I found your website when researching literature for my undergraduate psychology project regarding only children. I felt compelled to submit my experiences. I am an only child myself and have chosen to have one daughter. Growing up I thought that I felt lonely, but have subsequently wondered whether this is a feeling experienced by all adolescents and that, being an only child, there seems to be an obvious ‘reason’ for it. Having read some of the posts, especially those posted by teenagers, there seems to be a lot of recurring themes about issues with parents, too much time spent with them, or changes in the relationships that they have with them.
Surely this is the case in most families when children reach that age?
It certainly seems as though the negative is emphasised. So, to those people that are worried about things like their ageing parents and the responsibility which will fall solely on their shoulders, I will say this; a sibling is no guarantee of assistance! I know many families for whom one child lives closest to the parents and deals almost exclusively with any issues. Siblings fall out, die, move to other far flung countries. Parents do too.
Being an only child and the experiences that one has in that situation are, I believe, entirely dependent on the dynamic within that family, not on the presence or absence of a sibling. In my case, I married a man who had a brother, who has since died. My mother has also passed away so my husband, daughter and I live with my dad, round the corner from my in laws. It’s a symbiotic relationship in which dad gets company and I get child care when I’m working! Life provides very different playing fields for everyone and being an only child doesn’t dictate a certain lifestyle. I have never been accused of being spoilt and neither has my daughter. I once considered that I was ‘over loved’ and that this led me to require a certain standard and level of attention from my romantic partners… this is not a bad thing! I hope my daughter and I can have as a good a relationship as I had with my mother. I hope those of you who currently feel lonely as an only child can find a way to overcome it and see that all people are alone, we just have to find others to share our lives with.