I am the only child of my parents.
a) a lonely person
d) all of the above
e) none of the above
If you chose a, b or c, shame on you.
If you are someone who thought there is too little data to go by to form an opinion then there is hope yet..
In all my 29 years I have been subjected to sentiments like, “Oh it must have been lonely” or “”lucky you” or “how boring”; subjected to an assumption that I must have been a brat; to the very recent “V’s got a lottery” and the one I have grown to hate, which is “you won’t understand this (inter-sibling quarrel, love, equation, what have you) as you have no brothers or sisters”.
The only one that they got right was that I was indeed lucky and no it was never boring. I had my friends and cousins to fill my time and the times I was by myself, I could be a pilot, an actress, a super heroine, a doctor, what ever caught my fancy, an exercise that helped in many a quarter, professional and personal! Oh and I still have my imaginary friend who lends an ear to all my rants and aspirations. And no move has been made to commit me.
As far as I remember, for the longest time I was the only single child among my friends and classmates. For me it was something that set me apart, something I was mighty pleased about; for some parents I could well have been a social evil in the making. This single child prejudice went as far as ensuring that I did not get admission in a “prestigious” catholic school in Delhi. The then principal assumed as most other grown ups did, since I was the only child, I was spoilt rotten by my parents (couple that up with being from Delhi and a kid of working parents, no wonder the odds were stacked against me).
And while I trapezed through my childhood blithely unaware of how my single status was breaking traditional norms, my folks too parried nosey comments and unsolicited advice. One instance which stays firmly etched in my memory is how one well meaning(sic) elderly gentleman at some family function spent 15 min trying to explain to my father how it was necessary to have more than one kid and threw in the male child necessity for good measure. Dad being dad stuck to his guns and smiled beatifically at this person and ignored him for the rest of the day. Oh and did I mention I was standing right next to them, all of ten. And so proud of dad. From then onwards, I have always wondered about this single child conundrum.
I grew up perfectly happy, with the usual growth pangs as any multi-siblinged kid. I was as well settled or maladjusted as those with brothers and sisters.
But never never did the status quo of being the only progeny bothered me. It still doesn’t but yes does get my goat when people naturally assume that I am emotionally stunted when it comes to sibling relations. I want to know what more do you learn emotionally or otherwise from this association that you can’t learn from the bond you share with your parents, or friends or cousins or grandparents. My family taught me to be generous, to be loving, to share, to be emotionally strong, to be kind, to be responsible, to be courageous, to be considerate and to be proud of who I am. And I fail to understand what blanks would a sibling have filled.
I have heard of people going in for a second child, to discipline the first one. But hang on a second, isn’t that what the parent is supposed to do? Yes being a only child comes with responsibilities, but doesn’t that hold true for all progeny, what ever the number of siblings be?
I am not saying couples should stick to a one kid policy, but in case for some reason they have to, voluntarily or otherwise, they should not feel that they are depriving their child of anything. It would all depend on what kind of parents they choose to be.
There, I have said my piece.