Shil1978 is a science buff with 11 years of experience writing about of psychology and related-topics.
Only Children: Myths and Facts
There is a myth that someone who is an only child is likely to be more selfish than someone who has siblings. People believe that they’re spoiled and lonely. In fact, it used to be commonplace for an only child to be referred to as the "lonely child." According to conventional wisdom, they're antisocial, anti-sharing, and not very good at playing well with others—but at the same time, they may be a little savvier, compared to those with siblings. Only children didn’t score as well as participants with siblings in the personality trait known as “agreeableness.” However, they did score better in flexibility, which is thought to be a marker of creativity.
Older siblings can be personal coaches, but they can also be your worst nightmare. While having a sibling can help you prepare for chaos (whether it's fun chaos or the terrifying kind), having a controlling sibling can make it harder for you to socialize outside of your family. You may gain social intelligence from having siblings, but you may also gain social intelligence from being an only child. There are many pros and cons to being an only child. Let's take a look at some of the major advantages and disadvantages of this kind of family structure.
Being the only child is tough, because their playmate is also the authority figure. If a child hits their sibling, maybe the sibling hits them back. Maybe the parent scolds or punishes the child. But it is understood that the punishment is because of actions toward the sibling. If the child hits their parent as a playmate, the parent scolds or punishes the child, and the child feels the added weight of separation from the attachment figure.
— Caroline Artley, LCSW-C Psychotherapist
Pros and Cons of Being the Only Child
You get the undivided love and attention of your parents.
The child could develop "little emperor syndrome," which is a situation in which the parents lavish their love, attention, and resources on one child, and as a result, the child becomes spoiled and behaves like a "little emperor."
Obviously, being an only child means that your parents have only you to spend the money on, so you will not have to share it among other siblings.
The child gets used to having everything done, managed, and taken care of by their parents.
You get more toys than normal, more money to spend than normal, and more inheritance than normal.
They may lack self-confidence.
You may grow up to be more independent and able to fend for yourself better, if your parents haven't spoiled you by tending to your each and every need.
The lack of help from older siblings may put too much pressure on the parents and cause conflicts.
You are not expected to live up to the standards of older siblings.
Parents may become too attached to the child's success and try to live through them, rather than giving them space.
Parents are able to spend more money, time, and attention on the child's school. Parents will find it easier to save for their child's college education.
Perhaps the most apparent disadvantage of being an only child is the feeling of loneliness. Not having a sibling to play with regularly, or who they are able to share their thoughts and memories with, can be difficult.
You may become more comfortable talking to adults.
When your parents get older, being an only child can leave you to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of your parents on your own, which might be overwhelming.
Parents may spend more time teaching you to be independent so that you can build your confidence and feel less pressure.
Parents may put too much pressure on the child, causing anxiety and low self-esteem.
My Experience With Having Siblings
There are many advantages and disadvantages to being an only child. However, how each child turns out really depends on how the child has been brought up, among other factors.
Personally, I always wished I was the only child in my family. Perhaps it is not a nice thing to say, but that's how I genuinely feel! You know, the grass always seems greener on the other side. In my specific situation, the age gap between me and my brother was just three years, and, therefore, there was a lot of rivalry and acrimony between us (all throughout childhood). These were not the usual sibling arguments, they really left a big mark on me. Being the eldest in my family, I always felt that I was not treated fairly when it came to certain situations, especially conflicts. I was always expected to be magnanimous, largehearted, and easy to forgive and forget—whereas my younger brother was doted on and shielded. I still feel that to be the case to this day. We get along much better now, but it isn't your usual loving relationship—more formal than familial and loving.
My mom still dotes on my little brother to no end, which is good, but she doesn't see me the same way, which is what I regret and bemoan. I've never quite understood this difference. At times, I think to myself that this is all my imagination—that I am just seeing things that aren't there! But, in reality, this is not the case. Anyone could tell the difference in how we are treated. Perhaps, a lot of you would have no clue about what I am talking about. Then again, there may be a lot of you who know exactly what I am talking about. Each individual has their own unique family experiences. Whether being an only child is an advantage or disadvantage, is truly a tough question to answer. While I'm sure there are some lonely people out there, there is no real definitive answer to this question, as the responses to this question would be highly subjective and would vary based on each person's own unique personal experience.
When children are young, their first lessons in social dynamics usually involve siblings. Children learn from both their own actions toward a sibling and the actions of their sibling toward them. They also learn from the mistakes they observe their siblings make. They experience disagreements and discord with one another which their parent then mediates by perhaps separating the children, teaching them how to work out their problem, or delivering consequences.
— Caroline Artley, LCSW-C Psychotherapist
Is it good to have a sibling?
Having a sibling may in fact make you more selfless. That said, it really depends on your family atmosphere and the values you are raised with. To make an absolute statement about this is reckless. While research suggests that having a sibling may help a child develop sympathy, there are obviously exceptions to this. Having a quality relationship with a brother or sister may promote altruism in teens, especially in boys. That said, siblings can also be bad influences, in which case, you may see a child become more selfish as a defense mechanism, protecting themselves against greedy or controlling siblings.
What percentage of the population are only children?
Today, in developed countries, nearly 47 percent of households with children are one-child families. There appears to be a direct correlation between wealth and career opportunities and having fewer children. In the U.S., the national average for one-child families is about 20 percent. The Pew Research Center reports that the average size of an American family has been shrinking, from 3.7 children in 1960 to just 1.9 today.
Is an only child truly a lonely child?
Studies have shown that a reluctance to have one child is one of the major reasons why parents have more. This is due to parents fearing that the only child will grow up without socializing enough with other kids. However, research shows that only children are no more selfish, spoiled, or lonely than anyone else. In fact, some are better at socializing with adults and have better relationships with their parents.
What happens in the sibling relationship is the catalyst for all future social engagements. Even the simple appreciation for how family and social boundaries work is learned from siblings via joining with them in coalitions against parents. You learned something very powerful about how the world works the first time you schemed with your brother about how to raid the candy drawer without your parents noticing.
— Avidan Milevsky Ph.D.
Major Causes of Sibling Rivalry
Lack of structure
When there is a lack of or not enough structure in the home, children don’t feel safe, they feel anxious. They don’t know what to expect, don’t have that steady routine to ground them.
Tension from above
Intense sibling rivalry usually reflects intense marital issues. Children often replicate what the parents are already doing.
Negative attention or a lack of attention
When attention is short, when there is little to go around, generally one or two children will begin to act out to get what attention they can, becoming the “bad kid” who is always in trouble.
Lack of problem-solving
Problems need to be put to rest to keep them from constantly becoming a source of conflict. But often the larger concern is that if problems are not addressed, the child feels ignored, that they are not important, that they have no voice.
When one child is given much more than another child, that child begins to feel neglected, or feels as though they've done something wrong.
Is it good to have only one child?
Having only one child is much easier on parents. Having only one child allows the parent to be more attuned to the emotional needs of the single child. Attention can be more directly focused, saving for college is easier, and it's much easier to afford a smaller home. That said, you shouldn't structure your family in such a way that makes money the primary motivator. Families are bigger than money. The choice is yours, just make sure you are capable of providing the emotional support your child needs without destroying their individuality.
How many kids is it safe for a woman to have?
This is dependent on the availability of resources, including healthy food, a good shelter, a healthy lifestyle, etc. Generally speaking, the more children a woman has, the more damaging it can be to her health in the long term. However, this damage is more visible in developing nations than it is in developed nations with well-organized and well-equipped medical services.
What are the difficulties of having multiple children?
- Having a child is a great strain on the body.
- The older a woman gets, the riskier it is for her to have a second child.
- Having more children costs more money, making it harder to save for college.
- Parents will likely not be able to spend equal time with each child.
- The more children a woman has, the harder pregnancy is on the woman's body.
What are the benefits of having multiple children?
- If you enjoy parenting, then you'll make more great memories with each child.
