I am an only child to my parents. I have no siblings. And this is the reason I happen to encounter a lot of weird questions frequently, like, “Doesn’t the absence of a sibling bother you?” , “Don’t you get bored in your spare time?” , “Oh! Single Child! You must be pampered too much, don’t you?” , “Aah! Single child, that is why you are a spoiled brat!” and a lot more comes in.
Following are the “15 Facts Everyone Should Know About the “Only Child”.
I feel all those with a sibling get the required answers from the “Only Child”.
(1) We’re not that weird.
The myth of the “peculiar” only child originated in the late 19th century, when a psychologist surveyed more than 1,000 kids and deemed sibling-free children more likely to be “ugly, poorly behaved, and stupid.” Unfortunately, this stereotype has stuck around for more than 100 years, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary—including a large study that found only children have no disadvantage when it comes to social skills. Let’s be real: ‘Everyone’ has few odd traits and habits, but growing up sans siblings doesn’t make you any more or less strange.
(2) We’re not spoiled brats.
It is true that we get a lot more gifts than anyone who with a sibling won’t get but this is not because our parents want us to make a spoiled brat. This happens for the sole reason that our parents don’t have to divide the gifts among children, its cheaper for our parents and hence we get extra gifts on birthday and other occasions as well.
(3) We like to do things our own way.
Yes, my parents taught me how to share—food, my home, and my clothes. But I’m not going to lie; I’m particular. I like the way I’ve organized my bathroom, color-coded closet and book shelf, and I have to make an effort not to be a control freak outside of my home. I didn’t grow up with siblings barging into my room and messing with my stuff, so I’m not used to people re-arranging my clothes cabinet or shuffling through my books and other stuff. I know this can come across as slightly bossy, but when it comes to projects at work or school, it can be a great thing: I’ll always take the lead! And I’ll often do more than my fair share so I can see things through. This is reason we, the only children, are better leaders both at school and at work.
(4) We are highly Creative.
And posses a large imagination power too. Only children will spend a lot of time on their lonesome. No parent has time to spend all day with their child and wouldn’t choose to do so even if they did; parents want some time to themselves just like every other person. Being an only child often forces you to rely more on your imagination, which matures into creativity with age. Hence creativity develops own it own. Also this is the reason many of the only children have a wide array of interest and hobbies. To name a few I love reading books, doodling essays, painting & sketching and involving in extensive craft-work & DIYs.
(6) We’re not loners but we do need alone time.
Even if I’m not a social butterfly I had lots of friends growing up, and I have lots of friends today. In fact, I think being an only child helped me focus even more on friendship. Since I don’t have siblings, I’ve worked hard to develop and maintain close friends.
All that said, I also like to be by myself. It’s a classic introvert trait, but I think my love for alone time also stems from growing up as an only child. Now I still treasure my alone time as a way to regain energy and spark creativity. While being comfortable being alone is a positive thing, the only downside is that I have to explain to friends and significant others that it’s not personal—I just like having a couple hours to myself on weekends to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.
(7) We like our privacy.
In today’s sharing-centric world, it’s normal for people to post every minute detail of their daily lives. But I still feel a little sheepish before I post a photo on Instagram or update a Facebook status, and now I know why: Only children tend to “feel socially self-conscious, and value privacy, from growing up being the sole focus of unrelenting parental scrutiny,” Pickhardt writes on Psychology Today. Ah, it all makes sense: My life is already under a microscope at home; I don’t need it picked apart on social media too.
(8) We have learnt to love fully.
Only children are used to concentrating their love; they don’t disperse it freely, but direct it very specifically. They may not be overly willing to open themselves up to you, but when they do, they tend not to hold back.Only children are very picky about whom they let into their lives — something we would all do better to learn. They have a small family, a small circle of individuals whom they trust and aren’t eager to let just anyone in — especially if they did so in the past, only to end up regretting it. Like I live in a nuclear family and I have only mom and dad to talk and share stuff with, hence, I am more attached to them.
(9) We have a unique family spirit.
My friends who frequently visit me at home marveled at how much attention I still get from my parents. Yes, it can be intense. But I wouldn’t trade my super-close relationship with my parents for anything. They’ve taught me so much about life and myself, they know almost everything about me, and I know a ton about them—for better or worse. It can be tough when disagreements arise, and there’s no one else in the room to diffuse the tension or take the blame, but the bottom line? I wouldn’t want it any other way.
(10) We’re more Egocentric than the rest.
When you basically spend your entire childhood in a house with only adults — who you couldn’t possibly relate to — you tend to direct your focus inwards and on yourself.
When you don’t have any brothers or sisters to play, learn and share with, you build yourself an ego — an ego that is too often reinforced by parents raising an only child. It’s easy to spoil an only child; it’s much more affordable. Of course, not all only children are spoiled by their parents. Nevertheless, growing up without someone your age to share your parents’ attention with does affect a child.
(11) We worry about our parents getting older.
Sorry to get morbid, but it’s pretty scary to face being the sole person responsible for your parents as they get older. I’m fortunate I don’t have to deal with it yet, but I already lose sleep thinking about it. Siblings can share the emotional weight of a parent’s death, as well as the literal weight of dealing with their belongings and estate. As an only child, it all comes down to me, which makes me freak out often.
(12) We’re highly sensitive.
Only children tend to be very in touch with their ‘feelings‘. Having never had siblings to tease me, I can overreact when I perceive people as critical, angry, or distant in personal relationships. And sometimes I perceive them being that way when they’re actually not. On the plus side, my sensitivity also makes me more considerate toward others’ feelings, and I always try to think about how my actions may make others feel.
(13) We don’t like conflict.
We are conflict-averse. Not that anyone really likes to fight, but arguments among friends, with teachers, or at work make me super uncomfortable. Because I never had to deal with daily screaming matches among siblings, I’m not used to confrontation and tend to take it personally.
(14) We don’t live in Anyone’s Shadow.
We are are own person. We are never known as so-and-so’s brother or sister. Also we have no one to be compared to and hence we have the freedom to do anything we wish to. Hence we do not have to worry about any sibling drama forthcoming.
(15) We’re Independent.
Because we have no older siblings to stick up for ourselves and parents being working do not have so much free time to deal with out teeny tiny day to day problems. This is the reason we become more independent then the rest.
So, for me, being an only child is a life that I wouldn’t ever trade.
And, for those reading who have siblings, be thankful for the life you have because, no matter how you flip the coin, we all have some type of perks.
Whether you’re an only child or one of five siblings, always be thankful for who you have in your life because they’re all there for a reason.
– Aakanksha, Editorial