Advantages Of Being An Only Child

The advantages of being an only child. More and more couples nowadays are opting to have one child only. A look at some of the reasons for this decision.

The only child was a much rarer phenomenon even twenty or thirty years ago. It was seldom a case of choosing to have just one child. Then, only children tended to be shy, over-protected and socially withdrawn. They were often the offspring of older or infertile couples at a time when the average age for having a first child was in one's twenties.

Now, when having children in one's thirties or even forties is almost the norm, a "new" only child has emerged. This child is well balanced and socially adept. Indeed, today's only child benefits from the knowledge that it is the product of a positive parental choice.

More couples are deciding to have just one child for a variety of reasons. The most common reason, however, is financial. Couples are determined to maintain a comfortable standard of living, not only for their child but also for themselves. An only child certainly benefits from having the family financial resources focussed upon him or herself.



Parents of only children no longer have to worry about their child being lonely or at a social disadvantage. Mobility and the resources to support an active social life have put an end to that. Only children have friends to stay over on a regular basis and at school they have no problem fitting in and making new friends. Many of their classmates are also only children.

Many couples are increasingly concerned about providing a good education. Some are keen to give their child a private education or, at least, private tuition in certain subjects. If this means that they can only afford to have one child, then so be it.

Parents of only children have more time to focus on the general aspects of child development and learning issues and can give their child that individual attention that makes such a difference. Studies have proven that only children often do better in life for the same reasons that first-borns do. First-borns have their parents' individual attention for those important first few years and therefore benefit from greater stimulation. As a result, first-borns are often higher achievers in later life. In the case of the only child, this individual attention is available throughout childhood and can put then in a very strong position in later adult life.

There was a time when having an only child had something of a stigma attached to it. People often assumed that parents had a fertility problem and that no one could be "so selfish as to stop at one". Nowadays, that attitude has virtually disappeared. Parents are open and happy about having an only child. If a parent is happy, then so will their child be happy.

Often parents have no problem sustaining a good relationship and enjoying life when they have only one child to cope with. It is when a second baby appears in a couple of years' time that difficulties can surface. A mother of an only child doesn't have to deal with being pregnant and looking after a toddler at the same time. Sleepless nights are certainly less of a problem if you only have one child. In fact, the whole logistics and organisation of having more than one child can overwhelm a couple's personal relationship.

This is an important factor when deciding whether to have one child or not. It is possible to sustain an uninterrupted career path if a parent only takes a couple of years out or indeed, only takes the minimum maternity break and then returns to work without the need to update skills.

Only children today, are completely different people from those of just a few decades ago. Not only are they far more numerous, they are happier individuals who are well-balanced and more socially adept.

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