Thank you to everyone who helped me with musical suggestions for tearjerker songs and who shared father memories with me. All this has stirred up some great ideas for my fathers book project so I’m thinking for a few days here, I’m going to do a question of the day related to families and see if some more ideas can start percolating.
So, question for the day:
If you’re an only child, what’s the best and worst thing about being an only child? If you have siblings, what’s the best and worst thing about having brothers or sisters?
I’ll start. I’m an only child. The worst thing about that there was never anyone else to play with, to talk to about family stuff, to help me try to convince my mom or grandmother that something was a good idea. The best thing was I didn’t have to share my mom or my grandmother. When I had their attention, I had it 100%.
I’m also an only child. The worst part was vacations and holidays. There was never anyone to play with. All my cousins were older than me so didn’t want to “play” with me at holidays. SOMETIMES we could bring a friend on vacation, but when we didn’t, mom & dad didn’t always cut it.
I lived next door to another only child, so we were like sisters most of the time. The day to day not having anyone to play with was non-existent.
The best was being spoiled (but not a spoiled brat). I also grew up faster, I think.
I have to say that now that I’m an adult it’s even WORSE!! Both my parents have passed away, so now I’m an orphan. I look at my kids w/their love/hate relationship and am glad they will have each other now and as adults.
I have three older sisters.
Best things: Us against the world (or at least my parents); Having people to ask the different growing-up questions; Safety net for me after I moved out of the house at 16
Worst things: My parents being sure I would make every single mistake my sisters made–“No, you can’t go to camp. We let xyz go, and look how that turned out!”; Having a sister with a brain disorder nobody knew how to treat at that time was hard on everyone; We sometimes fought 2 against 2; I felt left out a lot, since they were 5, 7, and 9 years older; Being left behind as they moved out of the house one by one was horrible.
Even though my Worst list looks longer, the Bests FAR outweigh the Worsts:>)
I am the youngest of four. I have a sister ten years my senior, and two brothers in between us.
One thing that was good about having siblings was that I got to learn a lot by observing. I was the youngest, so that meant they had all gone through our school system ahead of me, so I knew what to expect in terms of teachers and experiences. I also got to see the consequences of some actions (mostly by my brothers) without having to experience them directly myself. I learned a lot from their mistakes.
I don’t really remember it much now, but a not-so-great thing about having siblings was getting picked on. I shared a room for much of my childhood, but I didn’t know any differently, so I can’t complain about how horrible that was. It just was what it was.
This may sound morbid, but another advantage was that when my father died, there were three other people going through EXACTLY what I was going through at the same time. My sister and I are closer than I am with either of my brothers, and each of us had to go through our own stuff with losing my Dad (it was sudden and unexpected), but at least I didn’t feel alone in what I was going through.
Another benefit of having siblings is nieces and nephews. And now a grand-nephew. I don’t spend a lot of time with my brothers and sister, since we’re all over the country now, but I can’t imagine not having grown up with them.
I will say this: in today’s society, it is more common to grow up without siblings, and it’s a lot more economically manageable for parents. And I think that has made it more “the norm” and perhaps less difficult for those going through it. When I was growing up, most people I knew had at least one sibling.
Remind me to tell you some time about the nurse in my c-section recovery room who scolded and lectured me about only having one child — a child I had not even HELD yet as a result of my surgery and his being whisked off to the NICU because he was born early.
Only child – Best thing, I had my parents to myself. Never any competition for their attention or battling schedules or not being able to do something because there wasn’t enough for everyone to do it.
Worst thing – I was more awkward in peer relationships because I didn’t have that natural education of dealing with people my own age.
My son is entering first grade, and he is more or less an only (my husband has four adult children who do no live with us), and he is finally beginning to overcome his social awkwardness (we kinda hope) after a year of preschool, a year of transitional kindergarten, and a year of kindergarten.
One of his older half siblings lived with us for four years, from when Cameron was 1 to 5, but she is 13 years older than he is, so he’s always been used to living with “adults.”
I’m the mom of an only, and she would say (or would have said when she was in about 2nd grade) that the best thing about being an only child is not having to share a bedroom. The worst thing was not having another child to share any worries and concerns about mom and dad with (our neighbors divorced and after that BD was upset any time HH and I disagreed).
The playmate situation for her was helped by the fact that our neighbors had a daughter who is 7 months younger, and they were best and quasi siblings all through elementary schoool. They bickered like siblings, even.
I’m the oldest and have one half sister on my dad’s side and 3 half brothers on my mom’s. The best thing, now that we’re all grown up, and especially now that mom has passed on, is having family that I really enjoy talking to and seeing for holidays. The worst thing was when I was growing up and didn’t feel like I fit in with them since I moved back and forth between the 2 sets of families.
I am number4 of 5 children with not such a happy childhood so the best thing I could say about having siblings is the wonderful nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews I can now enjoy. The word thing for me because I was the only one that was different in my whole family was trying to fit in. Trying to make myself feel understood. I think to this day no one really understands me. That is ok because I can’t blame them I struggle with that one myself.
Sometimes even though I had all those siblings I was still alone so sometimes felt like I could have been any only child anyway.
– Anne McKenna