She said, she said: The pros, cons of small and large families

Students discuss family sizes, debate the benefits, downfalls of their own

Katherine Lindgren

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Senior Katherine Lindgren stands in between her parents as a family of three.

Only children seem to have a bad reputation in popular culture: people either wish they were one without thinking of the downsides, or assume the worst about onlies. Most of the common stereotypes about only children have negative connotations. However, many of these generalizations are completely false. Being a part of a small, close-knit family has been so important to my growth as a person.

According to, only children tend to have better relationships with their parents than people with siblings. I have an extremely close relationship with both of my parents who give me constant support and encouragement. Since they only have one child, they can focus all their efforts on helping me succeed, which I am incredibly grateful for. I headed into kindergarten ahead of my class because of the time my mom had spent teaching me the basics of reading and writing. Their dedication to raising me had given me many advantages that have helped me achieve and strive towards my goals.

A study has also proven that only children are often more academically successful. They go on to have higher grades and spend more time studying than kids with siblings. From a personal standpoint, this makes complete sense. Many parents of only children have high expectations, and psychologist Carl Pickhardt says that these children tend to put pressure on themselves and can be highly critical of themselves when they do not succeed to the extent that they would like to. While this can be a curse, it also pushes me to do well to make my parents proud, as I do not have any siblings to pick up the slack.

My little family of three has provided everything I need: care, discipline, encouragement and love. While I have often wondered what it would be like to be a part of a larger family, I know that being an only child has been greatly impactful on my life. I will never claim that being an only child is always wonderful; I have been jealous of my friends’ close relationships with their siblings more often than I would like to admit, but I know that growing up without them has shaped me and made me a more mature and self-sufficient person.