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Only children: not so lonely after all

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by algonquin, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. algonquin

    algonquin Well-Known Member

    Only children: not so lonely after all

    This is the opposite of the Duggar's thread.

    My husband is an only child and it looks like we will only have one child, due to some complicated circumstances more than a conscious choice.

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

    If anything, being an only child might actually be better - you are more motivated to get out there and make friends, rather than relying on companionship from your siblings. Plus you get more of your parents' attention and no hand-me-downs :D

    One potential downside is fewer opportunities to learn how to share limited resources while growing up. Have there been any studies on this issue?
  3. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

    I was an only and was lonely as hell as a child. It couldn't be helped, as my dad had children from an earlier marriage who he had to care for, but it sucked.

    I think I'm relatively normal socially, though I'm more of a "small-circle" person. I'm much like my husband in this regard, and he had two brothers, so I think that's more a temperment thing.

    We just had our first baby, and while I don't love the sleep deprivation thing, I'm still planning another, as long as everything goes right biologically.

    Bottom line, if you can only have one, then that's the way it is. No need to feel guilty about it and I'm sure the kid will be just fine.
  4. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Only children were the rule rather then the exception when I was growing up (no diapers, anyone?) so it wasn't a big deal.

    I learned to read when I was 5 and don't remember being lonely as long as I had a good book with me. My first cousin who is of comparable age is like a sister to me without the competition for parental attention. It's all good!

    I think either way is fine.
    algonquin and (deleted member) like this.
  5. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    I'm an only child and can't say I've ever been at a disadvantage socially. Like you IceAlisa I was reading very early and that is still one of my favourite pastimes. My Mum was always a big reader and trying to get her attention while she was stuck in a good book was a lost cause so I guess I thought if you can't beat 'em..... I don't ever remember being lonely and even today, I enjoy my own company as and when the occasion arises. My partner on the other hand, who is from a large family of siblings, hates being alone. The one thing I am bad at as a result of being an only child is sharing. :lol: I can get very propriatorial over things even with my partner and have to check myself sometimes because it's completely irrational behaviour and of course I know where it stems from, but sometimes I just can't stop myself!! :shuffle:
    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  6. ChelleC

    ChelleC Well-Known Member

    I'm also an only child. So is my mom, and my biological father has one sister, but she's around 12 years younger than my father. So I never really had cousins while I was growing up.

    I don't remember, really ever being lonely. Like Ice Alisa said, give me a book, and I'm a very happy person.
  7. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow Dancing

    I'm an only, and so is my son. I never had any problems gorwing up - I had plenty of friends to hang with when I wanted them, and my books when I didn't. I think my son struggles with being an only a bit more than I did, because he doesn't like to read and there's only so much video games/tv you can do before getting bored. He plays a lot of athletics, which helps, but it's the downtime at home that gets tedious for him at times - especially in the summer.
  8. fan

    fan Well-Known Member

    me too. i'm happiest with a good book.

    that said, i'd love to have more than one child, only to keep each other company as their parents age. my parents have divorced, and my dad is ill. he is lonely having only one child as a support, and it's a tough burden for an only child to face (aging, sick parents with no familial support).
  9. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    I wonder if an only child is similiar to the first child in temparament and the like, if most only children are outgoing and assertive as that is how first children tend to be?

    (speaking as a second child...)
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I may have heard something along these lines that as a psych major in college. Although I wouldn't really describe myself as outgoing. I am very introverted.
  11. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    I would not have pegged you for introverted at all. Online is so deceptive...
  12. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Sure is. ;)
  13. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    To think we are all so quiet in real life...
  14. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    I'm not :)

  15. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

  16. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I should clarify that in an academic setting you can't shut me up :shuffle: but in a social setting I am much more of an observer. In other words, I am a nerd!
  17. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    Okay, so I'm the real quiet one here.

    You'd be lucky to get two words out of me in rl.
  18. ilovepaydays

    ilovepaydays Well-Known Member

    I am an only child too - I wasn't lonely but I also read a lot of books, too! I am noticing a connection here. :)

    I tend to get along well with first-borns and maybe there are a lot of similarities.

