As you may or may not know, I am an only child. I never had siblings, never had to share my toys, have to bring my annoying sibling to play with my friends, nor did I have to share my parent’s love, I’m sure I have an only child complex
While I was growing up I always wanted a sibling, I begged my parents to have another child and give me a little brother or sister. I was jealous of all of my friends with siblings (but never jealous of a sibling) and when kids found out I was an only child and would say “You’re so lucky!” I would immediately respond with “No I’m not I want a brother or a sister!” But alas it wasn’t in the cards for me to have siblings and I just had to deal with it. I thought I would always have at least 2 kids because I would NEVER put my kids through what I went through not having that built in playmate, sibling bond, ”sister forever” …
But now that I’m 32 and haven’t had any kids, I don’t know if having a sibling was all that I envisioned it would be. I imagined a childhood playmate and life long best friend. That’s what I wanted anyways. After seriously viewing other people with siblings, taking into account their lives, stories and experiences I have come to the conclusion that it is not necessarily better to have a sibling and in overall sibling experiences, there are just as many negatives as positives.
For example, just because you have a sibling doesn’t mean you will get along or even like each other. While I have friends that are very close to their siblings as they get older and become friends, I know many people who aren’t. Who in fact don’t really talk to their siblings or even like them as people. How about sibling rivalry that never ends? I’ve witnessed this first hand as well.
While I’ve seen big families with lots of siblings pull together and help each other out when in need. I’ve also seen the opposite happen.
An example of the positive: one brother out of 5 was diagnosed with HIV. He had to pay for very expensive drugs and couldn’t afford them on a monthly basis. His siblings all pulled together money on a monthly basis to help buy his drugs and support him if he needed it. When I saw families like this I would feel a little pang in my heart, it was so beautiful and caring, I wouldn’t have siblings to do something like this if I were ever in that situation.
An example of the negative: A mother of 5 kids went into a nursing home because she needed assistance with her living situation. Only one out of the five siblings was not an alcoholic nor drug addict so he took responsibility for her at the nursing home which was required by them. The mother received a regular pension that covered the cost of the very pricey nursing home monthly. One of the sister’s went into the mother’s bank account and cleared it out leaving the “responsible” brother to pay for all of her care. She did this more then 1 month until eventually the mother had to be removed from the home because the responsible son couldn’t afford to pay for his mother’s nursing home. When I see situations like this it makes me reflect, wow I could have a sibling like that.
Both of my parents come from big families, my Dad is from a family of 5 my Mom from a family of 6. I’ve watched them have tremendous issues, from a brother who completely stopped talking to my mother for no reason she could ever understand and breaking her heart, to a father who has dealt with siblings with drug addictions and who have borrowed money and never paid him back. At the end of the day, it’s not always a supportive friendly type relationship like I pictured when I was younger. In fact I’m better off with no siblings then dealing with a drug addicted liar who just hurts me anyways (I’ve seen this happen a few times with friends’ and familys’ siblings).
While siblings can be a support unit I had a chance of also getting a sibling that was not a responsible adult, or like one of my friends, couldn’t take care of their own child. So after so many years of viewing the sibling thing with rose colored glasses envisioning a bff sister or brother whom I was robbed the experience of knowing:
I guess it’s time to take them off and look at things realistically. I’ve had a good life, I have a great relationship with my parents and a lot of opportunities I may not have had if I had had a sibling (only having to pay for one college tuition allowed my parents to also fund me for a Masters degree for example). I don’t think being an only child harmed me in any way and for people who think you “have” to have more then one child because it’s fair to them, I have to disagree. I think having one child is just fine and with time I’ve come to see that my experience might be more positive then many families with siblings….