With over eight years of writing and researching experience, Grace specializes in debunking commonly held myths about family psychology.
How Siblings are Detrimental to a Child's Development
Conventional wisdom incessantly emphasize that children must have siblings to learn how to get along in peer groups and to learn how to socialize properly in order to become a well adjusted adult. Well, this so-called conventional wisdom is just old wives tales which is now atavistic, outmoded, and is going by the way of the dinosaur. Highly educated and intellectual people no longer adhere to such anachronistic tripe. Social scientists, sociologists, and psychologists have proven that a child does not need siblings in order to develop emotionally and socially. In fact, studies show that children who do not have siblings are the happiest.
Why is that you ask? Studies confirm that children with siblings have to endure fierce competition for the affection, love, and respect of two parents. Furthermore, siblingship reduces the family into a hierarchy of oldest, middle, and youngest children where each receives differential and/or preferential treatment. This hierarchical synopsis of siblingship and birth order varies upon whether the family is small, medium, and /or large. In families where there are siblings, favoritism is prevalent and children are treated unequally based upon their parents's personality, parental likes and dislikes, the children's individual personalities, and the parents' perception of their children.
Children with siblings are routinely compared to each other and their individual differences are not respected and overlooked. In multichild families, children are pidgeonholed into rigid roles which do not permit leeways of behavior. Also siblings can develop jealousy and upmanship of one other based upon their respective birth order, designated role within the family, and whether they are the favored and/or unfavored child in the family.
In families where there is more than one child, sibling rivalry is quite normative. Siblings oftentimes mask their jealousy by teasing each other and using other forms of sabotage to curry parental favor. Sometimes, siblings resort to fighting and bullying each other to gain upmanship and territoriality within the family unit. Studies further substantiate that children in multichild families often do not develop their individual beings and potentials to the utmost because of constant competition and upmanship by their siblings.
Children in multichild families also have lower self-esteem and confidence than only children because of the verbal banter and name calling frequently indulged in by siblings. In multichild families, there are always fighting and other forms of competition by siblings because they have to share the same familial environment and are in competition for the family's economic, emotional, and psychological resources. Children in multichild families also have a fair to poor sense of self and individuation because they are not seen as individuals but as part of a group family dynamic.
In articles published by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, it authenticated that children in multichild`families have self esteem issues based upon birth order and parental favoritism. To reiterate, there is often verbal and physical bullying in multichild families in addition to siblings taking each other's belongings without permission. Children with siblings are at a severe disadvantage in more ways than one. They often have to share material, emotional, and economic resources. Parents in multichild families often have scarce economic, material, intellectual, and educational resources to give to each child. This means public schools and public colleges for children in multichild families in contrast to only children whose parents can afford to provide them with the best education possible..
Parents in multichild families often are not present at their children's recitals. As stated before because economic resources are stretched to the limit in multichild families, some of the children will have to go without while other children got the spoils of their parents' economic resources. Although this is seldom acknowledged in multichild families, there are children who have the role of family scapegoat. These children are often the most ill treated and targeted for abuse by both parents and siblings alike. This child or children are often punished the most harshly, receive less parental love and attention, and is often neglected.
Backstabbing and other forms of manipulation is often de rigueur in multichild families. It is another atavistic myth that siblings love each other and coexist in peace. There are instances in families where siblings gang up on one another and use each other for their own ulterior purposes. Who ever says that only children are selfish does not acknowledge (or refuses to acknowledge) that siblings can also be extremely selfish and act extremely underhandedly towards each other. There is so much drama in multichild families which is not present in single child families.
In mutlichild famililes, the oldest child is designated the role of "beast of burden". He/she is often forced by parents to raise their younger siblings. Oldest children in multichild families are the en loco parentis to their younger siblings. This results in many oldest children missing out on normal childhood and adolescent activities and social life. Many oldest children in multichild families do not have any quiet time to themselves but are always at the beck and call of their parents and younger siblings. Many oldest children, especially daughters, in multichild families strongly resent being the caregiver and caretaker in their families.
As clarification, siblings have a detrimental effect on a child's development and self-esteem because of the constant competition of each sibling for the attention of two parents. Siblings coexisting within families also stretch the parents' economic resources so there are fewer material things to go around. Or to reiterate, in many families, the favored child get the best of the parental economic resources while the other children in the family get the leftovers. Because of the intense competition of siblings in a family, verbal and physical bullying of one sibling of another often results which can lead to deleterious consequences.
The competition between/among siblings often carries over into the school environment where fighting, cliques, and petty behavior occurs. Most bullies comes from multichild families. Children within siblingships act in a competitive and aggressive level. Children in siblingship never have the luxury to really know themselves and./or to express their personhood and individuality as only children do.
