Only children are oftentimes maligned in this sibling obsessed society. Only children are viewed as the odd children out. They are misunderstood at best and reviled at worst. The worst possible stereotypes are applied to them such as "selfish", "spoiled", "socially inept", and other pejoratives.
However, recent studies have proven QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
Only children are highly independent, imaginative, and resourceful. They are also high academic achievers. They also mature early because of they interact mainly with adults instead of mainly with children. They are also secure because they do not have to constantly be competing with siblings to incur parental attention. Here are the links..........
http://theweek.com/article/index/209354 … en-happier
http://ww.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2 … en-happier
Only children are utterly complete of and in themselves. They survive, even thrive. The notion that children need siblings to thrive is such an atavistic one. Let's discuss the findings.
If your studies show that single kids are "highly independent, imaginative, and resourceful" that's wonderful (and I don't doubt any of it), but what does that have to do with being "selfish, spoiled, socially inept" (which I also don't doubt)?
I can't believe I'm actually bothering to answer yet another of these blanket-generalization threads, but - OK - I got sucked in because I have nothing better to do right now.
Only children are at higher risk of the "suffocating/smothering variety of child abuse and of therefore becoming narcissists. As with all birth orders and/or matters of how many children are in any family, one can't automatically assume that "higher risk of" or "may tend to" amount to "a certain to".
Of course, as Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love" points out, everyone can show some narcissistic behavior here or there; and how much of a narcissist someone is generally falls on a scale, with some people being "generally otherwise normal but just more narcissistic than others" to people who are those who have out-and-out Narcissistic Personality Disorder; which may be dangerous but isn't always, but which is a serious problem for those who suffer from it and for those who have a person with NPD in their life.
I quote here: "..pampering, smothering, spoiling and "engulfing" the child are also forms of abuse."
If kids have the kind of parents who bestow their sense of "wonderful-ness" on them without also knowing how to make good and sure the child know that while he's "wonderful", so, too, are so many other children; those kids, who have no siblings to at least kind of "break up the frame-of-reference" and see that what their parents say isn't always all that objective can grow up just accepting their sense of importance and "wonderful-ness" without questioning, for themselves, whether they measure up as human beings in the eyes of "the world" - and not just their parents. Parents have a way of thinking that if their kids are generally well behaved and do well in school those kids are wonderful. Kids who are loved are generally well behaved and do well in school, of course; which can mean that kids grow up being made to feel "wonderful" without having it pointed out to them that most kids are wonderful. It's a minority who are trouble-makers. A junior vice principal once told me that in our suburb it's about one of ten kids who are problems, and a much smaller percentage who are actual trouble-makers on a regular basis. That means that ninety percent of kids are essentially "wonderful". Kids need to learn, not have automatically bestowed without perspective, that their "wonderful-ness" is not unique; and that in the grown-up and outside world there are other measures of who is more "wonderful" than who else. If they don't learn that they can grow up to be narcissists, and if not "full-blown" narcissists then at least be people who are more narcissistic than is healthy for them and/or for their relationships with others - if and when they are able to have any relationships at all.
There's something between giving a kid the right kind of attention and love and admiration, in amounts that will build a healthy confidence, and "bestowing" on them a sense of "wonderful-ness" just because they exist. Finding that right balance is tricky, and parents who are aware of the need to find it and/or who have learned from their own parents something about aiming to find it are less likely to raise little narcissists than those parents who didn't have that advantage.
Sometimes kids who must look to the outside world for "standards of wonderful-ness" do set a higher standard for themselves when it comes to how they view their own measuring up. That's not such a bad thing, particularly if kids are super-sure their parents love them but have not had the "benefit" of "unquestioned wonderful-ness" by virtue of too much attention.
The OP is big for only presenting some of the facts that would mean blanket generalizations couldn't be made, and without presenting a whole lot of other facts. I'm a benefit-of-doubt-giver, though, so I tend to assume some of these threads are just to get people replying and discussing something other than religion or traffic. The OP may be fine and wonderful in her all her only-childness, but she would be wrong to believe that's the case for all only-children. When all is said and done, it's always about how good parents are at raising a well adjusted child - not about who has siblings or how many siblings someone has or doesn't have.
I did not suggest that all only children are more narcissistic. What I said/suggested was that their being an only child does not make them immune to having parents who mess up and turn them into narcissists - just to name one problem. In other words, that because someone is an only child is no guarantee that he ended up "with a better deal in life" than someone who had siblings. What I also suggested/implied is that children who don't receive the undivided attention of their parents at all times and all through their childhood can/may at times be better off than the only child who has parents who don't know how to make sure their child understands that while he's certainly "wonderful", he certainly isn't the only "wonderful" child in the world.
The woman in the second video said nothing different from what I've said/believed, which is that how a child turns out is pretty much mainly the result of the parents - not how many, if any, siblings the child has. She mentions more American kids being self-absorbed etc., regardless of how many siblings; and I'm assuming that with an increased number of smaller families that means that parents who "abuse through smothering, spoiling, etc." can "do a pretty good job of that" whether they have one or three kids. In other words, and again, that an only child or a child with some siblings, have "equal opportunity" of being smothered into self-absorption/narcissism - but that also suggests that kids with a couple/few siblings also have "equal opportunity" with regard to getting lots of healthy attention from parents too.
So, again, I've never said that only kids are worse of than others; and I've never believed that at all - ever. What I've said that differs from what you've so often suggested/said in these forums is that being an only child doesn't guarantee that "immunity" to having parents who aren't "the greatest" when it comes to emotional matters between them and their child/children. I would, however, stand by my assertion that there are times when a child from a large family in which he gets limited individual attention from parents who "aren't the greatest" may be better off from the only child who takes the full brunt of similarly lacking parents.
My "issue" is always with blanket generalizations that say, or even suggest, that people from one group or another are "absolutely always" either better off or worse off; because there are always too many variables associated with individuals/individual circumstances - and in the case of children/siblings, it is most often a matter of capable, loving, and skilled parents are when children are in the formative years.
But, yes. Adieu as well. I've been up since six a.m. yesterday - lots to do, so then I needed the overnight to kind of relax and have some time to myself; so I'd better get two hours of sleep before today starts to get under way.
Lisa, get some rest. It is nice to add to the discussion. I am about to go to sleep myself. I have been keeping vampire hours for a week. Time to break THAT habit.
P.S. I knew 4 women who could be classified as a narcissistic personality. One was a middle child, one was the youngest, and two were the oldest. These women thought that they were the ULTIMATE; they had to have their way at work. The one who was the middle child was under my direct supervision. She was a trial. Her parents made her so dependent that she could not function by herself. Well, I was NOT the type of supervisor to mollycoddle anyone; she was FORCED to stand on her own two feet and that woman was in her forties. It is SAD what parents do to children. Well, good night.
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Or if you had siblings did you wish you were an only child?
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