I remember my old friend, Dr. Herbert Ratner, saying that the best gift a husband and wife can give to their child is a baby brother or sister. Over the past week or so as my daughter, Katy, visited from Indiana, and I also officially turned 85, thoughts about siblings have been in my mind. The responsibility of having small children and the expense and difficulty of traveling with them had kept Katy from visiting her family in the East for too many years. But Katy finally came and as a mother I had occasion to rejoice as my children reunited and found pleasure in each other’s company.

The research seems in indicate that only children do not suffer from onlyness. According to Dr. Alex Cutting they describe “advantages like lack of rivalry, more privacy, greater affluence, and more time and attention from their parents.” One of the biggest disadvantages of being an only child is having no one to share in the care of aged parents. Also, since the parents, in a sense, have all their eggs in one basket, there is often a pressure to succeed and to “be there” for the parents more than the child might choose. Read the rest of this entry »