National Only Child Day Date in the current year: April 12, 2024

National Only Child Day National Only Child Day is observed annually on April 12. It was created to celebrate people who have no siblings and eliminate negative stereotypes associated with being an only child.

An only child is someone who has no siblings, by birth or adoption. For a long time, only children were relatively uncommon due to a lack of access to contraception and high infant mortality rates, but the situation changed drastically around the mid-20th century for a number of reasons such as more women entering the workforce, better access to birth control, perceived concerns about overpopulation, and many more.

Even though families with an only child are much more common nowadays, negative stereotypes regarding only children are still very much prevalent in Western culture. One of the first people to perpetuate these stereotypes was American psychologist and educator Granville Stanley Hall, who claimed that “being an only child is a disease an itself” in the 1896 study Of Peculiar and Exceptional Children.

For decades, academics and advice columnists alike disseminated Hall’s conclusion that only children were permanent misfits incapable of going through life with the same capacity of adjustment that people who grew up with siblings possessed. Even though many of Hall’s views have been disproved, only children are still often stereotyped as “spoiled brats”.

The term “only child syndrome” has been coined to describe a set of perceived characteristics or traits that are thought to be common among children who have no siblings and grew up having their parents’ undivided attention. These traits may include selfishness and difficulty sharing, introversion, loneliness, an overdeveloped sense of independence, perfectionism, and poor social skills.

However, calling something a syndrome implies that it is a psychological disorder, which is definitely not the case here. While growing up as an only child does come with unique experiences and challenges, everyone is different, and our personalities are shaped by many more factors than just the presence or absence of siblings. As the number of families that choose to have just one child is expected to keep growing, the stigma will hopefully disappear, but for now, there is still a long way to go.

The origins of National Only Child Day are unclear, but the holiday has been around since at least 2015, and some sources even claim that it was created in 2010. It is celebrated on April 12, which is two days after National Siblings Day, so the choice of the date makes perfect sense. The main goal of the holiday is to dispel the negative stereotypes of those who have no siblings.

If you are an only child, National Only Child Day is your day! You can celebrate it by showing some love and appreciation to your parents, connecting with other people who have no siblings, watching a movie or reading a book featuring only child characters (The Neverending Story and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are great examples), and sharing your experiences as an only child on social media with the hashtag #NationalOnlyChildDay.

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National Only Child Day, observances in the US, unofficial holidays, family-related holidays, only children