The original website of www.onlychild.org.uk was set up by me, Bernice Sorensen twelve years ago in 2000, to share my research into the “Only Child Experience”. As an only child myself, I was trying to understand the only child experience, from the point of view of the adult only child rather than a parent of an only child, or a person with siblings. So the website was never specifically for children but only children who are now adults. I wanted to know how different only children understood and made meaning of their experience of growing up an only child, in a predominantly sibling society. Even twelve years ago only-children were a minority in the UK. I was particularly interested in getting in touch with only children at every stage of life. In fact the first email I received was from someone who described themselves as a ‘pensioner’ and since 2000 I have had literally thousands of emails from people sharing their only child stories and experience. Many of these stories are incorporated into my doctoral research and in my book ‘Only Child Experience and Adulthood’ published by Palgrave in 2008.
Over the years I have spent much time answering people’s emails, so in 2009 I set up an only child forum – Only Child Adult – so that people could speak to each other without having to go through me. However this year I had to take it down after continual harassment by people trying to use if for spam. This new site offers an opportunity to comment on previous emails, and a new departure - to share your thoughts on some of the posts I will be writing regularly, based on my ongoing research. It is always interesting to have thoughts and views from other onlies.
So many media stories are about the stereotype of the only child, it is often forgotten how this stereotype affects the only child growing up in a sibling society. There is a lot of evidence that the negative only child stereotype affects parents of onlies, which are demonstrated in articles in the press and various blogs – but what about the only children themselves? How does it affect them? Popular opinion in the 21st century says there is no marked difference between only children and those with siblings – BUT is this what only children believe, feel or experience? Have a look at the stories and my own posts to form your own opinion.
As I regularly have parents who have an only-child contact me; I now include posts to answer some of the difficulties parents’ encounter as a parent of an only child. Again it is useful to have other perspectives so please feel free to comment.
On this website I have published some of my research and media articles from The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and The Daily Mail. Occasionally I have commented on these articles in my posts, particularly when I think they contain misinformation.
There is also a section ‘Guest Onlies’ where people are invited or have requested to share their only child experience and share how they believe it has affected their lives or their view of the world. If you would like to contribute please go to the ‘Contact ‘ page.
I am often asked to do live phone-ins on local radio and I am always happy to receive comments about these – so please use the Contact page.
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