August 16th, 2010
06:09 PM ET

Only children as social as their peers

Only children show no sign of any social deficits by the time they reach adolescence, concludes a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Researchers from the Ohio State University analyzed data from more than 13,000 students, from seventh to 12th  grade. Each student was given a roster of all the students at his or her school and asked to circle the names of 10 friends, five male and five female. After calculating how many times each student was selected as being someone's friend, the researchers concluded that only children did not suffer from any lack of social skills when compared with their peers with siblings.

That conclusion contradicts an earlier finding done by the same team in 2004. Back then, Doug Downey, professor of sociology at OSU, and a team of researchers looked at more than 20,000 kindergarten students to see if only children exhibited fewer social skills than their peers with siblings. They used teacher evaluations to conclude that only children had less self-control and fewer interpersonal skills than students with at least one sibling.

"The kindergarten study is exceptional," says Downey. "So the question that motivated this current research was, if there is a deficit [of social skills] among only children when they begin school, how would that accumulate throughout childhood?"

Downey hypothesized that he and his team would see the social skills deficit present in kindergarten-aged only children increase as those children grew older, so that by junior high school and high school, it would be seen to a much larger extent. In fact, the team found just the opposite.

"Once you've been in school for a while it may be that you've had plenty of opportunities for peer interaction and you overcome that deficit," says Downey. "That's what we found.... It looks like all of that washes out by the time [students] reach adolescence."

Downey's study may not be enough to quell the anxiety some parents of only children feel, particularly because of Downey's earlier conclusion that those children have underdeveloped social skills when they start kindergarten. But Downey believes there may be a solution.

"If we're right about the mechanism, that greater interaction throughout a child's school years causes that deficit to disappear, one thing parents could do is to look for opportunities for interaction before kindergarten," says Downey.

"Preschool, play groups – those opportunities provide great exposure to those peer interactions that would reduce or eventually eliminate that gap that we observed before kindergarten."

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Denizen Kate

    If single-child parents have anxiety about this, it's only because they never take the kid to the local park to play with other kids. It isn't rocket science, just good parenting. I can't believe someone got paid for this research.

    August 16, 2010 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The_Mick

      Great point, Kate! When I babysit my 9 year old only-child nephew, he wants to sit in a chair and play computer games, DS, Wii, etc. even though he's a good athlete (soccer team MVP). Over great objection, I drag him to a local playground and within a minute he's playing with other kids. Then, when it's time to go he objects to me dragging him away!

      August 17, 2010 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
    • T Charles

      @Denizen Kate: I don't understand how your point applies to only-children. I haven't seen any evidence that they are less likely to be taken to social gatherings by their parents. If you have hard evidence to the contrary, please post a link.

      August 17, 2010 at 07:31 | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      I have one 7 yr old daughter, knowing she would most likely be our only child (I had her when I was 40) I took extra time to have hundreds of play dates and park days to make sure she was properly socialized . She is entering grade 2 now and she is quite the social butterfly but prefers one friend at a time-who knows is if this is a result of being an only child or just her personality? Our biggest challenge is not spoiling her too much-both families over-indulge her. And just a side note** the term "only child" is not at all offensive to us, she is our ONLY child!

      August 17, 2010 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
  2. Greg

    I am a parent of a 10-year old only child, and he has no issues making friends and never has. It doesn't matter how many kids you have; it matters how you raise them. A bad parent(s) having more kids is not the answer to producing more social children at school. Silly research. I thought we got past this stereotype that only children are unhappy and lacking social skills?

    August 16, 2010 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Denizen Kate

      Well stated. I raised a single child, too, and when his sixth grade teacher wanted to explain the meaning of the word "gregarious" she had my son stand up! So much for only children lacking social skills, eh?

      August 16, 2010 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jocelyn

      Thank you Greg! I was an only child and in my 30 years of life I have always been gregarious. I made my first friend in kindergarten by taking the initiative to introduce myself to her. I wish people would spend less time focusing on stereotypes and studies. They should opt to spend more time with their children and being good parents like you suggested.

      August 16, 2010 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • Jewls

      Um. Kate, hate to break it to you, but your son knowing what gregarious means is no reflection his social skills.

      August 16, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Um. Jewls, what she meant was that the teacher used her child as an example of a gregarious personality. Hate to break it to you, but when read in the correct context it's an excellent reflection of his social skills.

