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Are only children lonely and selfish?

Posted by Kristi Palma  June 11, 2013 08:35 AM

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Are only children lonely and selfish?

Not according to Lauren Sandler, an only child and mother of one. She discusses the topic in the New York Times opinion piece "Only Children: Lonely and Selfish?".
Sandler writes that our culture paints children without siblings as loners, misfits, and selfish.

"If a child doesn’t have siblings, it’s generally assumed that there’s a hush-hush reason for it: we don’t like being parents (because we are selfish), we care more about our status — work, money, materialism — than our child (because we are selfish), or we waited too long (because we are selfish). When have you heard someone say an only child is better off?" Sandler writes.

Sandler, who has been researching the topic for the past three years, points to hundreds of studies exploring character traits in which only children scored just as well as children with siblings. And, she writes, "endless research shows that only children are, in fact, no more self-involved than anyone else."


Are you an only child? Do you have an only child? Share your thoughts about it.

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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.
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