Due to my parent’s steadfast refusal to give me a sibling, I have been an only child for almost 30 years. During these years I have been asked a few questions. The questions aren’t there but some of the answers and my thoughts(which I could have made up 😉) should be enough to make you fall asleep.
So what does one mean when they say an “Only Child”. Well, an only child is a child with no siblings, either biological or adopted. Although first-born children may be considered temporary only children, and have a similar early family environment, the term only child is generally applied only to those individuals who never have siblings.
We do not have any siblings i.e. brother or sister. P.S. cousins are not siblings.
Our kids will never have first cousins from our side of the family.
We are the only offspring our parents have.
That’s enough of the Wikipedia definition…
Others who might think we are spoilt and pampered, I don’t see what’s wrong with getting 100% of your parents love and resources. To them I say - “Stop being so jealous just because we are the favourite child of our parents”. I guess the pro or con, depending on your point of view is that we don’t have to share our stuff and as one of my cousin says “that includes the bathroom!!!” Even though I have no need, I love to put stickers on things proclaiming that they are… MINE. But do my parents overindulge me? I guess that depends. To some people, I have more than enough, to others, I suppose I am derived.
We get what we want (and usually) in our way. Is there any other way to get what you want? Confused? This I believe is a good thing. We tend to be more focused on our goals and like to get tasks done at hand before jumping into bigger projects. As a consequence of this, we like things straight forward. As a result, of an only child status comes the ability to be being completely in our heads. Sometimes we will be so up in our head that we don’t even hear other people. However, I have noticed that an “only child” is a better listener than most other people.
At some point in time, all of us have probably thought that having a sibling would be nice. Its tough having
no one to fight with.
no one to share our secrets with (only to get blackmailed later on!).
no one who can go anywhere with us if our friends are not available
no one to blame if things go wrong.
no one who you know would be there for you no matter what (and no parents don’t count).
I have lots of friends, but most have siblings, and I always felt that they have a special bond and loyalty that a friendship cant have. (Now that I have made all my friends happy by stating some of the benefits they have, I guess I can continue.)
But, I don’t think that not having siblings has not disrupted my psyche in any way. It was disrupted by a lot of other things. :-)
Personally, loneliness has never been a pervasive feeling. First and foremost, I had books. The way I read books is to disappear entirely into them (which explains my obsession with fantasy novels), almost becoming one of the characters. I devoured books, going to the public library and checking out big stacks. I read everything we had in the house; I probably read things that many would probably consider completely inappropriate for someone my age. I read it even if I didn’t understand it. Later on, their place was taken by video games especially RPG’s. I now make video games for a living. But, they still haven’t been able to take the place of books.
Plus I had my imaginary friends—legions of them—and we did so many amazing things. Huge, crazy, all-day adventures sometimes. I remember having those friends well into middle school. However, when I started high school, the imaginary friends just disappeared from my life. I can’t even remember their names now, which makes me kind of sad.
The fact that I manage to make a lot of friends/acquaintances extremely fast will always be a plus. I guess it’s because of this fact, I can go and talk to anybody if I need to. Contradictorily, I don’t feel the need to go and talk to people. Its also because of this, that I don’t feel the constant urge to have someone to talk to at all times.
I guess one of the cons of not having a sibling is that you are more reliant on friends(and later on your partner), so you might not want to upset them and risk losing them and hence might become placating. But I guess that depends. Not having a sibling taught me how to spend time so that I am happy alone. I guess that is one of the reasons I can easily walk away from people that don’t meet my expectations. But I consider that a good thing, mainly because I end up with long and fulfilling friendships some of which go more than 20 yrs back. The only problem was that earlier my initial expectations were very high. But I like to believe as I have grown, my expectations from others have become more realistic. How much of it is true, is for others who know me to judge :-)
I will concede that one bad habit that plagues most of us is that most of us don’t learn how to share. In other words, the word SHARING doesn’t exist in our dictionary. But, as time goes on, one at least learns how to share the materialistic things. I say at-least because most of the people I know still can’t deal with sharing their friends or family with others. I guess, since we have always been a priority for our parents, we expect the same from everybody. This, in turn, can be disastrous as we start expecting things that are probably possible but not something that everybody would realize and from there on things just go south. Unfortunately, to an extent even I have this characteristic.
Anyway, some of the more famous only child(ren)
( P.S. the name at the last is soon going to become famous, but, I just added it right now)
Leonardo da Vinci
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Disclaimer: This post may not be used to generalize all only children. I might just be messing with you.