The task of raising a single child is challenging in many ways. There can be some negative characteristics in an only child. He might be an attention seeker since he is used to having all the attention to himself. Being an only child can make him less likely to share things. Loneliness is another negative consequence of raising a single child. Not having siblings to talk and play with can make him feel isolated. It can result in social awkwardness also.
But there are not negative consequences only. Research says that a single is more organized and self motivated. It has been seen that they are much more academically inclined. Children without siblings are also independent in nature. So there are both positive and negative characteristics seen in single children.
Benefits of Being the Only Child?
Intelligent and creative
A research conducted by Jiang Qiu, a professor of psychology at Southwest University in Chongqing, China shows that only children are more flexible and creative. Their imagination is also more evolved. Their brain development is better than those children with siblings.
The highly evolved brains enable them to be more flexible. That means travelling with single child is easier. They will tend to blend in with the environment more readily. The brain scan conducted by the professor reveals the fact that the only children participants reflected more imagination and planning.
According to hundreds of studies done by Ms Falbo and Ms Polit in 1980’s, only children demonstrated higher intelligence than the one with siblings. The main reason being, parents of an only child are able to devote more time, money and resources unlike the one with siblings.
High self esteem
Those who are single child have a higher sense of self esteem. It has been proven that the level of self esteem and confidence is markedly higher in single children. They have a sense of their self worth from childhood. Not growing up in the shade of another sibling is the reason behind this.
The undivided attention from parents helps these children to grow confident. They actually feel good about themselves. However it all depends on good parenting. Giving proper love and attention and not spoiling the children is important.
Children without siblings grow to be more independent. They are used to handle everything on their own. This is especially true for single child of working parents. These children are self dependent. They do not look for help and advice from others, even parents. This is because they do not become dependent on siblings. Becoming co-dependent can do more harm than good.
Having a sibling to help in every problem will keep him sheltered whole life. This cannot be good for any child. It will affect his personality and make him under-confident.
This is one positive quality of a single child. They tend to be much more organized and observe everything around them. The child is more detailed and particular about everything in life. Single children are more attentive towards the details. They organize their rooms to their liking and also their lives. This is an important life skill. Being organized can help a child a lot when he grows up.
Life can be a total mess without proper organization. Attention to details and following a routine can bring success. A single child has therefore better chances of succeeding in life.
One of the boons of growing up alone is the lack of sibling rivalry. Quarrel between siblings is a very common phenomenon. Children who grow up fighting with siblings tend to become quarrelsome in nature. In contrast, a single child has no such issues. He has no sibling to fight with.
This makes him a rather peaceful person. It has been seen that a single is likely to get uncomfortable around fights. He tends to avoid conflict out of home also. This is a blessing in disguise for parents with single child
Negative traits of being the only child?
It has often been seen that a single child has problem with sharing. This is quite natural. Being an only child makes him feel entitled to everything. The unlimited attention of parents often spoils single children. They become used to getting what they want from their parents. Also they do not have anybody to share everything with. This becomes a habit as they grow up. This habit can make a kid become self centered. Even though it is of no fault of his own, it can affect his interaction with others.
Read More: 6 Ways to Discipline Your Child
Feeling lonely is the most common consequence of being an only child. In modern world, it is common for both parents to be employed. When parents cannot spend enough time with their kids it makes them lonely. A sibling can give company in this situation. But for a single child there is often no one to spend time with. Constant loneliness can affect their personality.
They can become socially awkward and painfully shy. It is quite common in single children. They become introverts who cannot mix with strangers easily. They tend to keep every emotion to themselves. Becoming a loner is a possibility for children who are only child of their parents.
As an only child, there is a possibility of that child becoming over sensitive. An only child gets all the love as well as criticism from his parents. Not having any sibling to share his feelings with makes him more sensitive. It becomes difficult for him to accept scolding or criticism. A single child is used to the love and attention from everyone. Negative remarks can affect him more in this case. He can be too stubborn and demanding also.
How to parent a single child?
- Parents should teach their only child the importance of sharing with others. Self centeredness can only be overcome by good parenting.
- Take your child to play dates. Make him socialize with other children. Also invite his friends at home. This can alleviate his loneliness.
- Spend more time with your child. As a single child he needs all the time and attention from you. Become his friend so that he can share his feelings with you.
- Do not spoil your child by giving in to his demands. This might do him more harm than good. Be strict with him whenever necessary. Read More: 11 Side Effects of Splurging On Your Child
- Teach your child how to tackle failures and disappointments. Parents can be the best teachers to their children.
- Do not let him develop an ego. A single child can have a huge ego. This might affect his future in negative way. Teach him how to be humble and kind.
- The most important parenting tip is to let your child become self dependent. Do not interfere or rectify his mistakes. Let him learn from his own failures.
There are prejudices against single child. They are thought to be too self absorbed. Though there may be certain negative traits, there are many positives too. Even if a single child becomes lonely and selfish, it is nothing that good parenting cannot rectify. Parents play a huge role in the lives of children with no sibling.