sized families. This could be due to several factors. Parents have more time to help an only child with their homework. With several children, parents may only have the time to quickly check the answers to make sure that they are correct.

Only children often have better language and communicative skills than their peers. This is due to the fact that as the child is growing up, he is spending much more time around adults than a child with several siblings. It is only natural that the child would pick up adult language patterns and vocabulary.

Only children are also more likely to attend college. This is due in part to higher scores in high school. It is also a result of parents of an only child having more money available to pay tuition. This is a combination of the lower costs of raising one child as well as the fact that many parents of only children are older and more financially established than their younger counterparts. With college costs today, families with more than one child may have difficulties sending any of them to college.

Only children also never have to suffer from sibling jealousy, while some children from average size families carry this hostility into adulthood. These only children also may enjoy a closer relationship to their parents than other children, as these youngsters tend to go on trips with their parents more often than their peers. Mothers of only children are also more likely to take the child along to run errands such as going to the grocery store, something that mothers with several youngsters may not consider to be an option.

There are certain areas that parents of only children need to be careful with. There is nothing wrong with showing your child that you love him. The problem that arises with only child is that the parent's love is all centered on him, especially if the child is the result of years of the parents attempting to have a baby. These parents should make sure that they keep outside interests so that your child will realize that he is not the center of the universe.

Only children also have more difficulty in social situations with their peers. Children with siblings grow up knowing how to interact with other children, while the only child spends most of his childhood with adults. Enrolling your child in a group daycare center or making play dates with other children when your child is young can help him learn to deal with his peers.

There is nothing wrong with parents having only one child. It is how these parents deal with the situation that can make a world of difference.
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