    I think there are advantages and disadvantages with any number of children you have or how the ages are spaced apart.
  19. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Reformed Manspreader

    I am an only child, both of my parents wanted more,but it was not meant to be. I have to admit that I hated, and still hate, being an only child. I didn't have any cousins my own age, and didn't grow up in a neighborhood with many other children. I remember being somewhat lonely as a kid. I was a very avid reader and had a very active imagination. I was also very introverted and I didn't really have any close friends until I was in high school.
    For me it's a little bit sad that , as I get older, there won't be any extended family during the holidays, or even anyone to just reminisce with over what things were like when I was growing up.
  20. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Not noisy, just somewhat extroverted :cool:

    I like people and get along with just about everyone IRL. I'm pretty easy-going in that respect. I'm not an only child either ;)
  21. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    that's a good way to be :)

    caught! :eek: okay, it depends on who is trying to get the words out of me. Some folks have more luck than others. ;)
  22. ChelleC

    ChelleC Well-Known Member


    Wow, I could say those very same words about myself.
  23. PRlady

    PRlady flipflack

    And me. :eek: So argumentative in class, so retiring during recess, story of my life.

    I read a study some years back that in families with two or more sisters, the younger(s) tend to be more social, conventional and outgoing than the olders. Which was true in my family, I'm the older, more serious one.

    My daughter is my only child but has three much older half-siblings. I'm glad she does even though my opinion of them ranges from :rolleyes: to :cheer2: to :eek: because they will indeed be company for her when her parents are gone. Also, she's close to her nieces, who are closer in age than her siblings, an added bonus.
  24. genegri

    genegri Active Member

    Where I grew up most families had only one child. I am an only child myself and don't remember ever being lonely. I loved to read and could entertain myself very well. To this day I don't need to be around people to be happy. But I prefer to travel with DH or friends.

    Overall I am introverted, very easy going, very considerate of others, not detail-oriented and not very particular about anything. Generally a very likable person, so I am told, and if I may say so myself. ;) Depending on the surroundings, I can be kind of outgoing or very quiet or anything in between. I am still trying to figure out my own pattern. :p

    I plan to have more than one child. Mostly because I worry that an only child could be all by him/herself when DH and I are both gone, in case that child is not married and is not particularly social. Not that having a sibling guarantees a lifetime friend, but it's a head start.
  25. cygnus

    cygnus Well-Known Member

    I'm 4 of 5 (spread out over 15 years). We ALL read a lot, as did my parents. mr c was an only who also read a lot. I have 2 kids who read a lot. I think that there are reading families and not reading families- if the books are there, and the parents read, (and the kids are read to from a very young age), then the kids will read. In most circumstances. There are always exceptions.
  26. deltask8er

    deltask8er Well-Known Member

    I'm going to send this news to a friend who has frequently told me if he has children, it has got to be more than one. Being an only child is just cruel, according to him. And he grew up with 3 siblings, one he refuses to talk to these days, and an ugly separation between parents before most of them were teens. oooooookay :confused:

    And I assume that most people who spend a lot of time online recreationally are introverts. They can express themselves much better by typing out their thoughts, allowing some time to process their thoughts, than in real-life conversations. I would also assume that this type of communication would feel torturous to an extrovert, on the other hand.

    And for the record, I have a brother, but he is 7 years youngers than me. So we both have felt like an only child growing up (me before he was born, and him when he was in junior high/high school because I was out of town at college).
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  27. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    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.
  28. Lurking Skater

    Lurking Skater Ms Lurker if you're nasty

    I have 2 close friends who are only children and they wouldn't have it any other way. They are both close with their cousins.

    On the other hand, I can talk to my brothers in ways that I can't talk to others and I really appreciate that now.

    Family situations and dynamics are so different in families. There are always good and bad with everything.
  29. algonquin

    algonquin Well-Known Member

    That is the crux of the matter, there is no guarantee that siblings will work together to assist aging parents. Having said that, this situation weighs on my mind as well. If I do end up with only one child, I will plan for those twilight years so it will be less of a burden on my son. You can't plan for every scenario, but those years can be made smoother was some planning.
  30. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

    This is the situation our family. I have a hard time being social when I first meet people, but my younger sister is the epitome of a social butterfly. She knows everyone, everything and has more of an active social life than I've ever had. She is very, very social and extroverted. Just looking at her schedule exhausts me.

    We're a family of three children, with me being the eldest. My parents are big readers. My brother and I enjoy reading, but my sister does not.