Does an only child need more attention?

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Does an only child need more attention?

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Only children have a reputation for demanding a lot of attention. And I haven´t seen a study that really disproves that. It makes sense, right? You are in a house with one other person or two other people, and it is a parent or two parents. And that´s who you want to hang out with. If you have a sibling, you tend to hang out with that sibling if you have an okay relationship. This is what complicates it is of course lots of siblings really don´t like each other and especially younger siblings often drive each other crazy. But I think that when there is a peer in the household, it defines sort of a children level versus an adult level. And when you have one kid in a household, that doesn´t happen in quite the same way. And so, I think that there is an expectation of not just attention but inclusion. And that can be tough. It is tough for me in the morning when at 5:30 my daughter wants to hang out and I keep thinking why don´t you just go in your room and read and let me sleep for another half an hour until six, God forbid. But she really does want to be there with us. And I have noticed that with her friends who have siblings, they will kind of make do in the morning whether they are playing or not. It just creates a different culture within a family.

See Lauren Sandler, MA's video on Does an only child need more attention?...

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Lauren Sandler, MA

Journalist & Author

Lauren Sandler is the author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One, and a journalist who writes on cultural politics and gender issues for publications like Time, The New York Times, and Slate. And she’s as an only child and the mother of one herself. 

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