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Old 02-05-2022, 12:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprite97 View Post
That has nothing to do with being an only child. There are PLENTY of people with siblings who are spoiled, self centered and arrogant.
A lot has to do with how children are raised, and sometimes kids with siblings who come from dysfunctional homes can be very self-centered and arrogant because they adopted it as a defense mechanism against a lack of nurturing parenting, leading to insecurities. Some kids with siblings come from very wealthy homes where they're given anything and everything they want, and get spoiled that way. And then there are kids from both those situations who turn out perfectly fine with minimal problems. So generalizing is pretty pointless.
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Old 02-05-2022, 07:57 AM
 
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As someone who had friends who were only children and having friends who raised only children, I would say 'mostly.'

Obviously you can't slap a blanket set of assumptions on an only child. But there are fundamental differences in many of them. It's easier to describe these in comparison to families with multiple children.

I think the biggest factor? Not all, but many only children are used to being catered to. As in the world revolves around them. This comes from a lifetime of parents dancing around them 24/7 banging tambourines. When I was growing up, for example, friends who were only children tended to not understand why our group didn't always want to do what they wanted, when they wanted. This also likely explains why many only children have a hard time making friends. They simply have not had to share the limelight with anyone, and certainly haven't had to deal with the tug-of-war of priorities that happens in multi-child families.

Kids in multiple-child families also have greater self-sufficiency. I know this because two different couples in our inner circle of friends have only children. The mothers in those couples literally do everything for their daughters. I mean, both daughters are medical professionals and still need their mothers' help buying underwear. No lie. I listened to these two women discuss the ordeal of buying underwear for their respective daughters.
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Old 02-06-2022, 02:16 AM
 
Location: Southern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I know they still have friends.etc (most of them), as kids, but I think it's still very different to brothers and sisters you actually live with, and often grow up with from your earliest years. There's something about interaction during the formative years with siblings which. I think I would be lonely as a single/only child, as nice as my parents were. They're sometimes also stereotyped as 'spoiled' and hungry for affection, not as maybe to make up for this loneliness? They're also sometimes seen as a bit selfish as they're not used to having to share. Much has said been said about the 'Little Emperors' growing up in China.

Of course I know many single children who are well-adjusted and everything, but I also know a few who had problems in school.etc. Of course that may be coincidental.

Do you think that people who are only children grow up somewhat different? Is it similar to those who grew up in single parent homes or without parents at all? Do they seem say, more emotionally needy, more used to being the centre of attention?


I'll bite since I'm an only child. Firstly, of course there are always exceptions & of course those w/ siblings can be any or none of what the OP brings up. To answer all the OP's questions...

I think only children grow up somewhat different, yes.

The part the OP said about being lonely. I don't think most only children are lonely because they never knew anything otherwise. The solitude in the house & in their life is just how it always was. My entire life, I never felt lonely & still don't now.

Whether it's similar to those who grew up in single parent homes OR w/o parents at all, I have no idea. I'd think that's another kind of different thing because if kids have siblings, but have a single parent OR no parents, at least they still have each other to confide in, be close to, etc. whereas an only child whether that person has both parents (like I did), one parent, or no parents, that only child is still all alone in the situation. There's no one else on their same offspsring level in the family dynamic.

I wouldn't say only kids are more emotionally needy nor used to being the center of attention. That all depends on HOW they were raised & HOW their personality is. If anything, I'd say the opposite of the first statement...that only kids learn from day 1 to be able to stand alone, be strong, & not need people, friends, etc. as much or at all, so definitely NOT emotionally needy. I hardly had any friends throughout my life & I'm not all down & out about it.

Regarding the other statment, my entire life, I personally NEVER cared to be the center of attention & I never was (by the public/strangers/society). I'd rather be in the background.

I strongly believe my parents raised me well w/ that perfect balance to have that self-confidence, emotional strength, & know I'm special, but while also never putting me on a pedestal to grow up to be some prima donna & always raising me to know that I'm no better than anyone else, yet they're no better than me either.
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Old 02-19-2022, 06:02 PM
 
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They seem to marry earlier (based on only children relatives, friends, acquaintances.)
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Old 02-19-2022, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprite97 View Post
How do you explain the many people with siblings who do not share? And the many only children who do share?
If we ever see any we will explain it.
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Old 02-19-2022, 08:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspentree View Post
I've been close to a few only children...they didn't all fit one mold.

I wouldn't at all say that being an only makes you more emotionally needy.

If you are an only there is no need to compete with your siblings for your parent's attention and resources.

As another poster mentioned, the role of extended family can play a big part in shaping the experience. At least two of the onlies I know had very close relationships with cousins.

The bolded describes me.


