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Bonnie
Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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If a child is the ONLY child in a household and has no siblings

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If a child is the ONLY child in a household and has no siblings to play with, do the chances skyrocket for this same child to want friends and/or to want to play too much than they would if he/she did have any siblings to play with? Thank you for your assistance.
Hello...thank you for requesting me,

The quick answer to this question is: not necessarily. An only child can also be very shy and avoid social situations...it depends on the child's temperament more than being an only child.

Do you want to tell me more about your situation? The reason for this question? I would be glad to comment with more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I'm 43 years old and I sometimes stare back at my life through my rear view. By that, I mean I sometimes ask myself if I could have lived my life any better, if I have any regrets, and so forth. And the only unpleasant thing I could think of was that when I was in grade school, I really would try to reach out to make friends, talk too much, play too much, and all of that, probably more than normal. In other words, my parents, teachers, principals, etc. believed I liked to play too much, and they were trying to get me to pay more attention to my studies. Another problem was that some school mates didn't want to be my friend, and I thought that if I would just try harder, maybe I could win them over. I was ignorant about the definition of harassment back then. So, I asked myself "why was I this way?" And I concluded that maybe it was because I didn't have a sibling that was close to my age to play with. I have one brother and one sister. But seeing that my brother is 9 years older than me and my sister is 8 years older than me, they too often never wanted to play with me nor were they interested in playing what was fun to me. So, I feel that in these circumstances, it was almost like I was an only child. So, that's what brought this question up.

Hi again Jaime,

Thanks for the additional information. There are other factors that may have led to this behavior when you were in grade school. It could be that you actually lacked a certain social skills that is necessary in interpersonal relationships...that is...the ability to notice when you are being too socially intrusive. It involves knowing what the boundaries are and not invading personal space. Then, this can be off-putting to others (especially if they are the anxious type).

It could be that as you got older, you learned these skills.

Another theory is that you had a personality that was (is) impulsive. Impulsivity can also lead to the behavior you describe. If you no longer consider yourself impulsive in social situation, then, rather than a personality trait, this may have been just a lack of behavioral maturity.

Regarding the connection to being an only child...children with siblings which are close in age, may learn these social skills quicker and are more social mature because of the feedback they get from each other. The only child gets no feedback at home and so may be socially immature and either withdraw (if anxious) or miss cues of others.

I hope this helps....
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