Growing up with siblings is pretty great. Someone to brainstorm with, someone to play pretend with, someone to fight with. Yes, even the fighting is cool, as it shapes who we are. It's having someone who thinks a lot like you grow up in the room next to yours. It's having a best friend built into the family. There will, of course, be disagreements, and probably straight up fistfights. But again, these things shape who we are, so it's not something to be taken lightly.
This is a feeling that only children will never understand. Many of them may think “eh, I know what it’s like to have a sibling, I lucked out.” However, that is far from the truth. The parents are always up in their face, and their only peers in the house are ones that they have made up. It can be lonely, and it can be boring. Certain social things are learned from siblings as well, so that is something that falls by the wayside when there are no siblings living in the house.
It’s certainly not all bad though. A lot of times siblings do nothing but fight, and if there is a big gap in between the kids, then oftentimes they don’t get the advantages of having a sibling anyways. A lot of only children grow up very well adjusted and happy. However, a lot of them didn’t get that way until they were adults, and even if they did, they certainly missed out on a lot of fun growing up. Here is a list of some of the tough parts about growing up as an only child.
14 One Is A Lonely Number
One thing that makes being an only child difficult is the fact that they are often lonely. There are plenty of times when the adults have something to do, like work or some social engagement, and the kids are sort of left to their own devices. These are the times when having a sibling is awesome because the brother or sister can always be a source of entertainment.
It also means that every event is done solo. Going out to dinner with aunts and uncles, going to the mall with parents, going to the grocery store with parents. Without a brother or sister, these things are done with just the adults. And kids and adults live in two separate worlds. Therefore, if there is only one kid there, then that kid is essentially alone. They can’t secretly point out people that they can laugh at, or they can’t turn to their brother and go “oh, remember when we saw that last time?” It can be lonely without a friend built right into the family.
13 No Footsteps To Follow
This one can go either way. For some people, the older sibling, whether it’s a brother or a sister, carves the path. They lay down the rules, what works and what doesn’t, and then the younger sibling can just sort of follow that. Or, in the opposite direction, the older sibling can set up a pretty good example of what not to do, and then the younger sibling can avoid their habits like the plague.
Say the older brother was always a phenomenal baseball player, but a terrible student. The younger sibling can be like "oh, they're pretty good at baseball, but they fail every test they take. Yeah, they seem cool, but maybe I better hit the books a little harder." Or, they can decide to do the exact same thing. "Better start throwing this baseball against the garage door, otherwise I'll be a nerd."
12 No Nieces Or Nephews
This is one that doesn't come into play until later on in life, but it is a serious thing. Nieces and nephews are kind of like grandkids. You can spoil them rotten, get them all jazzed up on sugar or whatever, then when they start to get on your nerves, they can just be sent home. This is something that people with no brothers or sisters won't get to experience unless they marry into it.
People like nieces and nephews because they are like having kids, but with less pressure involved with having their own kids. You can teach them not-so-advisable words, get them drum sets for Christmas, and even have them work for you when they're older. It’s a great thing, you can almost mess with your siblings by riling up the kid and then just sending them home.
11 I Want It All
Because parents can do anything and everything to make their little wonder child happy, the child assumes that that is the only way that it should be. In their mind, the parents spoil them, so shouldn’t everybody else? This is a problem that people with really rich parents have as well, and then when you get a rich only child...forget about it.
Again, a lot of only children need to learn a lot of the difficulties of life as they enter it, rather than getting prepared for it ahead of time. Somebody with siblings has to learn early on that it’s not all about them. The attention, love, and admiration of the parents gets divided more times with the more siblings there are, so they learn that early on. With no siblings, however, it’s like laser beams on the kid, so that lesson ends up waiting until life teaches it to them.
10 No Ice Breaker
This is certainly something that happens with some regularity. When people have siblings, they get introduced to a whole group of people. Say there’s a kid named Trevor. Trevor has two brothers named Nick and Jimmy. If Trevor was an only child, then he only meets the people he meets on his own. However, since Trevor has two brothers, then that’s two more sets of people Trevor meets. Since siblings are often very different, those groups are often filled with very different people.
A lot of relationships are formed this way, and that's a whole venue of people meeting that doesn't exist when there aren't any siblings to introduce people. Say Jimmy has a friend who has a brother the same age as Trevor. Now Trevor is meeting not only Jimmy's friend, but Jimmy's friend might bring his brother over one time, and then a new friendship is formed. When this doesn't happen, Trevor doesn't need to learn how to talk to as many different people, and then he grows up a shy young lad.
9 Hard Lessons Learned
This is one that people shouldn't necessarily encourage, but it is certainly a truth. It also has a good outcome but is certainly a woe while it's happening. Some of the toughest people in the world, professional fighters, are often younger siblings. The reason for this is simple. Older siblings like to tease their younger siblings. It's not always a good thing, but it is something that undeniably happens. Younger siblings can often do the same thing, once they grow past the point where size isn't much of an issue.
Older siblings, especially brothers, might hit their younger brother for no good reason. They’ll take their stuff, they’ll give them noogies and wedgies and swirlies, and while these things are terrible in the moment, they do make the kid tougher on the other end of it. So although getting teased all the time is certainly not ideal for anyone, it will make for a tougher adulthood, both emotionally and physically.
