Whenever I tell someone that I’m an only child, I usually get one or both of the following responses (or some variant of these):
“Oh you must be so spoilt”
“Ohhhh, that makes sense now”
I never really know how to respond to those statements, to be honest.
With national sibling day last week, I thought I’d reflect on my experience growing up as an only child.
To my knowledge, my parents only wanted one child together. And here I am.
We (rightfully so) come to the defence of people who only have one child, or even no children, (by choice or otherwise) because their reproductive history/plans are their business and their business only.
So it makes me think: Why is there still a stigma attached to the only children themselves?
For me, some of the stereotypes that come along with being an only child can ring true. And that’s okay.
“Only children are spoilt”
Yes, I am spoilt. With love and attention. Because the structure of my family means my parents didn’t have to split their attention between multiple children. With material items, however, not so much. I know plenty of people with siblings that got much more gifts than myself. And that’s fine by me.
“Only children have no social skills”
I’ll admit, I’m about as socially awkward as they come, but I know plenty of people who struggle with social situations and have siblings, so that argument is slightly flawed. I don’t believe how people act in social situations is directly linked to whether they have siblings or not.
Do/did I want a sibling?
There’s probably a lot of only children out there who say ‘I never wanted a sibling / I don’t feel like I missed out on anything’. For me, that’s not the case. I’ve always wanted a sibling. Ever since I can remember. Even now I wish I had one. As a child my imaginary friends were always my “brothers and sisters” and I took it very seriously. I would also beg for a baby sibling practically every single day.
Do I feel like I missed out / will miss out on things because I’m an only child? Yes. Any children I have won’t have any aunties/uncles/cousins from my side of the family, and I’ll never experience that unique bond that only siblings can have.
But would I have it any other way? Absolutely not. As I’m an only child, I have an extremely close and strong relationship with my parents, a bond I know wouldn’t be as strong if they had more children and one I wouldn’t trade for the world. One that I can only hope maintains its strength throughout my adulthood.
So there you go. I’m a socially awkward only child, with a vivid imagination and spoiled with love, and I count myself pretty damn lucky. ❤️
– Karen xx