Articles

An only child is a happy child

An only child is a happy child, says research? The more siblings children have, the unhappier they become, due to bullying and competition by Anushka Asthana, The Observer, Sunday 14 November 2010 In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Natalie Portman once said: “I would never have been an actress if I weren’t an only child, because my parents would never have let me be the star of the family at the expense of another child.” It turns out that when it comes to the advantages of life without brothers and sisters, she was on to something. One of the widest-ranging research projects on family life conducted in Britain has revealed that the fewer siblings children have, the happier they are – and that only children are the most contented. The findings, shared exclusively with the Observer, suggest that “sibling bullying” could be part of the problem, with 31% of [...]

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Why an only child is happier than those who have brothers and sisters

By Nick Mcdermott
 15th November 2010 The Daily Mail They are often viewed as being awkward, lonely and demanding, but a new study has revealed that only children are happier than those forced to fight for their parents’ attention with their siblings. One of the reasons single-children appear more confident and content is they do not have to deal with ‘sibling bullying’, according to researchers, with almost a third of youngsters saying they are regularly hit or shoved by a brother or sister. Many children with siblings also complain of their belongings being stolen and being called ‘nasty names’ by a brother or sister. Me me me time: Competition for parental attention and irritation over the need to share belongings could be to blame for greater unhappiness amongst those with a brother or sister, new research claims. The figures, which come from one of the widest-ranging studies on family life [...]

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Costly legacy for the spoilt Little Emperors

Ice creams and piano lessons, designer sneakers and a flat of their own: these are some of the extras that China’s only children receive from their doting families. The one-child policy has created a generation of Little Emperors. They are at the core of what is known as the 4-2-1 phenomenon of four grandparents, two parents and one child. The children, some now in their early thirties, have been pampered since birth. If a child cries, the response of two parents and four doting grandparents is to rush out and buy something — a hamburger or perhaps a toy embossed with a picture of the latest cartoon craze character, the doe-eyed “Pleasant Goat”. One result is a generation of spoilt brats. But there are far more serious consequences. Abortions of female foetuses mean there are many more boys than girls. Within a decade 40 million young men will be unable [...]

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An only child ‘is NOT a more lonely teenager’

By Fiona Macrae,
 Daily Mail, 6th August 2010 They are often dismissed as being spoiled, selfish and lonely. But as they reach their teens, only children have just as many friends as other youngsters, a study has found. Research shows that while growing up without brothers and sisters may leave children awkward and tongue-tied initially, by the time they start secondary school they are as socially adept as classmates from bigger families. Urging parents not to worry that the apple of their eye won’t fit in at school, researcher Dr Donna Bobbitt-Zeher said: ‘As family sizes get smaller in industrialised countries, there is concern about what it might mean for society as more children grow up without brothers and sisters.’ ‘I don’t think anyone has to be concerned that if you don’t have siblings you won’t learn the social skills you need to get along with other students in high [...]

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What it feels like… to have just one child

An only child, Erica Wagner, reveals her reservations and delight at having just one son The Sunday Times, 27 June 2010 “How many children do you have?” is an everyday question I’ve come to dread. “One,” I reply, humbly. “Only one?” Eyebrows shoot skyward. Uncomfortable surprise turns to downright horror when it is established that my only child is nine, and therefore I’m unlikely to be planning another baby. “Oh, a lonely only,” one mother commented, with a devastated sigh. Having only one child works for me, but my decision is obviously hard for some to understand; I seem to defy logic. My husband and I both work from home, we have flexible careers that would accommodate a baker’s dozen, and we both adore our nine-year-old son, Conrad. Yet one is enough for us. Mothers of more sometimes appear to disapprove of my choice. Besides the “lonely only” comment, complete [...]

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The one and only

Why more parents are choosing a single-child family By Damon Syson  25th March 2009 The Daily Mail Yesterday in the playground I watched a little girl point to a snotty-nosed toddler waddling behind her, puff out her chest with pride and announce: ‘That’s my brother!’ Something lurched in my chest – a pang of guilt, or maybe doubt. Because as things stand, my daughter Ava, who is two-and-a-half, will never be able to say those words. Ava, we have decided, will be raised as an only child. In the past, only children were rarely the product of an active choice. But today, couples like my partner Bethan and I are making the decision to stick at one. The number of children living in a one-child household in Britain has risen. In 1972, 18 per cent of children grew up without siblings. Now the figure is 26 per cent. Britain is [...]

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The joys of life with an only child

‘We love Paddy, he loves us’ Miranda Sawyer, mother of Patrick. The Observer, Sunday 15 March 2009 The fantastic thing about parenting is that, if you’re so inclined, it gives you yet more things to beat yourself up about. You used to worry about your bad diet? Try considering your toddler’s refusal to eat anything other than white bread, crap sausages and ice cream without bits in. Do you lie awake at 5am unpicking your lack of achievement and general all-round rubbishness? Just wait until the state school lottery system hammers home what a proper failure you are. Alternatively, you could try not worrying. Really. If having kids teaches you anything, it’s that you are not entirely in control. Not of your life, not of theirs. You can do your best – you’re an Observer-reading liberal, so you will do your best – but the moment you hand over your [...]

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Does Only Mean Lonely?

By Christopher Middleton, Daily Telegraph, 13 Sep 2008 Christopher Middleton assesses the solitary life of a child without siblings. Not so long ago, the question of the moment was whether or not to buy a second home. Since the economic downturn, though, more and more couples in Britain are wondering whether or not to have a second child. In pure economic terms, of course, stopping at one makes sense. According to the Liverpool Victoria insurance company, the current cost of raising a child from birth to 21 is £186,000, rising to £265,000 for children who will be born in 2012. Emotionally, though, the calculations aren’t quite so clear-cut. Although the proportion of families with only one child has been steadily rising since 1972 (from 18 to 26 per cent), plenty of people still believe that the lack of siblings comes at a psychological cost to the “enfant unique” (as the [...]

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Only-child Challenges and How Counsellors Can Help. ©

The Journal of Counselling Children and Adolescence: October 2006 by Dr Bernice Sorensen An only-child’s experience of growing up without siblings may mean that they are unprepared for many of the emotional and social demands of formal education. Even as young adults, an only-child can find the tension between their need for separateness and togetherness difficult to negotiate. Counsellors can offer a great deal to these young people when sensitive to some of the challenges they face. A recent article in the TES (1) reported that most teachers did not think only-children had special problems. However, a new project was set up to train ‘listeners’, in the Durham area found that 50% of the first referrals were only-children. My own experience of only-children is three-fold. First as an only-child, I am well aware of the challenges I met interacting with others and negotiating both friendships and intimate relationships as a [...]

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Not Special but Different: The Only Child Experience ©

Self and Society: May 2006 Edition By Dr Bernice Sorensen As part of a doctorate in psychotherapy, I have been researching the experiences of adult only children. As an only child I was curious to know if other adult only children had comparable experiences to myself and if these were in any way peculiar to only children. During my research experiences emerged that were common to only children though not exclusive to them. By using in depth interviews as well as message boards and chat rooms on the internet, I began to notice that these experiences were important to both men and women and appeared true of adult onlies in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. I also interviewed therapists who worked specifically with this group, to see if their clinical experiences reflected similar themes. Finally, I co-facilitated workshops, with an only child male therapist, on issues such as [...]

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