A child without sisters or brothers is more likely to experience loneliness than other children. While measures can be taken to ensure an only child has positive social interaction with other children, it’s not always possible to make up for the lack of a strong sibling bond. It is extremely important to understand the reasons an only child can become lonely and then to sufficiently address his or her needs.
Just like parents need other adults in order to not feel lonely, children need other children who can relate to them on their level. A child enjoys having another child around who “gets” the point of the game, who can be just as silly, who can imagine a world only a child can create.
Siblings often squabble and fight, but through it all, they can be the best of friends. They have each other for support whether it is for sneaking an extra cookie as a team or for standing up for one another.
Any child might be affected by bullying from other children. Any child might be exposed to mean kids who hurt their feelings. Kids might be best friends one day and enemies the next. Children who have brothers or sisters at least have the stability of an unbreakable bond with other children. They know they can go home from a rough day at school and have their siblings for support and for fun. An only child lacks this foundation and thus feels it more deeply when difficulties arise within their only connections with other children.
Because of all this, an only child needs strong parental support and love and needs to be given opportunity to form close bonds with other children. When the parents of an only child can befriend the parents of their child’s friends, the children are more likely to be able to spend time together and to form lasting friendships.