Whenever I tell people I’m an only child there’s always an accompanying glance. Hen they proceed to usually say something judgmental like “you don’t seem like an only child,” or, worse, “oh that makes sense.” Right off the bat, we’re labeled as socially awkward, spoiled and/or moody. According to research it has been stated that
“The only child is greatly handicapped. He cannot be expected to go through life with the same capacity for adjustment that a child reared in the family with other children can be.”
This is all quite fascinating to me. I never thought it was a hindrance to be an only child. I never desired siblings. Although I did find the sibling relationship quite fascinating. But this post is to show that there are some things that are unique to only children, that I cherish and love about the fact that I’m an only child.
1. Distant family becomes immediate family
As an only child, all celebrations like thanksgiving, Hanukah, birthdays, always involve more than just my parents and I. I have always celebrated cousins’ birthdays and autos and uncles. Not just the big ones like a 40th, but the random 57th birthday was celebrated with the whole family. Memorial Day is always celebrated with my big family (the mischpuhka). I cherish my family and love that being an only child has allowed my small family to expand and include relatives that I would t be as close too if I had siblings to keep me company. I have been close with my second cousin who is 17 because it feels like we are sisters more than cousins.
2. Our imagination is stellar
Yes, it’s true there is a myth that all only children have invisible friends. I’m here to share that I never had imaginary friends. I always found ways to entertain myself. I was forced to. So I pretended I was a teacher, or a store owner selling my reaten these worlds that I lived in. I was allowed to explore my creative mind. I find this common among only children. We are allowed space to explore what interests us and what doesn’t.
3. We rarely sit at the kids’ table (if ever)
This can go one of two ways. We either grow up to o fast because we are constatnly surrounded by grown ups and discuss topics they discuss like politics, social issues, and other “adult” topics. So we rarely get the opportunity to talk about how Tommy spilled milk on himself at lunch, or how mean Suzie was on the playground. However, the flip side is that because we are constantly surrounded by adults, we feel like we miss being children and find that our parents give us so much attention and protection that we sort of develop the Peter Pan Syndrome, where we become afraid of growing up.
All these things are simply observations I have made in my 26 years as an only child. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my family, my parents and my extended family. I cherish all the moments spent with them ( even if I can be a bit moody on occasion). There are some only child stereotypes that fit me . But I will save those for another post. For now, I’d love to hear from you. Can other only children relate? Parents of only child, any thoughts? Any other generalizations people have? I’d love to hear any and all feedback!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the week ahead!