- The older children can help lift some of the burden off of their parents.
- Older children can babysit and help with some of the other chores.
How do I know if having another child is right for me?
- Consider your finances.
- Consider whether or not you'll be able to spend adequate time with each child.
- Consider whether or not you'll be able to afford a large enough house or apartment to give your kids adequate space.
- Think about what it was like to raise your first child and weigh the pros and cons.
When should you have your second child?
Studies suggest that getting pregnant within 18 months after your first child is born can make it more likely that your second child will be born early, underweight, or smaller than usual for the number of months he was in the womb. Make sure you wait at least 18 months before becoming pregnant again.
- Jane Mersky Leder. "Adult Sibling Rivalry". Psychology Today. January 1, 1993.
- "Sibling Rivalry". University of Michigan Health System, June 2009.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Shil1978
DJ on August 16, 2020:
Hi, I'm an only child, yes i am lonely but im very much self confident and several of the points made about inheritance and "undividded love is subjective and i can rebuttle all of your arguements suggesting that there are advantages of being an only child, we arent selfish and spoiled and dont rely on our parents, in fact since there are less poeple we have to do MORE work, i do more work than my own father. Dont go using stereotypes to base your weak arguements, honesly 눈_눈
Majella Silva on August 11, 2020:
being the child is noting and i always wished that i had a sister in my life it is really really hard being the only child i mean really hard
Majella Silva on August 04, 2020:
i also hate being the only child i always wanted a sister because it is really lonely being the only children because when you have a sister it is the best part in the famliy becuse i you get to share your feelings with thhem that s why sister s are the best thing in the world i always wanted a sister in my life
Gloria on May 16, 2020:
I grew up with an older half brother. He was a nightmare. There was a big age gap. I consider myself an only child because my brother was always out with his friends or in jail. About ten years ago he dropped off the face of the earth. I now have a four year old and would love to have another, maybe even two more. I always wanted a big loving family because as a child I didn't have that and of course we always want to do better for our own children right? I also have multiple fur babies which my daughter calls them her sissies. They actually act like siblings too. I kind of feel like I have a large family already thanks to the fur babies. They protected my daughter, encouraged her to crawl and walk and now they babysit a little within reason. There are also rivalries. Mostly between the middle daughter dog who still chews like a puppy. It's at least a motivating factor for my daughter to keep her to off the floor. Anyway we're contemplating a second child. I'm glad hubby is ready now because I'm tired of seeing other women having babies seemingly every year, one after another. That tells me I'm not ready to be done having kids. Plus my daughter has seen classmates have little siblings and she's wanting that. I envy the excitement of those families and want that for my daughter. She doesn't realize the divided attention aspect but lucky for her my background is in education, counseling, and psychology. We'll see how it goes when it happens. Thanks for the article, especially the questions at the end.
Kate on April 05, 2020:
I am the youngest sibling. I have three older siblings. When I was born my three older siblings were 18 years old, 16 years old and 14 years old. My mom gave birth to her first child when she was 21 years old. By the time my was 25 years old she was a widow with three children. Fortunately for her she had a lot of siblings to help her out. My mom married my dad and her second husband when she was 30 years old. However, my mom was 40 years old when I was born and my dad was 42 years old. My mom thought she was experiencing menopause when she was pregnant until her doctor told her that she was pregnant for the fourth time. Anyway, I’m very close with my three older siblings and close with my parents...particularly my mom. But growing up as a child I feel like I experienced a mix of what it was like to have siblings and what it was like to be an only child. My sister would watch Disney movies with me, play dolls with me and paint my nails. My oldest brother took me fishing with him, hiking in the woods with him and took me to some Broadway plays in New York City. My other brother loved sharing funny family stories with me and discuss our love for animals. However, because my siblings were a lot older than me I sometimes had to play by myself or my mom would schedule a play date with a friend from school. My mom also spent time playing dolls with me and reading stories to me.
Shivaani on January 07, 2020:
Hi...I'm an only child and yes I do feel very lonely most of the time...but as stated above,I'm not selfish,spoilt and get everything I want..my parents raised me to be independent and make me work hard to deserve what I get..for instance,I had to save money for two years to but my handphone...so not all only child's are spoonfed....I tend to be a very socialized person and not have problems of being antisocial or whatnot....so my point here is,not all only childs are grown up to be spoilt and bratty...there are parents who work their best to bring us up
Katherine on July 01, 2019:
I’m the youngest of two, and there’s a 15 year age gap, and different moms, so of course, I don’t remember my older brother being with us and living with us. So, technically I’m an only and I hated it. I mean, it did have its ups, too. By the time I turned 13, I had been to Disney World/ Land 10 times, but otherwise it was awful. In our first neighborhood, all the kids were either way older or way younger. And in our second neighborhood, no one really had enough time to hang out with me, or didn’t want to because I’m kinda nerdy and different, along with having epilepsy, which means my parents have more concerns. I also hate all the responsibilities I have/ will have, when it comes to my parents.
Madeline on April 18, 2019:
I have siblings and i feel lonely and lack self confidence. I was always the quietest in class. I never raised my hand to answer a question or to volunteer to read. I would only raise my hand to either go to the bathroom, go to the nurse, or to get a drink of water. I never had confidence in my self or ever believed in myself.
Julia on April 16, 2019:
Personal Opinion: Older children are not your built-in babysitters or errand-runners. you chose to have more than one, you parent both kids equally and do not expect your older child to look after their younger sibling(s). The youger one(s) are not your oldest's responsiblility.
student on March 23, 2019:
this is really great to know and learn. I picked this topic for my speech and it is coming well finding all the information I need from this website. thank you very much.
Sam on January 11, 2019:
I have a twin brother and it is hell
Rishabh on November 19, 2018:
It helped me a lot in my speech
Shankhanil Chandra on August 13, 2018:
I am an only child
By reading this essay my views changed........
Katiebird on August 02, 2018:
I’m an only child and I’ve hated it since I knew what it was. I will bury my parents alone, I was burdened with the ghosts of the parental failures as well. So much pressure you can’t imagine. Never mind the loneliness, the intense sense that we are, as onlies, the first and last, that we have no one to distract the ever peering eye, the constant need to rise to the occasion and dance monkey dance! If my mom wished she had played piano better I had to attend Juliard, had my father wished his law career more successful I had to attend Harvard. It’s never enough, when they put their eggs in one basket they bank on you to fulfill all the slack they left. Giant shoes that keep growing as you get older. And then, they hit the middle age gauntlet, you’re taking one to chemo and the other ones getting an EKG to clear them for a new knee and lo and behold there’s a blockage. And who do you call? No one. And through all this you’re to get be them grandchildren.
So, yes, I had a horse, I had a lux life, every fancy thing I could’ve given two shits about and when asked simply requested “a sibling”. We become more resourceful, more creative, more content with crushing isolation, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. We are not good at compromise, we can’t share without keeping tabs. It’s shitty, akin to abuse. They say it’s not nice to adopt one cat, yet only childhood is somehow okay??? No matter what I achieve I will always think I’m lacking, I will never be okay with my accomplishments, it’s an unsettling life...and it’s punctuated by the knowledge that when those I love the most are gone their memory lies in me alone, nothing to console me, no other experiencing that sadness, a deeper isolation. Who can an only considerate with? Who do I have to share memories with? Who did it have to make them with?
Again, we are an odd lot, and personally, I think we are an aberration.
Truth Really Is on July 24, 2018:
Well it sure sucks altogether, especially if you have no friends at all either. And the ones that i know are married with a family since they have been very blessed to find their loved ones when many of us weren't.
Ben on July 01, 2018:
Fuckyou on June 19, 2018:
How bout more hate f on your mother if ur the only child? My mum is a bitch!
