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Active Questions

I have a question about "only child" syndrome.
Family & Parenting / 12:03 PM - Wednesday August 26, 2009

I have a question about "only child" syndrome.

As you think people that are "only child" are attention starved and the world revolves around them? Are these people notoriusly selfish? I have a friend like this and it drives me f****in' nuts. What do you all think?

- Asked by devildog99, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Los Angeles, Executive

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Personally, I know far more people who think the world revolves around them who were raised with siblings, than only children who feel this way. In part, I think most thoughtful parents of only's go out of their way to ensure their kid doesn't grow up with such expectations.

We all are the centers of our little universes, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as it's a small degree of what rules your world. I mean, who's more invested in YOU than YOU, ya know? If you're not looking out for yourself, who will? I think the line in crossed when your behaviors and actions consistantly convey that you are the center of THE universe (vs. *your* universe).

As an only, I rarely share with people that I am sibling free. Mainly because of the response that seems to far often pop out when others find out I'm an only. Often when someone finds out your an only they say something to the effect of, "you must be a spoiled brat". ...Odd, as up until that point they will have never described me as being "spoiled" or "bratty". For some reason, once they know this one detail it somewhat skews their view of you. I'm sure it's just a lack of understanding of what is completely unimaganable to them (being raised w/ sibs) vs. malicious. At least I like to hope...

My folks went out of their way to make sure I was exposed to others and instilled in me a pretty healthy dose of empathy, consideration for others and selflessness. I had good parents. Unfortunately, not every kid, with sibs or without is so fortunate. Don't judge us all by a bad apple or two in our bunch. I certainly don't judge all of those with siblings by those who don't represent the sib'd up so well. Deal? ;-)

- Response by imjoeygirl, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Columbus, Who Cares?

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Nope, I know a lot of people that were only child's and they are not any more selfish then anyone else. It is probably just her.

- Response by MaryAnne, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Regina, Managerial

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I don't think it's simply from being an only child so much as what type of character their parents were and how they were raised and also what type of person their personal make up allows them to be.

- Response by justme38271, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 46-55, Consulting

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Yup. Either that or they have martyr syndrome.

If you're balanced with another child you turn out fairly normal.


- Response by alex86, A Hippie Chick, Female, 29-35

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I don't think this is the case. Many only children surround themselves w/friends at an early age & create a kind of 'mock' sibling. They know they need others because there's no one at home. Also, they had the attention of both Parents in most cases.

My daughter is an only child and she's fine. Lol

- Response by thottienc, A Career Woman, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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Most adults who have been the only child usually get more attention and are attention starved, but expect it since they were brought up that way. But, it's not only those people who are like that. There are many many more that weren't ann only child that act the same way!!!!!!!

- Response by barbb, An Alternative Girl, Female, Who Cares?, Other Profession

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I am an only child and I do not consider myself attention starved nor am I self centered. My parents raised me right and I'm very independent and considerate of others. But one problem I do have as an only child is sharing my food and drinks! I like to have my own...

- Response by tealr0se, A Career Woman, Female, 29-35

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There are attention starved people all over the place, but I don't think that this has anything to do with their being an only child.

- Response by electragold21, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, New York, Teaching

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Auctually no. I have an older brother, but he moved out when I was born. I didn't grow up with him, and grew up as an only child. He however grew up with 2 other children in the house. He is very selfish. Me on the other hand not so much. I like my me time, but I would much rather share everything that I have, because if you dont have some one to share with what is the point?

- Response by maria6606, A Trendsetter, Female, 22-25, Who Cares?

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Most of the adults I've known who were only children were just fine. I only know one obnoxious only child, and he's still a child, so it could just be a phase he's going through.

- Response by pandorasfault, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Teaching

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I think the glaringly obvious characteristics of an only child make them have a difficult time dealing with life. They are as such. Only children never have to put aside their bad days to go to a childrens event, because it is for them and them only. If a child with siblings is having a bad day and doesn't want to go to a childrens event, it is too bad because it is for everyone in the family, and no good parents would cancel a whole planned day because one child of many is not interested. This is just a simple example of how only children become selfish. Down time for people with siblings generally includes spending time with others, and to an only child the comfort of being alone is the best way to spend down time. It is easy to convince ones self that they are right when no one is there to refute it right? Just another example. It is easy to become introverted when everywhere you go, you are entertaining yourself right? Simply said. We are all products of our own environments, and with 80% of the earth's population living amongst others, it is probably fair to say that a successful life would include accepting and adjusting to the world around us, and not sitting alone, or deciding you are right without expressing your ideas to others to verify it or change it accordingly.
Just a few thoughts.

- Response by brotherlove9, A Guy Critical, Male, 66 or older

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