It seems to be a strong cultural stereotype that an “only child” will be spoiled. Selfish, self-centered, insensitive, bratty, spoiled.
Some parents decide to have another child as a means to avoid the possibility of their kid turning into a brat.
Oh, if it were only this easy.
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that there are *plenty* of selfish, bratty, insensitive children all around us, and the vast majority of them happen to have siblings.
Having a sibling does not instantly make a child immune from the potential of being spoiled. And being an only child is not the only pre-requisite for being a brat. How these connections were made is the stuff of urban myths.
A One and Done Mom friend of mine has some concerns about her young son being a little more shy than his peers. She believes it comes from her personality, which tends to be more introverted. She remembers being slightly withdrawn and would observe a situation before engaging in any activity. She sees herself in him and is aware of his needs. Yet when she talks to her friends and family about him, they are quick to say “You have to give him a sibling or he will be isolated.” Or “If he’s an only, he won’t ever know how to make friends.” Wow, talk about not being supportive at all. It seems like this little boy has a soft, shy temperament that seems to be completely normal and healthy. Yet, because he’s not overly active or popular, he is labeled withdrawn and potentially selfish. How a sibling would change any of this, or instantly flip his personality, is beyond me. And what’s to change, really?
Our One and Done daughter, Mia, seems to be pretty well-adjusted in her 6th year of life. Our little girl has her annoying, self-centered moments, to be sure. All kids do. She has mastered the art of eye rolling. She is entering the apathetic, moody tween years way too quickly. Yet, this would be our Mia as an only child and also if we decided to have another child. In fact, the addition of a child would just exponentially increase the eye rolls, snarky tone, and sass. No thank you.
Sass aside, Mia is an incredibly sensitive, thoughtful, caring little girl. She shares easily, she is compassionate to her peers, and she makes friends easily. If there were any indication of insensitivity or a spoiled disposition, we have not seen it yet. And being that most of her personality is quite clear already, I think it’s safe to say she dodged that stereotype.
As for the incessant eye rolling? If anyone has a cure for that, please share. And we all know a sibling will never cure that, so don’t even bother suggesting it.
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