Shil1978 (author) on May 09, 2018:
Hi, ramosc, I'm glad reading this made you feel better. I can totally identify with what you went through. Don't worry. Just do what feels right to you and only you. People will always talk. Thank you for sharing your story :)
ramosc on April 26, 2018:
Thank you for this article. I am the mother of an only child and can't help but feel pressure at times to have another child. This is only when I hear comments by people in my sons school who feel the need to tell me I need to have another child because otherwise my son will grow up to be lonely. It really does hurt because thats the last thing i want. My husband and I do not want another child and my son doesn't seem to want a sibling either. I have to admit however that comments like that really do get to me because I wonder if we're making the right decision to have only one child. I do not want to have more children for the wrong reason which is why we've waited so long. I'm grateful to be able to give my son all the time and attention he needs. I've been a little depress lately because I'm 36 and it's either now or never, which is why I've been struggling with this one. Reading this article just makes me feel a lot better so thank you.
??? on April 25, 2018:
? on March 12, 2018:
i wish i was a only child
Justin on February 24, 2018:
in my opinion,there will be both advantages and disadvantages being an only child!
Anonymous on February 21, 2018:
I'm an only child and growing up without any siblings was really hard because I used to fight with my mom a lot and almost all the time I felt that I had no backup with my dad being at work a lot. It really takes a toll on a kid. Doesn't really help that my mom used to watch full house all the time. I first found out what siblings are like by getting hooked on Alvin and the chipmunks when I was young and surprisingly I LOVED it when simon and Alvin would fight. Made me wish I could have a sibling to fight with and when Alvin would stand up for Theo when he would get bullied made me wish that I had a younger sibling to protect
Janie on February 15, 2018:
The article was very good.I felt lonesome being a only child and I wasc extremely insecure and lacked confidence.I worked a little attended college.Married young have been together for 43 yrs.3 kids 7plus grandkids one with a disability which is hard for 5yrs older silbling who wanted to be an only.We arent close to cousins.My spouse has brothers but they dont bother.Its hard to see and hear about other families that are close and happy.We are intorvents so a few friends.But my fave time is reading and listening to music and traveling.
Claudia on December 14, 2017:
I've never written this in public: I have said to only children who complain about their situation that they should imagine having a sibling with a disability. When looking into the single child literature, people really do not talk about siblings with disabilities. My one and only sister was born with Down's syndrome - she was 2 years younger than I. She died early this year. I loved her to bits and while I would certainly not change the gift of having had her as such a special person in my life, it was tough. She got pneumonia and was wheelchaired, oxygen supplied for her last 7 Years. States should really commit to support children with disabilities and their families to ha e against world.
I am coming to terms with having had an only child with no cousins (only one of my cousins my age lives 2 hours away; two cousins on Dad's side now living in Canada as my brother in law divorced and remarried, my child has just one cousin his age whose mother, my sister in law, is really distant from my husband... Out of envy). The more I read about the challenges of being an only child, the more I am grateful to assume that while embracing the "only child situation" it comes down to subjective experience to live it as a joyful life
corey on December 14, 2017:
love this website, it gives me so much information
Ashley p on December 06, 2017:
Hello. I enjoyed reading this! To be honest, I've seen more friends with siblings have a harder time having a brother or sister that does no wrong in their parent's eyes. I always hated seeing my friends going through that.
I grew up as an only child and I never experienced loneliness. I learned how to entertain myself by reading, drawing etc. I also spent my summers playing with friends or cousins too. As an adult I know that being an only child had an advantage because I am very independent and initiate things more.
A disadvantage was when my parents split up and I had to deal with my own feelings and also the feelings of my heartbroken dad. In that way, it was a lot to take and did have a lasting negative impact on my young adult life as I had no one to talk to. But I was close to both my parents overall.
I liked being an only child. It was affordable for my parents and it forced me to make friends and entertain myself. Everyone is different though. My husband is the youngest of two and is very loving but also very dependent. He wasn't spoiled though and was a working child actor which I think helped him to have a great work ethic and listening skills later. His older brother is very independent but also is more hot headed. I guess there are many factors to consider. Good parenting has a bigger influence probably.
cathrine munotengwa on October 08, 2017:
It brings loneliness
Mustafa on August 28, 2017:
aaa on July 26, 2017:
Keayra on July 26, 2017:
Being the only child is a blessing because everyone I know have a lot of siblings and they always ask me you have sisters and brothers I'm like no an only child they will be like your lucky or I wish I was you.
Gw8775 on June 22, 2017:
This story is very interesting
Sharar Khan on April 19, 2017:
Excellent! great points of view the Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Only Child. I found many good ideas in here. Glad to meet you here in :)
Zararustra on February 18, 2017:
Hi Folks it's better to be only child in the family because we don't have to share and care for the little dimwits.
Tana on February 14, 2017:
i am the oldest just like you and for every fight i have with my borther whom i am just about 4 years different with my parents always take his point of view, my point of view is actually not so much taken into consideration. being the oldest i have to act responsibly whereas if i were an only child i would be responsible for me and not be compared to my lil brother. i guess i understand where you are coming from and i feel that this topic cannot be concluded because everyone feels different those who are the only children feel the need to have siblings and those of us who have siblings wish we were the only children in the house. However, i always keep an open mind because i believe family is everything and siblings are family so in the end we have to love them and just tolerate them if that's what it is.
Thanks for allowing me to comment
Shil1978 (author) on February 04, 2017:
The "Little Emperor" Syndrome maybe silly, but it is a real consequence of China's one-child policy. This syndrome is, however, not limited to China but can be found across geographies and societies.
It is not a natural consequence. It all depends on how parents bring up their kids and your parents have obviously done a good job with you :)
As far as the loneliness thing, a person can learn to adapt and live in a way where it doesn't affect them as much. It becomes a new normal. My own daughter complains that she feels lonely at home. When a neighbor kid comes along, she feels a whole lot happier and finds she can keep herself occupied more without getting bored.
Loneliness can become a new normal where you don't see yourself as being lonely and don't feel it, in which case you've adapted to the loneliness. Some can do that, others find it difficult.
Maeve on February 04, 2017:
I have no idea where this silly "Little Emperor" myth came from. I'm an only child, and I certainly never had my parents taking care of all of my problems. In fact, I had to learn at a very young age how to take care of myself, because I had no siblings to help me out. By twelve, for example, I was making nearly all of my own meals, because my parents and I had different schedules (I had a lot of dance classes, and they had to work), and there would be no one else in the house.
With regard to the loneliness thing: you'd be surprised at how good only children are at entertaining themselves, so that they barely even notice being "lonely." When I was bored, I'd steal one of my parents' many novels, and boom: boredom alleviated. I actually rarely felt the lack of a sibling.
A lot of these myths are quite unfair, and have little basis in reality. Except the parental pressure one; that one is very true. (And can be very irritating.)
Shil1978 (author) on December 28, 2016:
Thank you, Zoe - I'm glad you liked it :) Yes, indeed! I had a tough time deciding if I wanted to raise a single child or I should have more than one kid. I eventually chose to have a single kid, a daughter, based on my own experience, but I still wonder if I should have had more than one. I'm past the age to have another child now, but it's a tough choice for parents to make!
Zöe on December 28, 2016:
Nice job writing the article, it looks like you put a lot of effort into it. I do agree, being an only child has advantages and disadvantages. I am not an only child so I do not have any experience, but this article got me thinking
Angel1921 on June 17, 2016:
I'm an only child and by far I agree with everything you've stated. Being the only child gets lonely and depressing sometimes and you're right. I don't have any sibling that I know I can trust to vent to or share. Memories with. But I know that when I start conceiving, having 1 child is not an option. I have to have a big family, it's a must! But I truly appreciated exploring and reading this article
muskan on April 07, 2016:
sometimes i think that i m lucky to have a brother but when he fights with me then it becomes a hell!!!though these are counted in my sweet memories i sometimes feel confusing about this topic
LR on July 11, 2015:
Only children are also at greater risk for domestic violence, especially if they marry those with siblings, who often accuse them of being spoiled, selfish, wanting to cheat, etc. since they have no siblings to protect them and also, those with siblings are more likely to be abusive and manipulative as well. It's dangerous being an only child in a relationship or marriage versus being a child with one or more siblings. Only children are more likely to be abused in relationships and marriages.
myname on January 07, 2015:
what a dilemma! So many interesting insights.
