I have 5 children and worry about their relationships’….and wish I had a sibling

by on January 26, 2012

in Bernice responds


I received this email which resonated very much with me because ‘watching’ people was something I did from a very young age. I also used to have imaginary conversation with them whilst they were talking to someone else.

I was very shy as a child so found it hard just to speak to peers so this was a way of observing conversation with out the necessity of actually taking the risk to enter into it! I was fascinated by large families and yes envied them to some extent mostly the fact they could all play board games together and not like me, playing  on my own. However I am also aware tht as I grew older having a sibling seemed less interesting possibility as I became more ware of some of the advantages, mostly economic, that I benefited from. However when I finally did my research on adult only children’s experience, I realised that for may people not having a sibling has always been a source of sadness, and something you became more in touch with as you get older.

Ashley has come up with some interesting questions which I hope people will feel free to respond to either in the comment box below or by email!


I am an only. I am 44 years old. I deal with sadness every day of not having a sibling, I don’t say anything to my parents because I don’t want them to feel bad, they are wonderful people.

I have five children :) five fabulous children! I worry and stress so much about their relationships with each other…my husband tells me they are normal. I try to worry less!

  • I wonder if any other only children surrounded themselves with friends with large families, or studied sibling relationships from a very young age as I did?
  • Does your heart break when something happens to your parents and you don’t have a sibling for comfort?
  • Do you feel guilt because you have more than others? (in your relationship with your parents)
  • Do you get mad when siblings (older, specifically my husbands) don’t appreciate each other?
  • Cp

    Dear Bernice and Ashley, 
    I do understand very well what you’re saying. Especially Bernice what you say about ‘watching’ people from a young age. I still find myself doing this with close friends and new people in my life. I’ve been told I seem ‘aloof’ but I think I am just ‘casing the joint’ to see how people are and how I might fit in with them. I wonder sometimes if it wasn’t the start of my career as a counsellor, watching and waiting?  I love being with friends who have large families and I have felt frustrated when they or my parents complain about their siblings. I often thought ‘at least you have them, you should treasure them.’  I feel a bit sad reading your mail because I don’t have any children of my own yet and would love to be part of a large family. I guess some part of me hasn;’t wanted it because I’d have started by now.  It must be lovely but perhaps also a bit lonely having five children and no knowing what it’s like for them having so many siblings. Perhaps they might be jealous of you having no-one else to fight with. 
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 

  • Far from home

    I know Ashley’s post is 8 months old already, but I will comment anyway. I, like you, am 44 yrs old with no siblings. Unlike you, however, I am not married, and have no children. When I was young, I used to fantasize about having 8 kids when I grew up. I find it interesting that even with 5 children, you can still miss having a sibling. I guess I thought that having your own kids would fill that “space”–To confess, I also thought having a spouse would do the same thing. I’m learning a lot here!
    I did (and still do) “study/watch” people and their relationships. With friends, I feel like this gives me an objective perspective to their situations. And it REALLY frustrates me when they take their siblings or spouses for granted! It gets tiring having people say they’re jealous of me, that they’d love to have the “peace and quiet” that I do. They don’t realize that the silence can be deafening. And you can’t turn it on & off whenever you want to. And yes, it does break my heart when something happens to one of my parents. I live 12 hours by car from them, so it’s not easy to deal with. I’ve discovered over the years that they tend not to tell me much, so that I won’t worry (I do the same to them). They’re only 65 now, and they’ve already had their share of health problems. So I fully expect in the future to be moving back near them to take care of them when they’re old. I’m certainly not complaining, I will like having the chance to care for my own parents. As the situation is & has been, the care/support issues have fallen to extended family (my cousins, aunts/uncles) which makes me a bit jealous. I feel left out. The situation isn’t going to change, so I just look forward to finding out how other “onlies” deal with these situations. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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