Obviously, I have more than one child at home. However, I recently stumbled upon this article which raised my curiosity about the only child syndrome. I have heard about it before but I was not that curious as I am now ever since I became a mother. Many women I know are a mother of an only child. Some of them do not intend to raise an only child, while others make it their personal decision for health, financial or work reasons.
What is the only child syndrome? Does it really exist? Many mothers are most curious to know the answers to these questions.
Only Child Syndrome Definition
The definition of an only child syndrome is based on the theory that a child who does not have siblings may become maladjusted adults when they grow up. This theory was originally presented in 1896 by a psychologist named Granville Stanley Hall. Hall believed that an only child is more likely to experience relationship problems and social problems than other children who have grown up with their siblings. Also, only children may intentionally keep distance from other people because of their sense of superiority. As a result, they may become unpopular, loners and eccentric among their peers.
On the contrary, there are also experts who believe that being an only child does not necessary pose a social disadvantage. As most only child individuals develop closer bonds with their parents, this often translates to a positive influence on their lives, allowing them to later achieve high levels of success instead of the tendency to become maladjusted.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Only Child
They say that there are many disadvantages of being an only child which makes them suffer an only child syndrome. But there are a number of advantages too. One of them is that they generally get the undivided attention and love of their parents. That means that their parents can focus more on educating their only child to be the best person he or she can be. That is apart from the material things that they could enjoy as their parents will only have to provide for only one child.
On the negative side, if the parents are not able to properly discipline the child and the focus in bringing in up is more on material things, an only child can develop a number of negative traits more commonly associated with the only child syndrome such as selfishness, impatience, requiring constant attention, over dependence to parents, overly indulgent to themselves, and narcissism. More often, they are also the ones who often ask how to get over someone as they tend to be overly attached to a person and have difficulty letting them go in a relationship.
Does Only Child Syndrome Exist?
The term is already there but how a child will grow up and mature largely depends on the parents. If the parents put more attention on teaching their only child the right attitude and not mostly focus on giving material things, the child can grow up just like any other successful children. Being able to socialize with other children outside the home also plays an important role in the positive development of the child and to avoid the so-called only child syndrome.
And yes, many famous and successful people are an only child like Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Lance Armstrong.