Lou Cannon from British Columbia, Canada on January 06, 2015:
Growing up, I was raised as an only child by my mother... Experienced being one of many siblings (in foster care) and then as the oldest of 6 as an adult (my father had five other children)... I found strengths and difficulties in all of the mixed configurations... Hopefully others out there can too!
kirsten on June 20, 2014:
just because i have siblings does not mean my parents love me less. Although siblings can be annoying and sometimes mean, you will always love them and the love you get from them overpowers how annoying they are.
Shil1978 (author) on February 24, 2014:
Thanks for sharing your perspective on this subject 'Moon Daisy.' I agree with your take on this. Thing is how things turn out between you and your brothers / sisters really depends on various factors and so you may either be very close and loving or far apart in your relationships with them.
In my case, it's the latter, but I do have friends who share very close and strong bonds with their siblings. I'd drop by to check your hub, sounds like it would be an interesting read :)
Moon Daisy from London on February 23, 2014:
This is a nice hub, and I like how you were honest about you and your brother. It's so often the case that people with siblings don't get on with them. You can have a whole bunch of children, but there's no guarantee that they will get on either in childhood or later on.
A friend of mine has no relationship at all with her brother, as all of her life she felt as if he'd been the "golden child". I have another friend who has two brothers, but she doesn't speak to one of them at all, and whenever she sees the other one it always ends in terrible rows. I'm very lucky that I have a lovely sister, but she lives on the other side of the world and I hardly see her.
I wrote a hub on this subject too, but from my perspective of somebody with one child. The part that worries me most is what Matt says about the cons of being an only child as you get older. Because I'm conscious of this I hope that I'll be able to minimise these problems. From my own experiences I really wouldn't want to be a burden on my child and would do everything I could not to let that happen.
For now I have a happy, bright and independent child, and I really hope that these qualities will always stand her in good stead.
Matt on February 08, 2014:
I'm an only child in my early twenties' and I, too, also share the same worries that poster "KCC Big Country" alluded to in their original postings from five years ago (2008). I think as you get older, the cons of being an only child start creeping in. Knowing that your parents are getting older and you'll be the only one who has to take care of them and feel the burden of making all the decisions for them does hurt a bit. Not only that, but I'm single and expect to remain single for quite a long time until I graduate college and begin to make a steady income. I think this pressure, along with all the other factors, make it harder for an only child like me since I really don't have any one else to fall back on if something bad happens to me or if I fall on bad times.
awsomeman123 on February 05, 2014:
this is great Shil1978 i don't care what others say you are a great writer
DeeJ85 on January 19, 2014:
For me, I was the only child for eight years and I loved my childhood. I had friends in my neighborhood friends at school, and cousins to play with. I remember asking my parents for a sibling but the main reason was because I was the only person I knew who was an only child. When you're a child you don't understand all of the work that goes into raising children. Because I was the only child for so long that shaped my personality, I am very independent, enjoy alone time and I am great at entertaining myself. My brother was born when I was eight, and my sister was born when I was 10. So even after my siblings were born, it was like I was still the only child because they were so much younger than I was. I helped take care of them and they were more like my kids than my siblings. As I was growing up in middle school and my teenage years I felt like my parents were too busy with my siblings to pay me any attention, so I spent a lot of time in my room writing poetry, listening to music and drawing. I didn't grow up with a close relationship with my parents and I always felt that if it would have just been me and them I would have been closer to them. I love my siblings, but just now as they are 20 and 18, and I'm 28 can I hang out with them a little more, but our lives are obviously in very different places. I am married and my husband and I have a son who is almost 6. He will be our only child and we don't love him any less. There is no right or wrong number of children to have, each couple and family has to do what's best for their family. My husband is the oldest of three children and him and his brother and sister don't get along, especially him and his sister and they're 31 and 27. All siblings are not close nor are they friends. The style of parenting makes a big difference on a child's experience whether they have one child or multiple kids. There are ups and downs in life no matter how many siblings you have.
ayesha on October 07, 2013:
it feels really lonelyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
G on December 08, 2012:
Well I'm an only child. And, at 26, I'm now an irrecoverable wreck. Being an only child wasn't the main factor- I can only blame myself and not my parents for what has happened, but who knows- it may have been at least a factor behind why "it all went wrong". Probably by helping to make me more dependant, childish, lazy, over sensitive, lacking initiative, no confidence doormat.
Jefferson Faudan on August 30, 2012:
there really are disadvantages in being the only child... things would be much easier if you have siblings... when you're an only child, there's hardly an option for yourself and most decision couldn't be self-serving.... personally, from my experience, there are decisions in life that you just have to consider who's going to be left behind... you wanted to have a career advancement at some place but couldn't pursue it due to the fact that there's nobody left to take care of the family, the properties etc... when financial problem arises, there's no one else to rely on but only you... you can't mess up your life because the family is dependent on you and you certainly can't bring shame to the family knowing that they expect so much from you... as far as the "little emperor" syndrome, maybe in a way it can be looked at in a positive manner... due to that, a person can attain what he wants in life due to having the confidence that you get what you want (but that is of course if the person has an optimistic outlook in life).
Gayathri Dinesh on August 24, 2012:
Thank you, Reading this has brought down my ambiguity of having a Single child. I am a 27 year old mom of a 4 year old kid. My husband is a only born in his family and he has got good friends who are an extended family for us. My husband and I are in a dilemma planning our next kid.. I have a sister 22 years old, who is very sweet and very close to me.. We cannot just miss eachother and she stays with me at my in laws during her offs and holidays we make a very good family and my husband treats my Sister as his own sisy and we include her in all our celebrations and parties. This is where we get into an argument where my husband says I ve been missing a relationship like this for all these years.. He says I am happy with all I have but there is still something empty and I ve missed all this fun and love by not having a sibling. I am just confused becoz. I dont want to burden ourselves with another child financially and physically. . I was fine for a while now I really feel bad coz. two of my husbands close friends have two babies each and we hang out on many weekends with the family to resorts. Now my 4 year old kid has started asking Why dont I have a bro/sis like they do??? Right now I ve chosen to bring in a pet... but still looking for some advise...
Chrissy on August 23, 2012:
As an only child, life was hard :( My parents were strict, and I was shouted at and smacked regularly. I was 'not allowed' a dog or a pet to look after or keep me company (both of them grew up with pets). And I remember being laughed at in primary school, because mum said that I was 'not allowed' to take the class hamster home for the weekend (when it was my turn). All my other friends were permitted their turn. I remember it broke my heart at the time, and I got yelled at for crying.. 'I'll give you something to cry about' I was very much the child=in=the=attic type ... my parents, I felt, ganged up against me, and seriously... they never listened to me. My ideas, feelings etc on any subject were shunned or ignored. I felt like I was living in a prison camp.
What has changed? Nothing! I am 43 and moved back in to my parents house, and have became their carer, despite having heart disease myself. I cannot move out, as I have no money, and if I mention it, my parents start screaming at me (70 and 80) that I am ungrateful and I'll get nothing when they die if I move out (again).
I am back in prison. Yes, I have comforts such as PC, TV etc, but the emotional grief I have to contain with is a daily struggle. It's them and me, and it's always THEIR house, not our house. My opinions matter even less now, than when I was growing up. Every day there is conflict and yelling (then I get ignored for a week).
For instance, here is a true story. My parents said they were going on a cruise in September for 2 weeks. Fine, I thought, I'll invite my friend up for a few days. Everything was arranged and I was happy. Mum said today... "oh sorry the cruise is next year. You'll just have to cancel everything as I'm NOT moving out of MY house, so SHE (my pal) can come up for a few days!" I was devastated beyond belief that I spent the rest of the day in tears. I called my friend, and she soothed that it was not my fault, but I felt really bad.
