Wednesday, 14 July 2010


I am the only child of my parents.

Based on this fact, do you think I am

a) a lonely person

b) spoilt

c) selfish

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.


Shweta said...

Of all your pieces, this is the one that I agree with 300%. Being an only child myself, I've gone through the same, so, so same experience. And like you said, the worst is when people assume that you are emotionally stunted in matters of sibling relations.
I love you for writing this! If you hadn't I would have!;)
Here's to being awesome only kids and to our parents and family who never made us aware about the distinction and to our solitary flights of fancy and of course, our imaginary friends who rock so much more than some of the siblings I've seen people put up with! ;D

March Hare said...

Glad you agree shwetz. While I don;t say single kids don't have issues but doesn't everyone, irrespective of having a bro and sis and i have seen all sibling love go right out of the window when it comes to selfish pursuits.

The Preacher said...

Well, to be honest, there is a difference observed in people bought as an only child or had siblings, particularly in regard to how they deal with others or they parents. This observation doesn't include the relationship between the siblings themselves.

This observation is of a similar nature like that of zodiac signs. Not all characteristics need be held true.

March Hare said...

@ Preacher: Thanks for stopping by. But I didn't quite get what you said about the observation being the same as that of Zodiacs.
The point I made in the entry was that single kids are not "different" as they are perceived to be. They are only as different or normal as kids with siblings. As for how they treat others and their parents, again there can be no blanket rule on that. I know of many single kids who are as considerate to those they associate with as their peers who have siblings.

roopabee said...

I think, everyone is different and everyone has issues! Single child or the Von Trap Family wannabees! But one *advantage* that I think a single child has over others is the s/he has *more* of a chance to be comfortable in his/her own skin and think for his/her self....

Latin Sardar said...

Wow! Does that make a difference at all?

March Hare said...

nope it doesn't but apparently to some (n that's a big sum) it does. Hence the rant :)

Latin Sardar said...

You never said you were going Indiana Jones, doing some relic hunting...

March Hare said...

@LS: Apparently some have defossilised

Sorcerer said...

Pretty nice read!!
I laughed out loud on the blog Title!!That was really something."Livin' la vida sofa"

Really cool post.and loved the cartoon too!!

March Hare said...

Welcome back Sorcerer and thank you for your kind words! Haven't heard from you in a while, hope to see yo more often on the blog.