“You’re not your Mom’s baby anymore…” our neighbors used to tease me when I was a kid. I don’t know but they find great satisfaction in bullying me and teasing me like that because I easily cry and run to my Mama.
Being the only child and the only grand child makes me the center of attention in the family. I was not much of an ass like most kids today but I had started to take pleasure in my own world with all that attention in me. That’s why I became selfish when I was a kid. I didn’t want to have a baby brother or a sister. I wanted to be the only baby in the family though I always wanted an eldest brother.
I was in the third grade when the terrifying 7.5 earthquake struck some parts of Luzon including my hometown in Oriental Mindoro. My Mama was 3 months pregnant then. She was rushed to the hospital as she had miscarriage. A week after, we found out she’ll not able have a baby again. There were some complications in her ovary after that miscarriage. At the time I didn’t really know what that meant, all I know was I’d be their baby forever and there would be only three of us in the family: Mama, Papa and me.
The stereotype of an only child is automatically stigmatized. When ask for a personality or characteristic on an only child, many people will respond negatively, indicating the presupposition that only children are spoiled brats.
As an only child, I was raised differently. My parents have made a huge gap between me and them. I’m always reminded they are the parents and I’m JUST their kid.
Being an only child, I loved that:
When I was a kid, the family’s attention was all mine.
I loved to be the center of attention in my own home and that continued for all my childhood years.
They valued my talents and they have shown encouragement in nurturing these talents.
I get all the toys I wanted and I get big birthday party every year.
The bedroom is all mine, no room mates to share it with. I get to choose the color of my curtains, sheets and pillows depending on what I want.
Basically, everything to pamper a kid has been given to me by my parents, grandparents and uncles.
I learned to be independent, always demanding high-achievement from myself and motivated most of the time.
Being an only child, I hated that:
People had an impression that I’m a spoiled brat. I am not!
I MUST work to win friends because family life does not provide me.
When I was a kid, though I have all the toys I need, I don’t have someone to play it with at home.
When I was in high school I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a chaperone or without them knowing that there’s someone they already know who is capable of looking over me.
When you’re a kid, you get to enjoy people’s attention on you. But as you grow older and you want to act as a grown-up, and you suddenly want a life your own, and you bravely want to face challenges of being independent, and you want to just be the captain of the ship it’s not cool anymore that your parents are still treating you as their baby.
Yes I have a lot of friends but you may be surprised how much a loner I can be.
It can get really lonely when I have a problem big/small and I can’t open it with my parents because I don’t have a strong relationship with them nor can’t open it with a sibling because I don’t have one. So, it’s just me.
I am thankful for having my parents. In fact, if I will be given a chance to choose my parents I would still choose them. I don’t have the right to question their parenthood either. Perhaps, I can’t be the person I am today without their guidance.
I cannot blame them for being overprotective, authoritarian and harsh to me. I understand that they’re just shielding their fragile piece. What they don’t realize is their baby has already grown to be a tough independent woman.
Being an only child is a mix of pleasure and pain — pleasure which comes during your childhood years and pain during your teen and adult stage where you have formulated your own principles in life. It would be even harder when these principles turned out to be in contradiction to theirs. An open communication between the parents and the daughter/son would really be necessary which has been an opportunity between me and my parents. I am not open to them. I don’t tell stories because that’s how I was raised. The course of life I am taking is the generation of independent-cosmopolitan-extrovert people in contradiction to my parents’ old fashioned way of living life.
In some years, I’ll be a parent myself. I’ll try to have at least two kids instead of just having one. I would still be disciplinarian like my parents but with a diverse way of how my kid would follow. I would maintain an open communication about what life is, how life is and how to deal with it.
Having a “sibling-free” life is one of those things that you can’t be sure of how it’s gonna turn our exactly. So many factors can play a role and you don’t know which factor will end up being influencial.
I’m glad I chose not be influenced but to influence.