Being an Only Child Has Both Advantages and Disadvantages

2 February 2017

Being an only child has both advantages and disadvantages… This statement shows how complex this issue can be, yet it reflects only a certain percentage of the factors we may take into consideration. The experience of being an only child is lived in various ways, in different kinds of home environment. Also, when it comes to current political and economical situation in various places on our planet, every child with no siblings may grow up with different memories and perception concerning his position.

Besides, being an only child is something that affects in a different way the children who never become an older brother or sister and those who are the only ones… until a sibling arrives. Depending on the child’s situation, its advantages and disadvantages might vary enormously: what is perceived as good for a particular child might not prove to be so and vice versa: what may initially seem disadvantageous, might turn out to be the opposite. Children grow up in different families, some are more supportive, some less.

Being an Only Child Has Both Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Example

Some parents are more available and willing to attend to their child’s needs and concerns, some do it not so readily, and some simply neglect their child. Children with no siblings, taken care by loving and responsible parents, who are willing to be with their sons/daughters to such an extent as to create deep and lasting bonds with them, do not have to experience too many disadvantages. There is a widely accepted cliche that an only child will most likely become a selfish, domineering and attention-seeking adult, as he is not taught to take care of younger siblings, share toys with them and other important kinds of behaviour.

In addition, his parents can give him all their attention, he does not need to have any consideration for other family members who could need it as well. Even though, this stereotype still persists today, it has proven not to be true in all circumstances. First of all, social skills are learned not only through playing with siblings or taking care of them. Parents who are attentive, respectful towards themselves, each other and their child, affectionate and firm, who know how to establish fair rules and follow them, are invaluable source of knowledge and practical examples how to deal effectively with different situations and people.

They will certainly be able to teach their child how to act in various circumstances in such a way as to protect himsel, enhance his own well being and help others at the same time, and establish good, healthy relationships with others. Second of all, those skills do not have and should not be learned only in the home environment. Children need contact with the outside world, especially with other kids. Even if it might seem difficult, at the beginning, for the parents to provide their only child with frequent social contacts with peers, they need to realize that there are many options available.

Children can go to the playground, attend many different workshops, courses, activities, camps and others. While it is true, that children who have siblings have more opportunities to practice their social skills on daily basis, those who live in a three-or-two-member families do not have to grow up socially and emotionally handicapped. It is a different story with the children, who come from dysfunctional families. In this case, it is hard to tell whether it is better to be an only child or not.

On one hand, when parents have a tendency to single out one of the children as their favourite, they create a very difficult situation for all of them. The less-loved children feel cheated out of parental love and as a result they have little if any confidence in themselves. In addition, they usually tend to deeply dislike the favourite child. This situation can do nothing but hamper children’s development and make them more likely to need some sort of therapy in the future. The favourite child will also feel very unsecure as he realizes that his siblings do not like him at all and are jealous of him.

Based, on these facts, it would seem to be better to be an only child in such a family. However, the important question one has to ask oneself is, whether or not it is good to live at all in a pathological family. Whether a particular child is the only one or has siblings, the consequences of dealing on daily basis, with an emotionally unresponsive or abusive family, are always very dramatic for him. On the other hand, sibling sometimes have, even if limited, possibilities to draw closer to each other and help each other in difficult situations, provided that they are not in conflict with each other.

In this way, even if they are not able to avoid most painful consequences of living in such a family, they can suffer them to a lesser degree. Economical and political framework can also contribute enormously to each child’s situation; be it an only child or a child who has siblings. Families who come from economically disadvantaged areas or for any other reason live on the brink of poverty, may find it very difficult to provide for more than one child. One can deduce, that from the financial point of view, it would be better to grow up as an only child in this kind of family.

However, these families are often the ones, who have more than one child. These children grow up with very few material resources. However, in optimal circumstances, if brought up with love and care, they can learn to trust and support each other. Unfortunately, while this scenario is possible, there is a certain limit as to what degree of financial difficulties parents can handle without their parenting abilities being seriously affected by it. It must be pointed out that parents’ financial situation worsens when they have more than one child.

Even though in some families, an additional child can be considered as a source of one-off cash allowance, for example „becikowe”, this kind of financial planning is very short-sighted and does not improve family’s living conditions in the long run. To conclude, one would have to examine each case individually to see if it is better to be an only child in a particular family or to have siblings. In terms of political situation, some countries have their own policies concerning birth rate control. While some of them try to increase the national birth rate, others opt for decreasing it.

While in France, parents are encouraged by the government to have more than one child, in China it’s the opposite. I am not saying, parents in China must have only one child, but I can imagine how the government’s actions and pressure to act only in the ways „prescribed” by its officials, can influence the quality of life of many families and how distressing it may be for „additional” children to face the official propaganda that they really should not exist at all. In that sense, an only child may enjoy more psychological comfort in a similar situation.

However, one must always take into consideration the fact, that children are less likely to suffer from the lack of acceptance demonstrated by outside groups if they enjoy unconditional parental love. Finally, one must remember that it is difficult to talk about advantages and disadvantages of being an only child without taking into account a particular child’s point of view. Some children long to have siblings, others may not feel in this way, or eventually change their mind on this subject. Some children remain the only ones in their families, until their parents decide to have another one: through birth, adoption or remarriage.

These children, who had their parent/s only for themselves, might initially want their situation to change back to what it used to be. Another child, who used to be the only one in the family, might welcome with joy or at least some relief the arrival of a brother or a sister. Besides, a former only child might go through different phases regarding his rapport with his sibling/s. He might experience the feelings of acceptance as well as rejection towards the „newcomer” at different periods of time and stages of his psychological development.

These factors will certainly influence his point of view about how good or bad for him it is to have a sister or a brother, or both and whether or not it would have been better to have remained an only child. In conclusion, it might be sometimes hard to determine what are exactly the advantages and disadvantages of being an only child, because they tend to change and be perceived differently by various children and adults depending on external circumstances and family’s situation, on a particular child’s personality and his stage of development.

I believe in most cases, the question is not whether or not it is better to be an only child. It might prove more important to ask oneself how to ensure that a child grows up to be an emotionally healthy, happy and responsible human being, how to take advantage of any circumstances that work in his favour and how to minimize the influence of those that do not. I haven’t used any outside sources

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