One Is The Loneliest (And Best) Number: The Good And The Bad Of Being An Only Child


We’ve heard of middle-child syndrome, which is the product of oldest and youngest child favoritism.

But, what about being the only child? (Fine, there's also an only-child syndrome, but not the point.)

There is no one with whom to be compared, bond or blame -- just you, yourself and you, all alone.

Being one of those only-child children, I’ve thought a lot about the pros and cons of being the one and only. To tell the truth, it has both positives and negatives:

Positive: It’s all about you.

Everyone says only children are spoiled, and for the most part, it’s true. I never had to share with a brother or sister — and I liked it that way.

Christmas presents under the tree were all for me, I never experienced hand-me-downs, and I never had to compromise because my sibling wanted to do something else.

One of the best parts about being the only child is that you always get your own room -- no bunk beds or room dividers. Plus, I never had to worry about being second best, as I was the only one shining.

Negative: It’s all about you.

Sure, getting everything you want all of the time is nice. However, that notion takes away from the thrill of the chase.

I never had to fight my brother over who got an extra scoop of ice cream, never got yelled at by my older sister for stealing her favorite shirt, and I didn’t have to prove I was the smarter sibling by excelling in school.

Humans naturally thrive from competition, but with no competition to be had, things can get boring.

Positive: You’re the priority.

Your parents only have to worry about you. So, they make sure you’re always safe, no matter if you’re down the street or states away.

You know they’ll text you to make sure you arrived at your destination, and they will go out of their way to do what is best for you, no matter what.

Negative: You’re the priority.

Ever heard of helicopter parents? Being an only child makes it difficult to escape the constant monitoring of your parents.

They will always ask what you’re doing, where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Maybe if they had a few more kids about whom to worry, they’d care less about your every move.

Positive: People are jealous of your single-kid status.

I’ve heard, “Ugh, you’re so lucky you’re an only child!” more times than I can count. Everyone envies the fact that you’re the prized possession, the center of attention and the only one who matters.

It’s only right to remind them that, yeah, it is pretty great to be the queen of the castle.

Negative: People feel bad for your lonesomeness.

You also have those people who ask, “Isn’t it so boring being an only child? I’d hate it!” Thanks, rub it in! These comments are a constant reminder that you really are the only one, which can sometimes be quite disheartening.

When you face milestones without a brother or sister with whom to share them, you can start to feel like you’re missing something.

Positive: You become independent.

Yes, you might get more attention from your parents, but being an only child can make you more of a self-governing individual. You tend to spend a lot of time alone, which allows you to be more self-sufficient.

You can do things on your own because you’re used to it, and actually, you like being that way.

Negative: You become introverted.

Spending a lot of time alone can be nice, but it may make you awkward in social settings. I’ve always been a shy person, and being an only child has probably had something to do with it.

As an independent individual, you may find it difficult to take advice or help from someone else, which has the potential to push others away.

Overall, being an only child has its perks and its downfalls. You have free reign, yet no one with whom to share special moments. You don’t have to worry about living with a sibling, but sometimes, you feel lonely. If you’re an only child, like me, embrace it and appreciate it.

Rock being an only child with all the fabulousness you were born with, and own your position in the spotlight. Think about it this way: If you weren’t so awesome, there would have been more of you!

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr