I am an only child. I am the oldest grandchild on my maternal side (and the only grandchild living locally for ten years) and the youngest grandchild on my paternal side. Yes, I grew up with attention galore. If you believe in the “only child syndrome,” you may think I have the following negative personality traits: spoiled, bratty, selfish, indulgent, entitled, self-obsessed, anit-social, self-conscious, or aggressive. And I do have some of those traits (or all of those traits if you catch me on a bad day), but I wouldn’t necessarily blame my only-childness.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am glad my children have a sibling, but that doesn’t mean that I would change anything about my upbringing. First of all, being an only child is amazing because you get to pick you own family. I hooked up with another only child early on and consider her my sister to this day. Plus, I enjoyed the addition of another extended family to go with it. How cool is that? While technically anyone could do the same thing, only children tend to do it at a much higher rate (no, I didn’t look up a statistic to back that up) and are fiercely loyal.
What did being an only child mean for me?
The good: It means my imagination is out-of-control vivid. My dreams are extremely vivid. I grew up to be very independent with a cool head in a crisis. My communication skills developed early because of all my adult contact (although hindered by my shyness). I was mature at an early age – but this didn’t stop be from acting a fool in my teens. I’m perfectly comfortable being alone. In fact, I crave my alone time to recharge.
The not-so-good: I like to do everything on my own. I seriously hate asking for help and admitting that I cannot do something. Being an only child nurtured and cultivated my introvert personality. Now I enjoy being an introvert, but spent many years trying to figure out how to be comfortable in some social situations. This is still a struggle for me. My imagination is out-of-control vivid. Yes, this one is a pro and a con. The vivid imagination gets in the way when you have a tendency to dwell on things and hold grudges.
Overall, being an only child rocks. I wouldn’t change a thing.