I don't remember when exactly...sometime in my 30s or 40s...my aunt said to me "you and ________ (her daughter) are really more like brother and sister than first cousins"
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Old 02-19-2022, 09:47 PM
 
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I'm not an only child. Yet I get mistaken for one sometimes.

This goes to show it's a matter of guesswork. There are no telltale signs someone is 100% an only child.
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Old 02-20-2022, 04:31 AM
 
7,588 posts, read 4,157,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I know they still have friends.etc (most of them), as kids, but I think it's still very different to brothers and sisters you actually live with, and often grow up with from your earliest years. There's something about interaction during the formative years with siblings which. I think I would be lonely as a single/only child, as nice as my parents were. They're sometimes also stereotyped as 'spoiled' and hungry for affection, not as maybe to make up for this loneliness? They're also sometimes seen as a bit selfish as they're not used to having to share. Much has said been said about the 'Little Emperors' growing up in China.

Of course I know many single children who are well-adjusted and everything, but I also know a few who had problems in school.etc. Of course that may be coincidental.

Do you think that people who are only children grow up somewhat different? Is it similar to those who grew up in single parent homes or without parents at all? Do they seem say, more emotionally needy, more used to being the centre of attention?
The question isn't how are only children different. That's obvious. The question is why do children get spoiled whether they are onlies or not. Spoiling occurs when everything revolves around the child and their every want is anticipated. They don't even have to be a contributing member of the family but if they ask for something, they get it. It happened to my brother.
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Old 02-20-2022, 07:04 PM
 
Location: PRC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
I grew up an only child of two highly dysfunctional and über-controlling parents who used guilt, lies and intimidation to get what they wanted. I absolutely admit that I am selfish - because I had to be. It was the only way I could establish an identity or life of my own. I also have a ridiculous level of guilt about anything and everything that happens in my life. If I make a mistake at work I obsess about it for days. If I do or say something rude or mean, I completely freak out until I've apologised so many times the other person never wants to hear from me again.

Am I spoiled? Yes, certainly. But the counter-argument is that I was/am the ONLY target for all my parents' ambitions, spite, neediness, affection, rage, disappointment, approval, etc. It's a heavy load sometimes.

It is frankly rather silly to make blanket statements about people based on so many variables. Not every only child is self-centred or socially inept and not every child with siblings is a better person simply because of that.

Now imagine that on a country-level.
I have had a while to observe this and it is interesting and totally foreign to what I was brought up with. So, yes people here are often more self-centred and 'selfish' but I would not say they are more confident at all. The culture, education and upbringing has a great influence on the outcome.

However, almost everything in the culture is still geared towards only children, in that many kids are brought up by grandparents while the parents work to pay the mortgage etc This means there is a sole focus on the kid by the grandparents - and everyone knows how grandparents dote on grandchildren. Which is where the Little Emperor thing comes in - in a BIG way. When this round of grandparents have "gone upstairs", there will be no-one who has child-raising skills left behind and the new generation of only-child grandparents will not want to do that.

Not everyone is an only child, even in the era where only children was a government mandate. Families from the country could have more than one I believe, and also if you paid/were fined you could have more than one too. Now, of course, it has gone the other way completely and two are encouraged. Single kids possibly do not want to have kids it seems, and also there is a out-of-balance situation which has been created by the one-child policy. Less tax collected, and a top heavy retired population has already meant that there are problems coming down the line.

I think there is a general problem across the world where fertility is dropping drastically so more and more people have to have fertility treatment in order to have children. When they do, it is often twins because the doctors do not know how many of the fertilised eggs will 'take' and grow.

I believe it will not be long (<10 years) before artificial wombs mean women can be as free as men in this world, and we hand over the incubation and raising of our children to the State or at least companies working for the State. The scenario seen by science fiction writers is almost at our doorstep and along with that comes other challenges for society such as deciding who gets top education and who gets left to do menial work.
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Old 02-22-2022, 09:09 PM
 
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I watched a few episodes of Supernanny on YouTube last week, and you see a LOT of very spoiled, needy children in families of 3, 4, or more kids on that show. They're given whatever they want to shut up their tantrums, and constantly have to fight for attention because it's spread so thin. Nothing is ever enough for them. I have an adult only child and I never experienced anything like that with him, and he's very well-adjusted. Nice friends, engaging hobbies that he excels in, rewarding work. Not spoiled at all. When he visits me, I try to give him some gas money (he lives 2 hours away) and he never wants to take it, though he knows it's in no way a hardship for me to give it to him - he just takes care of himself. Because he's like that, I don't mind helping him out in little ways.

So I don't think you can say any number of children is one way or the other - it depends on the parenting and the innate personalities of the children.
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