Pros and cons of being an only child

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, shares advice for parents on what recent studies have shown to be the pros and cons of being an only child
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Pros and cons of being an only child

If you asked the question about only children years ago, you would have heard very grim forecasts about how an only child was going to turn out. Happily, science has blown all of those theories. Only children compensate very well for the lack of full time playmates. This happens in a couple of ways. First of all, being in the 21st century and we have more two income families, kids are being plopped in day cares very early on because parents have to go back to work. That's what happened with my daughters. As a result, only children who would have had three years or more without the socialization of a classroom are getting it when they are still infants. In addition, we all admit the over scheduling of kids. The upside for only children is that they have more hours of socialization, which is great for them because they would otherwise be spending that time alone. In addition, only children tend to skew higher in terms of vocabulary, in terms of world affairs, in terms of humor, in terms of movies, books and TV; all because they live in a house where they are outnumbered by parents. One study that I looked at found that when you looked at the quantity and density of information that is exchanged at the dinner table, there is much more per sentence exchanged when there is one child. There are still having richer, fuller conversations. Only children compensate in all kinds of ways for the fact that they don't have siblings.

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, shares advice for parents on what recent studies have shown to be the pros and cons of being an only child


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Jeffrey Kluger

Science Journalist & Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine, covering science, health and other fields. He is the coauthor, along with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Apollo 13, the book that served as the basis of the 1995 movie. His more-recent release, Splendid Solution, told the story of Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.  His novel, Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats, was published in June 2007, and his newest nonfiction book, Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex, was published in June 2008.

Before coming to Time, Kluger worked for Discover magazine, where he was a senior editor and humor columnist. Prior to that, he was health editor at Family Circle magazine, story editor at The New York Times Business World Magazine, and Associate Editor at Science Digest magazine. His features and columns have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Omni, McCall's, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Newsday, and, of course, Time. He has worked as an adjunct instructor in the graduate journalism program at New York University; is a licensed—though non-practicing—attorney; and is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He lives in New York City with his wife Alejandra and their daughters, Elisa and Paloma.

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