The doctor has put me on anti depressants to help me cope with life at 'home' and they take the edge off my nerves, but pills don't take away the inner hurt and pain. I watch other fathers/daughters and mothers/daughters when I'm out, and wish that I had had that strong bond. I'm not close to either parent.... it's always been them...and me. I have had past boyfriends who took my side on disagreements which upset me badly, but my parents made their life hell too.
I'm still single, not been married or had kids. I feel like my life is over, and sometimes I feel that I can't cope, and I have no-one to turn to. I wish my only-child tale was a happier one. But maybe (and it's an awful thing to say) I will be happy one day.... when I am finally left on my own. It will be hard, but the prison bars will have lifted, and perhaps I can begin to live and enjoy life. Just now I feel it's a mere existence.
J0nD03 on July 30, 2012:
Thanks for taking up this subject, as an only child I can say that I grew up in family with various problems, my dad had an alcohol problem in all of my childhood, and he decided to take his life when I was only 8 years old, and my mom was dealing with anxiety problems because of my dads alcohol abuse. It didn´t go too well in school because of all the problems I was dealing with at home, I had problems focusing on my work at school, making me an easy target for bullies. For many years I had to deal with a lack of self esteem and self confidence. When I was 13 years old, my mom thougth it would be better for me if I moved away to an institution for kids with problems similar to mine, and over many years I actually moved from one place to another until I was 21 and I got my own flat.
Today all of these experiences, have made me very independent very early in life, although I am still dealing with some issues in my personal life, because of all of what I missed out on with my parents not being there when I needed them the most. What I´m trying to say is, that forgiveness, love and faith in yourself will get you a long way, while envy and jealousy of your sibling will keep you from being truly happy with who you are. Parents are humans too :) They too make mistakes and bad choices, and they´re probably raising you the way they were raised when they were kids. So forgiveness is essential.
Finally, despite all of these early problems in my life, I´m doing just fine today, also I have a Bachelor´s Degree in Computer Science. So I guess I came out allright in the end. :)
I hope this post will serve as an ispiration for some of you with similar backgrounds - Remember it´s YOUR life, not your brothers/sisters, so make it the best you can with what you got ;)
Shil1978 (author) on July 20, 2012:
Thank you, Thelma, for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked this hub. I can relate to how you feel, being the mother of an only child (daughter) - so far. I am still wondering about whether I should have a second child. As of now, I am not quite sure! However, I am parenting my daughter much the same way as you are, so irrespective of whether I choose to go in for a second child or not, I am sure she would grow up very well. Thanks for your appreciation and for taking the time to comment :)
Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 17, 2012:
This is a very good hub. I have only one child and I think we have brought him up as an independent, responsible, loving, and kind person. We have not spoilt him as we taught him to be responsible in every actions he has to take. I pity him when he was a child for he has no siblings to play with, so I always brought him to childrens´ playgrounds and made it sure that he made friends with them. They are still his friends now, his 2nd "family" besides us. I think his Filipino and German upbringing has made him a great person. He´s not only our son but our friend whom we can talk to about everything. We are proud of him. I do wished though that we had given him a sibling.
Thanks for sharing. Thumbs up!
BLUEYED ELLIE on June 23, 2012:
I am responding to your comment "L" My parents adopted meat age 3 months. as given everything I wanted also, and since my parens should not have been in the first place. I was beaten down at a very early age, try 2 years old. Heavy handed father(?) and mom was a screamer and was quiter an actress. She lied to me about my adoption saying she heard of a little girl that needed a home, when in fact I was the prodct of my father's affair.I take everything to heart just like you, and have low self esteem, I kow it because of the men I chose during the years, mrried a man at age 20 that was abused by his mother, nd tookit out on me, brought 5 children into the world and I took my anger out on one of them, found outin therapy that he reminded me of his father. befriended an alcoholic, that was also schitzaphrenic , dropped that one, then got involved with a arried man, then got attracted with another maried man, I hung in there for 1 years, then his wife died and now I am with im almost everyday, but again not the best choice, he has done some hutful things like sent me in the kitcen when a wman came to visit with him, and told me hewants to sleep alone, hes living ith guilt and I se it everyday, if my self esteem is where it should be, I would have not tolerated any of this. MY poor adult kids have scars from the living hell I had with their father, and I blme myself, their father passed away at age 50 from stress related disease. I used to long for a brother or siste when I was growingup, but all I got as an answer was "you are quiteenough, grow up and have your own kids" I have alot of anger still within me, and it may never g away. I am a good lady, I help others, and love people, but I will not blame the couple that adopted me, I own how I conducted my life.Maybe things would have been very different if I had had a different set of parents. I cannot even have m adopotion records opened ,I live in New Jersey and this is the only state that does ot alow adoptees the right of knowing who their real parents were. very sad.
blue eyed ellie on June 22, 2012:
To "Highface 2000 if you can't say something decent or in line of what the topic about, don't say anything.
Wondering on June 17, 2012:
More and more families are having only one child.
hiface2000 on June 12, 2012:
you guys are idiots
Tom on June 04, 2012:
MY older brother has middle child syndrome... it's a day to day struggle .
jp on May 08, 2012:
I stumbled upon this page looking for advise on whether to have a second child for my now 5 year old son. I grew up with a 5 year gap with my older brother (I am female). We were never really close but civil with each other growing up. It may be the age difference because we were never at the same school at any given time, or the gender difference. He had guy friends, into sports, I was into music, dance and dolls. My question may be a little different. I am concerned my only is truly an only, and what I mean by that is he will have no siblings or cousins and is biracial (Asian, Italian). I have yet to find any children of that lineage. So I fear he will grow up culturally unique and alone, and of course no siblings or cousins (older brother's wife can't have kids) Husband side same deal...too old. On top of that, I am what one would "diagnose" as a "highly sensitive" person. I tend to be introverted. Like having my alone time. Perfectionist (so I put undue expectations on husband and son, which I am trying to stop because I see how it affects a 5 year olds confidence if I show disappointment). But as a result, I don't like meeting new people, or going to the playground, having people at my house. I know in my heart this is not good for my only. He may also be a highly sensitive child. He fuses over labels on his clothes, he doesn't like changed environments, going to places with too many people, is quick to fall into trantrums. So I am thinking of having a second. But worry that a 6 year gap will create "2" onlys, as was my experience. My older brother on the other hand is an extrovert and when I ask him about how it felt to have a younger sister, he says great! But for me it was and still is, neither here nor there. I could have been and often felt like an only. Maybe being the younger child I was more dependent and insecure but my brother as the older and required to do more for me became more extrovert and able to make decisions and take charge. Any comments, advice?
L on April 10, 2012:
I suppose I am the typical only child as my parents give me everything my heart desires but they run a tight ship. I am in no way independent and am very needy. I am also very possessive over everything from toys to actual people. I feel very pressured to do well in every aspect of my life and am terrified of failure as if I fail I just feel like sitting down and crying. I became an adult way too early as I would often go to events where I was the only child but on the other side of the coin I am also very childish with my younger cousins. I am also very hard on myself as I expect myself to be perfect. I am also very weak as I take insults to heart because I didn't have a sibling who constantly teased me. I do know that being an only child means that being on my own doesn't bother me, if I'm sad I can get over it myself and that I have no urge to rebel against my parents as, unlike my friends who go out and get drunk at discos, I stay in and read a book. Sad but true. My parents also let me try everything as I have done everything from ballet to the trombone. I also know that being an only child means I'm comfortable with myself and with not following the herd. I like being an only child but the stereotypes annoy me but, as with everything, it's a matter of personal taste. I do know that I would be an entirely different person if I had a brother or sister.
