Single Child Syndrome

Single Child Syndrome

Long back I had decided that I would always have only one child and was happy with a son who was always around me, following me wherever I went, doing whatever I wanted him to do. Bliss.

I was very glad that I was able to look after my only child well and was able to afford a good life for him. Then one day one of my relative’s son who was exactly the same age visited us. This child looked weaker than my boy and was happy to roam around our house, holding hand of his sister. He was confident enough to play with my kid’s toys while I could see my son not liking this act of his at all. He was angry so pulled his favourite toy from the bro sis duo. Within no time a fight was triggered and I saw that ‘weaker’ boy pulling my son down on the floor. I was terrified and although with the intervention of elders the situation was under control, yet this episode made me realize a bitter fact, that my ‘healthier, ladla beta’ stood no ground in front of this weaker boy. A mother’s ego was hurt and a thought process churned enough to end up deciding to go for a companion and emotional strength for my son. My baby had lost a small battle but I could never let him lose a bigger battle of life; his psyche.

Through my personal experiences I have realized that single child goes through various emotional problems which are the result of loneliness and lack of companionship in their childhood.

Psycho Social Problems

Psycho social problems means issues related to psyche and interaction with social environment. Around 38% children, having no siblings, were found to be suffering from psycho-social problems.

Research surveys have found that a single child faces more psychological and psycho-social problems like:

  • Aggressiveness,
  • loneliness
  • depression

Single kids suffer from these problems more as compared to those having siblings and worst is that these problems comes to the fore and show in their personalities by the age of 17 to 19 years; that is in the late teens. By the time parents realize that their single child is facing social behavioural problems because s/he did not grow up with his siblings; it is too late to do anything about it.


Single child misses out daily interaction, thus prefers to remain lonely. To add on to their woes they are easily awarded the tag of “spoilt and selfish”.  I have a friend who is the mom of a pretty girl and treats her daughter more than a princess. She doesn’t want to mother a second baby because she feels she won’t be able to handle the pressure. This girl is so pampered that at the age of seven she doesn’t allow anyone to enter her ‘Pink Room’ without her permission. Seeing her I always feel that researchers are right in claiming that kids without siblings are lonely, spoiled, precocious, selfish, headstrong, bad at making friends, and generally bratty.


Due to less social interaction, these children face problems in expressing themselves and have an introvert nature. How can I forget my cousin who feels that she won’t be able to give a lavish life to two kids so decided to have a single child. Now this boy of hers is all the time lost in his own world, doesn’t share anything material or emotional with any one… not even the mother. Ultimately, such children develop a tendency to act against natural behaviour to fit socially which leads to an uncomfortable situation for the child as well as the family, emotionally and psychologically both.

Psycho-Somatic Problems

According to research around 54% single kids have psycho-somatic (disease related to both body and mind) problems like depression.

A single child is more vulnerable to psycho-somatic problems like recurrent bouts of abdominal pain, body dismorphic disorder, indigestion and hysterical fits. Such problems occur due to psychological changes in them which makes the child feel that his physique is not appropriate, and thus he often complains of pain in various parts of his body. If I put it in simple words the single child develops issues related to self-esteem also.

Its not that there are all negatives of being a single child, the defenders say that single child is generally self- sufficient and less troublesome as kid. Though self-sufficiency can have its benefits, yet it can also mean that only children are inherently alone as their personalities develop.

How to avoid this?

Well, Do I need to elaborate what is the simple solution…. Go for the second child before its too late.There is another family friend of mine who decided to go for a second pregnancy when her first daughter was eight years old because the elder child was becoming a recluse and sad child. When asked why she stayed so quiet, pat came the reply that she wanted a sister or brother of her own and didn’t want to play with her cousins. Remember, if it is the question of your child’s wellbeing, there should not be any second thoughts.

But if you are yet not ready for the second child then this is what must be done:

  • Ensure that lack of sibling interaction is replaced with other opportunities to socialize like school interactions and participation in child-oriented activities. This helps the child to learn social skills and develop self- esteem.
  • Make your child develop some creative interests so that s/he has something concrete to do in her/his free time.
  • Parents must teach extroverted qualities to their only kid and also how to make new friends.
  • Help them be independent but not selfish and head strong. Hundred percent attention is disadvantageous and can affect your child’s personality in a negative manner.

Do you think being an only child is an advantage or a disadvantage?

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Kanan is a writer, broadcaster, painter, educationist and a motivational talker but above all a mother of two adults. She had always loved to be a hands on mom and believes that in today’s world it is not important to groom children to be successful and rich men and women but most important is to help your children grow up into happy and positive minded human beings first.

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