YOU THOUGHT THE FAMILY WOULD BE HAPPY ONCE YOU HAD A BABY. But as soon as abuela holds that first squishy little angel, she’s suggesting you hurry up and have another. Sound familiar? And maybe you’re resisting mightily, for a host of personal reasons. If one of them is the notion that an only child is more likely to flourish because they’ll have greater parental attention and support, listen to what family experts have to say about the potential advantages your first kid will have with a new brother or sister. It goes way beyond having a ready-made playmate.
Better social skills and conflict management:
Since there’s only so much mamà, crayons, or blocks to go around, an only child has a lot less reason to learn about sharing and fairness. Laura Markham, Ph.D., author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings, says multiple kids and their parents have more opportunity to learn how to talk about feelings, take turns, and recognize the basics of civil society. “We can help them learn how to work out conflict in a productive way,” Markham says. After all, she adds, “Siblings are who we practice on.”
Improved romantic relationships:
If you roll the dice and end up with a niña and a niño, studies indicate they will develop more competence in romantic relationships in mid-adolescence, according to Susan McHale, Ph.D., a profess