past & totally unnecessary? With the increase & advancements of global, especially social networks, children are not lonely, finding companions, peers, & forming friendships. Siblings really are not necessary in order for children to have companions. Companions & friendships can be found sans siblings. In fact, having siblings can make children be more clannish & insular, oftentimes not forming bonds w/children outside the family circle.
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Being an only child, and my daughter is an only child, there are times that we miss having someone to share things with when everyone else has gone home and we are alone. You make an important point about the grieving, too.