Culture, experience, Family, life

Being an Only Child

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The stereotypical only child is generally considered to be a selfish, pampered brat lacking social skills. Though smaller families are now the norm, the myths about only children continues to prevail. We are considered ill adjusted, socially inept loners. As I approach my mid-twenties I think it’s safe to say that I have grown into semi-successful (there is still a long way to go!) well-adjusted adult.

Many say that only children miss out on cultivating basic social skills. Unless a child is completely cut off from his or her peers, I can’t see how basic skills like sharing could go unlearned. Whatever social skills I didn’t pick up at home were quickly acquired in the classroom.

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Are all only children spoiled? Well, the parents’ financial situation is a key factor.  Only children seem to have more because they don’t have siblings to share with. From chocolates to education, only children are the sole recipients of their parents’ resources including parental attention.  But this doesn’t imply that all of them end up being spoiled. Rather it’s often the contrary where parents take extra care to make sure that the children understand the importance of money and use it carefully.

Being an only child taught me the most valuable skill of all: the ability to be alone. Sure I had friends growing up, but I was just as content to sit in my bedroom alone reading my comic books or playing video games as I was to have a friend join me. Being alone so often at a young age allowed me to cultivate an extensive imagination. Did I get lonely as a kid? Sure. Thankfully, I forged strong friendships.

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I guess the only downside to this skill is sometimes I tend value my alone time a bit too much.

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” – Audrey Hepburn.

I somehow connect to this quote too well. Sometimes my close friends complain on the sudden bursts of hiatus that I undergo. It is probably a trait of my personality as well but sometimes I just need to get away from everything for a while!

Blended families create a new breed of only children like myself. I have an amazing bunch of first cousins both from my mother’s and father’s side. We spent most of our childhood together playing, goofing around and what not. I believe that I have the best of both worlds but I can’t pretend to understand what it’s like to have siblings in the traditional sense. Despite that, having had a positive experience growing up as an only child, I can’t imagine anything different 😀

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