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Why is growing up with a sibling different from being an only child? What are the advantages and disadvantages of of being a single child?
By Sam Craig from Lancaster, PA
I have a unique perspective. While I am actually the baby of 6, I grew up more like an only child because they were all out of the home by the time I was 4. I was very lonely as a child. I begged my Mom to have/adopt another or more child(ren). I craved having someone to play with- that shelf of board games didn't work too well without another player :-(
We have an only child. He gets all of our attention and is somewhat spoiled, but he is the nicest kid ever and very into sharing with others. I do know he wishes he had siblings so he would have other kids to play with. He does get a lot of play time with friends though. He thinks of his pets as being like siblings.
My parents could not have more children. It was lonely for me when a child but even more so as an adult. You watch others with their siblings and wish you had someone. Then as your parents age, you have total responsibility for their care. After they die, you feell so bereft, as tho you had become an orphan. I advised my daughter to have another child so her daughter would not have to face the loneliness. She truly loves her brother and is so glad to have him. All the talk about only children being spoiled cannot make up for the times when you feel so alone. I had wonderful parents and grandparents, but there is something about having a brother or sister that is so appealing.
I was one of 12 children. The first 6 were taken away by the state so I never knew them growing up. The rest were either adopted by relatives or kept in the original family. When I was 6 I was told who they all were, these "cousins" of mine. I thought it was the smartest way to raise us all. I got to see them for gatherings and go home as an only child. To me, it was the best of both worlds. I can honestly say I would not prefer one over the other.