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The Only Child: How to Survive Being One [Paperback]

Jill Pitkeathley , David Emerson
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 24 Feb 1994 -- Trade-In Store
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Book Description

24 Feb 1994
What is it like to be an only child, its advantages and disadvantages? How does the experience of being one effect a child's attitudes, relationships and future? Drawing on the experiences of a wide range of 60 only children, Jill Pitkeathley and David Emerson, both of whom are only children, explain the difficulties only children are faced with and how, as adults, they can learn to cope with these problems. At a time when couples are increasingly limiting their families to one child this book answers a pressing and growing need, It is a book that every parent or partner of an only child needs to read, as well as being a unique survival guide to relationships, friends and work for the only child.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd (24 Feb 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0285631829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0285631823
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 916,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"One of the most comforting books I have read". -- Virginia Ironside, 'The Independent'

"The only child survival guide". -- 'Birmingham Evening Mail'

Unrealistic about personal relationships spoilt brats, the lot. Thats the received wisdom about lone children. Now find out the truth. -- 'The Guardian' --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

What makes an only child different?

What is the impact of the only childs feelings of responsibility to be everything to their parents?

Only children often feel that they are always alone,
even with those they love, how can they form lasting relationships? --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Perspective 2 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Having been recommended this book by a friend, I opened it with some trepidation. As an only child, I certainly understood some of the unique features of my situation,which are often hard to explain to others. How refreshing to see so many of the hidden characteristics of my own thoughts, motivations and concerns articulated so clearly and objectively. Whilst in no way a self-help book packed with ready-packaged solutions (are there any?) to the inevitable feelings of guilt, expectation etc. associated with one-ness, it is very encouraging to realise that what you thought was simply your own idiosyncracy is actually a natural consequence of your background.
This book will not solve your problems, but may provide an insight into who you are and how to think about yourself in relationship to others. And I recommend it wholeheartedly to partners of "onlies" too.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I first read this book ten years ago and, like the reviewer Virginia Ironside, found it most comforting. For me there were many resonnances and it was a new experience to see aspects of my life mirrored so specifically by others - an unusual opportunity for an only child of any age, if you think about it.

What I especially like is that it gives voice to adult only children speaking about their own experiences of growing up as an only child as well as of being an adult only child. It combines personal story, comment and practical guidance. Whilst understanding that each person's situation is unique and that there will be similarities and differences, this book succeeds very well, in my opinion, in extending the conversation beyond the usual and limiting stereotypes of the only child being spoilt and selfish. I'm delighted it has been reprinted.

I would thoroughly recommend it to adult only children, parents, partners and friends of onlies, and whilst it would be impossible to give a template for all only child experience, this is as good as it gets in exploring the territory and inviting dialogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 16 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have never read anything about only children but seeing as I am one I thought that now, at age 45, I would.

The book is really useful and whilst there may be some methodological issues from a research perspective, I identified with a lot of what the only children quoted in the book said.

It was a real eye opener and something I would have benefited from reading years ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening 7 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to someone close to me - an only child - as it had been recommended to them by their therapist.

I have to say the book really has given me a lot of insights into the psyche of the only child and I now feel I have a much better understanding of my friend's challenges.

More importantly, she has found the book helpful in 'normalising' her feelings and allowing her to claim her place amongst her friends and family.

I don't believe any therapeutic approach has all the answers......those have to come from within but I do believe the author of this book opens doors of possibility which offer explanations and sound reasoning which are really helpful.

If you are an only child, have an only child or are in any kind of relationship with an only child I think you will find this book insightful and helpful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only Child - whats it really like.... 25 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am still reading the book, however so far its a interesting concept on the "only Child", In some ways we should celebrate that we are different, its Ok to be unique, the downside is - you could be lonely. We every advantage - theres a disadvantage!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Being an only child 3 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This was the first time I had read about the experience of being an only child and I found it life-changing. I found this more enlightening than several years in therapy and it was liberating to know that I am not the only only child who deeply regrets not having siblings. It was like looking in the mirror and really helped me a lot. The book is short on survival tactics, but with so much explained, it is a lifesaver all the same. I will now see what else there is to read on this subject.
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