About a month ago, I was reading the book The Sibling Effect: What Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us by Time senior editor and science writer Jeffrey Kluger. He included some interesting tidbits about singletons and how professionals viewed only children in the past.
Did you know that G. Stanley Hall, a psychologist, professor and the first president of the American Psychological Association, actually believed that “[B]eing an only child is a disease in itself”?
He wasn’t the only one. In his 1921 book Basic Principles of Psychoanalysis, psychiatrist Abraham Arden Brill wrote:
The only child is the morbid product of our present social economic system. He is usually an offspring of wealthy parents who, having been themselves brought up in luxury and anxious that their children should share their fate, refuse to have more than one or two children. By their abnormal love they not only unfit the child for life’s battle but prevent him from developing into normal manhood, thus producing sexual perverts and neurotics of all descriptions. It would be best for the individual as well as the race that there should be no only children.
After reading this quote, I became curious about the man who speculated that singletons essentially contaminated our race. (And, honestly, as an only child, I was a bit offended.)
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