Tuesday 7 February 2012


I am on only child.

If you are not an only child I suspect your default idea of me now is that I was spoilt, that I'm not very sociable and that I don't know how to share.

If you are an only, or a parent of one, you will feel differently I imagine. Like the child at a school who speaks with an accent on the first day the only and the only child's parents tend to over compensate for the above reactions (the child at school normally sounds local by day 3). So it was drummed into me as a child that I was spoilt (I was of course, most children are, but I was always told if I knew I was spoilt then I hopefully wouldn't be too insufferable); I went to an activity almost every day after school when it was unusual, to make sure I wasn't unsociable or awkward (that particular stereotype is especially silly as clearly the only child attends far more grown up parties and goes to far more events alone and therefore learns much earlier to bound in and say hello) and I come from a mostly happy family (anyone who says their family is perfect is fibbing in my opinion).

Still I find only children and sibling relationships fascinating. The love hate of siblings is something I don't understand at all, though I wish I could. Also, despite all the efforts above I do really enjoy, even crave, time on my own. Though saying that there are times when I feel like I am quite alone in a wider sense and that is sad, but I can sit in the house by myself or get lunch for on quite happily really. I do of course know only children who are the total opposite of me. I do also think as time goes on I am a bit more unusual than other people, rather quirky, but I might have been like that anyway.

The onlyness, which is how I think of it, is perhaps the reason I'm not good at making relationships last, I expect something fairytale even now. Onlys seem to be very work focused too and I'm not sure how healthy that is. I'm a very true and loyal friend and I imagine that's because I don't have brothers and sisters to worry about or care for and perhaps I project those feelings onto friends.

Still I don't know anything else and I embrace being an only- and one day I might write a guide book to prove we aren't weirdos!


Su said...

We are not weirdos!!!
I'm an only child too and all what you have said is very true! I was 'over' protected as a child which lead me to be an introvert. I used to be a shy kid and hated attention of any kind. I'm not so shy anymore but I hate drawing attention to myself. I like keeping to myself, not having to explain why I am a certain way to any one else. Relationships wise, I'm quite happy with the man I've found maybe because he beats me with his introverted-ness!

Ines said...

I'm not an only child, I have a year younger sister so wwe grew up doing the same things at the same time.
It is true that people think single children are spoilt but from my experience, the most spoiled children are the youngest. Doesn't matter how many there are in the family, the last one is the one that gets spoilt the most.
As to love/hate relationships between siblings, I could say a lot on that subject. :) But from my experience, I believe it comes down to this - you love your sibling dearly as he/she is your closests family member but at the same time which of course makes the relationship into one being taken for granted and therefore used in all manner of selfish situations, while at the same time your sibling is not someone you would choose as your friend (usually, sometimes he/she is) and you are worlds apart in character.
Like all relations between people, the sibling one is difficult and each is different.
Btw, I don't think you being an only child has anything to do with relationships. There are always 2 people in each relationship. :)

Laura said...

This is so interesting to read.

I have a sister, but we are looking forward and thinking about the possibility of a sibling for our little boy. Him being an only isn't something I ever worry about, although my husband does.

Also I love my own company, perhaps from having a sister so close in age?

I think you have quirks no matter how many people you grow up surrounded by!

Claire said...

So true - I'm an only too! The part about being a loyal and true friend really struck me - I tend to do that and I think it is something we maybe need that they don't if they have siblings already. I feel closer to my cousins than they do to me - obviously because they all have sisters already!

Wordbird said...

I'm an only child, as is my daughter, and it's funny how much of this is accurate about us. We are both eccentric, quirky and intelligent with odd little habits and peculiar social skills. I suspect it helps me to be a better parent to her, having been through the experience myself.