Throughout my life people have asked me questions on what it’s like to be an only child.
If I ever bring it up, I get the, “I bet you were spoiled,” comment. I guess I was but it never had any negative effects on me. No problems sharing or making friends. There are plenty of people with siblings that also act very entitled.
Anyways, people have their ideas about only kids. Some may be true, but most only children grow up to well-adjusted adults. It depends more what kind of upbringing you had growing up. In my home my parents were fun but stern, there was a level of mutual respect.
I spent most of my time writing, playing pretend, and played with my cousins when I could. While I can’t say that’s the norm for all only kids, I can point out some things that only children can relate to.
1. We are not anti-social. We aren’t. Only children enjoy their alone time. We have friends, relationships, and general people we like. Some only children are extroverts and love socializing whenever they can. Some are introverts and are used to being alone, but aren’t always lonely.
The friendships I have, I take seriously. My friends are the sisters and brothers I never had.
2. We are not selfish. We know how to share, and we have a capacity to care for others. Despite not having siblings, I did go to daycare and have lots of cousins. Only children do interact with other kids, we learn about friendships the same time as everyone else.
The only time I refuse to share with someone, is if I know they are the type that don’t respect people’s property.
3. Ok, so maybe we are a little weird. Now that is subjective. I did get bullied for being different, but I always felt comfortable with who I am. Only children tend to create a world in their own mind and dance to their own beat.
We are not leaders or followers. We have hobbies and interests to replace the lack of siblings. It doesn’t mean we’re weird, just different. I prefer eccentric or my mom likes to say, “particular.”
4. Not all of us are spoiled brats. Again, I never saw myself as a spoiled brat. Now that I am an adult I can see how other people would think that. To me being spoiled means getting everything you want without having to do anything.
It wasn’t like that for me. My parents did take me shopping and bought me toys but my grades had to A’s. I had to keep my room clean and my parents were good at saying no and mean it.
Only kids aren’t always raised by weak parents. Some kids have parents that know the importance of creating structure in the home. Spoiled kids come from every family dynamic.
5. We are very creative: Most only children find some sort of creative outlet for their internal feelings. Whether it’s photography, dancing, or painting, being able to use our imagination is the source of our creativity.
If you are a parent of an only child during this pandemic, don’t worry. They will find a way to occupy their time and even learn something new.
6. Most of us do very well in school. Only children aren’t distracted by loud siblings and have the support of their parents when it comes to education. Having that quiet time in your room while doing homework was heaven.
I was never good at math, but English and Science were my favorite subjects.
7. Some of us are over-achievers. Even though I had no siblings to compete with, setting goals and achieving them felt great. It was never about beating anyone, it was more about making my parents proud.
8. We do get lonely sometimes. We’re still human. There are times I know I’m going to miss out on. We won’t be aunts and uncles unless we marry into a big family. Other times I did wish I had more friends but then realize how much of my free time would be spent maintaining all these relationships.
Still having that small circle of friends is comforting.
9. Only children are not fans of confrontation. It’s not that we’re weak, we just don’t like wasting time arguing. We prefer to talk things out and get the problem resolved. The notion of who’s right and who’s wrong is tiring.
We understand that confrontation is a part of life, but we wish people would make their point without all the dramatic mess.
10. We are so sensitive. Because we never had sibling rivalry, we take those playful jabs personally. We can develop a thick skin when interacting with others but it takes us a while to understand the concept of teasing.
I can never tell when people are joking or are going out of their way to be mean. My boyfriend grew up with all girls. Even though I know he’s being playful, I still can’t help but be slightly defensive.
11. We are old souls. We hang around adults most of the time and tend to mimic our parents more than other kids. So people often called only children, “little adults.” Which means we’re less prone to peer pressure, we see our parents as role models.
I remember having adult friends. Just people in the community I would speak to while my mother was running errands. Mostly elderly people because they told the best stories.
Being an only child has its ups and downs but overall our childhoods aren’t so different from everyone else’s. What myths or fun facts do you know about only children?
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