1. You never had to compete with your siblings for your parents’ attention because there was no one to compete with. This can be pretty great growing up. You are extra special; the apple of your mom and dad’s eyes and who doesn’t love that? However, this can be a hard lesson when you are around other people and don’t necessarily get the same amounts of attention. It’s usually all about you, didn’t these people get the memo? No? Okay…
2. If something went wrong, you were typically to blame — unless you had a pet, but I am pretty sure the dog didn’t throw all of your toys on the floor, make that big mess, and then try to get away with leaving it for the ‘maid,’ (I mean, mom) to clean up after you. In moments like these, a younger sibling would have been great to pin the mess on. But now you are stuck cleaning, and you are probably grounded for treating mom like a maid service, too.
3. Your friends call you a lonely child and sometimes you feel like one when they aren’t around. Why is your best friend grounded for three days? Seriously, she didn’t mean to try to flush her little brother down the toilet. Her parents should let her off of the hook because you NEED a play date. Moments like these were when I would write letters to Santa asking for siblings. I used to get letters back saying “go ask mommy and daddy,” who would just say “no” and tell me to play with my toys.
4. On another note, being the only child helps you learn how to be alone. It teaches you to be your own best friend, to relish in your own company, and to find a hobby.
5. You have a very vivid imagination out of necessity. Only children are alone a lot of the time. This makes them very creative and very inventive. Chances are very good you invented a friend or two for those moments when you felt more like a ‘lonely’ child than an ‘only’ child.
6. There is no one to break your toys or ruin your favorite sweater. No one will trash your stuff unless you are just plain destructive or you have destructive friends. I had nearly everything I ever could have wanted, and I loved my stuff dearly. My heart broke if anything got ruined. I took it personally, like if someone tried to hurt a person I loved.
7. Hand-me-downs? They don’t exist, unless they come from your cousins — and it’s usually stuff you have been coveting since forever, so you totally want them. Hey, you are the only child, your stuff is always new and you like it that way because you don’t really know any other way. Nevertheless, Mom’s hand-me-downs were a must have! Her stuff is vintage and vintage is seriously trendy!
8. There is no middle child syndrome; however, you get all of the perks of being both the youngest and the oldest child. You get to drive fist, have that big sweet 16 first, go to school first, graduate school first, stay out late first, have the opportunity to say that you are your parents’ first child — and yet you will always be the baby which means people will always give you extra attention because no one else came second or third for that matter.
9. Mom and dad saved money for your college fund and you don’t have to split it with your sibling which means more money for you. This as an adult is literally the biggest blessing of being an only child. Your parents had no one else to save money for which means you may not be paying off college until you’re 40 and your own kids have started college. You might just be one of those lucky ducks who pays off college in their 20s!
10. It makes you more generous. This may sound weird, especially since everything I basically mentioned paints only children as seriously selfish (or at least paints my own childhood in a selfish light); nevertheless, I believe being an only child actually makes you more generous. For me at least, I understood everything I had and I loved having it, but I knew not everyone did. I loved my stuff, and I wanted everyone else to feel the same way and have the same stuff because I felt like everyone should be so blessed. This made me want to give back just as much as I would receive. I was extra generous with friends, family, and strangers and learned that charity really does feel good. Having things is nice, but giving things and giving yourself and your time is even nicer.