Only Child Project General Discussion


Only Children Forums Discussion Forum Only Child Project General Discussion

This topic contains 235 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  maalvika 2 years, 11 months ago.

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    You can ask questions, post comments and answer other parents’ questions.
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    Zachary, your post made me very sad. Have you tried to talk to your mom about how you feel? Maybe she is distracted and doesn’t realize what you are going through. I can tell you, however, that sometimes being 14 can suck, even if you DO have brothers or sisters! It is just a part of life we all go through.
    Not dismissing your feelings – please try to talk to your mom or someone else you are close with. I am a mom of an only boy and I KNOW I would want you to come to me if you were my son.



    I am an only child and you know what, IT SUCKS!! I am always lonely, I have nobody to talk to, I just sit in front of my laptop and television and think of how to make a friend since there is no one to interact with. When I try to play with my mom she just yells at me then I go sit in my room and cry.

    My name is Zachary, age 14



    I have a son that is 3.He gets bored very easily.So I have to constantly entertain him and find him things to do and playmates,etc.etc.
    I get it done the best I can..but unfortunatelywe live in a very isolated area.No tother kids around,so that is hard.He is by himself alot,so we have always tried to compensate with toys,lots of toys,anything he has ever wanted…which by the way is the wrong thing to do….he gets so much I believe thats why he gets bored easy,if that makes any sense.Anyway its hard..don’t really know what to do.



    I often say, after people make polite stereotypical comments about my being an only child, that growing up an only child was as they described or the exact opposite. My comment is usually met with puzzled faces. What seems to be overlooked is that many only children are onlies because they were not planned. They were accidents, a surprise… whether or not they were ever told the truth about how they came to be. And the parents made sure that “mistake” didn’t happen again. Some people don’t want a child, yet find themselves with one. They are not bad people, or poor, or abusive in a legal sense, they just had no desire to be a parent. I would say that my experience growing up has been the exact opposite of the stereotype…I was left alone all the time while growing up, I got very little attention, direction or guidance. I lack the little details, the little bits that one only learns from being around others. I can relate to Pippy Longstocking and George of the Jungle. I don’t know how to play cards or board games very well. I don’t come across as I intend. I never suffered those little injustices that children fold into who they become later in life, the stuff that builds character. I never had someone walk into the room and change the channel when I was watching tv, if I left food in the frig…it was always there when I returned. I was alone, but have NEVER been lonely. I often relate to the quote that “a room full of people is the loneliest place in the world.” I am embarassed to say that I talk to myself, outloud, as if speaking to someone…I have done this all my life, well into adulthood, and can never imagine not doing so. I was into my 20s when I was innocently relating my childhood experience to a friend, who turned to me and said “how sad.” That was the first time I realized that others had a very different kind of upbringing…one that involved holidays and summers playing with siblings and cousins, childhood pranks and silliness. You might think Christmas is fun when you get all the presents. It’s quiet, nothing much special is done when it’s just one, it doesn’t seem worth all the trouble. Christmas caroles, trimming the tree, family traditions…seemed silly for one. There isn’t a lot of laughter when you are almost always the only person in the room, but there is happiness. My world was one of make-believe and fantasy, my animals, my stuffed animals were my constant companions, and I was never in the house without the tv on, whether or not I was watching it. Well into my 20s I had fears that most long leave behind in their childhoods. If you met me, you would never know this to have been my life experience. I am well-educated, well-traveled, blond and blue-eyes. I am a soulful person, considered inteligent…pensive, mindful. I have a global perspective…my focus is outward. I have been referred to as like Princess Di…being drawn in life to wounded souls. If you saw me on the street, you would never feel sorry for me…more likely you would attribute a charmed life, that I come from a “good family” and have been afforded every opportunity in life. Now, I say that I would never do that to a child. I want a large family, adopting 5-6 kids hopefully. I want a home full of kids, animals, people running all over the place, organized chaos. A home teeming with love, life and laughter. I want my home to be the one that all the neighborhood kids hang out at. Yet I dear and troubled friend of mine once wrote to me, “you and I are destined to walk this earth alone…and to feel and kind of aloneness that is permanent.”



    Christy, I might want to say you took this article as an attack against families of three rather than as a support to strong friendships… When the article suggested to take a friend along for a museum, or have them join vacation, they probably didn’t imply that being alone with her parents would not be of ultimate importance. I do though, disagree with the article when they say that a child can look upon her friends as siblings. I have 4 sisters and the bond is so special I could never imagine that closeness with someone outside the family. If I did not have sisters, maybe I would have learned to bond better with my friends, but that never happened, to me friends are fun to have, but they change with life situations, sisters stay. Therefor, I’m going to be pretty incapable to push that bond in my kid toward his friends. With his only cousin I am doing that though. Unfortunately they live oceans apart…
    But Christy, you are right, your family IS whole, and I think an only child has a very special relationship with his parents. I must say that in our pack of five girls, our parents are sort of outsiders, even still as we are adults and we sit down for dinner, I feel bad that we dominate the discussions, and my parents are almost left out because they’ve had such a different life from ours, they we’re young farmer parents and we are thirty something -old world travelers… Our youngest sister has this incredible relationship to my mom, which I’m very jealous of, I never had that. And now with my only son, I see things happening in our relationship, that makes me think.. did I ever have that with my parents, and… would he ever have said that or thought this way, had he a little brother right there fighting for toys with him. Even though I still hope for another kid, I really hope that this special relationship we have now, will last and I’m soo thankfull that we had these years alone.



