“Only Children are Spoiled and Self-Absorbed”

PArents Blog JPG Sam and cuz RileyThat’s a recurring theme my friends and acquaintances repeat as another good reason to adopt a second child. Interestingly, Single-child families have almost doubled in number, to about 1 in 5 since the 1960s, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

I generally don’t buy the whole “only children are too spoiled” scenario. Poppycock… I believe in part how you parent your only child (or your triplets, or our adopted kids) determines just how spoiled he becomes.

A Time Magazine investigation showed that the negative myths about maladjusted only-children arise because these parents have more time, energy and money to invest in their single offspring, who receives all the soccer classes, piano lessons and laser-focused emotional attention. Incidentally, researchers note this excess attention leads to not just higher SAT scores but also to higher self-esteem.

The U.S. Census reports that the single child family is the fastest growing family unit. So when someone, perhaps your friend who can afford to have four kids and two nannies, urges you need to have another child, spit out the facts about only children and the myths that surround them.

Myth: Only children are bossy and aggressive.

Only children learn quickly that attempting to run the show, a ploy that they may get away with at home, doesn’t work with friends and a bossy, aggressive attitude is a quick ticket to ostracism from the group. Lacking siblings, only children want to be included and well liked. A brother or a sister may buoy Sam as he grows into the most thoughtful, amazing young man.

Myth: Only children mature too quickly.

Children with siblings relate and talk to their siblings rather than their parents. The only child’s primary role models are parents. The result is that only children may simulate  adult behavior as well as adult speech patterns and develop good reasoning skills early on making them better equipped to handle the ups and downs of growing up. Myths die hard and slowly. Families with one child outnumber those with two children, so the single child family is here to stay.

Myths are not a great reason to adopt another child! Tell me what you think about only children, as it pertains to adoption! There must be balance between the joy our kids give us and the sacrifices we make to care for them.

Caption: Sam Straff and his first-cousin Riley Straff (who is also an only child!)

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  1. by Leigh Ann Wilson (@SurvivingFive)

    On June 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I am a (grown) only child myself. In *my* experience I hated being an only child, which is why I went on to have FIVE children myself (from one extreme to another I guess, lol)

    However, that said, I do not think either of those myths are true, or at least they don’t have to be true. It all depends on the parents just like anything else.

    I know that I often have to bite my tongue when I get the urge to “warn” others not to have just one kid. I know that my views are based on my own childhood and have nothing to do with the people I’m talking to. It’s no more fair for people to scoff at having one child than it is for people to look at me in disgust for having five.

    So which I personally disliked it, my advice is to do what YOU feel is right for YOUR family and ignore the “advice”. Just be prepared to potentially have five grandchildren some day, LOL ;-)

    Good luck to you! :-)

  2. by nicole dorsey

    On June 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Great advice from Only Children such as @surviving five! IF YOU ARE an only child–weigh in here about the topic. Thanks Onlies! you say it better than anyone else can!

  3. by Jennifer

    On June 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Many people are surprised when I tell them I am an only child. A common response is “but you’re not a spoiled brat” to which I reply ” because my parents told me no!” the choices parents make in their child rearing practices are a better predictor of “brattiness” than the number of children they have. I see this every day in my work as a preschool director.

  4. by Nicole Dorsey

    On June 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Wise words from you guys, Jennifer LOVE the advice. WHo knows better than a preschool director after all! Thanks, and keep reading, xoxo