The Mythical 'Only Child Syndrome' Explained, And No, We Aren't All Spoiled

The Mythical 'Only Child Syndrome' Explained, And No, We Aren't All Spoiled

Sure, it was lonely at times and there was quite a bit of time where imaginary friends were a thing

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There is always that question when sitting down talking to friends on the first day of school asking, "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" My answer to that question was always, "Well no, but I have dogs!" Yes, I was that girl, but I ended up gaining many qualities from being an only child.

Sure, it was lonely at times and there was quite a bit of time where imaginary friends were a thing. But, I learned how to be very independent and mature from it.

I grew up being an only child with divorced parents at the age of two. I was always a really shy kid and felt a little out of place. In social settings outside of school, I was rarely around other people my age. After I would get home from elementary school, I would always play with my barbies, Polly Pockets, and little pet shop toys. My dog, Smirnoff, (yes her name is Smirnoff) would sit and watch me play with my toys. Smirnoff was like a sibling to me. Just one that couldn't talk… but would always listen.

There are many stereotypes that go along with being an only child. Antisocial, spoiled rotten, loners, and selfish, to name a few. I hate to break it to you but stereotypes are usually wrong. Just because two partners only had one child doesn't mean they're magically going to get be spoiled and get everything they want.

Most of the time only children end up being very independent, social, kind, and empathetic. Since us only children have spent most of our time with older adults we tend to have more of a mature outlook on situations.

I want to clear a couple things up about being an only child:

1. We aren't that weird.

There are many stereotypes out there that claim only children are weird because they aren't around children their age as much.

2. We don't get everything we want.

Our parents are the same as all other parents. They had one child for a reason and that reason being: having kids is a lot of money.

3. We actually don't mind sharing with other people.

Just because we've probably had our own room and bathroom our whole lives doesn't mean we can't be nice and share.

4. We aren't loners.

We have friends, just saying

5. We make sure to respect authority figures.

Growing up mainly around adult figures allowed us to gain a different type of respect for authority

6. We aren't self-absorbed.

"I love me, myself, and I" is not our motto.

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Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

Here are all the things our phone calls aren't long enough to say.
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Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together?

It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world.

Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening.

I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.

Love,

Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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8 Things I Learned Growing Up Blessed With Brothers

Sometimes they can be OK, I guess.

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I was lucky enough that God graced me with siblings because for my entire life I have had two built-in playmates. However, instead of the sisters that I always dreamed of, He gave me two smelly boys.

When I was younger I always was jealous of my friends who had sisters. I used to beg my parents to adopt another child so I could have a sister. My brothers were competitive, they were stubborn, they liked to physically fight each other and me, but they've always been my best friends.

As I look back at my childhood, I realize that growing up with brothers has taught me a lot about life and I wouldn't change that for the world.

Competition.

Every day of my childhood was some type of competition between the three of us. Whether it was grades in school, sports, which TV show to watch, or who got to eat the last slice of pizza, it always seemed like there was something to be won.

Now, I can still feel that competitive spirit coming out of me. It drives me to be the best that I can be. It has really helped me when I play sports or during classes when I'm taking a test.

Patience.

My brothers always knew what to say or do to get me to blow up on them, which would always end up with me getting in trouble. My mom would always tell me to be patient and ignore my brothers when they were trying to annoy me.

At the time, it always made me angry that I was the one who had to ignore or be patient with them. However, that has taught me important people skills that I have carried with me into my adult life. I'm a much cooler tempered person and I can be much more rational when I'm angry as compared to other people I know.

Impulsiveness.

I can remember playing outside with my brothers and all the other neighborhood kids. We had a forest behind our houses that we could get to if we hopped the fence. I can remember my brothers thought it would be a great idea to throw rocks at ant hills and bee hives which always ended with someone getting bitten or stung.

The impulsive decisions my brothers made in their youth taught me how to think fast. Now, I'm good at thinking of solutions to problems quickly. I, also, tend to be much more flexible with impulsive trips to the store or off campus.

How to get away with anything.

Sneaky is one of the most prominent words that comes to my mind when I think of my brothers. They have always been able to get away with things. I can remember days when they would come into my room and explain to me the complex plan they created to sneak out or to play pranks on our parents. I never joined in on their escapades but they did show me a few tricks on how to get away with it if I ever did.

How to be a hard worker.

Both of my brothers are wrestlers and have been since they were young. In high school, my twin brother, Brendan, would be doing wrestling through winter and Thanksgiving break. This meant that's even if it's was Christmas or Thanksgiving, he would still mostly stick to his diet and decide to lay off the dessert. He also went to California for about a month over the summer to go to a wrestling camp so he could better his skills.

My younger brother, Jacob, started high school last year and did choir, the musical, and wrestling all at the same time.

Since I have watched my brothers excel in sports and work at my dad's restaurant, it has pushed me to become a harder worker with my school work and my athletics. I want to make them as proud of me as I am of them.

Self-defense.

My brothers have always been the protective type and we did martial arts in our youth, so all of us have some type of training in self-defense. With that being said, much of our practice for martial arts was on each other when we were upset. If two of us had a conflict, we would put on your sparing gear and battle it out. Through these fights, I have hyper extended my elbow, almost broke my nose, and have been beaten with a small, wooden, baseball bat. Of course, parents stopped it when it got too violent but it was always a way to fix our issues.

I'm glad that I had that experience when I was younger because now that I am on my own if someone approaches me in a violent way, I know how and where to throw a punch to make sure I can defend myself. Also, I know that my two strong, athletic brothers would always take someone down if they hurt me.

Sharing.

I was a very stubborn kid and to an extent I still am. However, having my brothers around taught me how to share. I used to never want to let my brothers play with my toys because I assumed that they would break them. I realized that if I wasn't going to share, my brothers would take my toys with force and would be more likely to break them out of anger. So, I began to let them use my things as long as they promised to give them back. When I began to let them use my things, they began to let me use their things.

I have found myself lending out many of my things out to my friends in college and they lend things to me. Sharing is a very important part of learning how to be an adult and I'm glad that I was able to learn how to share at a young age.

Love.

While I can count on my fingers the number of times my brothers have explicitly said, "I love you," to me, I know that they do love me.

When I going back home to Tacoma for the first time for Thanksgiving break, I was half asleep on the train when my phone starting buzzing. Lazily, I reached down and answered it without looking at the caller ID. It was my younger brother, Jacob. He was excitedly asking, "Hey, when are you gonna be home? Is it gonna be soon? Can we go out to lunch?"

He didn't have to explicitly say it but I knew that behind his words he was saying, "Hey, I missed you and I'm excited for you to be home."

My twin brother, Brendan, was my walking partner at my high school graduation. Right before we walked out in front of all our family and our friends and classmates' families, Brendan linked his pinky finger with mine. Having a physical reminder that I had someone on my side calmed my nerves immensely and I knew it was his way of saying that we were going to get through it together.

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