Post # 76
Ha a quote from the wear sunscreen song. Your siblings are your best link to your past and most likely to stand by you in future.
I am from a big family and my siblings and i definitely have our days. Im closer to some than others. Id never swap them to be alone though. As a kid and until we were all married, they were counted as some of my best friends. Two of my sisters were my bridesmaids and sister in law was another.
Post # 77
The loneliness can be a real experience.
My mom is an only child, and she still brings up the fact that they would have loved to have had siblings…and also cousins from their side of the family for my brother and me. I do think that the difficulty of being an only child increases with age–growing up you’re going to school and you can easily make a lot of friends, but it’s hard once you’re an adult to both keep friendships and make new ones. My mom has friends, but sometimes doesn’t have people she necessarily feels she can share everything with, so she tends to share it with me which can be overwhelming as her daughter. She knows this, but part of what she tells me is that she doesn’t have any siblings to share with, and she needs more support than my dad can give her sometimes.
Another thing we’re seeing now is to your second point–my mom is the sole caretaker of her parents (my maternal grandparents), and that is becoming extremely difficult emotionally and financially as the years go on. I read this blog post a while ago, and I think it captures something similar to what my mom has gone through: https://www.scarymommy.com/being-an-only-child/
As far as my brother and me, I mean we’ve been very close and not close at all and now are pretty close. But at the end of the day IMO knowing the security of having a sibling who cares about me is priceless. I have a lot of very close friends, but I’m not sure that most of them would be able to be there for me in the ways my brother can–they have their own families and siblings after all. IMO it matters less what people with siblings think and matters more about what people who are only children think. Even if you’re not close with your siblings, they can be there for you if you really need it. Or if your parents are aging, they can help you take care of them.
My BFF from childhood is also an only child, and I know that was a major part of the reason she was always wanting to hang out and talk on the phone basically all the time. We did hang out all the time after school, and that was super fun, but that may be something to keep in mind. My BFF is very well adjusted and we basically consider each other sisters at this point. She has told me that without me, she wouldn’t have someone to really rely on despite her other close friendships.
I don’t know… I’m not telling you to have more children because of this, but it is based on my experience interacting with my mom and BFF.
Post # 78
As someone who is dating an only child, I am incredibly thankful for my siblings, even if my brother is almost 10 years older than me. My sister and I are only 3 years apart, so it’s been nice to be close enough but fair enough to have things spread out.
I see in my boyfriend how he has a hard time connecting with people his age – he spent a lot of time with his parents and their friends growing up so constantly around adults, plus he had a lot of the same friends/groups as well, and in a way, he wasn’t able to grow past those old relationships if that makes sense. I also believe he wasn’t forced to learn how to be empathetic about others feelings, not that he is heartless by any means, but when you have siblings you see how you acted towards someone or what you said to be them affects them on a personal level – they can’t just go home to their parents and you never see the tears, the confusion of why that was said, etc. He’s used to being able to say what he wants without thinking about how it affects someone. I definitely won’t be having just one child, at least two for these very reasons.
He even says himself how he wishes he had siblings, he was very lonely as a child and I think that has followed him into his adult years, it’s honestly heartbreaking.
Post # 79
I never wished I was an only child. I did wish my siblings were closer in age to me or I had another one closer to my age.
Post # 80
- Wedding: January 2021 - Dracut, Massachusetts
I’m an only child. I hate that I have no siblings. My mother was never home when I was younger because she was a single mom or she was on vacation doing god knows what. So, I spent a lot of time at a friends house. She has three younger brothers. I helped her care of them, and they are probably the closest I have to having siblings. I loved the chaos there and I hate being alone. Even to this day (we’ve been friends since 8th grade… about 19 years) it’s just like I’m another kid in their family.
My biggest gripe is that when my father died- I had no one who actually understood him, or what I was exactly processing. My mother did obviously to an extent, but not quite what a sibling would get. I listen to friends and even my Boyfriend or Best Friend talk about funny stories of stuff that happened to them as kids and I just wish I got to experience that with an ACTUAL sibling, know what I mean?
Post # 81
- Wedding: January 2021 - Dracut, Massachusetts
I just wanted to reply to this because I feel the same exact way as your Boyfriend or Best Friend does. There is truth to your comment about not being empathic towards people’s feelings- and I’m not heartless either. It totally makes sense. I’m horrible about being empathic towards people. I can sympathize with them on things I’ve gone through myself, but I never actually understand how they feel when I say something mean. My current Boyfriend or Best Friend gets upset about this part of me sometimes and I can’t help it. I think I need to explain it to him in the way you wrote your comment. Same with the lonliness. Does he hate being home alone? I do. Sooooo much, but yet I’m still very independent.
