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Topic Meme: Day 3 - Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Topic Meme: Day 3 [20131205|14:30]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[personal profile] liseuse requested: Being an only child. Is there a different rhetoric about being an only child in Hawai'i/the States to the one you've noticed in the UK? Do you like being an only child? (I ask this as an only child, I like gathering anecdata about other only children!)

Uh yeah, so it turns out I may have some unresolved bitterness around talking about being an only child.

I’m unsure whether or not this is related to age, but I have rarely experienced being told, “You probably exhibit X behaviour because you’re an only child”, in the UK. Whereas I remember being told that all the damn time in the States, usually in a negative context. That, plus the, “Oh you poor thing”, attitude from people who seem to think that your parents have deprived you from the opportunity to learn essential life lessons by not providing you with siblings contrives to make talking about being an only child a fairly tedious experience.

I like being an only child. I had the undivided attention of my parents and was surrounded by adults as a child. There was one older cousin with whom I was (and still am) very close. He’s 4.5 years older than I am, and we spent a good deal of time together as children. I suppose these factors have led me to spend most of my life seeking the company of persons either in or older than my peer group and less those who are significantly younger. I never felt as if there were person-shaped gaps in my life because I didn’t have siblings. If anything, I felt like I missed out on more conflict, because that was what I tended to notice at school or at my friends’ houses between siblings. Maybe that conflict would have built my character differently. There’s no way to tell whether that would have been to my improvement or my detriment. At this point in my life, I feel it would make little difference.

The only reason I regret not having a sibling or two now is that my peripatetic youth has landed me quite far away from my aging parents. Of course, there’s no guarantee that [a] sibling[s] would not have had the same wanderlust I did and ended up in, say, Argentina rather than sticking close by home to provide them with care and companionship. But it would have increased the chances.

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[User Picture]From: imyril
2013-12-05 19:54 (UTC)
I can vouch for 'behaviour X is typical of only children' rhetoric existing in Europe too, although I didn't get hit with that stick too much by people who knew me. There is definitely a preconception that it makes you spoilt and selfish, which I find somewhere between amusingly ironic and downright offensive given the people who sometimes cling to it.

Like you, I don't regret my lack of siblings. I adopted a couple at various stages of life, so acquired some of the good bits without the bad bits :)
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[User Picture]From: purplecthulhu
2013-12-05 22:54 (UTC)
Yes - this ties in with my UKish experience of being an only child.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2013-12-06 13:57 (UTC)
UK-ish? Where were the other bits of your childhood spent, if I may be so nosy?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2013-12-06 13:56 (UTC)
There is definitely a preconception that it makes you spoilt and selfish, which I find somewhere between amusingly ironic and downright offensive given the people who sometimes cling to it.

A preconception that is totally borne out by a world dominated by a ruthless army of spoilt and selfish only children.

OR NOT. :P

I, too, am rather fond of my found family.
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