DOREMON on April 06, 2012:
It is better to be an only child because your parents shows more love to you. Also if you grow up being independent, then you won't really care about having a sibling. Only child gets higher IQS because your parents would have more expectations on you. Parents will have to pay doubled the price
Liz on March 29, 2012:
Here's just an observation of my experience working with elderly people. All of the people who I have cared for who made it to a very old age were either only children or were the eldest in their families. Now, I realize that this is only observation and not a confirmation by any means, but it stands to reason that when parents lavish attention and resources on their child, that it will reap benefits from that attention.
englishcat on March 27, 2012:
I was brought up as an only child into a family where my parents split after 13 years of nasty, scary, and sometimes horrifying daily arguments. I am not saying I wasn't loved - in fact it was the complete opposite - but the loneliness of being the only child nearly drowned me. The lack of another young person during these years made me grow up cynical, angry, and scared to be alone. I am not idolising having siblings as I have seen the detrimental effect some siblings can have on one another, but to have no one that shared my years of hell is a thought so overwhelming that I try not to think about it, so as to break away from its burden. As I grow up, I am finding the realisation that very soon both my parents will be gone a confusing one. I would love for these so-called 'scientists' to experience the complex and suffocatingly lonely feelings that I have felt throughout my entire life, and then tell us that being an only child is better. Yes, I had lots of toys, but 20 Barbie Dolls does not make up for a family.
I totally respect the author's research and article, especially how she looks at the catch 22 of "grass is always greener".
Nugessur praveena on March 16, 2012:
I also wished to be the only child of my parents.Being the only child is fantastic as gets loads of affection and love.
Shil1978 (author) on March 10, 2012:
Brisgal, thanks for stopping by and commenting. As regards the question you are wondering about, I don't think the dynamics of sibling relationships change whether the child is adopted or not. However, personally, I've always believed that an age difference of about 5 or 6 years diminishes the level of adverse/intense sibling rivalry.
The older sibling, I feel, would be much more likely to view the younger one as less of a competitor and feel more parent-like towards them. So, if I were to go in for a second child, I would do so keeping that in mind. That's just my opinion though, others may have a different view!!
Brisgal on March 10, 2012:
This is a very interesting discussion and I thank the author and all who have contributed comments. My husband and I adopted a little girl, who is now 5 and are contemplating adopting another child. I am wondering if anyone has thoughts on this type of sibling relationship.
blue eyed ellie on February 18, 2012:
thank you, kind person who said those kind words to me, it touched my heart and I am grateful.
Shil1978 (author) on February 18, 2012:
Ellie, no parent should raise their kids with guilt and fear - only with love and understanding. Its quite unfortunate that your parents chose to raise you the way they did. I don't see any reason why you should feel any guilt for their lack of empathy and caring. You bear no fault at all for this.
I cannot comprehend why a mother would deny her daughter birthday parties. I have a daughter myself and I couldn't imagine letting a birthday of hers go without celebrating it and making her feel special and loved.
The years gone by can't be undone. You've gotten an unfair deal from your parents - the least you can do now is to NOT feel guilty about their bad parenting. You don't have to feel any guilt at all. Move on with your life, Ellie, without any guilt, be free and reclaim your life from such unnecessary feelings of guilt!!
blue eyed ellie on February 18, 2012:
I'm truly sorry if my lengthy comment was depressing,I know it was but I was hoping for perhaps a validation that what my parents did was so wrong. They raised me with guilt and fear, and I am still harboring some of the guilt.I was always told I was a bad kid and there was something wrong with me. one day my friends and I were playing baseball, and I hit a home run, and jumped and laughed for joy, and at that point my so called father sent all the kids home and made me come in the house. All I did was laugh for joy cause I hit a home run,I could never just be myself, and I know I was not doing anything wrong. My mother told me that she did not adopt another child because I was enough, and she also said if she adopted another, there would be fights. I was not allowed to have a birthday party, she also told me "go to someone elses party, and on and on it goes. SO Please someone read my story above and please tell me what do you think about a set of parents that would do these things.
Christ Spulen on February 17, 2012:
In the research of National Institute for Child and Family Development said siblings naturally engage in conflicts. As a parent with more than one child, or a professional who works with children, it can be difficult to know what to do when children are fighting over a toy or squabbling about who gets to go out the door first. But there are some simple steps that actually teach children how to handle conflicts appropriately. Siblings will learn to find out their problems independently and be willing to forgive. Siblings can face out problems more than only one child.
Me on February 13, 2012:
i personally love being with my sibling (Although we have a 6 year gap)!!! Its so much more interesting when they are around and i would hate to be alone on my holidays, life is so much more interesting and useful with the fact that they have been through exactly what i have. I love them :)
Hayzel on February 12, 2012:
This article was very nice! I'm an only- and lonely- child. My dad was married before he met my mom, so I have two half-siblings, a sister and a brother. The problem is, they are much older than me. I have two nephews and a niece, but they can't replace everyday siblings. I'm going through some really bad friendship trouble, and not having a big sister who I can talk to everyday isn't my ideal situation. I'm homeschooled, so some of my friends have +6 siblings. I feel jealous of my friends for having siblings, especially when I see how close they are compared to my half-siblings and I. Is it normal to be envious of your friends and their siblings?
britt00 on February 10, 2012:
Hello :) I came across this because I am having my first child (boy) and I honestly think we will be happy with one. Of course I'm worried if he will be lonely etc.
I am one of five kids, so I have no idea what it is like. I'm a twin and the oldest. I always got in trouble for what my younger siblings did. I was the one that had to forgive and forget while my younger sister could do whatever she pleased. I had the most responsibilities, matured a lot faster, and was in "charge". Honestly, it helped me a lot even though I hated it. Out of all 5 (one is still in school) I'm the only one with a job, car, apartment, stable relationship, and now soon to be mother. My twin isn't doing bad herself, but isn't as stable as I am. It does pay off when the parent makes you have responsibility, but they should do that for all their kids not just some.
blue eyed ellie on January 11, 2012:
I was an only child because I was adopted by a woman 43 and a man who was 46, who had no patience for a little child. I was later that I got the hint I was the product of an affair my father had. My adopted mother each time she would get angry at me as a child she would say"you don't get your actions from me, its where you sprang from" and her favorite when she lost her temper, :you little bastard and I'm not miscalling you" I was a very high strung nernous child becvsause each time my mother would get over whelmed with me she would quickly tell my father who always made this terrible face before he beat me from head to tie. I used to feel like someone took a blow torch to my little body. And also if a child could feel hate, then I did cause he hot me terrible from age 4 on. One time my mother kept talking about "stay away from the poison nightshade plant out back it will kill you" she said it so often my little 4 year old curiosity got the better of me and I licked one of the leaves, I didn't eat any of it but remembered what my mother told me I would die. I was so nervous thinking I was going to die I said to her" I'm not going to be around soon" she screamed at ma "what the hell did you do" which scared me more, and as usual as soon as my father came home from work, she ran to him screaming, "Denny she ate poison" and as usual, he made that horrid face and beat me all over. All they had to do was remove the little nightshade plant, and there would have been no temptation. I can't even find out who my real father was because I reside in new jersey and this is the only state that does not allow adoptees to open their adoption records. I grew up, met a boy who was abused by his mother and after I started having children, my husband started abusing my 13 year old daughter and I. His mother mentally and physically abused him. I was in therapy for awhile and the lady helped me understand why I chose the person I chose to marry, I equated love with abuse, and the boy I met who later I married was abusive one day and nice to me the next. I was 11 when I met him, and fell for him right away. My therapist told me we were trying to take each other's pain away. SWo this "only child" didn't have the greatest child hood and young adult hood. Only now that I am 65 I have some peace in my life. My abusive husband I divorced, and all my children and I have a good relationship.I chose a man this time around 6that treats me kind and is good to me. Sue my adoptive parents gave me toys and provided well for me, but what went with it was not pretty. I used to have day dreams that I had a brother that when he got older he protected me when my father would chase and beat me, and also give him a dose of his own medicine. Occasionally, I still have bad dreams about him. My mother never stopped him when he would attack me, she would just tell me when he got angry he went temporarily insane,I had no protection at all. There were no children's services back in the late 40's and 50's to help a child who needed protection. Thats my story and I sure wish I had had a big brother back then for protection and for a confidante.
