The Only Child


The Only Child Essay, Research Paper

The Only Child

Popular thinking often gives an unflattering picture of only children, portraying

them as self – centered, attention seeking, dependent, and temperamental. Despite these

negative stereo types, smaller families in general, and only child option are growing in

population. This essay will determine how and why the only child differs from a child

who has siblings and if being an only child is really a disadvantage. It will also

determine the advantages of being an only child.

Only children, like first – borns, generally have been found to score slightly higher

on measures of intelligence than younger siblings. Also, first – borns, last – borns, and

only children posses the highest level of self esteem. Recent findings reveal that an only

child is more socially sensitive, does better in school, is no more likely to be shy, self

centered or spoiled than a child with siblings. (Newman, 19) Only children are generally

quiet stable, secure, sharing and happy individuals. Despite daily evidence that

relationships with siblings can be doubtful, many only children fantasize about what

having a sibling might be like. Only children also have very strong ideas about what

siblings could be, everything from associates to role models. Clearly, only children come

with all sorts of personalities, whether they are shy or out going depends on many factors.

Being an only child can have many advantages and disadvantages.

The disadvantages to being an only child is they may have low tolerance for

frustration. For example, their used to getting what they want when they want it. Being

an only child can sometimes be nerve wrecking because the parents of an only child tend

to be considerate and protective of their child s feelings. Not only do they not want their

child to come to harm, they themselves to do not want to be the source of injury to their

child. (Sifford, 64) This causes the parents to constantly be on the child s back. Always

being in the spotlight can sometimes cause stress and be depended on most of the time.

Also, being an only child is a disadvantage in terms that they might not always want to

talk to their mom and dad. There are some things that an only child can not talk to their

parents about and feel the need to have someone else there to talk to. Only children tend

to take hurts deeply to heart and hold on to them for a long time. For example, when

thinking about a difficult time still makes them angry. They also may be private and

protective of vulnerable feelings and may not want to discuss certain situations.

(McGrath ,97)In spite of all the disadvantages an only child might have, only children

have many advantages as well.

Only children that do not have to share love and attention from parents brings a

certain amount of strength and security, and since only children s toys and play things

are not constantly taken away by siblings, only children find it easier to share with others.

Other studies have confirmed that having an increased exposure to the adult world, only

children have more comprehensive vocabularies and tend to mature earlier because of

this exposure. (Sifford, 73) Since only children are often alone, they are usually

searching for playmates and use toys and play things to attract others to play with them,

actually creating a personality that loves to share. The extra attention the only child

receives is shown in many areas from a strong sense or security to the desire to achieve.

Later on in life, as a whole, only children do tend to achieve more. There are many

disadvantages and advantages of being an only child but the life style any child is

exposed to, will have an affect on that child. A child learns from everything around

them not just from their home environment. If a child is loved and feels warm and

secure, it just doesn t matter.

Every child is different in their owns ways. A person or child s personality

depends on the environment that surrounds them. Any child, whether a child with

siblings or an only child needs to be loved and feel secure. So is being an only child

really a disadvantage? Well, there are no major differences between only children and

others. If anything only children come out looking better than others their age with

regards to intelligence, achievement, and relations with adults. They are, on average, no

more unstable or self – centered than any other children. So being an only child can be a

disadvantage as well as an advantage depending on the child, the family, and the

environment. There are many factors that must be considered before judging whether

being an only child is bad or good. Some people who have experienced being an only

child may feel that it is a disadvantage, and others may feel that it is an advantage, but

like what was said, it depends on many factors. The stereotype says the only child can be

selfish, lonely, insecure, spoiled, possessive, bossy, cautious, dependent, and unusual.

But in truth, the only child can be generous, social, confident, considerate, sharing,

cooperative, adventurous, independent, and normal.

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