“When a person finds out that someone is an only child, they make certain assumptions about them, perhaps that they’re antisocial, shy, or egotistical. Yet when looking at hundreds of studies, I was able to conclude that, on average, only children are like other people. If there are any differences, they are that onlies are more human-motivated and have more self-esteem.”
—Toni Falbo, The Single-Child Family
Stereotypes about Only Children
Myth: Only children are aggressive and bossy.
Fact: Only children want to be included and well liked. They learn quickly that being aggressive and bossy pushes potential friends away.
Myth: Only children are spoiled.
Fact: Researchers have found that only children are not particularly spoiled and that there is no difference in only children’s relationships with friends when studied with children who have siblings.
Myth: Only children are selfish.
Fact: At one time or another, any child can be selfish and think of only himself/herself. Yet parents with one child help cultivate the tools of sharing and feeling for others and can be the best early teachers.
Myth: Only children are dependent.
Fact: Only children are often more independent and self-reliant than children with siblings because they don’t have siblings to depend on.
Myth: Only children grow up too quickly.
Fact: Children with siblings often talk to their siblings more than they talk to their parents. But the most important role model for only children are parents. The result is that only children copy adult behavior, speech patterns, and behavior. This often helps them handle the ups and downs of life more easily.
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