    I’m writing back to you guys with incredible results. The same night I wrote here, I read another discussion about how to get your kids to spend that alone time, infact I was sure it was this website, but cannot find it anymore. There was a couple of women who had cut of tv completely from their kids and that had worked for them. Since the whole issue of tv had been bothering me allways, it was an easy decission for me. The next day we woke up to a new world, no tv to ease out the morning crankiness, no tv while mommy takes a shower and no tv when mom cooks dinner. I started telling him “Mommy doesn’t like it, so there’s no more tv in the house, you wanna play instead!” And that of course worked.
    We fixed breakfast together, and by the time I was in the shower, I think it allready klicked on him, that hey, I can imagine alone, I can make up fantasy worlds!!

    It’s been two weeks now, and he has only asked for tv tree times (for real!!!) and every time the same answer works, and I play with him for 5 minutes and suddenly he is so deep in this fantasy world, that I can clean, cook and all that. We’re still working on that mommy is alowed to read a magazine part, but i think it’ll come. I am so thankfull to those ladies, whom ever they were, for leading me to this direction, I cannot believe what a difference no tv has made on my kids indepenence and CREATIVITY, you should only see, he plays with anything, constructs new inventions, and talks talks talks…. Exactly how we were as kids, now I know an only child CAN do the same.
    If he want’s mommy time, he already knows the trick, he calls me out to do puzzles or read a book. I think he secretly likes not seeing his tv shows. The characters sometimes are involved in his play. Today a sock was Curious Charlie, don’t know if he forgot George’s name already or this is a new character 😉
    My hero, the lady on a website said that tv might buy you an hour of peace but it robs your child the ability to create, he will think he constantly needs entertainment and when tv is not on, the show is on you.



    hmmmm, no replies yet- maybe I should jump in here.
    Kelley: Kind of a difficult question, a difficult situation to analyze 🙁
    Let me see….My first instinct would be to say that there would be a cancellation between the only child characteristics, that is, both will learn to get along. May be some difficulties in the beginning though.
    It would help us if you can tell us something about the dynamics of this group of 9. Would be very interesting for readers here…
    I feel that the onlies would end up getting along better, but a lot of it depends on parenting. Instead of accentuating the “stereotypes”, I guess it would only reduce it!
    I would suggest you fix playdates with all the 9 if possible, and look at the dynamics. One on One playdates. Would be a nice little experiment 😉



    My only daughter is 3 1/2. she is currently attending a waldorf inspired “kindergarden” 15 hours week. Of the 9 kids in the group 6 are only children. her 2 best friends are onlies and these are who she plays with the most. I wonder how having other only child playmates versus ones with siblings maybe accentuates the only child stereotypes.



    Since no one has replied yet, I thought I should share my thoughts here.
    First of all, you are doing many of the right things.
    As far as the things you feel are not going right- like having to keep him engaged or entertained- don’t you think he is too young and this is rather on the normal side of things?
    Of course, it is time you started transitioning him out of that mode, but that is precisely what you are doing with playdates.
    One thing I would suggest is that you should consider increasing the number of playdates- target 5 per week, and you will eventually end up with 2 or 3 per week. They are at a parallel play age, and there are chemistries to sync. Besides, it is important for the parents of both kids to get along well. And there are issues like scheduling, transportation, logistics, nap times etc…Sounds like a military operation, doesn’t it?
    The only child will become independent if parents inculcate that in their child.
    Consider these 2 points:
    1) Since they have no siblings to guide them, in many ways they become independent faster. 2) However, since all of the parents’ time and attention is spent on the only child, he will stay dependent longer.
    So I guess it all depends on the personality of the child, social circumstances, parenting, schooling and a lot of other factors.
    It is normal for parents to be more stressed about their first child. By the time the second one comes, they are less stressed, more experienced (and if I might say so, less concerned). Being an only child’s parent, you just will be stressed for a much longer period!
    Supporting his time alone:
    You could start with more playdates. Consider going to the library twice a week, and let him lounge around and also pick books by himself. Lego sets are good- the interest in this might last for several years if they start young. This is the age when they are interested in water- lots of pans and cups and trucks going through water pools. Playdoh and lots of molds. A mini sand-pit can also keep little ones engaged. Try setting a trend of self-play from the very beginning (instead of you playing with him).
    Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
    PS: one activity at a time, stretched over half a day or so. Put the water, playdoh, sand and legos in together at the same time- and you end with mess all around and a disinterested child with a short attention span who will keep coming back to you to be a playmate. Your mileage may vary. Batteries not included 😉



    I totally agree in the importance of alone time. I know that is what I did a lot, even though i had 4 siblings.
    My only son is now 3, and it worries me that he will not play alone. he needs me, his father or his grandmother to play as his mate, whom he totally uses as a robot that does what he wants.. after all we adults don’t really want to get into a fight about what the doll is supposed to say to the other. I’m worried that he’s getting a totally wrong picture of how the society works and is getting worse and worse at playing with other kids. I arrange play dates maybe once a week.. Should I strive to do more of those, or is there another way to support his independene in this realm.
    We co sleep and I breastfed him thill 2, I feel that this might have caused him to not find his independent self as early as others..
    Any ideas how to support his alone time?

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