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There’s always been this ongoing debate about whether it’s better to have an only child or whether it’s better for kids to have siblings. There’s no right or wrong answer; It’s always subject to individual differences. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and it all depends on what you give more value to. The most you can do it understand what it’s like in both cases - that may help you decide.

Here’s a brief account of what it’s like, being an only child:

Attention:

When you’re an only child, you get all the attention. This can be both good and bad. Getting all the attention means your parents are probably very in tune with how you’re feeling and what goes on in your life, which might not be the case if the attention had to be divided between siblings. If something good or bad happens, they’ll know and give all their support; they can be there 100%. However, with all the attention, there may also come the pressure of having to be perfect. This doesn’t mean that the parents of only children expect them to be perfect, but without a sibling for them to divide their attention, an only child might feel expected to make his/her parents proud and not disappoint.

Entertainment:

Many only children have given mixed accounts with regard to this one. On the one hand, it can seem to get boring a lot of the times, especially on weekends or family time. People generally find it easier to relate to people their own age, so family time could get boring for a kid who only has their parents to interact with. On the other hand, being an only child means you get to watch the TV shows you want to, and go for the birthday parties you want to go for, as well as going for movies of your own choice. You don’t have to share your toys or feel upset when it feels as though your parents are giving your sibling more attention or engaging with them more.

Emotions:

There have been accounts of only children claiming that they are sensitive. This isn’t hard to believe about someone who has grown up without a sibling. For those of you who have siblings, you remember what it was like to fight and tease; sometimes there would be some pretty mean, low blows, flying around. For an only child who doesn’t have to deal with that, dealing with conflict later on in life can be very different. They tend to be more sensitive to shifts in emotion and changes in relationships. This could also mean that they would be more in tune with changes in other people, even if it isn’t in relation to them.

Values:

The kind of values you develop depends greatly on your nurturing. If you’ve grown up without a sibling, you may not be great at sharing, and you may be used to getting your way and being headstrong about things. However, it might also mean that you are not inclined to conflict and more willing to compromise. For only children, their values may develop mainly from how they think in certain situations, as opposed to siblings who may develop different values by taking into accounts the opinions and values of their siblings.

Support:

For an only child, when it comes to family problems or problems like their parents getting divorced, they may find it difficult to deal with as they do not have someone else to help them get through it, who is dealing with the same thing. Additionally, they don’t have siblings whose experiences they can learn from. However, it could also mean that they become more independent in problem-solving and less dependent on others for support.

Perks:

As an only child, all you parents resources and money only needs to be spent on you. This could mean that you get more opportunities such as being signed up for more and different classes which can help you find your aptitude and talent and develop it. This could also mean getting new experiences that can help shape your life such as travelling which is cheaper when there’s only you to be paid for and interacting with more adults/friends of parents because you don’t have a sibling to act as a scapegoat.

What you’ve got to keep in mind, if you’re currently having this mental debate is that nothing is definite or certain. All the above-mentioned factors depend on a great many environmental factors as well as how you, as a parent, choose to bring up your child. It also depends on individual differences that exist between every human. Whether to have one kid or five is up to you. It must be reiterated - there is no right or wrong. Teach your kid(s) the right values and ethics, and bring them up how you think is right. All you can do is your best.

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