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genevieve
08-20-2010, 06:07 PM
One of my friends is an only - and he is the most gregarious, outgoing, friendly guy and a born performer. I didn't know him when he was a child, but based on seeing his parents now, I can't believe they were totally angst-ridden. I think they made him the STAR and he just thrived. He just had his first kid - not sure if he's going for another, I suspect not, but if so I bet his son will be a lot like he is.

I went from being the baby of a traditional nuclear family to being an only child of a single mother in the space of about a year - my parents split when my 10-years-older sister went off to college. I hated my mom having no one but me to focus on :lol:

Era
08-21-2010, 12:34 AM
I was a semi only child ... Moreover, my parents were considerably older than the parents of other kids my age, very out of touch with the times and interacted with a lot of elderly people... and most of my interaction with people was with old people.

I had a lot of difficulty relating and getting along with my peers until I became an adult....And yes, I did read a lot....

My parents were in their 40's when I was born & my half sibling was more than a decade older than me. I too spent more time with older people than my age group and found my peers to be silly most of the time when I was pre-teen. I also had a much larger vocabulary than my peers which also created communication barriers to an extent.

I could entertain myself for hours with projects or books and like many others on this thread I read a tremendous amount. The only times I can recall feeling alone is when I am in a large crowd of people.) I am comfortable with small groups but really dislike large groups of people and accompanying noise levels. But, I think that has more to do with me being an introvert than the fact that I am basically an only child.


I was not unhappy being an only child when I was a child. However, as an adult I am overburdened with old people who need a variety of assistance and no one to help me. If I ever had children, I would have more than one if possible for this reason. Although there is no guarantee that a sibling would be willing to help me if I had one.

This was the case with one of my close friends. She had no family to help her over a 10 year period of dealing with aging, very ill parents. My half-sibling lives quite a distance away and has his own family obligations so that meant I shouldered most of the responsibility for my aging parents (though he was always at the end of the telephone line when I needed to talk or discuss problems, which was helpful.)

However, from what I've seen personally, in most cases the "burden" still tends to fall on one person even when there are several children. Sometimes there is a lot of bitterness over that, especially when the ones who live nearest do next to nothing (not even visit often) and the one furthest away does all the work.

I have no children but I am a favorite auntie. :D

genegri
08-21-2010, 12:43 AM
However, from what I've seen personally, in most cases the "burden" still tends to fall on one person even when there are several children. Sometimes there is a lot of bitterness over that, especially when the ones who live nearest do next to nothing (not even visit often) and the one furthest away does all the work.


So very true! I have witness a lot of that with my cousins and my parents, aunts and uncles with their parents. And that's why I personally don't mind the "caring for aging parents alone" part. There is only me and it's my responsibility. No argument, no question, no bitterness.

flowerpower
08-21-2010, 02:28 AM
IMO, there's no "ideal" family size as a recipe for happiness. There are lots of happy "only" children, and lots of unhappy people who have siblings.

I'm an only child myself, and it's never bothered me. Used to love visiting my cousins (a rambunctious, lively, large family), but after a week or so I was delighted to come home! Regardless of family size, we all need to cultivate some good friends throughout life and make an effort to keep them. Often they're the ones who come through for us (and vice versa) in the end.

When it comes to elder care, I agree with those who have said that all too often, the responsibility falls to one child, leading to conflicts or resentments between siblings, especially when those who don't participate actively have opposing views about key decisions. As an only child, at least you know that it's your responsibility and you can make decisions accordingly.

Bottom line - the only kids will be just fine! (Or at least, just as fine as anyone else!)

oleada
08-21-2010, 03:59 AM
I totally agree that one size fits all doesn't exist when it comes to family size.

In regards to elder care, it can really vary. My mom's one of 7, and I can't imagine dealing with my grandmother as an only child. She's pretty helpless, to be honest. My grandfather died young, and my grandmother married young, was housewife, and never worked. She just kind of froze, or was shell shocked after his death. My eldest uncle pays her rent, my mom pays a lot of her bills and drives her everywhere (neither my aunt nor my grandmother drive), another uncle pays for her medical bills (grandma has a heart condition) and my aunt lives with her, as she can't really live on her own. It works fairly well.

On the other hand, my dad's one of five, and all of my late grandmother's care fell on him, and by extent my mother. It was hard on them both.