      August 17, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
  3. Jodi

    One thing to consider is that there could be some prejudice by the teachers in the kindergarden study – teachers tend to assume only children will exhibit certain behaviors and then they look for ways to support their prejudice. I'd be more likely to accept the original study and thus the conclusions from the second study if the first study was based on more imperical data vs. opinions. Most only children and parents of only children already know that only children aren't usually socially inept. And yes, I'm an only child.

    August 16, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GG

      Jodi: I TOTALLY agree.

      August 17, 2010 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  4. Julie

    "Only Children are DOing Just Fine" a post recently featured on Mamapedia.com had similar comments from 95+ parents! (http://www.mamapedia.com/voices/only-children-are-doing-just-fine)

    August 16, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jim l

      Yes, that first sentence is pretty idiotic if you don't realize "only children" means "Children with no siblings show no sign of any social deficits by the time they reach adolescence not "Children, to the exclusion of all others, show no sign of any social deficits by the time they reach adolescence"

      If you start reading it the second way, the article makes no sense until the end of the third paragraph. The first sentence needs a "as compared to" or "versus" to tell you what the alternate group is and set context.

      August 16, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
    • Leigh

      I agree that social skills (or lack thereof) have not been a problem for me as an only child. However, as an adult with an ailing father, I am facing decisions alone that if I had a sibling, I would gratefully call for help in making. There are times of isolation involved by being an only child that I did not want to pass on to my children. The world is never perfect. We have to do what we can with the life we are given. My kids argue all the time, but I know that as adults, they will not have to walk a path alone.

      August 17, 2010 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  5. Austyn

    I'm an only "child"-I'm almost 24, while I don't have a high number of friends, I would rather have a few good friends than alot of "friends". I'm social, I'll talk to people I know, they may not be friends, but I still talk to them. I can't believe they spent money on this either. And, I've always heard as an only child that it isn't bad to talk to yourself, just if you answer =).

    August 16, 2010 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. elle

    "Only children"? This comes across as a poorly written article. How about 'Children with no siblings'

    August 16, 2010 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      Elle, "only children" is not a derogative term, it is the common term for children with no siblings.

      August 16, 2010 at 22:43 | Report abuse |
    • noztnac

      I'm an only child. I never considered the term even the slightest bit offensive.

      August 17, 2010 at 03:35 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You misunderstand Elle. She isn't suggesting "only children" is offensive. She is pointing out the poor grammar employed with the text "Only children...." If you follow grammar rules, "Only children eat chicken" would mean that chicken is eaten only by children and not by adults. I had to read well into the article to realize the article was about children with no siblings compared to children with siblings instead of all children compared to adults. Poor grammar leads to confusion. If you want to use "only children" then at least write, "only-children" which alerts the reader that the author is defining a new word. I still think it is better to write "children without siblings..." That is crystal clear.

      August 17, 2010 at 04:12 | Report abuse |
  7. kmcg

    All of the only children I knew were VERY social. They also had more social skills with people who were different than them, especially older children and adults. I always considered this to be because when children have siblings, that's who they spend time with at events, but when you have one child, they are interacting a lot more with adults.

    What should be looked at is if only children are a little more selfish than people with siblings. Now I love my only child friends, awesome people, but they definitely compromise less and demand more than my friends with siblings. Anyone notice similar trends?

    August 16, 2010 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessy

      I totally agree. When you have siblings you're taught to share. With only children, you're usually spoiled and aren't used to sharing with peers.

      August 16, 2010 at 23:05 | Report abuse |
    • FreeSpiritGal

      I am the only child... now 56. My boyfriend of three years keeps telling me how well I share. We get along great and spend a lot of time together. He is the second of five siblings and I guess he had this idea that only children don't share well. At first I was surprised by his comments, which made me aware of this myth about only children in our society. And yes, I am social and form bonds easily even with people I don't know =).

      August 17, 2010 at 04:23 | Report abuse |
  8. SkegeeAce

    As an only-child I eventually developed really good social skills, but it took a loooong time. Of course, I may be the weirdo/geek exception, but the only caveate of being an only child is that it CAN be extreeeeemely lonely. Everyone who suggests taking kids to be around other kids in parks and programs are absolutely right- it doesn't quite make up for being an only child, but it sure helps! 🙂

    August 16, 2010 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angelique

      Totally agree with you there. Very lonely at times. But if there's an upside to that, it's that I'm now able to live alone & be perfectly okay with it. I enjoy my company...