Elizabeth on December 08, 2011:
I am an only child with half siblings and I have an only child. The issue is that only children are in the minority and the only child/parent dynamic is slightly different. The world is structured for children with siblings. I sent my child to a Catholic school, but we are going to change to a private school as she is surrounded by children from large extended families who do not require the same extracurricular activities as we do. I would rather have two as it is on the whole easier to bring up two rather than one in most cultures. If the world was made of mainly only children I suggest it would be a different experience as the single children are far more likely to socialise with each other. We frequently socialise with another single child family and the two girls sometimes fight like siblings, which we don't mind. My husband only wanted one as he hates his brother but does admit his brother was a playmate in younger years.
Andrea on November 26, 2011:
I never had a problem with being an only child until two things happened:
1) I discovered that I am independent to a fault... no one can do anything for me. This is problematic as I seem to have trouble opening up to others.
2) Not having any cousins, aunts or uncles or family, I am solely responsible for my parent... who seems to be developing alzheimers. I am on my own and life seems hard enough already without the added stress of being the sole caregiver of a declining parent.
ayesha.. on November 11, 2011:
It is ofcorse better to be the single child cz its whn u get all love n affection frm ur parents n dts the best part of lyf
An only child on November 02, 2011:
Hi, everyone I have read all of your post on the subject of the pro’s and con’s of being an only child. I can tell you that I am an only child who was raised by my grandparents, and yes I can agree that being an only child especial one that was raised by their grandparents was great doing the holidays, and birthdays. However, I did not have the love of a mother not that she was dead but she did not have time for me in her life. That is why my grandparents had me. After my grandparent pass away, I try to get to know my mother and she still did not have time for me it seem that they only time that she wanted something to do with me is after I had my kids. I don’t know if it was her way of trying to reach out to me or not. But I let her end and after years of being in her life see would always put me down talk about me in a bad way never had my back for nothing that I did. Even after I received my Master Degree in computer science she never told me that I had did good with my life. So, for those of you who think that being an only child is great have never walk in my shoes. However, I think God for my grandparents they raise me to do my best in whatever it is that I would like to do in life.
Shil1978 (author) on October 29, 2011:
Absolutely right, Cynthia - I couldn't agree with you more. It is indeed about raising a well-rounded, well-raised child - you are well on the way of doing just that being such a well-rounded individual yourself. Your son is fortunate to have a mom like you :)
I too keep bringing up the topic of having a second one, but am not really sure that's the best thing, personally, for our situation. Yes, the financial situation should be an important factor - also, one needs to ask oneself, if one can really give both kids all the opportunities they truly deserve.
For me, the answer to that question is, thus far, not clear and so I've held off on having a second one. Lovely to hear from you, Cynthia. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!!
Cynthia on October 29, 2011:
I am an only child. I am 38, happily married with a 2 year old son whom we absolutely adore. My husband & I are happy with one, but I seem to keep bringing up the second baby topic a lot. I want to do it for my son... not sure why really. Ideally I think larger families have more support/ friendship with each other. Realistically I know this isn't always the case since my husband has 3 sisters & that family thrives on chaos & fighting.
I do not have any regrets being an only child. I think my hubby & friends would say that I am mindful of others, independent, respectful, compassionate & pretty easy to get along with. I have zero problems @ work... pretty chill when it comes to work conflicts (my husband is the stressor/ worrywart/doesn't get along well with people as much as i do). I definitely wasn't spoiled... in fact I was taught @ a young age how to be responsible (ironed clothes/mowed the lawn for some change).
Despite not feeling lonely (always have had a good core group of friends), I have felt alone in dealing with my mom & her chronic illness the past few years (passed away this February). My father is living & we have a strange relationship- he talks @ me, but never asks how I am doing. This is where I wish i had a sibling. Then again... who's to say my would-be sibling would be my friend. I know some friends who hardly talk to their brother/sister.
In the ideal world I think we would have another child if we had family nearby to help us watch our little ones on occasion, & if financially we could afford daycare for 2.
At this time, I am determined that our little man will be a mindful, compassionate, & easy going person if we focus his path on these things. He will be well traveled- something that we won't be able to do with 2 kids (financially speaking)- something very important to me. Traveling to other countries has definitely made me appreciate the things i have... It isn't about being an only child or having a multitude of siblings, it's about raising a well rounded child.
princess on October 22, 2011:
Many parents have a difficulty in making a distinction between loving their children enough and loving them too much. Certainly it is normal and healthy for parents to love their child enough but too much love leads them into becoming soft with their children making them weak and without a strong conscience. Loving a child helps to shape a child's future, in-order to encourage healthy values but too much of love makes them ill-mannered and makes them throw tantrums even when they grow up.
But some parents interfere so much with their child's life that they do not give their child any space to experience any hardships or rejection. These parents assume a rescuer's role. Because of their intense love, they want to save the child from the hardships they had to endure and their love becomes harmful for the children. Frequently, over loving and overprotecting go hand in hand resulting in the children becoming stubborn.Every parent loves their child, which is frequently shown by the concern they show for their children in terms of buying them expensive gifts or doing their homework for them. David Adams Richards illustrates the importance of family relationships in his novel, Nights below Station Street. The family lives of the characters from Nights below Station Street and Joy Luck Club demonstrate that a child's behavior is directly affected by the overdose of parental love for them.
Children have always been their parents' primary concern. In the story, Adele's father, Joe, loves her dearly even though she is not her daughter by blood relation. Joe suffers from chronic back pain, and he feels that drinking alcohol is the most effective method to get relief from his pain. However, he decides to quit drinking because he does not want his drinking problem to cause any harm and embarrassment for his daughter. Joe loves Adele more than anyone else. He tries to provide her with the best life possible he can give to her, just that some obstacles prevent him from doing so. For example, "Joe had always tried to get Adele the best present he could, and yet never seemed to have money to do it". Similar to Joe, Byron's mother, Myhrra, tries to be the best mother she can be for him. Myhrra worries so much for his son that she spoils him.
She used to make milk shakes for him in the morning, and fudge to take to school. She makes him read books on tropical fish. And one night when his supper wasn't French fries, hamburgers, and coke, he ran into his bedroom and trips over one of his toy tanks. Later that night, while he slept, Myhrra was down on her knees assembling the parts of the toy tank. Myhrra also supports her son at all times whether he's wrong or right. When Byron is caught robbing money from the cub troops, Myhrra still believes that her son is innocent and tries to clear his name. Although parental love continues to play a dominant role, children often misunderstand or remain ignorant of their parent's love for them. Adele feels like that she has the worst family in the neighborhood. She has no respect for her father and feels like that he does not deserve to be in the family. She tries expressing this to her friend. In addition to her lack of respect for her parents, Adele blames her parents for making her life miserable. Adele just loathes her parents and never recognizes their love for her.
Likewise, Byron is equally ignorant his mother's love for him. He views his mother as a servant working for him. Byron used to insult his mother and make rude comments at her in front of his friends. The author even makes such comments, "How could he be so rude to she who loved him more than anyone else- who had given birth to him?" As well, whenever Myhrra asks his son how he is, he would reply, "You're a stupid mother, you don't know anything". Therefore, the novel shows how children fail to recognize the importance of parents' love and taking that love in a wrong way which leads to their dark future.
