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" You Must Be A Spoiled ...!" From The Heart Of An Only Child.

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by kkrish, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    “How many brothers and sisters do you have?”

    “None. I am an only child”

    And I wait…

    As I wait I watch the face and without fail I see the range of reactions pass across … first surprise, then various other thoughts, and then sudden enlightenment.

    Yes… any moment now that statement is going to pop up …. 3...2…1…

    “Oh you must be a spoiled ... child!” the “child” here is a euphemism for “brat”.

    Ever since I remember these were the only first words uttered when my “only child” status came to be known. Until I was 10-11 I had no idea what this “spoiled” meant. I would just stand there and blink not knowing if I was spoiled. I would cringe in shame because I thought I must have done something terribly wrong to evoke such a reaction.

    **************

    Here are some of the assumptions that I have had thrown at me since my childhood and some even now.

    1. You are spoiled – Nope I am not. My parents could have spoiled me but they did not. One does not have to be an only child to be spoiled. Parents can spoil any child – the first, the middle, the last, or the only.

    2: You are selfish. That is why you are an only child – Ludicrous. Could I, a little child, know much about sharing and have told my parents I do not want a sibling? A case of spitefulness at its lowest, (or is it highest?)

    3. You do not know how to share – Wrong again. I love to share with my family and friends.

    4. Your life is empty without siblings – No, not at all. My life has been very fulfilling with lots of love from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends.

    5. You are antisocial – Wrong again. I am very social. I am an introvert, which means I need some time alone to energize myself – but I have a good number of good friends.

    6. You lack creativity – Oh so wrong. I am exceptionally creative. I have to be to keep myself occupied. My brain is made to work extra to come up with solutions. Also I compete with myself only – no sibling to compare and compete with.
    ************

    For @ILoveTulips who is concerned on having an only child, here are some of the ways my parents handled this situation. i have added some other points that came to my mind at random.

    1. My parents were very matter-of-fact when they informed me why I had no siblings and that was that. They never sounded or appeared guilty of doing me any wrong. Something in their tone brooked no argument.

    2. Sharing – Everything in the family was divided into three.

    I was not allowed to take the last piece of anything without finding out if mom/dad wanted it.
    I was told to share with friends at school, visiting friends, relatives. My parents taught me that there is more joy in giving than in receiving.

    3. I was told “NO” many times.

    No, I have to put away my things
    No, mom is not going to wash my used plate and tumbler
    No, I have no other option than to talk to and be polite to all our guests young and old.
    No, I cannot give excuse to escape my allotted chores
    No, dad is not going to do my homework.
    No, dad or mom is not going to talk to teacher if I missed homework, or forgot an assignment.
    No, dad or mom is not going to support me if I did wrong to another person. I have to swallow my pride and apologize.
    No Gossiping, tattling, ridiculing, making fun of others’ misfortune, disrespecting others point of view, name-calling, use of cuss words.

    4. I was encouraged to discuss anything and everything with my parents. I ended up being more comfortable with them because I found I learned a lot from their experience, their wisdom. At a point I found discussions with girls my own age a bit boring. Later my husband also told me that I was more mature than the women he had interacted with.

    5. Imaginary friends. – I clearly remember that I had two imaginary friends when I was six and seven. I had a pink tea set and they were my guests who shared my teeny biscuit pieces and the milk in the tiny tea cups. When I was eight I stopped playing with my tea set and I did not need imaginary friends. Why, I do not know. Perhaps I had begun discovering other means of keeping myself occupied such as embroidery, sewing, painting

    6. Household chores – My parents never believed in employing household help.

    By eight my additional chore was to sweep the house after I came home from school.
    When I was ten – I had to knead the dough for chapathi, and grind the batter for idli on Friday evenings.
    By eleven I had to wash my uniforms, my clothes, and iron them. Polishing my shoes was also my responsibility.

    7. My parents provided me with tools, opportunities, classes, etc.,within their capacity, to keep me occupied, but they never ever tried to keep me entertained. The onus of entertaining myself was my problem.

    **********
    On having Imaginary friends.
    The myth is that only singletons have imaginary friends. Not true. Children with siblings also do.

    Here is an excerpt from an article from Psychology Today.