      August 17, 2010 at 01:49 | Report abuse |
  9. rmanis

    As a teacher, I find it telling that the earlier study in 2004 sampled only teacher surveys of children without siblings. Teachers are just as susceptible to propagating the myths of children without siblings as anyone else. The first study sounded completely unreliable, and I, as a teacher and as the aprent of a child without silings, am glad the second study disproves the first.

    August 16, 2010 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Happy

    I have always found people with siblings to be jealous (especially of "only children") and self-centered. I thank God every day that I am an "only child."

    August 16, 2010 at 23:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Steve

    Why do articles that push the general theme of "fewer kids is OK" always seem to be accompanied by a photo of a white child and/or parents?

    You'd never guess that whites are a declining % of both the US and world populations. No hand-wringing about "slow genocide," which it is, or white kids being an "endangered species," which they most certainly are.

    August 16, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Flora

      In case you haven't noticed, this is an article about child-rearing, not your neo-nazi, self-aggradizing, agenda of bigotry. There is no conspiracy against you, so begone.

      (FYI, whites are in no way shape or form an "endangered species". He!!, they're not even a species – just a different color of the same animal.)

      August 17, 2010 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
  12. zevie

    I am one of 5 children, had many siblings and cousins to interact with growing up. As a child ( and now as an adult) I never had more than 2 or 3 friends. I have a lot of acquaintances, but few deep friendships. My siblings seem to have many friends, I guess I'm just the exception. I do have a girlfriend though who is my best friend (she's also really pretty!) and that makes me happy 🙂

    August 16, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. wr

    This article makes no sense. "Only children as social as their peers." So older people aren't as social as their peers? But their peers are???
    Are there any editors at CNN?

    August 17, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mtncpl

      They mean "only children" as a single child without siblings. It makes sense if read like this. You would think the editors could have ensured the article was written with more clearly.

      August 17, 2010 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • mtncpl

      They mean "only children" as a single child without siblings. It makes sense if read like this. You would think the editors could have been more clear about this.

      August 17, 2010 at 01:19 | Report abuse |
  14. Katie

    "Um. Kate, hate to break it to you, but your son knowing what gregarious means is no reflection his social skills."

    Um. Jewls, what she meant was that the teacher used her child as an example of a gregarious personality. Hate to break it to you, but when read in the correct context it's an excellent reflection of his social skills.

    August 17, 2010 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Brat

    I am a 28-year-old only child, and a self-professed social butterfly. I keep a fairly large circle of close friends and never had a problem making or keeping friends, even from a young age. I spent time with other children as well as adults while growing up, and I believe that I learned more manners and social graces because full attention was put on me, I had no reason not to be made to say please and thank you at the dinner table. I also had to learn how to take responsibility for my actions because there was no one else to blame for anything.

    August 17, 2010 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Chan

    If the "socialization" issue that people want to put on single children balances out within a couple of years (length of time not actually studied), I am not sure what the issue is. I think the "doctors" wanted to promote the concept that single children are spoiled brats. What is in this for them?

    August 17, 2010 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Toby

    If parents quit using birth control (in defiance of God and the Church), these poor kids would have the siblings they need to grow into healthy adults. Many of these "single kid" kid familes do not know how to raise them with health attitudes toward the world, which is why most of these kids become gay or have gay sympathies later in their teen years.

    August 17, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • noztnac

      That is possibly the most inane post I have read this year.

      August 17, 2010 at 03:40 | Report abuse |
    • elinaalien

      I feel bad for you. I promise to pray for you.

      August 17, 2010 at 06:48 | Report abuse |
    • Kathryn

      You are insane

      August 17, 2010 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • Futbol Czarina

      This is your attempt at humor, correct? No rational human being would sincerely believe the rubbish posted.

      August 17, 2010 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      I can't believe I am replying to such a troll, but it has been discovered that the more boys that a mother has, the higher likelihood of each successive boy to be gay. It was on 60 minutes. So, in fact, the children you have, the less likely you will have a gay child. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

      August 17, 2010 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • PAL

      Toby you are a MORAN

      August 17, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
    • onlyonetime


      August 17, 2010 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • Flora

      ...WHAT??? This is even worse than the neo-nazi up there!! Where on God's earth do these people come from???

