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Alicia_MSW , Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 782
Experience:  Licensed social worker and psychotherapist
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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 for this child to want friends and/or to want to play too much skyrocket? Thank you for your assistance.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.

The answer to your question is that it generally really depends on the specific child. Some children might react to a situation like the one you've described by withdrawing and preferring to play by themselves more and more, some don't seem troubled by it at all, especially if they are otherwise happy and socially-involved (in school, with other family members, etc.) but some might react in exactly the way you've described, displaying an increased longing to have friends and play with other kids. While having siblings can help a child develop social skills, not having siblings doesn't have to be such an issue, of course - as long as there is plenty of opportunity to interact with other children of the same age. But I would not say that the chances skyrocket in this situation - although they might increase somewhat if the child feels lonely or isolated.

I hope that answers your question. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Best wishes.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But my question was not only if the chances skyrocket to want friends, but if the chances can also skyrocket that he/she will want to "PLAY TOO MUCH", even if he/she plays by himself/herself? For example, if the chances skyrocket for him/her to want to play too much to the point where parents, teachers, etc. might have to prompt him/her on the need to concentrate on his/her studies?

Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for clarifying your question.

I do not think a lack of siblings would be the only contributing factor to behavior you are describing. Lots of children don't have siblings and they don't have difficulty concentrating on their studies solely for this reason. It sounds to me like you are talking about an inattention issue combined with hyperactivity. This can be an issue if he or she is playing alone and is unable to engage in activities that he/she finds enjoyable for extended periods of time without 'acting out' or is unable to concentrate or focus on quiet time play or activities like homework, reading, drawing, etc - activities that a child typically does on their own.

While sometimes these behaviors can be a sign of a problem like ADHD, it's a complex disorder that usually involves more than just playing "too much" and not completing homework or focusing on studies - this is common for all children from time to time, but it really depends on the extent of the problem's impact on his/her life. If you feel that it's very problematic and interfering with his/her studies and impacting his/her ability to function "normally" at home, then you might consider speaking to his/her pediatrician or possibly having an evaluation by a mental health professional in person.
(You can refer to this publication for more information on the symptoms of ADHD:

It also depends on how frequently teachers/family members/etc need to prompt the child to focus - every parent has to encourage their child to study and do their homework, but if you have to do this all the time, several times a day and are met with hyperactive behavior or resistance, then there is most likely more going on that's not simply being caused by not having siblings.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Alicia_MSW, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 782
Experience: Licensed social worker and psychotherapist
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