December 2011

Life Stages: Middle Adulthood

Bernice continues her discussion of Life Stages from the perspective of the only-child adult. After the  Young adult life -stage, which is concerned with making relationships and settling down, we move into the middle-adult, life-stage. Middle adulthood is the time when we are actively involved in generativity. This is about helping the next generation and could be through raising children or contributing to the welfare of future generations through paid or voluntary work,  or even perhaps in some other way. However it is also at this stage that many only children and non onlies,  find themselves caring for elderly parents. My research suggests that this phase of caring for elderly parents is particularly challenging for onlies, who often have strong feelings of responsibility toward parents’ and at the same time no siblings to share these feelings with. It also means that for some only-children the projected responsibility of elderly parents [...]

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Do only children know how to share?

Lets face it – this is something that only children are often accused of being bad at! But is it true? – To a certain extent it probably is. If we look at when and how we learn to share – this is done as children, usually in the family home. When there are siblings, it is one of the important processes siblings learn to deal with: learning to share toys, games, food, treats etc. It is a very different process for the only child learning to share with a parent. Parents’ are much more likely to be indulgent. They are not going to make a fuss if they don’t get the cherry on the top or the larger piece of cake. Having said that, some parents of an only child are very mindful of these things. However  it is still not the same as sharing with a vociferous older [...]

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