On Being an Only Child MAG

By Judy, Toronto, ON

     Change is unavoidable. People’s lives are constantly changing. But for me, one thing will never change: I am, and will always be, an only child.

My parents did not actually decide not to have another child, but after I was born, life got busier and busier for them, and another child simply did not fit into their schedules. Ever since I was little, I have noticed that I was the only one I knew who didn’t have siblings. I never will really understand sibling rivalry or the special bond between siblings. I can somewhat grasp the meaning, but only conceptually. That, however, is not one of the main problems of being an only child.

From time to time, the loneliness of being an only child is simply beyond my endurance. I often get into arguments with my parents, and there is never anyone to take my side. Sometimes I have a joke, a secret or a problem, and there is no one there to tell. And every now and then, I feel like I need a nice, relaxing conversation with someone other than my mom (who always wants to know every detail of my life). Luckily I have many good friends who are always there when I need to chat, and they often erase my loneliness.

As much as I appreciate my friends, there are some things they just cannot help with. Everyone knows the myth about only children being lavished with attention and not having any discipline. This could not be more wrong in my case. It is true that I have my parents’ complete attention, but with that comes all of their hopes and dreams and, of course, endless expectations. My parents say what they give me is love and care, but that comes with pressure and stress. It can get pretty intense at times. I really wish I had someone to share all this unbearable love with because it is crushing me. The one thing I do not lack is discipline, or I would have already been flattened by the weight of my parents’ expectations. I can hardly call this being lavished with attention.

Everything has a positive side, and so does being an only child. It has offered me something that I value greatly - independence. Because I grew up with all the adults around me being so busy all the time, I leaned more on myself and less on others to solve my problems, to fight my battles, or to rescue me from my own dilemmas. At a very early age, I learned that the only person you can always count on is you.

Other than independence, I have also been given the choice of not having to share. Everything that is mine is mine alone. I know that makes me sound like the stereotypical spoiled only child, but it is reality. I never really appreciated this, and often took it for granted, until I heard about my friends fighting with siblings over everything, or when my cousins come over and start rummaging through my things, I guess that is the good part of being an only child; I do not have to share most of my thoughts and feelings, but I also do not have to share my possessions. I suppose that is fair.

After 17 years of being an only child, I finally stopped complaining long enough to think about it. I should enjoy my freedom from sibling rivalry, since I know about it from my cousins’ experiences. I actually prefer being alone because I like its peacefulness. And I find that my parents’ expectations are not so suffocating if I just work hard to meet them. Also, I am thankful for everything I have learned: to cherish good friends and be independent. The fact is, if I cannot tolerate my cousins most of the time, could I really handle siblings? I guess being an only child is not so bad after all.

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This article has 3 comments.

i love this so much!

on Mar. 28 2013 at 5:59 am
Hi, I really understand your feelings cause I am going through this but your advise really worked it made me look at the brighter side of being an only child and bow onwards I will not get mad on my parents but stand on their expectations

Mari2016 said...
on May. 4 2009 at 10:59 pm

I feel your pain. I sometimes really wish I had a brother or sister. I get so mad at my parents but I know it is not there fault because my mom got really sick with a gallbladder infection and wasn;t able to have any other kids. I am 17 years old and never minded being an only child until now. I always think I am the only 1 without siblings but I know that I am not. I am glad I found this article you wrote because it makes me feel better that I am not alone.


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