      August 17, 2010 at 20:34 | Report abuse |
  18. Angelique

    Phew! Breathing a sigh of relief...

    August 17, 2010 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Lonely Only

    I've been an only child for 31 years and it still sucks. I envy all of you out there with siblings. You have no idea how lonely it can be. I don't care how many friends I have because I didn't have "social deficits," losing a parent alone will be so much harder.

    August 17, 2010 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • noztnac

      I've been an only child for 40 years and it's been awesome. I'm very glad not to have had any siblings. I was seldom lonely and had a blast doing things on my own.

      August 17, 2010 at 03:42 | Report abuse |
    • FreeSpiritGal

      I agree with noztnac! It's awesome! As they say, love your family but chose your friends. I am so glad that I have this freedom of choice. I do not have to deal with family just because they are. "Lonely Only": happiness and fulfillment are within. It's not a narcissist that's talking. If you are not happy within yourself, you are making a lousy friend. Happy people attract happy people. If you dwell in the lonely state of mind, all you are going to attract more loneliness and a few other lonely people who are too busy indulging in their loneliness to even notice that YOU exist 😉

      August 17, 2010 at 04:43 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Lonely Only, I get what you are saying. My parents were older when they had me and now they are both gone. It is hard not to have siblings who are ready-made support. Of course not all siblings get along – but there is something to be said for shared memories that goes a long way towards making you feel a little less alone. I completely agree that only children can and do grow up as social and "normal" as anyone else. My problem has been feeling a bit of a "disconnect" with others because I always felt "less than" when compared with their family relationships. On the flip side, I hear all the time that I'm awesome, such a great friend, always willing to go the extra mile for someone... I just don't like the concept of being "alone" when it comes to family.

      August 17, 2010 at 07:08 | Report abuse |
    • Jenn

      Whether your social or not really depends on personality and how you were raised. I am an "only child" (age 36) of a single parent that gave birth to me at age 16. I had a very lonely childhood, but that was due to multiple factors, such as constantly moving, having no stability, and a parent that didn't really interact with me much. I was supposed to play quietly by myself and not bother her. My current "Family" is made up of mostly close friends. However, I realize that they have "real families" that take priority and that is the part the still gets to me. While I am included in their holidays, I am still only a guest without any family of my own. Even worse, I have four half-siblings that I have never met (father's). I imagine they have close ties and probably had the life I so desperately wanted growing up.

      August 17, 2010 at 07:53 | Report abuse |
    • JoJo

      Just because one has siblings doesn't mean you'll be close to them. Depend upon yourself for happiness and find others for companionship, if that's what you want. My only child daughter is fully prepared for the deaths of her father and me and can handle anything that comes her way in that regard, totally independent of others. Siblings might or might not be there for her.

      August 17, 2010 at 08:11 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      My siblings do not speak with each other. This type of falling out is quite common among siblings and there is a ton of jealousy and selfishness and competition amongst siblings. So it is not all so great all of the time.

      August 17, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • hg

      I am the parent of a child w/o siblings, and I worry about this constantly. It's just that I never really wanted kids. And, yes, while I love my daughter more than I ever thought possible, I'm not sure if I'm in it for multiples. However, the issue you raise concerns me all the time. It just feels wierd to have another child only for the child you have. I have no doubt all would turn out well (meaning I'd love any additonal child just as I do my daughter), I'm just not sure it's who I am. It takes a lot to be a good parent. And, I fully realize that as the oldest of several half sisters (who I love), I can be just as selfish as some only children have been steroetyped to be. I wonder with the responsibilities of another child if I'd be happy or would I pushed to my limits. I don't want to be a "yeller" or impatient because I'm spread too thin. It's a hard balance. And, I only have one shot at being a good mom. I want to do it right.

      Nonetheless, Lonely Only, I pray that God grants you the grace you need to shed the loneliness. I'm sure you're blessed with good friends...and if not, you will be. Friends might not be bound to you by blood, but don't let that cloud your vision of the blessings they present. And, I thank you very much for posting your candid thoughts.

      P.S. My daughter is super social–but, has been in daycare since baby...perhaps that is an impacting factor???

