9 false beliefs about having an only child

A series of false beliefs rest on the only child. Are they spoiled, tyrannical and selfish? Are they individualistic and have worse relationships with others?

Last update: September 11, 2022

The composition of the family of origin shapes certain aspects of the personality. However, this has given rise to a series of false beliefs, many of them associated with the only child.

Nor is it true that the eldest son is always a leader, nor is it true that the youngest is pampered and dependent. Nor is it true that the only child is a small tyrant marked by selfishness. The determining factor in each case is the parenting style.

An only child does not always have the exclusive attention of their parents. The temperament of each child is different and the way he is educated varies.

So it’s time to stop giving credence to certain beliefs about it. Today we will talk about those myths about the only child that have no foundation.



the only children

Until a while ago, it was usual for couples to decide to have several children. This has changed a lot, to the point where it is estimated that about 40% of families have only one child. It is very possible that this trend will continue and even increase.

Many parents have doubts about the advisability or not of having an only child. These hesitations stem, to a large extent, from mistaken beliefs about it. The truth is that there is no serious evidence that the absence of siblings is a problem.

The false beliefs about the only child are old. Without going too far, the first president of the American Psychological Association, Granville Stanley Hall, went so far as to say that “being an only child is a disease in itself”. This has been shown to be untrue, but such claims have caught on.

Some false beliefs about having an only child

A large study done in Germany and published in 2019 concluded that there is no relationship between being an only child and having narcissistic traits or being more self-centered. Other investigations have reached similar results.

The following are the main beliefs about the only child that are unfounded.

1. They are more selfish

This is perhaps the most widespread myth about the only child. It is said that because they do not have siblings they do not learn to share.

It is partly true, since they have to live their little adventures and experiences alone. This makes them braver and more independent.

However, it is nurturing that instills the ability to share with others. There are children who are selfish, even if they have siblings.. That factor is not decisive.

Children with siblings can also be selfish. Parenting is more important.

2. They have difficulty relating to others

Children who have siblings develop social skills more quickly and smoothly. The only child does it with the other children with whom she has contact.

It is possible that the former have some advantage, but this is not significant. In fact, only children tend to build stronger bonds of friendship, precisely because they value company so much.

3. They have a greater need for affection

It is not true that the only child grows up needing the attention and pampering of the whole world. In reality, the opposite usually happens.

As you have had exclusive attention in your home, usually you don’t need to fill a recognition gap. However, and again, parenting is the determining factor.

4. They are less adept at managing emotions

This could be the most false of the beliefs about the only child. Many of their experiences must resolve themselves and that allows them to get to know each other better and develop more autonomy.

Therefore, they also become more adept at managing their emotions. In particular, because they interact with adults most of the time.

5. They have a more limited childhood

This is one of the factors in which upbringing is decisive. If a child is overprotected and isolated, he will have more limited experiences.

On the other hand, if parents favor interaction with other children and with the world, the experiences will be more fulfilling. The only child grows up alone, without other children by his side. Whether this becomes limiting or not depends on the parents.



6. They are tyrants

A tyrannical character does not depend on being an only child. Parents who do not put limits on their children and who give in to their whims are going to generate tyrannical children, regardless of whether they have siblings or not.

Establishing rules of coexistence and respecting them is the basis for children not to develop an overflowing narcissism.

7. They have everything and that is why they do not value anything

Valuing what you have is something that parents teach through upbringing. If children are granted everything and they are not instilled with appreciation for what they receive, they will devalue what they have. This has nothing to do with being an only child or not.

8. They are more competitive

The only child does not face competition for parental affection, as children with siblings do. Therefore, contrary to what is believed, They tend to be more autonomous and less dependent on the behavior of others.. There is more tendency to compare with others in children who have siblings.

9. They do not know how to work as a team

The only child shares his life with adults. The age difference means that both the parents and the child must make efforts to better communicate and share.

This favors the development of empathy and the ability to interact with people. they think and are different. They have no problem working as a team.

The ability to collaborate, work in a team and relate to others is not related to the fact of having or not having siblings.

The center is nurturing

Parents of an only child must make an effort not to fall into overprotection. It is also important that they facilitate socialization with other children, as this is very important for their development.

Isolating him and keeping him alone among adults is not a good idea.

A pet offers them company and a sense of protection and care, so it is a good alternative. The most important thing is to offer her a healthy upbringing, with clear values ​​and limits. In this way, it will have a healthy development.

You might be interested…