    Oldest children, only children, and children who don’t watch much television are more likely to create an imaginary friend. This probably reflects opportunity. Children need unstructured time alone to be able to invent imaginary friends.

    Having an imaginary friend is not evidence that a child is troubled. However, imaginary friends can be a source of comfort when a child is experiencing difficulties. There are many case studies of children inventing imaginary friends to help them cope with traumatic experiences. A study based on interviews of middle school students at high risk for developing behavior problems found that having an imaginary companion was associated with better coping strategies but lower social preference with peers. However, by the end of high school, those high-risk children who had had an imaginary companion in middle school showed better adjustment on multiple measures.-psychology today.

    ********************
    Here is another article on the only child

    Myth 1: Only equals lonely.
    I have been questioned many times inquiring if my child is lonely as an only child. Recently, I saw a Facebook post from a mom that she was hesitant to have one kid because she thought it meant the child would be lonely. Let me put everyone’s mind at ease: my child is not lonely. Only does NOT equal lonely.

    In fact, only children receive all their parents’ time and attention, so they are far from lonely. If anything, there might be times, especially in the preteen and teen years, that they wish they got a little less attention and were lonely! My daughter has plenty of friends from the many activities she’s involved in. Cousins are also built in friends for those who are lucky to live around family. A pet is also be a great source of companionship.

    Myth 2: Only equals spoiled.
    Having an only child doesn’t mean they constantly give that child everything he or she wants and asks for. Plenty of only children, just like kids with siblings, don’t always get what they want and are told “no”.

    My daughter started in daycare as a baby then went to elementary school, not once was not sharing ever an issue for her. Actually, her teachers and childcare instructors have told me that she was always one of the first to share.

    Myth 3: Only equals no socialization skills.
    Anyone who has ever talked to my daughter or spent time with her could attest to the fact no socialization skills has never been an issue. That is far from the case. Talking to friends is the one thing my daughter has always gotten into trouble for in school and extracurricular activities. She loves her friends and always looks forward to making new friends. Not because she’s lonely, but because she’s great at socializing and that’s just who she is.

    source :Busting the “Only Child” Myths — The Chaotic Commute

    There are numerous articles out there that debunk the myths of the only child.

    *********

    Since many years now when someone asks me if I have brothers or sisters I answer “none, I am an only child and no, I am not spoiled!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  2. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for sharing such a personal perspective Kamala. One myth that I can dispel, having grown up in a larger than average Indian family, and having two of my own: "siblings always do things together and entertain each other". How I wish that were true! My youngest sibling was much younger than I. I was more a superfluous parent for him than a true sibling. We are closer now than we were as children. My little ones are 6 years apart and while they do play together once in a while, it is much more common for them to sit in their own rooms and play alone by themselves. Ages, genders, temperaments, all play a role in sibling interactions and the outcome is not always idyllic. I get the same, 'I am bored. Play with me', requests that all moms do irrespective of how many kids they have. Having more kids doesn't automatically make parenting easier or better. Well-adjusted, well-raised kids come from families of all sizes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  3. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you @Gauri03 .
    Now you have made me feel even better.
    The first and only time I missed having a sibling was when my parents were going through health issues. Only then I wished I had someone who would share the same worry about the same folks who brought us into this world.
    Now that i am blessed to take care of my mom, even that feeling is gone now.

    Exactly. Everything finally rests on parenting skills. We parents do walk a thin line.
     
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  4. Agathinai

    Agathinai Silver IL'ite

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    It’s kind of wrong perception by some people. You have written very nicely. Even if having siblings they don’t have to be together or having good rapport all the time. Maybe when young they have good understanding but same doesn’t eventuate in adult life especially after they are married and start their own families.

    People can make any judgements but doesn’t hold true.

    I wonder what would people tell about the same in China. China had been having ‘one child policy’ until recently. I assume no would ever bother or think otherwise regarding these issues. Just ruminating.
     
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  5. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    Four grandparents -- themselves subjected to 1-child policy -- competitively feeding tasty morsels of food to the only grandchild had ended up causing lots of young, obese children with health problems.

    Since 2015, they have a 2-child policy. Quite a lot of thought, as well as actual empirical evidence of the 1-CP's consequences had moved them there.

    When lots of middle, and high school children were killed in an earthquake (2008), the 1-child policy had devastated the parents and left them with no meaning for continuing their own lives.

    Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei made a large snake using school satchels (backpacks).
    In 'According To What?' Ai Weiwei Makes Mourning Subversive
     
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  6. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    Excellent write-up, K. It reminded me of so many things; above all four of my friends who confidently and with very few doubts chose not to have more than one child. It also struck me that sometimes I tell them, 'I envy you.. one and done. I have to go through each thing twice.. high school, college admission process ..' Granted that these are in times of my extreme stress or said light-heartedly, but still what I say doesn't help them or me.

    My kids are like two only-child's. I have had "<name> is not social?" or "<name> does not like to share?" thrown at me sometimes. It was only after I read up more about introverts and came across articles that said we don't have to share all of our belongings and resources to be considered polite/generous/kind that I realized these comments from others are meaningless.

    Looks like people will always comments, no matter what the configuration of a family. So, mine are like two only-child's. "Oh they don't talk much to each other? They are not close? They don't fight?" the list of questions I've allowed to get to me is endless. I allowed it to spoil otherwise beautiful days and events. The joke was on me when one day we were discussing what courses Thing2 would take in high school. I consider myself the authority and would have researched all the pros and cons and looked forward to guiding-without-imposing-my-will. When the actual time came to fill out the course request form and click submit, Thing2 sought final approval from Thing1 about the courses and the order of choices. I am grateful that only DH saw my jaw drop at that sidelining of my inputs. : )

    Felt nice to read the snippet. As I thought about it over the Saturday, made for some pleasant recalls.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  7. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Kamala,

    Interesting post - plenty of food for thought.

    I was born almost 10 years after my older sib. She always played the role of the 'superfluous parent' to me and my parents insisted that she being older automatically gave her the right to 'correct' me which I resented since I can remember. So that '3rd parent' became quite a crowd in my dictionary and left me wishing I either had a twin or another sister in between with whom I could relate. This was a proverbial generation gap. The fact that she got married early (23 years) and left home when I was not yet a teen left me as good as an 'only' child. Of course having a nephew and a niece before I got out of my teens left me in a position of being an aunt cum (a much older) sibling to them. A case of history repeating itself.

    Ha! Reminds me of the physical fights we used to have - she trying to impose her authority and me (all of 4) standing up to my full height and fighting back. (Needless to say she got the better of me every time). My mom would be pulling out her hair. She'd try to intervene and discipline me. However, when mom scolded or hit me for anything, it would be the same 'bully' sibling who would step in tears in her eyes to stop mom from hitting me (much to mom's chagrin!)

    Life went on and I realized that it was when I most needed her support, none was forthcoming though the authority was still there. Mom passed on and things are back to normal. Certainly equations change over the years, but some things never change.

    Just the other day I shared something on FB. Was talking to her about it and she had no clue what I was talking about. I reminded her that she had 'liked' the forward. She said she had noticed it and there were no likes, so she gave a 'like'. Do I feel amused, touched or patronized? Still trying to make up my mind! :smile: Am still the 'little' sis and am sure that will never change.

    So having a sib is a mixed bag speaking from experience. One can never plan on one being a blessing or otherwise for the offspring.
     
  8. Vedhavalli

    Vedhavalli Platinum IL'ite

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    @kkrish well written nicely articulated.
    It all depends on parenting.
    If sharing runs only with children with siblings we won't have lakhs of pending property cases in India. Many families don't talk to siblings family over a small dispute or small incident.
     
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  9. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you @Agathinai
    Yes, my father told the same during one of our discussions.
    I have seen so many families where siblings continue to maintain a strong bond and the families are happy.
    So I guess, just as there are different levels of bonding in multi-sibling homes so are there different personalities of singletons. Some may be narcissistic also.
    We cannot sweep all under the same stereotype.

    When this policy was announced in 1979 my parents and I were very sad.
    It meant that the relatives such as aunts, uncles, and cousins will cease to exist.

    I do not support this as a policy. However, when some couples need to stop with one, for reasons which are very private, it is painful that the child is targeted as a misfit in society.

    I have two children.
     
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  10. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    I do not understand the reason for this comment.

    My article is not in support of or against couples choosing to stop with one child.

    It is an appeal from an only-child to not stereotype and malign us with baseless negative traits.
     

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