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Interesting study of kids without siblings...

marblefawn's picture

Stepparents of difficult only-child skids may find this study interesting. If you've ever wondered if it's their only-child status that makes them so difficult, here's some research to mull...

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-only-child-syndrome-real/

Thoughts?

Evil3's picture

I have two brothers, but due to a very, very dysfunctional family, I was brought up as an only child. It was pure hell taking the brunt of my parents' abuse. Also, people would often state "spoiled" upon hearing that I was an only child. There was definitely a stereotype. I was hurt a lot because I was labelled as spoiled based on hearing only one fact about me: that I was an only child. It hurt to be automatically rejected and written off or at least judged unfairly because of a status that I had no control over. I have reddish hair and the same thing would happen with that. People would make crazy red head comments or comments about red heads' tempers and that hurt. I felt like I was deemed something bad and all because of two situations that I had zero control over.

I think that when we read about difficult only children SKs on this board, the kids are that way due to the coddling, disney parenting and adult spousal status that many CoD are given. The difficult children aren't that way due to be only children but rather the parenting.

Jcksjj's picture

I think its probably the personality of the child that is the deciding factor. And of course parenting.I can think of one only child I know of who was insanely spoiled but yet has always been really kind and sweet to everyone. Also another who was an only until she was 10 and was always the sweet quiet type. I can think of another who is a total snot. I also have a cousin who is an only that has rich parents and hes kind and likeable but I can also see that he probably wont get what it's like not to be well off. So my conclusion is it's a combination of nature and nurture same as most things. If you have a personality making you more prone to acting like a spoiled brat being an only is probably going to bring that out more. If you dont then it probably wont make much difference. My SD and BS were both only children for a long time also and theres a clear difference in how they handled a new sibling also...SD still cant accept not being the center of the universe and would love nothing more than  to be the only still and BS was dying for a sibling and hates that the baby is too little to play with him.

SecondNoMore's picture

I am a textbook only child: the good, the bad and the ugly. It is the most defining factor in who I am. I was spoiled (tantrums, the whole thing), intolerant (as described in this article) but also very responsible, pretty witty and entertaining as a kid because I was surrounded by a lot of adults and the center of attention. My parents meant well when they tried to make everything perfect, but that's not how the rest of the world works. 

The thing is, I have dated only children and have close friends who are only children and they are not like me at all because they had parents who were far more detached and/or less indulgent than mine. Truly, the least selfish man I ever dated was an only child. But none of the people I know (myself included) who are only children are from divorced parents, so I'm not sure how that would affect things. For the record, I loved being an only child, but if I were raising one I would be more insistent that the child try different things, experience failure and take risks. I was way too cautious and never experienced failure until early adulthood and at that point I was incapable of bouncing back from it the way you should. But I think that's just good advice for any kid, regardless of birth order.

MurphysLaw's picture

I don’t know …my brother was 18 years older than me. I only remember him coming home once when I was maybe 3.5  and then came home permanently when I was maybe 9, so I guess you could say I was pretty much raised as an only child. 

And yes, I was spoiled …and yet I was & still am the kind of person “who will give my ass away & shit through my ribs” as my Ma used to say. It seemed to me that my friends with little brothers/sisters were very selfish towards them, never wanted them to join in with us playing or share toys with them. They would get mad at me because I would ask the younger ones if they wanted to play too …?

Who knows, everyone’s different 

marblefawn's picture

Well, I am thankful to your Ma for such a great way of putting it! I gotta remember that for future use!

Rags's picture

My son was raised as an only child. So was my dad.  My dad's elder sister passed when he was 2yo.  My son has three younger half sibs by two other baby mamas in his SpermClan but saw them only during periodic long distance visitation.  Both my kid and my dad are scary smart, funny, and creative problem solvers.  I am having difficulty dredging up any memory reference to them sharing though.

IMHO the greatest factor is parenting.  Parents who raise children with behavioral and performance expectations and hold their kids to performing to those standards raise well behaved children who perform to expectation.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Interesting read. I was raised an Only child by a single parent. Self-reliance is part of who I am and also I have a strange competitive streak.

I don’t remember being bothered by my lack of siblings when I was growing up. I was content to play with my few friends and read books etc.

When I hit my 30s I sometimes wished I had more family. My children won’t have cousins like I did! :/