This is my beautiful daughter who grow up an only child. When I was raising her, I heard many women say that they would never have one child because they wouldn’t want them growing up alone or only children are spoiled and misbehaved. My daughter turned out just fine. She had playmates, she listened and she followed rules. Now I must admit, I spoiled her rotten and I enjoyed every second of it. Yes, she had more
than most children because she was an only child, but that’s not my problem. I told parents who were bold enough to make comments that maybe they should have stopped at one too.
She find herself a target by other kids at school at times. When we got to the bottom of the harassment, we found that the child or children where envious of her clothes, other possessions, and accomplishments. She was called Little Princess by some of her classmates and if you can believe it by some adults. Those with siblings seemed to be the ones who were green with envy. I’m not saying that all children who had siblings were a problem, but I am saying that the children she had issues with had siblings. Funny, she was suppose to be the one who ended up with problems.
During that time, I often wondered why people believed that only children would be unhappy, selfish, spoiled, lonely and maladjusted. The Only Children that I knew did not fall into any of these categories. I’ve also wondered how America explained the behavior of children who misbehaved and who had siblings. Most importantly, when our children end up with drug and alcohol problems or behind bars, does it really matter that they were Only Children, the Baby, the Middle Child or the Older Brother or Sister?
I did some research on Only Children and I’m happy to say that this article in Psychology Today discusses some issues that parents encounter raising only children, however, the majority of only children turn out to be happy, well-adjusted adults. It has also been proven that children with siblings often have self-esteem problems because they grow up thinking their siblings were favored or they were neglected because mom and dad had to divide their time, attention and money. Oh lets not forget the middle child syndrome and the arguments and hatred spewed between siblings. Psychologist have found that it can take a lifetime to work out problems created because children grew up believing they were treated unfairly by their parents or siblings. In some situations they don’t speak for years if ever again over childhood issues that were never resolved.
My daughter has stated that there were times she wished she had a sibling, but for the most part she was content with her upbringing. She had my undivided attention, everything she needed, and the majority of the time she got everything she wanted. By the age of 21, she had traveled to places that most people won’t see in a their lifetime. I had no behavior problems with her growing up. She did not hit, spit or bit other children nor did she disrespect any adults. She excelled in school and had plenty of cousins and friends to play with. To this day, she’s very sociable and respectful.
For mothers who only have 1 child, don’t allow the myths of the “Only Child Syndrome” make you feel guilty about your decision. Personally, I believe people should have as many children as they want and can afford. None of us know how our children are going to turn out. Whether we have 1 child or 10, we just do the best that we can raising them. I survived motherhood one day at a time, and it is still my motto.
Do you have 1 child? Did you grow up an only child? I would love to hear your take on this issue. Please leave us a comment.