Post # 82
I get along well with my sister and stepbrother when we’re together, but we don’t talk much outside those visits (4-5 times/year with my sister, 1/year with my stepbrother). I do think it will be nice to have their support as our parents get older. My sister and I did not get along as kids, but once I went to college it got a lot better. I think I’m a more considerate person because I had to share everything and learn early on that I wasn’t the center of everything. Also it was good to have another person there so I didn’t get the full force of my parents’ attention, and it was helpful to have her as an ally during our parents’ divorce.
I think my husband feels similarly about his brother and stepsiblings – closer to his bio bro than the step siblings as they are much younger, but everyone gets along well even if they don’t communicate very often outside of visits.
We would like to have 2 kids but I think I’d be okay if we only had 1. We’ll see what happens. His brother has 4 kids and it looks exhausting but that could also be because they’re all really close in age. I’m hoping to have no more than 2, and only 1 at a time!
Post # 83
Only child here. Yeah I have step siblings now but they didn’t come around until I was grown and they are significantly younger. Now my home life as a child was quite abusive… so I don’t get how fighting with siblings is that bad. It could be way worse. But I am glad no other kids were brought into my family because no one deserves that.
I think the benefits of being an only child are pretty great. I think life contentment came quick for me versus my peers and friends from bigger families. Independence was an easy thing to approach. I can enjoy my own company and take initiative for myself without a whole lot of approval.
The only con I really feel is there is the lack of support when my parents become elderly. Hopefully I will have my own children and spouse still during those times, because that will be pretty tough to do alone. Oh and I guess sometimes the independence factor can hurt peoples’ feelings. Some people need you to need them… and you just don’t.
And yes I always wanted a sibling… particularly a little brother… but like I said… glad it never happened now that I am older. If I had a healthy upbringing, I would wish it did happen.
*Also being an only child doesn’t mean you will be socially inept. Yes I can enjoy my own company but I still easily make friends. But I also will stand up for myself if someone is a total tool towards me… so that frank attitude might rub ppl wrong.
Post # 84
I know very few people who have siblings and wish they were only children. I have four siblings and they are my entire world.
I know very few only children, so I can’t speak to that as much, but I cannot imagine being an only child your entire life and actually loving it. It’s been shown that having siblings (within good age ranges, anyway) is astronomincally beneficial for child development. Children need child-like companionship.
Post # 85
- Wedding: June 2019 - Turkey
I have an older sister and an older brother and never even once did I wish to be an only child, no. Their company and support even though we life so far apart, even different countries cannot be compared to anything else.
Post # 86
I haven’t heard of too many people saying they wished they were an only child. I have heard of many people saying they don’t get along or have little/no relationship with siblings as adults however. And there are others who say they love/can’t imagine life without their siblings. So to me it is a crapshoot and I think greatly depends on each individuals personality.
For those who say you NEED siblings for good development…I say BS to that. If you are a complainer, whiner, lazy, selfish, not social, life of the party, lonely, not lonely, independent, dependent etc. You can be that way as an only child or one of many.
Post # 87
- Wedding: February 2018 - UK
Just to comment on the empathy subject which has been mentioned a couple of times, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case that it’s a symptom of being an only child.
I’m an only child and I’ve never had trouble empathising with people. My husband tells me regularly that one of the things he loves the most about me is that I’m so empathetic. He makes fun of how we keep having to buy soft toys which are missing eyes and ears because I get upset that they’ll be sad that nobody else will love them. My mum still tells me how I was always inviting over the kids who didn’t have any friends because I didn’t like the thought of them being sad.
It’s like any personality trait, you can have it regardless of your sibling status. I know people with siblings who are horribly selfish, and only children who are sweet and generous, it depends on the person entirely.
Post # 88
I am the oldest of three (family of 5) and words cannot adequately express how much I love my siblings. I have two younger brothers – 16 months younger and 48 months younger. We have a blast when we are together and are very close. The brother 16 months younger and I even went to college together on the other side of the country. We all share a similar social circle and they have always been by my side through life. I’m sure we bickered growing up but I could never once imagine being an only child. I also just remember always having a playmate growing up – which was nice! Now that we are all in our thirties, we still text constantly (family group text) and see each other often. That being said, I was very blessed with a wonderful and loving family. My parents had both the time and financial means to grow a family of 5. They encouraged and supported us each in all our pursuits and extra curricular activities. My husband was an only child and for the first 7 years of his life his mom was a single working mother (biological father not involved but she later remarried). He’s never expressed some great empty hole in his life over the fact that he didn’t have a sibling. He loves my brothers and has commented before how amazing it is to see the sibling dynamic. He said from being an only child, he learned early to entertain himself and have an imagination etc. Not sure if this means anything, but he has always been VERY adamant that we not have one child (not that I ever wanted that). He wants our children all close in age. Obviously there are no guarantees but we are hoping to promote and built our own close knit family and sibling bond. We have a ten month old and I’m currently 2 months pregnant. We’ll see how this goes and then decide if we want a #3 down the road lol. Just do what’s right for your family. A healthy and happy home is above else the most important!