Only Child Essay

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Edward Charles Harrison Project #4/ Final Draft English 111/ Filkins 12/14/2011 Word Count: 1166 The “peculiar” Child In 1896, Granville Stanley Hall, supervised a study called “Of Peculiar and Exceptional Children” which described a series of only-child oddballs as permanent misfits. For decades, academics and advice columnists alike disseminated their conclusion that an only child could not be expected to go through life with the same capacity of adjustment that children with siblings possessed. Hall claimed, “Being an only child is a disease in itself.” (Sandler 2) Thus the stereotype was born. Despite growing trends toward having just one child and the large body of evidence revealing the strengths of the only child, negative stereotypes about only children persist (Mancillas 268). Raising an only child has its opponents and its supporters, but a balanced level of parental involvement can lead to a well behaved, emotional strong child, that achieve higher scores in intelligence and achievement motivation compared to children from larger families. Hall’s comments are very disconcerting to me, being the father of an only-child. No one has done more to disprove Hall’s stereotype than Toni Falbo, a professor of educational psychology and sociology at the University of Texas. Twenty-five years ago, she and colleague Denise Polit conducted a meta-analysis of 115 studies of only children from 1925 onward that considered developmental outcomes of adjustment, character, sociability, achievement, and intelligence. Those studies showed that singletons aren’t measurably different from other kids – except that they, along with firstborns and people who have only one sibling, score higher in measures of intelligence and achievement (Sandler 3). Although numerous studies have discredited such stereotypes by demonstrating the positive outcomes of being only

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