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In defence of the only child—why we need to rethink our outdated prejudices

Research has been debunking these suspect theories since the 1970s, yet still the negative associations persist

Illustration: Kate Hazell

When my daughter was born, a writer friend sent her a copy of Kay Thompson’s 1955 classic, Eloise. It hasn’t taken long for her to grow into it. Not yet four, I’ll find her poring over its images with studious intensity. Its eponymous heroine is herself all of six years old. Thrillingly for readers of any age, she lives in Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel. With her mother off swanning round the French Riviera and no mention…

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