Being an only child, I'm used to all the bad reputation and stereotypes that come with it. According to traditional wisdom, an only child tends to be antisocial, selfish, and not very good at socializing with other kids compared to those with siblings. But is it really the case?
In reality, most only children also live their life to the fullest, like other kids who grow up with siblings. I learned to love, play, and socialize with other kids my age, just like kids with siblings do. That said, as an only child, I view and connect to the world a bit differently than my peers. Being an only child has its own advantages and disadvantages, after all. Curious about then? Here's a list of only child pros and cons from my perspective.
Growing up without any siblings can give someone a unique perspective on the world and the people they're involved with. Among other things, it may even benefit them. Here are some common pros of being an only child.
1. Receiving undivided love and attention
Being an only child, I experienced a childhood full of love. My parents and grandparents doted on me. I was their little ray of sunshine. Since I have no siblings growing up, they funnel all their love to me. They gave me their undivided attention, both during study sessions or playtime. As a result, I formed consistent, strong, and loving bonds with my parents.
2. Better relationship with the parents
Since I get a lot of attention from my parents, I am used to being open with them, especially my mother, about everything. Each day, we'd all take turns talking about our day. My parents know everything I'm going through in my life and vice versa. This openness creates a comfortable situation where I could not only see my parents as my caretakers but also as my best friends.
3. Becoming more independent
Ever since I was a kid, my parents taught me to do everything by myself. From dressing up to washing the dishes, I did all the things alone. They also taught me how to study, play, and socialize on my own. Parents of only children tend to push and support their kids to become more independent in life. And only children know that they can't depend on anyone but themselves.
4. Receiving better education and other material things
Parents who only have one child can invest more resources for that child, rather than having to divide it between several kids. My parents managed to give me more clothes, toys, books, and other things I wanted. They were able to enroll me in an expensive private school and sign me up in lots of extracurricular activities. If I had had any siblings, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to receive all that.
Being an only child also comes with its own disadvantages. Only children face some unique challenges as they grow up. Here are some of them.
1. Having high expectations for love and attention
Receiving undivided love and attention from your parents can be negative too. I was so used to being loved and doted upon 24/7 that when I didn't receive any attention from my peers or teachers at school, I became restless. Moreover, I also have high expectations from love and attention from my romantic partners. My perspective on love can turn me into an attention hogger sometimes.
2. Being stubborn
As an only child, I feel so secure in my close-knit family bond that it becomes really hard to get out of that comfort zone. I was so used to having all my needs and wants to be fulfilled. As a consequence, the slightest change in my habit, schedule, or perspective can drive me insane. I had very strong beliefs and ideas, to the point that I refused to listen to other people's opinions sometimes.
3. Being too attached to parents
As I mentioned, I have a really close relationship with my parents. While that's nice, it can be a challenge to live my life as an adult as well. I'm attached to my parents and vice versa. We're all used to being close with each other that the thought of being apart from them breaks my heart. I grew up lonely, with no siblings to play with. I only ever have my parents, so they became my best friends. And now even as an adult living on my own, I still miss them terribly each day.
4. Pressured to be the best at everything
Being an only child, I know from a very young age that I'm my parents' only hope and joy. Ever since I was young, I remember wanting to please my parents and my whole family all the time. I feel pressured to be the best of everything, academics, art, sports, and more. Some days, this pressure weighs heavily on my mind. After all, it can be tough to know that everyone expects a lot from you. Not to mention that one day, when my parents grow old and frail, I'd need to make sure they get all the care they need. Ever since I was young, I have felt the need to prepare for that.
Whether you're an only child yourself or a parent considering how many kids you'd like to have, there are some only child pros and cons to be considered. While every kid is different, it's always a good idea to consider the advantages and disadvantages for a kid to grow up without siblings. One thing I must say though, being an only child won't ruin a kid's life or benefit them more than having a sibling would. It just gives the child a different perspective on life.