Ask Dr. Meg: My Son is an Only Child

If you have an only child, you might worry about how a lack of siblings may affect them. This is what you need to know.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
July 21, 2015
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2
Minute Read

My Son is an Only Child: Will he get lonely?

Dear Mom of 1 –

Many parents choose to have one child only and there should never be shame or guilt associated with this. I understand your concern about your son being lonely and you are not alone. I would strongly encourage you to make sure that your son has plenty of avenues to meet other boys that share similar interests. If he likes music, have him play an instrument or sing. If he likes sports, do your best to put him on a team where he can meet boys his own age. If you have the means, put him in many extracurricular activities to help him meet other kids and keep himself occupied.

Most children only need one or two good friends during the school years so don’t worry about your son having a lot of friends. And- just because he doesn’t have a close friend now doesn’t mean that he won’t in the near future. I know that you worry about him being lonely but many single children don’t feel this way.

As far as how much time he can be alone after school, many children do get lonely coming home after school alone if this happens regularly. They aren’t necessarily lonely for friends, but for their parents. I do think that it would be a good idea to have someone at home with him after school if you can. I’m not sure if a boy is a good idea (unless you know him very well) only because adolescent boys with time on their hands and nothing to do can be trouble. I would look for another mother or grandmother who would be able and drive him places.

In the meantime, do the best that you can do and know that it is enough. You sound like a very conscientious mother and I’m sure that your sons feels that you care and love him. Make sure that when you are home with him that you and his father spend good time with him. As I said, many, many children grow up as only children and are happy and fulfilled. In fact, in some ways they are luckier than other children because they get more of their parents’ time and attention.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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