I personally resonated with similar messages I received as an only – ‘that I was lucky’! not to have a sibling. However I have found that most onlies do not feel particularly lucky having missed out on the rough and tumble of sibling activity or the potential close relationships with a sibling in later life. Particularly as the writer states, dealing with elderly parents can be so much better if there is someone to share the problems and difficulties.
As you can read the writer concludes it is far better to have more than one child. I am also aware that this is quite a contentious issue, as there has been a great deal of pressure to make the idea of the one child family the norm. Many parents choose to have just one child for economic reasons, which is understandable, but perhaps what is often overlooked, when the argument goes further and suggests siblings are something best avoided, is that we do learn huge amounts socially and emotionally through sibling interaction, far more than we are likely to obtain by going to school. Living with someone is very different than meeting them for a few hours a day. It would be like suggesting (and some may agree) marriages would be far better if people lived apart from each other! Bernice
When I was growing up, I was always told that I was lucky to be an only child, and that I must be spoilt and get what I want. I understand now that I was quite spoilt with their time and affection when I was young, but now that I am 25 I feel like the attachments my parents have for me have become un-healthy, and all of the benefits of being an only child have been worn out.
A huge issue I face being an only child, at 25, is the ageing of both of my parents (who are now divorced) and the constant worry about when they can no longer look after themselves and will need support from me. I have no siblings so this job will fall to me.
Another, is that after my parents divorce I had nobody to share my thoughts and grief over my parents marriage collapsing, and had to deal with all of the issues that it resulted in (questions and statements from other family members, both parents saying regretful emotional things to me) alone. No one to talk to. Especially after my Father confided in me that he was feeling suicidal, I had no one but my partner, and I feel that at that exact time – I KNEW I would have been better off to have a sibling to share these sorts of problems with.
So I say now to my friends who are having children – never have just one!