lonely

Some recent emails describing the only-child expereince

Bernice: Here are two emails from different parts of the world, both have families and are happy but have had challenges as only-children. A Female only: I am profoundly deaf, age 45 and loving partner with 2 teenagers and a baby. I live in Essex, my father passed away 12 years ago and my mum live in Warwickshire. I’m an only child which I do hate be an only child and often find lonely. It’s took me long time to realise what kind of my mum is and I think my mum might be a Narcissistic because for example my mum and her sister are looking after my grandmother whose have dementia. This week my aunt is away in holiday so I asked mum can she come over to see me because mum haven’t meet my 3 months old daughter yet. So mum said mum is unwell with ear pain, long term sinus and piles which she claimed the nurse [...]

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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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A follow on from the ‘negative side’ of having one child

I receive many emails from mothers and sometimes fathers who are not sure whether  to have another child or not, so I thought I would post this recent email from a younger only child adult. Whist ideally no parent gets divorced or looses a partner – leaving them alone with just a child for company. The reality is that it can happen, and will put an extra strain on one child who may not have another person to talk too. This is the ‘role reversal’ the writer speaks about. Having to ‘parent a parent’ can be extremely damaging to adolescent development, particularly when they are the only one to support a parent. This is because the young person cannot get on and develop the ability to psychologically separate from a parent who is relying on them emotionally. This will keep them in a semi-dependent state until the parent is ready [...]

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Christmas: festive or lonely?

If you are reading this it may be because you are feeling particularly alone this festive season and have googled ‘only child’ or ‘adult only’. My research highlighted that many adult onlies feel most alone at Christmas because they have no siblings or even parents to share it with. For others, who do not have a partner or children, Christmas can feel very lonely. I know after my parents’ died, and I was divorced and both children spent some time with their father over Christmas I often felt quite cut off from the ‘family gatherings’ of other people. I always tried to find others in the same position, to share these times together, and that certainly helps. However it is not always possible, so I am keeping in mind those people who do not have family to be with at this seasonal family time. I also know from my experience [...]

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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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A perspective from the 1960′s

I hated being an only child and can remember asking every year if I could have a brother or sister for birthday or Christmas.  I was tired of always having all the latest games and toys but no-one to share them with, what is the point of having such wonderful things as they were perceived by other children if there was no-one to play them with?  I hated it I had a lonely and miserable experience as an only child.  Always over anxious to share or give my things away to others for to me they were but meaningless objects with no fun attached. Even now that I am 43 I will give someone my last penny share anything and everything and let people have what they want for the joy of sharing it with others.  I never enjoy activities on my own because all I remember was as a child being forced to experience everything alone.  So [...]

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A perspective from the 1980′s

Hello, I am an only child, now 22 year old adult. I hated being an only child and I struggled a lot with loneliness and grief. What extenuated the loneliness I felt was my dysfunctional family. Early Life: My mom more or less destroyed every shred of a relationship with her siblings, so I didn’t even have the ability to connect well with my extended family. I always longed for a sibling but because of my mother’s mental health issues, I wasn’t even allowed to own a pet, which broke my heart. I am a very social person by nature and the pain and isolation caused by my upbringing still haunts me to this day. I remember daydreaming and creating my own “dream family” complete with all kinds of siblings and pets. It was my way of trying to survive. To this day, I feel as though I have a difficult time relating to small children because I did not have [...]

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1930′s: Michael Winner: ‘I was an only child and very lonely’

I thought this was an interesting glimpse into a ‘famous’ only child’s life! How many of us like Michael want to hold on to the things in our childhood which gave us enjoyment and meaning. I find it hard to let go some of the things from my childhood especially now my parents are dead. Holding onto those memories via objects which I grew up with seems very important. I wonder if others feel the same? Christopher Middleton’s interview with the film director explains why he is parting with his cherished collection of children’s book illustrations. So what made the famously hard-boiled Winner go gooey over pictures of sprites, fairies and bears? It’s not a matter of getting older: he is 76 now but the collecting started back in 1984, when he was in his pugnacious prime. “I suppose,” he says, after some reflection, “that by buying this children’s art and having it on my walls, I have been doing what I have done my entire [...]

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Only Child Syndrome: Stereotyping In Disguise!

  Here is an interesting article and the start of some research from 17 year old Alexandra Baker whose own experience has inspired her to do a project on only child stereotyping. If you want to take part click the link below! Link to the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6HJDBWZ Alexandra says: As an only child, I have been intrigued (and often angered!) by the comments made by others who say all only children are lonely spoiled brats who are unable to share. Where has this unfair presumption come from? I am a 17-year-old student from the UK and my first-hand experience of such negative comments has inspired me to undertake a project (Extended Project Qualification) looking into only children and how they are viewed by others. Through my project I hope to show that only children don’t deserve such unfair stereotyping. I’m sure many only children have overheard people talking about only children and heard them being described as ‘spoiled’, ‘lonely’ and [...]

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Over 3000 visits a month!

I am very heartened that so many people are now visiting this website which has not even been going a year. Our readership has now increased to 3000 a month! I am very curious to see how many non-onlies are using this site.  That is not to say I am not grateful that people who are not only children are interested to read what I am posting. It does seem though that it is mostly people who have had a relationship with an only that are contributing. I am interested in their comments, and pleased that my posts have helped them to understand only child behaviours from a different point of view than perhaps they have been able to see before. I also understand from other posts, that some people see the distinction between onlies and non onlies as superficial. However I think it is important to realise that the [...]

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