I'm a mum-of-one and I'm sick of people judging my only child – he’ll be more successful than kids with siblings

I'm a mum-of-one and I'm sick of people judging my only child – he’ll be more successful than kids with siblings

May 20, 2022

AS we're sure all first-time mums will agree, it feels like people start asking when you'll have the next one in the first five minutes after giving birth.

And as a mum-of-one herself, Katie Arnold-Ratliff can't drop her son off at school or visit family without being asked the dreaded question.

In a personal essay for Scary Mommy, the author claimed she's been accused of being "selfish" for not "giving her son a playmate".

She continued: "Having missed out on the character-building that comes from sharing your bedroom and your parents’ love, they’re supposedly destined to be self-absorbed jerks."

But after doing a deep-dive into studies about how their upbringing affects only children later in life, Katie says this stereotype is actually pretty unfair.

"A groundbreaking 1987 study seemed to prove that the notion of the introverted, awkward only child was a myth," she explained. "Only children are just as adept at social interaction, and as prone to extroversion, as anyone else."

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What's more, the study also found that they have higher emotional intelligence and are "better at talking themselves through tough times".

On top of this, new research published in 2021 found that only children remain closer to their parents than kids with siblings.

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Summarising their findings, researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong University claimed that only children "surpassed all [all children with siblings] in the positivity of the parent-child relationship."

Arguing that her son is more likely to excel in the working world as an only child, Katie referenced a recent study of medical students in China which found adults without siblings are more "ambitious and confident".

And after reading a 2011 study from The University of Warwick which found children who are bullied by siblings are more likely to struggle with depression, Katie was reassured that only having one kid is the right decision for her family.

She added: "I don’t mean to imply that only children are somehow superior — or that there aren’t downsides to the one-and-done arrangement […]

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"In the end, the point is this: Whenever someone implies (or just outright states) that you’re doing your kid a disservice by failing to provide them with a sibling, you can rest easy knowing that this is simply not the case.

"In fact, you may be doing your child — and yourself — a big favour."

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