8 No Escaping Parents' Watchful Eye
This can be both a good and a bad thing. It's great because the parents generally are very loving, and they show their love. However, when there are no other children to take some of the heat off of the one kid, it can get to be a little much. Everyone with a sibling has relished the sound of their parents yelling at their sibling because it means that they are not yelling at them.
It might be nice for a child to have someone to share the attention with around report card time. Especially these days, parents are incredibly involved with their children’s schooling. While it’s probably not a terrible idea to let kids fail from time to time, so they learn how to deal with failure, many parents disagree, and they are therefore all up in the kid’s business. If there is a sibling to share the brunt with, however, then the lectures will last only half as long.
7 Grow Up Too Fast
One great thing about having a sibling that is pretty close in age is that there's always someone around to hang out with. An only child will find, however, that there are lots of times when there are no other kids around, only adults. While this could be a good thing as far as maturation goes, only children often have trouble relating to other kids. It’s difficult to learn something that can never be practiced.
They spend all of their days with adults, going to the store with adults, eating with adults, talking to adults. They have very little leisure time with other kids, and this often causes a rift. If an only child watches Friends with their parents, but all the kids at school are watching SpongeBob with their brothers and sisters, then conversation will dry up pretty quick. Same goes with hobbies and pass times. An only child might be super into cooking, or fishing, or whatever else their parents get them into. However, these things don’t interest most kids, so it can sometimes be a hassle.
6 What's Sharing?
This one may not come as a surprise. Growing up with other kids in the house teaches a lot of valuable lessons. One of those, and possibly the most important one, is how to share. Someone that grows up with every toy in the house being theirs, might not learn this one so easily. Why should they, there is never anyone around them who even wants to use their legos!
Having a brother or sister who is interested in some of the same things as you really teaches patience and the ability to share. If every time a kid picks up a toy their little sister runs in and wants to play with it, they not only learn how to share, but they also learn when it is okay to say no, and also how to graciously say no. There is a big difference between “NO!!!” and pulling it away versus calmly explaining “well, I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, maybe in a little while?”
5 Weight Of The World
Only children feel that once they become adults, all the troubles of not having any siblings is behind them. And that is true for a good amount of time. However, someday, parents get older. That is a fact of life that everyone has to deal with. Someday, their parents will no longer be able to take care of themselves. With siblings, however, the burden can be shared, and that makes it a lot easier.
An only child, however, has nobody to help them when that time comes. So that means that they need to work around their work schedule, sometimes even moving the schedule around, to help the parents. They need to bring them to all of their doctors’ appointments, and take them to the store, and make sure they are taking all the proper medication. It gets very difficult to take care of parents when they age, and doing it alone is no fun at all. Keep in mind all the financial responsibility is left on one kid’s shoulders as well.
4 December 25th
That’s right. Christmas with siblings is just awesome. Plotting how to spot Santa, not being able to sleep so laying together in the same bed. Even in the weeks leading up to it, writing the letter to Santa together, plotting how to make the day come quicker. Christmas is an amazing time, especially to kids, and experiencing it with kids is awesome.
Christmas is still fun for only children but in a different way. Again, they have all the attention of their parents, so in the weeks leading up to it, the parents are the ones to try and get the kid excited. While they were once kids themselves, they recognize what Christmas means to a kid, they can't quite relate in the same way. Wondering what Santa will bring, arguing over who will get coal and who won't. It's a great deal of fun.
3 "I'm Bored"
Boredom is something that becomes part of every only child’s life. With siblings, when the parents are busy, there is always somebody else to play with. However, for an only child, there is nobody else. If the parents are working, or busy doing adult stuff, then the kid needs to entertain him or herself. This can potentially mean a lot of TV or tablet time, but hopefully some reading.
If there are siblings around, then a lot of mischief can be made. That’s not necessarily the best thing for the parents, but getting your parents mad at you is part of growing up. There is only one way to learn boundaries, and that is by pushing against them. Only children don’t know what it is like to concoct some crazy scheme that gets the parents furious. But those are the sorts of things that come out of boredom and a clear afternoon schedule, two things that children are very familiar with.
2 Reality Bites
This is vaguely similar to not being able to share, but it's a good one to go on here anyways, as it is slightly different. Spoiled isn’t always just getting anything you want; it’s the attitude that often comes with getting everything you want. There are certainly a lot of only children who get everything they ask for, but they don’t always feel entitled to it. That is the real issue with that sort of thing; people can begin to feel entitled.
That’s not to say there are no spoiled, entitled only children out there. In fact, there are many. They have always gotten everything they ever wanted (except a sibling.) Therefore, they feel that they always should get everything they want. Until life comes knocking on their door asking for the rent, these kids often don’t have any real perspective on the challenges of life.
1 “He Started It”
Ahhh, possibly the best thing about having siblings: the ability to play the blame game. There are many times when something gets broken, or a fight breaks out, or a dirty word is said, and the answer is alway “he started it!” or “he told me to do it!” Growing up with siblings is fun, but it can get borderline violent and awfully accusatory.
Of course, if there are no other siblings in the house, then fights won't break out. Unless of course, the opponent is imaginary, in which case the parents have something extra on their hands. But if an only child breaks something, then there is no way to blame anybody else. Or, depending on the relationship, there is nobody there to brainstorm with when thinking of some excuse as to how the thing got broken. Having a brother or a sister is like having your partner in crime grow up in the same house as you, and, honestly, it's pretty damn great.
Sources: NaturalParentsNetwork.com, ThoughtCatalogue.com, TheBump.com, Quora.com, EliteDaily.com