      August 17, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
  20. Richie

    This study is just as flawed as the earlier study. Social skills cannot be measured by the number of friends. I am an only child, and I always had friends growing up. However my social skills were nonexistent, and they've improved only marginally. I was and am fearful of new social situations. When the same bunch of children are thrown together day in and day out, naturally friend-making is inevitable. To save money, and get written up on CNN, the Ohio State group used papers filled out by students which were no doubt then 'graded' by computer. Cheap, Cheap! To really evaluate social skills individual students would have to be subjected to unpredictable social situations and recorded for later evaluation.

    August 17, 2010 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FreeSpiritGal

    I am the only child... now in my 50's. My boyfriend of three years keeps telling me how well I share. We get along great and spend a lot of time together. He is the second of five siblings and I guess he had this idea that only children don't share well. At first I was surprised by his comments, which made me aware of this myth about only children in our society. And yes, I am social and form bonds easily even with people I don't know =). Let's stop putting each other in the BOXES, please!

    August 17, 2010 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JoJo

    I grew up with 3 siblings but always wanted to be an only child. Now as an adult, I still wish I were an only child. I'm not close to any of my siblings and enjoy being alone with my husband and adult daughter. I've always heard that only children are not sharers, but I don't share well since I was "forced" to share with siblings. So, having siblings can have the opposite effect on sharing, as in my case.

    August 17, 2010 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donna

      When I see young families with siblings all they learn is how to fight and compete over things. I don't see any learning of sharing going on. It gets quite tedious.

      August 17, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  23. elinaalien

    I feel bad for poor, deluded Toby.

    August 17, 2010 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • onlyonetime

      Very sad indeed!

      August 17, 2010 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
  24. warsteiner

    How much did it cost to find out what every parent could have told you

    August 17, 2010 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sergeant Friday

      Do you see agreement among the parents posting here?

      August 17, 2010 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
  25. Vivian

    Great to see so many comments on this positive article! Keeping in mind that the study was done by American Sociological Association, it is safe to assume they do these types of studies every day....and get paid for it. If the stereotype did not exist all ready, there would not have been a need for the the study. The fact is that we are a society that "buys into" the fact that "more" is better. There are plenty of kids with siblings that are lonely, or less social as well. It is all about perceptions and labels. Good for the American Sociological Association and kudos to everyone making supportive comments. We need more positive stories to comment about! http://www.onlychildkidsclub.com

    August 17, 2010 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jumior

    Agree about the grammar. CNN hires dropouts!!!

    August 17, 2010 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MelVin

    My son, who is 17, is an only child. He is a well rounded, social kid. He is actually able to sit with an adult, or anyone, and carry on an intelligent conversation because we actually talked with him and he paid attention and participated. There were no distractions from other children. There is no replacement for good parenting, no matter how many children you have, and it is the parents responsibility to make sure their children are well adjusted. My son may have been lonely at times but we always made it a priority for him to be able to spend as much time with his friends as we could. I just do not understand why there is such a stigma attached to an "only" child.

    August 17, 2010 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoJo

      Neither do I understand the stigma about being an only child–I say quality over quantity any day! My only child daughter could match or exceed her social skills with any "siblinged" person around.

      August 17, 2010 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
    • Lily

      I could not have said it better! Congratulations on being a caring, interactive parent with your child. I am an only and my parents were the same way.

      August 17, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
  28. lewax00

    I'm an only child, and I had (and still have to some extent) plenty of social problems. But that's because I moved around a lot. Going to 7 different schools before high school is difficult. I've never felt that not having siblings hindered me though.

    August 17, 2010 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Lauren

    First off, I'm an only child in my mid-twenties. I agree with the comments that the kindergarden teachers may have been biased, in assuming how only children may behave. It was also a good point to look at the parenting behind only children and children with siblings; I don't believe that having siblings or not is a major consideration on a child or teenager's social level. I think it has to do more with the family dynamics as a whole. It seems rational that only children might be lonely, but what child doesn't go through those feelings?
    From my own life as an only child, my social skills have hardly been a topic of concern. I have a lot of friends, love making new friends and meeting new people. One point to consider is that in some cases, only children may know how to interact with adults better, given they live with one or two. But that would be a rather pointless study, much like the one presented in this article. Nonetheless, one's social skills aren't determined by the number of siblings you have.

