Joys of Parenting

Only Child Versus Multiple Siblings

Many newly betrothed young couples often discuss the prospects of starting a family. Young couples are often faced with the dilemma of whether to have multiple children or only one. There are many schools of thought when exploring this particular subject. While there is no one right answer, there are some benefits to both types of families. This article will explore the benefits of both types of families.

Benefits of Being an Only Child

Financial Benefits
The financial implications of being an only child are numerous. Parents only have one child’s education to pay for, to clothe, to feed, to enroll in lessons or to invest in their financial security. Multiple children require parents to work harder to achieve larger salaries to support their children.

Leadership Benefits

Only children are both the first born and the last born child. These children must assume both roles. These children tend to be more academically oriented, ambitious, conscientious, conforming, conservative and respectful of their parents. Only children tend to be very successful. These children also have higher self esteem and are typically higher achievers than their siblings. Only children do not assimilate into groups often. However, when they do enter into groups they dominate the group in leadership positions. Children born later often tend to be more rebellious and flexible.

Only children must learn to interact with other children in play groups rather than interact at home with their siblings. They tend to retreat to themselves, and they learn to be self-sufficient. Only children learn to make it on their own rather than seeking the help of their siblings. Individuals with brothers and sisters become more reliant on their siblings.

No Sibling Rivalries

There are no sibling rivalries and no competition for resources or for their parent’s affection. Sibling rivalries may become out of control when a younger, rebellious siblings compete for their parent's affection. In some instances, sibling rivalries have become fatal when inheritances or other emotional affections come into play. Only children do not have to worry about such problems.

Negatives of Being an Only Child

Must Work Harder to Establish Friendships

Only children must work twice as hard to establish friendships. These children do not learn social skills with other children in the household. Therefore, all of their social interactions must be gained in the world with other children.

Individuals are often jealous of the success of only children and try to label them as spoiled brats. Only children tend to receive more negativity from the world than children who were raised with multiple siblings.

Perceived as Loners
An only child is accustomed to working alone to solve problems. Therefore, they are often perceived as loners. A “loner” is often not perceived well by society. Therefore, the actions of an only child may be misinterpreted. Only children value privacy and the luxuries of having their personal lives communicated only to a trusted group of individuals.

Benefits of Multiple Siblings
Social Interactions
Everyday, children with siblings learn to negotiate, dominate or acquiesce to another social being. Over time, siblings learn how to compete and what to expect from a cunning opponent who intends to annihilate you in the sibling rivalry combat. This typically occurs when individuals live in the same household. However, as children grow up in different households, the dynamics change slightly. This largely depends upon how the parents interact with the siblings and the siblings with each other when they are together. On the whole, however, siblings learn to interact with one another at home first rather than with other children.

Learn from One Another’s Mistakes
First born children are typically more academically inclined and act as the teacher or the boss in the family. First born children may teach younger siblings about things they did not learn early on or did not know. First born children are also more successful.

Better Leaders

People who must deal with multiple siblings learn to better leaders. They are taught to cooperate, negotiate and in some instance, compete at home. The natural leader will emerge among siblings and that individual most likely is the oldest sibling. Individuals learn early on their strengths and weaknesses and build their lives accordingly. Negotiating with multiple siblings will allow individuals to learn quickly their strengths and weaknesses.

Negatives of Multiple Siblings

Less Parental Attention
Multiple siblings must constantly compete for their parent’s attention and financial support. Parents who often have to educate multiple kids and enroll them in social activities find themselves in financial strain. Therefore, if there is a significant gap between kids, one sibling may have a completely different experience than the other. One kid may receive more parental attention than the other one did. One sibling may receive more material items than the other.

Blame Game
Younger children are often more rebellious and less successful. Younger male siblings are more likely to become homosexual. In fact, there is a 20% chance that a younger male sibling will become gay. Other statistics, such as this often lead to blaming the older sibling for the younger sibling’s proclivities or personality traits.

In all families, there are jealousies. Much of the jealousy is directed toward the older and usually more successful sibling. The younger sibling may often form a coup just to unseat the older sibling from their throne. The younger sibling may be jealous of their money, knowledge, spouse, status or the time that the older sibling spent with the parents before they were born. This is especially true when there is a gap of 10 years or more between siblings. Parent’s income levels, values and energy levels may change a lot over 10 years. This may leave younger siblings feeling somewhat slighted about what parents were able to do with the older sibling.

While there are many benefits to both scenarios, only children and oldest siblings typically emerge as the leaders in both scenarios. Therefore, parents will still have to contend with one child emerging as the leader in the family. This is not always the case, however. Parents must work to establish equal relationships with children and give each child the attention that they need to feel confident. Some children may not need the attention others need. Parents must learn to adapt new parenting styles for each child. Not all techniques work on every child equally.