Is the "only child" missing out on developing certain social skills because he or she do not...
have brothers or sisters?
Partly correct, an "only child" gets undivided attention from parents and grandparents and pampered with whatever he wants without the need to share with siblings. Hence there are more chances of him/her becoming self-centered and keeping his/her problems/comforts on top of everything. In other words, he/she is likely to lack the social skills of understanding from others' perspectives and sensitivity towards others.
But it is not true always, it very much depends on how the child is brought up and what kind of social environment he/she grows in.
Oh yes take things like selfishness, possesive nature especially towards parents and toy/trinkets, working together with otherkids, bossiness etc are more marked in only children. The fact that they get a overload of attention at home, they may not be comfortable in a setting in which they are in a big group and vie for the attention of the teacher/ leader. Most of the times parents overdo things spoonfeeding them, dressing them up even when they can do it themselves, escorting them everywhere, hanging around them even at children's parties can make social handicaps of them.
Not necessarily, if the child has friends that they spend time with or other family they can still easily learn to share etc.
Coming from a large family can have negative effects as well, I know adults who still have problems sharing because they had to keep their things to themselves as children or their sibling would take it. Also not getting enough attention from a parent, feeling like the black sheep and vice verca being the favourite child.
Good parenting will usually win through in the end.
Social skills are things that are taught either directly or through modeling. Since an only child might not face some of the day to day situations that force the development of certain skills parents can simply work to create these situations- a.k.a. play dates.
Not at all. The issue is not the only child but how the parent raise the only child. Many parents of only children enroll their child in daycare at an early age in order for their child to develop social skills. Also parents of only children have their child enrolled in play groups with other children.
Also many only children are socially mature because they socialize with their parents and other adults. Oftentimes, these only children adopt adult mannerisms and mature far quicker than children with siblings. Many children with sibings, especially those in large families, are very insular and isolated because they mingle only within the family circle and do not have any outside friends. Whether a child is a only or non-only has nothing to do with developing social skills.
A brother and/or sister has nothing to do with whether a child develop the prerequisite social skills. There are many shy and withdrawn children who have siblings e.g. Michael Jackson. The parent is the teacher of the family and it is the parents who determine whether or not their child/children develop prerequisite social skills.
There are parents of only children who are extroverted and have a wide circle of friends and associates and their only child is exposed to the wide variety of acquaintances whereas there are parents who have multiple children who are introverted and/or insular who have a very small circle of friends or no friends and their children become very isolated and insular with poor social skills.
My father had wise words for this:nonsense and balderdash. My father had a friend who was an only child and he was the most outgoing person who willingly shared things with him. Many only children I know are highly social and universal people who are very broadminded. On the other hand, I know many loners and isolates who had siblings e.g. in elementary, there were two loners- one girl who had two siblings and one girl who had nineteen siblings-they do not like to be with people at all.
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