    August 17, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Onlychildofanonlychildwithanonlychild

    As an only child of an only child with an only child-none of us have ever had social issues. My father, myself, and my daughter all have many friends and they are long lasting friends. Only children take friendships seriously since they do not have a sibling to fall back on. My husband, who was very close to his brother, has a tougher time making friends. Only children also get blamed for being spoiled. But, as the only child you have more responsibilities at home. I mowed the lawn and dried the dishes. Also, as your parents get older you have no help with their care. It is all you. So, don't look down at only children. We can entertain ourselves, be alone or with a group. I believe we are the most social.

    August 17, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JoJo

    Donna, I agree that in a family with several siblings, there is a lot of fighting & competing over things. In my case, my father sided with one of my brothers whenever the brother & I had a conflict so there was the added tension of wondering if my father really loved me. To this day, I have a "cool" relationship with that brother (my father died last year), have had counseling to deal with it, but can't seem to shake it. WIsh I had no siblings at all.

    August 17, 2010 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. mazter

    My personal experience with only children is that generally speaking, they tend to be more self-centered. Growing up they were used to being the center of their universe, and as they grow up some of them tend to have difficulty adjusting to a world were they're just one more person on the block.

    August 17, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Koco

    My beautiful daughter is an only child. I have always felt somewhat guilty that she hasn't had any siblings for company and support. She also tends to gravitate towards making only a few good friends. Luckily she has cousins that she loves and with whom she socializes. Her dad and I have to continue to encourage her to socialize because she does have a tendency to be a hermit if given the chance.

    August 17, 2010 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Lily

    I am an only child and never had problems interacting with my peers or anyone else. My mom stayed home and i did have neighborhood children to play with but i never went to playdates or mother's day out. I think these studies leave out the dynamics that go on at home. If parents take their child places and interact in social settings, the child will develop the skills. If they don't, he/she won't. I know plenty of children who come from large families who have terrible social skills. Let's get back to basics and get the parents to be more involved.

    August 17, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. queenbead

    I am also an only child, who grew up in a rural and childless part of my home town. I never had trouble making friends in school, and people often tell me that they can't believe I have no brothers and sisters because 1. I'm not spoiled and 2. I'm so outgoing. The only thing that I notice that's different, is that even as an adult, I crave my alone time.

    August 17, 2010 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. HappyOnly

    I'm a 27 yo only child. I LOVED being an only child. I have and always have had tons of close friends. I do remember being more shy as I kid but I grew out of it in later elementary school (perhaps through the socialization of school, sports, dance, girlscouts, etc.)
    I'm WAY more social than my husband who is the oldest of 4 boys. And while I definitely "had more" as kid in terms of material possessions, I also had way more chores and familial responsibilities than him. In our adult years, we're way closer with my parents than we are with his. They're almost like friends to us now.

    I've always been close with both of my parents which is neat bonus of being an only child. Yes, it will be hard for me when they die, but luckily I had a wonderful husband and friends who will be there for when that does happen.

    August 17, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Eli

    Since when are kindergarten teachers child behavior experts? Most *barely* graduate from state college after taking courses in coloring and bulletin boards.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. devon

    I have an 8yr old son who is an only child–he is the most social thing you ever saw

    August 18, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jeff Mueller


    Here is a short video that captures the feelings/thoughts of EVERY 'only child' at one time or another. Please post feedback if you are an 'only child' and felt this way. Thanks.....Jeff

    August 19, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Aleksey

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    June 23, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. SimtCenter

    Израильская медицина известна уровнем и качеством оказываемых услуг. Диагностика в Израиле поставлена на высочайший уровень, что позволяет выявить проблемы на самом раннем этапе. Благодоря этому и многим другим факторам лечение в Израиле по праву считается одним из лучших в мире.
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    January 26, 2012 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. никон

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    March 8, 2012 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Pabby

    Cheryl Harvey – Val and Dan what a wonderful wdeidng and so much fun. The pictures are absolutely fabulous! What a great couple! As always remember Uncle Glenn and I are always available for counseling . . . or just to get together. Love you both.June 10, 2010 9:10 am

    April 9, 2012 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. KristiVore


    May 7, 2012 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. lanadelradio

    I wish the child orthodontics Omaha offers had been around when I was a child. I was actually chased around a chair by a dentist who wanted to use a tongue depressor on me, and I was scared half to death by it. Ever since then I get really nervous at the dentist office.

    March 29, 2013 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.