This guide addresses the reasons why parents have only one child, and explodes the myths surrounding only children (for example, the view that they are spoiled and maladjusted) to reveal how being an only offspring really affects a child. The book suggests ways in which parents can develop an only child's social skills, and offerrs strategies to help them extend their social circle. It also deals with special problems within various family settings, such as the only child with two sets of parents, a lone parent or step-parents. Anne Coates offers sensitive advice about how to cope with a child's questions about being an only child. Issues also tackled include: becoming the parent of an only child (the new step-parent, adoption, death of one sibling in a two-child family), and the arrival of a second child after a long gap. The practical advice given is supported by research at the Institute of Psychiatry and the National Children's Bureau.