caring for elderly parents

Do all adolescence feel lonely? Are elderly parents a problem for everyone?

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 [...]

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Never have just one!

Here is an email sharing the experience of going through your parents divorce as an only child and the repercussions which ensue. 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 [...]

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Radio Interview on Late Night Graham Torrington: BBC Radio West Midlands

Last night I spoke to Graham Torrington on the subject ‘Are Only Children Lonely Children?’ Graham is one of five siblings so it is always interesting to have his perspective, especially as his mother was an only. If you would like to listen to the BBC Interview it may take a minute or so to load! I think it is important, when I am interviewed, not to be drawn into absolute statements particularly those which suggest only child experience  is all good or all bad. I believe all experience can be seen along a spectrum and I try to show this in the examples I give. In particular I challenge the so called only child syndrome and the only child stereotype without falling into the trap of dismissing it without any real argument to the contrary. As only children we all suffer from the view of  the spoilt  lonely, dis-functional, only child but as [...]

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What being an only means to me.

Being an only means that you try to do too much because you don’t like asking for help.. I used to ask my father, but I can’t ask my children because then I  become a burden to them as my mother did to me and I  know how soul destroying it is. Being an only for me, means that I find it really hard to let anyone get close and the fact that I have two failed marriages, which must mean that it is me that is the problem, so I can’t go down that way again. Being an only means that I get lonely at times, I enjoy working at weekends because that’s when families get together and that’s when I sit by myself. I view my sons as individuals and knew they must leave home, so I can’t understand the family that gets upset when their children fly the nest. Being an only gives you the ’if you want something [...]

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