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The Only Child vs the Large Family
December 31, 2019

A child’s personality is significantly affected by the family’s size and the child’s relationship among the members.

While family size is significant, it is only part of a larger picture. The other factors include personality traits, gender and spacing of the children. Children from larger families often learn cooperation at an earlier age and they take on more responsibility for themselves and their younger siblings. Additionally, these children must cope with sibling rivalry, which may help them later in life. This element may be a disadvantage: either the older child is demoted from a privileged position or the younger child may live in the older child’s shadow, suffering feeling of inferiority. The children from large families tend to adopt certain roles to acquire a sense of uniqueness to gain the attention of parents.

The only child may receive a greater amount of individual attention and tend to be comfortable around adults at an early age. The child may also be overprotected, however, which can result in dependence, lack of initiative, and fear of risk. Increased parental attention may also take the form of excessive scrutiny and pressure to live up to other people's expectations.

The only child vs the large family

Does the only child typically need more help with everyday tasks than a child from a large family? Does the child from a large family learn to cope with issues earlier than an only child?

Avoid stereotypes

The implication that the only child has a parent who has paid very close attention to every step of the child’s development and therefore the child may be less able to manage independently may be a biased opinion.

As a rule, parents spend more time with their only child. Everyone knows that in a big family mother and father are very busy and entrust the older children to care about the younger ones. They still arrange some family holidays and picnics, but if a kid is the only one, they do it more often. In big families, children will always be occupied by themselves while the parents will have time for doing something more urgent or pay attention to others. Children acquire good social skills and learn how to interact with others that will become of special importance for their future life.

Many parents avoid excessive hovering and allow the child to gain autonomy very early on. The only child may be allowed to stay at home alone earlier, have more freedom and do not feel the burden on constant supervision. However, most parents must make sure that the child is ready to take on more responsibility as too much freedom itself is a burden.

Large Family

Do large families have equal independence?

Children from large families are usually considered more autonomous than the only child. Often, the oldest child is called upon to watch the younger siblings and are tasked with supervising them inside and outside of the house, making this child more mature. The younger brothers and sisters are often not given the same sense of independence as the oldest child. This often works out well, but it is important to observe how the older children feel about the situation and may resent the role that has been assigned to them.

Whether they’re only children or part of a large family, it is important to give each child the right responsibilities and make sure that you acknowledge their desires and doubts.

Not everyone can financially and emotionally afford to have many children

Larger families require more effort and money. Parents sometimes have to say “No” to children’s requests and wishes. The great sums are needed to pay for food, clothes, travelling, education – just for everything.

One child is too much loved

The excessive worry and anxiety may lead to undesirable effects such as “spoiled” characters, egotism, jealousy, and loss of tolerance towards others.

In case of parents’ passing away the child stays alone

This may happen with everyone as no one can predict something in his life. A car accident, a fatal disease, or other misadventures and you leave your offspring alone in the world. Otherwise, children from a larger family will have a sister or a brother who will help cope with everything. This thought is worth consideration.

T's Learning Centers, with 5 facilities located in the greater Jacksonville area, is dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable environment for  toddlers, preschoolers and young children, that contributes their happiness and security when they are with us and sends them home to their families ready to share the experiences of the day.