“So are you a single child? You must be really close to your parents”; “So don’t you get lonely sometimes?”; “You must have everything you want”.
These are staples that we single children get to hear on a regular basis. While some of it might be true, the rest doesn’t generally apply to us.
So as a single child, I hereby attempt to debunk a few myths that have embedded themselves in the general character sketch of an only child.
SINGLE CHILD IS SPOILT/PAMPERED
This is perhaps the most common stereotype attached to single kids. Being a single child, us kids are supposedly swamped with everything that we want. However, there is little truth to this.
Being spoilt has nothing to do with being an only child. It depends on a person’s family, lifestyle and attitude. Single kids are wrongly singled out in this context. Children with siblings are spoilt too.
WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO OUR PARENTS
To be honest, I have fallen prey to this stereotype. Living up-to it, I can proudly say that I am extremely close to my parents.
However, this isn’t 100% because of the fact that I’m a single child. Single kids whose parents are always available to them, treat them like their friends, are open about everything with them, often tend to be in close proximity to their parents.
But many times, single children are detached from their parents. Having two full time working parents, children who are unable to befriend their parents and kids who have strained relationships with their parents, don’t tend to be close to them irrespective of being single or sibling-ed.
WE WANT SIBLINGS OR FEEL LONELY
This one is another stereotype that has stuck. Most often than not, single children don’t miss out on having siblings since they don’t know what having siblings feels like!
We usually have a great set of friends who we are extremely close to. Additionally, we’re used to living on our own and having to do things at our own pace. We like being on our own.
THE FACT THAT WE’RE MATURE
Being an only child doesn’t always mean that we’re mature. The truth of the matter, however, is that we get to experience a lot of things on our own and deal with stuff without having to depend on a significant other.
This, sometimes makes us mature, but most times it just makes us more aware and alert. It all depends on the experiences one goes through. Being single doesn’t really have anything to do with it!
US SINGLE CHILDREN ARE VERY SELFISH
THIS ISN’T TRUE AT ALL. Everyone is a little selfish. Labeling all single kids as ‘selfish’ is highly problematic and completely overshadows the fact that being selfish is a personality trait that varies from person to person.
SINGLE CHILDREN ARE AGGRESSIVE AND BOSSY
Single children are not bossy and aggressive. Some of us might like being in control, but that doesn’t culminate into bossiness.
There’s no doubt in the fact that an only child might like to do things his/her way but aggressiveness is subjective. Attaching it to being single is unfair and paints single children in a bad light.
ONLY KIDS ARE TOO DEPENDENT ON THEIR PARENTS
Dependence on parents results from the existence of a two-way relationship. As much as the parent indulges the child or as much as the child possesses the need to be mollycoddled, dependence on parents varies.
Children with siblings can be as dependent on their parents as any single child!
SINGLE CHILDREN HAVE IT EASY
This is the most problematic of them all. Single children have it any way except easy. Just because we’re the only child of our parents doesn’t discount the fact that we have it as tough as any other kid with siblings.
Study pressure, everyday struggles, boy/girl troubles, are all common to single and sibling-ed kids. Fights, arguments, disagreements etc are present in all parent-child relationships.
While some stereotypes have a bit of truth to them, not all can be used as generalizations unquestionably. Single children might develop differently from children with siblings, but attaching these myths to them is unfair and undifferentiated.
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