Children without siblings usually act in a mature and accepting level because they are not in constant competition with siblings They are encouraged and allowed to develop as individuals with their own unique interests. Furthermore, children who grow up without siblings are usually generious and not as manipulative in dealing with other children as children with siblings are. Children with sibings are found to be more manipulative and underhanded in dealing with other children because they had to be that way in order to survive within the family dynamic.
In summation, siblings are detrimental to the development of children as siblingship fosters competition, aggressive behavior, bullying, manipulative behavior, underhandedness, and other negative behaviors such as a poor sense of self and individuation. Children growng up in multichild families often are subjected to parental favoritism based upon the parents' personalities, birth order, and the psychology of the child in the family. Children with siblings grow up in less democratic families than only children do. Children with siblings are often hierarchal based upon birth order with its rigid roles and behaviors e.g. the bossy oldest child, the nebulous middle child, and the bratty youngest child.
Children in multichild families are often subjected to verbal taunting and name calling by their siblings. Many children in mutlichild families are often involved in physical fights with each other. This aggressive acting out is resultant of the space that siblings must share within the familial environment and competing for the affection of two parents. Children with siblings are often designated into rigid roles based upon personality, physical, and intellectual type which they seldom outgrow. Children in multichild families are not allowed to be their individual selves and to achieve their maximum potential as children without siblings can and do achieve.
Favoritism and scapegoating of children is commonplace in multichild families. When there is more than one child in a family, parents have their preference and dislike for particular children in the family constellation. Favorite children get all the positives in terms of affection and economic resources of the parents while scapegoated children get all the negatives in terms of punishment, exclusion, and little or none of the parental economic resources.
Being in a multichild family is the hardest on the oldest child because he/she is often the surrogate parent for his/her younger siblings. Parents often force their oldest child to assume care and responsibilities for their younger siblings. Oldest children in multichild families are often the unpaid and unappreciated caretaker and caregiver in their families. They are often on call 24/7/365 thus losing their childhood and adolescent years being the parent to their younger siblings. Oldest children in multichild families often have no free time and/or social life to think of.
Children in multichild families get less material and economic resources from the parents in terms of matters such as education and exposure to cultural and intellectual activities. Children in multichild families often have a second rate education received in public schools and colleges because the familial economic resources are stretched so thin. Often times, this competition, upmanship, and manipulative behavior by siblings continue into late adulthood.
So the question is are siblings necessary? Not necessarily, siblings are not everything and are no big deal. In fact, siblingship is more of a burden and a curse than a blessing. In fact, children can have great and fantastic relationships with friends which oftentimes are more sincere and lasting than that of siblings. As the sayng goes, one cannot chose one's family but one can choose one's friends and companions.
Books to Read on the Subject
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams
Telenovela on March 27, 2016:
The one thing that these articles leave out is situations like mine. What happens when the competition is purely one-sided? When one sibling completely sets out to destroy the other? I am actually afraid for my future family because her anger is escalating. Every time that I receive an achievement, she punishes me through telling a lie about me ti the family and trying to hack my e-mail account. She also stalks me when I am doing business in her area of town. The bigger my accomplishment, the greater the lie. She is clearly trying to send the message that I should be "normal" and stop being ambitious. I am afraid about what she may do when I marry in a few months and start having children.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 26, 2016:
Yes, the sibling relationship can be quite a trial. Anytime there is more than one child in a family, there is going to be competition between each child to favor parental favor. As a result of such competition, game-playing and other types of one-upmanship between siblings are a commonplace occurrence.
Telenovela on March 26, 2016:
You're right! Having siblings is a disaster! It never ends! I'm still dealing with covert emotional abuse at the hand of a 40 year old older sister. She does covert things to destroy my reputation and then cries and says she's the victim. I'm about to get married and I am very afraid of her reaction. She covertly punishes me for every achievement that I receive. Yet, she will do nothing for herself until she is jealous.
Rena on July 07, 2012:
Great post. I agree with everything you said. That is so true about siblings!
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on April 09, 2011:
To Invisiblestats, I believe that children can develop quite well with the negative interaction with siblings. I believe that in this increased modern and technological world, children can interact well with other children who are not siblings and form beautiful friendships. History has proven that blood is not necessarily thicker than water. History has authenticated that there have been more issues with siblings than there is in any other relationship with the exception of children and parents. The majority of only children are quite happy in their relationships with their parents.
I should know. It was sooo peaceful growing up as an only child. I had my own room and occupied myself by sketching and reading. Sometimes I wrote stories and plays. My mother had siblings which she was not too crazy about because she was the oldest of ten kids. I would hate being the oldest in a large family. I would not want to be the oldest, middle, and/or the youngest child. From what I have observed, people with siblings have issues. To paraphrase the Orthodox Jew who stated in his prayer that he thanked God that he was not a woman, I, too, thank God that I do not have any siblings but am an only child. Amen.
Invisiblestats from london on April 09, 2011:
Very well written.
And I have to agree with a lot of your points, I know I have two children and many times I am sure they would rather be an ONLY child.