>Today I would like to share some thoughts about only children. 
If I ask others to name me one thing that springs to mind when I mention only children they often say one thing: spoiled. But is this true?

There are several advantages of growing up as the only child:

  • You get all the attention of your parents
  • You do not have to share with siblings
  • Space, your own room, maybe even more than one room

Powerfull advantages all of them. Having your parent’s full attention means that you are used to being the centre of attention. On holiday you get to pick the zoo’s and amusement parcs and the rides the family will go on. Your room is your kingdom, you are often used to having privacy there. And all the presents are for you!

But there is a serious downside to all this fun as well.

  • You do not learn how to share
  • At a later age you could end up with a lot of responsibility
  • You have never learnt to fight with siblings

Let me explain those downsides a bit more. Only children generally do not like sharing. It does not mean they are always selfish. They are just not used to it, what is theirs is theirs. I have heard only children say that they would rather buy sweets for friends so they can also have their own stash than to share what is theirs.

When their parents grow older it means that only children often shoulder that responsibility on their own as well. There are no siblings to share the burden with. 

Some of the reasons for only children to end up in therapy are the following.
They can have serious problems in relationships, because they are so used to being on their own and not sharing with others. As a therapist it is very useful to know how many children there were in the family growing up.

Another problem only children are more prone to is being the subject of bullying. Growing up without siblings they have not learnt to fight and make up at a young age. They can be flaggergasted at being picked at at school, with no idea how to make it stop. 

These are just a few aspects of being an only child. If you would like to read more about only children I can recommend the following:

– The only child – how to survive being one – by Jill Pitkeathley and David Emerson.

Please feel free to share your views and maybe your experience of growing up as an only child.

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