About 20 percent of the national population are only children. There are many perceptions of only children, but here are five real life struggles of being an only child.
1. Everyone thinks you're selfish
This has been the biggest misconception of being an only child I've faced. There's some weird misconception that you don't share and that you don't like other people in your space. This is extremely untrue for me. In fact, I'm more likely to share than most of my friends with siblings. People with siblings have been scarred from sharing stories, while I don't have any.
2. You must be spoiled
Being an only child means that everyone assumes you've gotten everything you've ever asked for. This isn't true. Throughout my life, I've had to earn what I've gotten. Now everything I've ever needed, but if I ever wanted something, my parents taught me the value of working hard for everything you have. I would have to maintain good grades, clean the house, and take care of my room.
Being an only child worked in my favor because my parents were able to take care of me, as I was only one child. If I had siblings, I don't know if I would've gotten what I did - such as my mom's car. I was never spoiled, I was just given whatever my parents could give me, and I worked for the rest.
3. You're the center of attention
Being an only child means my parents literally didn't have anyone else to focus on. I was the center of attention, which is not as fun as it sounds. Every time something happened in the house, I was the first to blame. I mean, the dog couldn't have broken that glass, right?
This also meant that I was the only person my parents talked to at home. I was questioned about my day, where I was going, and who I would be with. I always had to talk, because I didn't have any siblings to be interrogated. I was always pressured to be the best because there wasn't another child to be better, or worse.
4. You have to be cautious
All I've heard my entire life was "please be safe, you're the only kid we have." While there's no problem with this, I've had to be overly cautious and questioned about my actions throughout my life. Being the only child, there is the consideration to be as safe as possible, for both yourself and your parents.
5. You are alone
I grew up being my best friend. I never had a sibling to share the experiences of life with mom and dad, and I didn't have a permanent play date. I was always playing by myself, and I learned how to be alone. I learned how to handle things without a friend, and I understood what it meant to only have yourself.
But, being an only child isn't all bad.
These are just some of the simple struggles I faced being an only child. I always wanted a sibling, even though I know that siblings are the biggest pains. I know it isn't easy sharing the attention, or having someone to constantly annoy you. I am aware that since I'm an only child, I've probably romanticized the experience of having siblings, but it's something I've always dreamt of.
However, being an only child made my life the beautiful experience it's been. Being an only child, I've had my parents complete support, and they're some of my best friends. With it always being the three of us, we've grown to become a close family unit, even friends as I've become an adult.
I was able to have a life of love, one where I learned my value as an independent person, and it taught me how to be the woman I am today.
While it sucked sometimes, I wouldn't have had it any other way.