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Staffer Shares Pros and Cons of Being Only Child

Out of my group of friends I am one of two that are only children. I have never had to leave my friend’s house early to pick up a little brother from baseball practice, or give the car back to an older sister or even have to change the channel for a sibling. Avoiding these hassles are some of the perks of being an only child, but not having any siblings does have its downfalls.My parents, as well as other parents of only children I know are way more protective than most. I have to text them when I make it safely to my destination of a friend’s house, they always peek in on me just to make sure I’m doing my homework and other little things that can get on any teenagers nerves. All of my friends are very responsible and do all of their homework, but I never hear them complain about how much their parents push them to do well in everything.It’s probably because their parents have extra kids to watch over.My grades cannot fall below As and Bs, no partying and definitely no hanging out with weirdos.

The pressure to make good grades is one of the most stressful parts of being an only child. All of my other friends’ parents care about their kids’ grades, but nowhere near as much as my parents and other only childrens parents’ do. Parents with more than one kid probably get several emails a week about different kids and it could get pretty confusing, but not with only child. Our parents see every email, every grade card sent home and anything else that deal with grades. I always thought of it like I’m their only chance to create a successful child, better not screw it up. I know this is common of overbearing high school parents in general, but it seems like most only children get this way more often than needed.

The worst part of being an only child is the fact that you get so lonely. I can’t just walk into my sibling’s room and just talk about school, friends or just life. If I tried to do that with my parents, it would end up being a two-hour long conversation about my college plans. There are so many times that my friends have been kidding and have said they would give me their sibling, but to be honest, I would gladly take their offer. It may sound crazy, but they have no idea how weird it feels during family dinners when you’re the only kid at the table and your parents talk to your grandparents and you’re just left alone scrolling through Instagram or Twitter.

By second grade I realized how different it was to be an only child and how lonely it could be. Everyday we were supposed to write about something that happened to us over the past week. So all of my classmates would scribble down a couple sentences about how they went to the petting zoo with all of their siblings, while most of my writings were about me going around the lazy river all by myself. I soon began to write about my “little sisters” Julie and Juliet (yes, I was very creative with the names). I felt so left out. What else was seven-year-old me supposed to do? The thing that amazed me was that the entire class, even the teacher, believed me! So I continued to lie through the second grade about my imaginary family and all of my wonderful adventures I had with my pretend sisters. Finally by the end of that year my tiny conscience got to me and I told my teacher the truth: that I was actually a lonely and awkward kid. I don’t think the rest of the class ever found out, or cared, but that was when I realized how badly I wanted a sibling.

I would beg and whine for my mom and dad to give me a sibling. Somehow they explained to me that my mom couldn’t get pregnant after me, so I made up a new plan: to adopt an Asian baby. That never happened, but all through elementary school I waited for my parents to give me what I wanted — and they usually did — but it just never happened. It became more of a joke in my family as time went on. By the end of elementary school I had accepted that I was going to be the only kid in our minivan for the rest of my life.

There are some advantages to being an only child: I was spoiled when I was younger (okay, maybe I still am). I am a total daddy’s girl. I got everything I asked my dad for until I became a teenager and my parents have always had time for me. I was never shoved away because my mom was too busy with a screaming sibling. I was always their number one priority; I never had anyone to compete with for attention.

Nobody wants to be the only kid at the dinner table, by themselves going around the lazy river or even making their parents empty nesters with just one good-bye. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still waiting for that Asian baby to show up on my doorstep.

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Julia Seiden

Julia is a junior this year and a staff writer for her first yea of being on The Harbinger staff. She enjoys traveling, being with friends and being part of The Harbinger. Read Full »

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