It’s a common idea: only children, not having brothers or sisters with whom to learn to share, would necessarily be more selfish than others. Is this reality? To find out, TipsForWomens interviewed a psychologist, Siyana Mincheva.
Does growing up in a family as an only child really make you selfish? That’s what everyone might think, at first glance. Indeed, a child who has no brothers or sisters grows up being the center of attention of his parents and without any other “equal”. He would therefore not learn to share and would grow up with a selfish personality. But it’s actually more complex than that.
Being selfish is linked to the parenting model
“Being an only child doesn’t make you selfish.” first asks Siyana Mincheva. “If the child develops a selfish character, we must rather question the way in which he was raised by his parents. In reality, the selfish character depends more on the parental education model” estimates the psychologist.
“When we have had a good parental education model, we do not suffer from any lack and we do not seek to satisfy only our needs. We want to be useful to others since what makes us happy is gratitude. We are therefore gratified by providing our help” she adds.
Mix with others to learn sharing
Indeed, for her, an only child can be given responsibility by his parents by having interactions with other members of the family such as his cousins or with other children, such as those of the parents’ friends, for example.
“Then, as he grows up, the child will shape his personality, he will also build his character, which will be expressed over time, this is how we will see his selfish character or not.” says Siyana Mincheva. But it is by socializing the child that he learns to share. “In this way, the child understands and integrates sharing between friends, he learns to be generous, to also think of others” specifies our expert.
Siyana Mincheva speaks from the knowledge of being an only child herself. “Thanks to my parents and the love with which I was surrounded, I learned to respect others but also their needs and mine at the same time. So, being an only child and not being selfish, yes it exists!” she concludes.