Being An Only Child Doesn't Mean Your Child Will Be Less Social.

If you're the parent of a singleton - like me - you may sometimes worry that your child isn't getting...
If you're the parent of a singleton - like me - you may sometimes worry that your child isn't getting all the same benefits of a child who does have siblings. Especially if you yourself had siblings and liked it.

For example, I have two siblings. Growing up we fought like any other siblings, but overall we had a blast with each other, and I consider my sister and brother my closest friends now. My son, on the other hand is an only child. At nine, he's old enough that even if I did have another child, it wouldn't be the same as having siblings closer to his own age. I do sometimes wonder if I'm depriving Cedar of the same social skill benefits that I got, and that he won't, due to the sibling situation. However, a new study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University shows that only children are no less capable of developing good social skills than those children who are raised with brothers and sisters.

The researchers conducted a study with more than 13,000 middle school and high school students and found that siblings had no impact on how popular a student was among peers, how they interact in school, how many extracurricular activities they participate in or how they socialize out of school. This study contradicts an earlier study by Downey that estimated that kindergarten-aged kids fare better if they grow up with siblings. Study co-author Donna Bobbitt-Zeher notes, "I don't think anyone has to be concerned that if you don't have siblings, you won't learn the social skills you need to get along with other students in high school." Good news for parents of only children. [Images: my little sister and me; son Cedar ©Jennifer Chait]

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