Roy on October 19, 2011:
I am the only child in an average income family. And the burden can really suffocate me. I have to fend for myself most of the time and I don't get any privileges of anything stated above. Plus, I have to go continue my studies and keep up with the ever-growing community. Being the only child really do sucks.
rpaunzel on October 18, 2011:
Im an only child and maybe my parents kind of you know give me I think every single toy on the market and buy me clothes and stuff I have any troubles to making friends until oh yes high school, I was the weirdo the loner and that stuff but in my lonely times I think I enjoy it well cause I tend to demvelop hobbies my arts passion and discover awsome Industrial music bands¡ I make a few great buch of friends I think almost of them got siblings I never want one any way even now I dont complain about it , and I have to admit that yes my parents specially my mother can be very very overprotective with me but I just love it I know live is not easy that i propouse myselfe to be more responsible when college comes next year I got a tendency as I think many lonelly childs as well to be more mature than others with siblings and get more along with adults than people at my age.
Shil1978 (author) on October 10, 2011:
Thank you, Kimberly, for stopping by this hub and sharing your story. Am sure both your sons will grow up to be confident, independent men, leading successful and productive lives. If your older one feels that way, do reassure him when needed.
Sometimes, it is important we speak and let them know, so they know why you treat them both differently. Thanks again for sharing your story :)
kimberlyh32 on October 10, 2011:
I grew up as the oldest sibling of three and have always felt that my youngest sibling, my sister,received the most attention, compasion, and pampering from my parents. This definetly created some jealousy and rivalry amoungst the three of us. However, I am pleased to say that as adults we are now closer than ever. I am now a parent myself. My boys are ages ten and five. They have a similar rivalry between them and admittedly I tend to dote more on my younger child. This is not because I love (or even like)one more than the other, but because I feel in many circumstances my ten year old is more capable than my five your old. For example if my children want a drink, I will pour the five year old his drink but expect my older son to help himself. This is usualy followed by my ten year old remarking, "You got him a drink, but not me, you must like him better." I am sad to hear that my older child sometimes feels that way, but I feel that if I do for him what he can do for himself, than he will never realize his own capabilities. In addition, it is my hope to raise a confident, independent man, who will one day live a very happy, successful, and productive life. I wish this for both my sons and as my younger child becomes more capable I will do less and less for him as well.
Shil1978 (author) on October 07, 2011:
Thank you, Bumble, for stopping by and sharing your story. Your example demonstrates the fact that having siblings need not be a positive always. I am sure your son would grow up the way you want him to and would have a long and happy life!!
Bumble on October 07, 2011:
I am one of six kids, the only girl with five brothers. I never really knew the elder three, they were absent and never really cared about my twin brother and I. The 4th eldest resented my arrival and used to abuse me verbally, emotionally, and on occasion sexually too. My twin brother is nice enough, but he is an incredibly selfish person and has next to no insight into his behaviour. I suspect my parents were stretched too thin, and gave up trying to police all the fights and arguments, hence it was open slather for the resident bully in our household. Siblings are absolutely no guarantee to have play mates or have fun, or have support for aging parents. My brothers don't give a rats arse about my folks and only see/speak to them when they want something. My parent's welfare will all on my shoulders but it doesn't bother me. I often wished I was an only child growing up as I would have been spared all the rivalry and destructive abuse, and the worst thing I might have complained about is feeling lonely. We are very strongly considering raising our son as an only child and will do our utmost to raise him in a well-balanced, independent, fun and carefree environment with just enough boundaries to give him direction, but not too many that he will feel suffocated. In the end our intentions are good and we will do our best, and hopefully he will have a long and happy life.
Shil1978 (author) on September 29, 2011:
Kaytee, here are a few scenarios where you may be advised to have one child versus have multiple children. Would you really follow this advice or question them?
For example, say you are told to not have a second or third child because the first child may feel neglected/less loved. You can well answer this saying, "No, I would ensure that the first child is not neglected or feel less loved."
Now, say you are told to not have a second or third because your fiances may be strained and you may struggle to provide for them all as well as you'd like. May be they'd advise, you can't provide your multiple kids the extra perks like the piano lessons or other extras. You may well answer that saying, "I know I can provide for them all, as well as I'd like to, and as well as I now provide for my existing child."
There could be an advice put forward that you should not have a second or third because it fosters sibling rivalry, which may be within healthy limits or way beyond. You could disagree and say "I would raise my children fairly and justly and with good parenting skills I'd ensure there is no unhealthy sibling rivalry."
The point I am trying to make Kaytee is that any one of the pros and cons given by someone else may not apply to your unique financial and personal situation. And so this decision whether you need to have more than one is and should be your own personal decision based on an evaluation of your own personal factors.
Shil1978 (author) on September 29, 2011:
Kaytee, if you read the second part, I express my wish that I were the only child in my family. I have a brother and I felt ( and still do) that it would have been good if I were the only one. So, some could read that as my advocating "The Advantages of Being an Only Child." I have put some points forth in the first part as well as to the advantages of that!!
Ultimately, I did not set out to write this article as a comprehensive guide to helping parents make a choice if they want to expand their family. This article was written in response to a question and is my personal take on the matter.
Quite honestly, the decision on whether you want to expand your family or not is one that you have to make yourself depending on your own unique considerations and factors. I don't think anyone can advise with any sort of credibility or claim to give you a 100% correct answer on whether you need to have a second or third child.
Wouldn't you agree that this is just a purely personal choice? Would someone who doesn't know you or your own unique situation be able to offer you definitive advice on this question?
Kaytee on September 29, 2011:
I thought this seemed more like "The Disadvantages of being an only child". Really, it went on about Little Emperor Syndrome, but didn't take into account that the parents can greatly influence whether or not a child is spoiled by how the are raised. While I realized that this is just a personal take, I don't think it is very helpful to those seeking to expand their families, or not.
Sprite on September 27, 2011:
I loved being an only child. I would not want annoying siblings.
jajahe on August 03, 2011:
My husband and I are having a very difficult time deciding whether or not to have a second child. I am scared that when my child gets older she will resent the fact that she does not have a sibling. The only pros I can come up with are that she will never be alone. The cons are financially (we are stable now and will be making more money soon and I just don't know if I'm ready for all the extra money to go to another child....hence the freedom part....I feel extremely selfish saying that) and giving up our "freedom". She is barely 4 and I feel like the clock is ticking! I'm scared because I come from a VERY close family and am best friends with my 2 siiblings. My husband feels like he was an only child because of a 6yr age difference and they are not close now.
Does anyone know any other sites to visit to get actual feedback of only children. These comments are the only "real" things I've been able to find other than studies.
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on July 29, 2011:
I find this interesting because I have been both. I was an only child for ten years before my brother was born. When I was an only child, I thought having a sibling (like most of my friends) would be great. When my brother was born, it was at first like having a new doll -- only a live one. But I soon became the built in baby sitter and my chores doubled. When the other kids in drivers' ed in high school got to go on drives far away, I had to be dropped off at home first to baby-sit because my mom had a class. i went away to school when I was 19, and that meant I only lived with my brother until he was nine. I married right after college and then he became the only child at home. He teen-aged years were rocky, because we had been close. Because my mom injured her back when he was 18 months old, I was his primary care-giver when Mom was not allowed to life him.
I never thought about it when before now, but I'm wondering if his teen years might have been rocky because we were close, Mom went to school full time and then got her first teaching job when he was in high school, and I was gone. He came home to a family friend in the afternoon until he was considered old enough to be alone. After having a sister around for his early years, he had to adjust to being by himself, and he was someone who needed constant attention when he was young. I don't think any of us ever thought about the difference that would make in his life. Up until I was ten, my mom was home, though Dad traveled for work. I had lots of attention from both parents and other adults in our lives. I also enjoyed a relationship with my cousins who were about my own age. My brother never enjoyed such a cousin relationship. No wonder he was lonely. I was busy at college with new friends at the dorm and hardly even came home. This may explain why my brother did his best to drive my dates crazy. He may have been jealous of the attention I paid them.
Thanks for making me think.
Shil1978 (author) on July 27, 2011:
Hi Kevin, I wouldn't call this article a "paper," as in a well-researched article. This is just my personal take on the subject, not an in-depth look. I'd like to remain anonymous - I hope you understand!!
kevin on July 24, 2011:
i need u help... would u give me the author name of this paper ?