The Only Child. Spoiled? Lonely? Nope.

CJ Westerberg, June 10, 2013 7:55 AM


UPDATE June 9, 2013:  Only Children: Lonely and Selfish? via The NYTIMES


Chelsea Clinton, Cary Grant, Rudy Giuliani,
Robin Williams, Mahatma Ghandi & Frank Sinatra,
You're Not Alone

"What really changes, the fewer siblings we have,
is how we define family."

                                                                                  -- Susan Newman

by C.J. Westerberg

Glad to know Time comes to the rescue with their upcoming cover story, "The Only Child Myth".  There are far too many parents of onlies who should be spared from reciting their prepared litanies of how their child is not spoiled, lonely or set up for a dysfunctional adult life.  Same goes for the onlies themselves . . . why do they have to prove that they aren't selfish when there are so many examples of overly-indulged, overly-needy kids who have siblings?

If you consider how "lonely" the supporting research was for this ongoing present day stereotyping and how long ago it was conducted:  

"The image of the lonely only was the work of one man, Granville Stanley Hall. About 120 years ago, Hall established one of the first American psychology-research labs. But what he is most known for today is supervising the 1896 study "Of Peculiar and Exceptional Children," which described a series of only-child oddballs as permanent misfits. For decades, academics and advice columnists alike disseminated his conclusion that an only child could not be expected to go through life with the same capacity for adjustment that children with siblings possessed."

Enter Toni Falbo:

"No one has done more to disprove Hall's stereotype than Toni Falbo, a professor of educational psychology and sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.     Falbo began investigating the only-child experience in the 1970s, both in the U.S. and in China, drawing on the experience of tens of thousands of subjects. Twenty-five years ago, she and colleague Denise Polit conducted a meta-analysis of 115 studies of only children from 1925 onward that considered developmental outcomes of adjustment, character, sociability, achievement and intelligence. Generally, those studies showed that singletons aren't measurably different from other kids -- except that they, along with firstborns and people who have only one sibling, score higher in measures of intelligence and achievement."

Author Lauren Sandler continues on with an interesting parental perspective which includes economic, lifestyle and logistical considerations, the redefinition of family, and why we should expect an substantial increase in this segment of our population.

Read more here and view a gallery of famous only children herehere and here.

Orig. pub. The Daily Riff 201
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