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The Only Child
June 2, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm BST
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In this Interintellect Salon, Indy Neogy will host a conversation on the experience and meaning of growing up as an only child.
For most of history, the norm has been for families to have a number of children. It is only post 1945 that changing economic and societal circumstances has in general slowly led to more families with just one child. (Of course the 1979-2015 “One Child Policy” period in China must be recognised as a very special and important case here too.)
Naturally, when something is not the norm, it attracts some negative attention and it was around the turn of the 20th Century that child psychologists G. Stanley Hall and E. W. Bohannon created the idea of “Only Child Syndrome” with Hall christening it a “disease in itself” and Bohannon saying only children have a “marked tendency to [disadvantageous] peculiarities.” And really, that image has never been shaken off. Despite the modern era bringing much more nuance to the picture – and largely concluding only children develop in a range of ways, depending mostly on parents and environment, just like children with siblings, the stereotype still sticks.
Yet, that said, as individuals we experience growing up only in a sibling world in quite particular ways. So while we’ll look at what the research says about only children in aggregate, to dispel some of the myths, we’ll aim to talk about actual attendee experiences and impressions of only child life.
And yes, non-only children are welcome!
Only Child, a poem by Billy Collins
Not So Lonely: Busting the Myth of the Only Child
The Surprising Actual Downside
Are Only Children More Insular?
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