Many people think an only child is selfish, spoiled, and overindulged. While growing up as the only kid in a home will mold your behaviors and personality, it also comes with a lot of stereotypes. Did you know that single-child families are becoming more common these days?
Back in the 1980s, about 10 percent of women had just one child. However, in 2020, the number of people with one offspring has risen to over 17 percent. Family size and structure changes with the times, but the only child misconceptions don’t seem to change. Here are some of the most common myths about being a party of one.
Ten Untrue Stereotypes About an Only Child
People often make unfair assumptions about a person who is an only child, like these.
1. Shy in Large Groups
Does being an only child mean that you must be a shy person? Just because there is no one around your home to fight and argue with like siblings, it does not mean that you don’t develop social skills.
You still go to school or work and interact with others there. Growing up in a smaller family doesn’t mean that a person will be timid. An individual can grow up in a home with five children and have a backward personality, and the single child home may have a kid that is a social butterfly.
The reality is that temperament all comes down to how well a person is socialized, and you can get that from outside your home.
2. Only Children Are Spoiled Brats
Sure, there are plenty of rotten kids that come from a home with no siblings. Additionally, there are families with lots of kids that have spoiled brats too. Whether a child is overindulged or not is a product of the parents and family members.
Being an only kid doesn’t mean that you get a ticket to everything you want in life, though it would be nice. Actually, many parents seem to be tougher on an only child as opposed to those who have many children. There’s no one else to help with dishes, take out the trash, and do all those little things that take teamwork.
If anything, being the only kid in the house can be challenging. There’s no brothers or sisters to play with, dream with, get into arguments with, and love.
3. Constantly Worry About Parents’ Deaths
All children worry about their parents getting older and passing from this life. However, more responsibility falls on an only child because they are the only ones to handle everything.
Thankfully, most people don’t sit around and think about such morbid things all the time, and if they do, they probably need to seek mental health assistance. The thoughts of parents passing from this life are hard to handle, regardless of whether you have siblings or not.
4. Prefer to Be Loaners
Why does the only child get the stereotype of being a loaner? Numerous children who have no siblings crave the social interaction of others. Many solo kids would love to have siblings to play with, and they often beg their parents to add to the family.
So, the fact that many people think only kids are loaners isn’t factual. Now, there will be some that do prefer to be alone and crave solitude. However, it all comes down to personality and not the family dynamics.
Many loaners are actually people who suffer from anti-social personality traits, which has nothing to do with having a brother or sister.
5. Want Things Done Their Way
If you don’t have any brothers or sisters, it means that you also want things done your way, right? Being controlling is a personality flaw that can happen to anyone. It’s usually based on circumstances rather than family structure.
If one of your parents is controlling, then you too may have such a personality. Also, some people like to try to control a situation when they have inadequacies inside. People who have siblings can be just as controlling as those who don’t, so this stereotype is false.
6. Adverse to Conflict
Everyone can stand up for what they feel is right. If someone is not treating you well or taking advantage of you, you can and should stand up for yourself. Being an only kid doesn’t mean that you will tower in the corner when life throws you lemons.
Some people don’t like conflict at all. They may take their traits back after their mom or dad, who is also passive. Sure, some individuals would do anything they could to keep from having a confrontation, but it has nothing to do with your family dynamics.
Again, this is another issue that has more to do with your personality than the fact that you have no siblings.
7. Are Highly Sensitive
Perhaps being overindulged makes a person overly sensitive, or the person could have something like social anxiety that makes them this way. Some people are more sensitive than others.
Have you seen individuals that tend to cry while others would rather rage with fury than to shed a tear? An only child may be a sensitive person, but they may be a fireball who won’t take any garbage from anyone in life.
It’s just the luck of the draw as to whether you’re a sensitive person or not. It has nothing to do with your family setup.
8. Have a Unique Family Dynamic
True, an only kid doesn’t have to worry about sharing with other children, but they certainly do have things that are unique to their household. There’s no one to blame all the empty water bottles in the living room on, and there’s no one to take the fall for the garage door being left open all night.
An only kid sure does have a unique family dynamic, and it can sometimes be lonely. However, since they’ve never known anything else, it’s routine to them.
They have a different kind of normal than other people. So, true, there is a different family makeup, but every home has different dynamics to consider.
9. Get Along Well with Adults
It’s a unique trait to be able to socialize with adults at a young age. Some children are far beyond their years and have learned the fine art of conversation, while others tend to be unable to mingle and have a good dialogue.
An only kid may have more opportunities to learn how to socialize with adults, but that doesn’t mean that they have mastered it. The single kid might prefer the company of children to grownups, but they have learned how to work the room of grownups because it’s all they’ve been around.
Whether a kid gets along well with adults isn’t going to matter if they have siblings or not. It all comes down to how they were raised.
10. Like Privacy
One of the nice things about being an only kid is you don’t have to share a room or toys with others. However, one of the worst things about being an only kid is not having other children in the home. If you have a brother or sister, you can share secrets, blame things that happen around the house, and have someone to be there for you all your life.
You have someone to talk to when your parents make you mad and life has been unkind. Sure, there are plenty of only kids that crave privacy and their own space because it’s all they’ve known. Then, there are some people that grew up in larger families who would do anything for some solitude.
Can you imagine sharing a room with 2-3 other kids? It’s simply hard to pinpoint and say that an only kid would want complete privacy when their personality might be the type that wants people all around them.
Dealing with the Loneliness of Being an Only Child
While the only child gets a bad rap because people think they get everything they could ever want, many don’t know the loneliness that comes with being a party of one. Did you know that it’s quite common for the only kid to make up an imaginary friend to have someone to talk too?
Shockingly, 65 percent of only children develop an imaginary friend to help them cope with being alone. This invisible friend helps to fill in the gap where there is a lack of siblings. Don’t fret if you see your child doing this as it’s an emotional and mental health need that they’re fulfilling.
Now, if the friend starts doing menacing things around the house and is a scapegoat for bad behavior, then it’s time to be concerned. When you see, pretend, or fantasy friends pop up around your home, you can rest assured that your child is developing their imagination.
The truth about the child that lives in a home with all adults is that most would love to have a sibling. While some may have problems sharing with other children, it’s something they would gladly do.
Just because you grow up in a family where you’re the only kid doesn’t mean that you will have major issues in life. In fact, you’ll probably be just as typical as the kids next door or be even more well-rounded because you got extra attention from doting parents.