By Anne Marie Abraham, Contributor
Children who come from big families are deprived of so much as they’re growing up. They are often forced to share rooms with their dreaded siblings, and any toys they might own are communal. As if that wasn’t enough, they are forced to suffer through the embarrassment of wearing hand-me-downs that were worn by sometimes two or three siblings before them. People from one-child families don’t have to worry about those troublesome issues and are often more privileged than multi-child families.
Space has always been an issue with big families. An only child, on the other hand, always has somewhere they can go when they need to get away. They have a room of their own, free of that white dividing line of tape in the middle. They also don’t have to worry about sharing closet space and trying to fit everything they own in one small corner.
When it comes to getting up in the morning, they don’t have to worry about being the last in line to use the bathroom, and their showers can be longer than five minutes.
In a house with multiple children, there is always a struggle for time: time to finish your homework, time to hang out with friends, and time shared with parents. In a single-child home, the child can get as much time from their parents as they need without competing with siblings for attention. An only child is also able to join more activities since their parents can devote more time to driving them around. Another perk about being in single-child families is that the child doesn’t have to worry about taking turns using the computer or watching their favourite shows on TV.
Large families often struggle a little more with money. The children don’t get as many presents at Christmas, and spending money has to be divided evenly amongst the children. An only child doesn’t have these worries. More money can also be spent on music lessons, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities that interest the child.
Coming from a big family myself, I sometimes crave the experience of being an only child. Would I be given the attention I need? Would I be free to join whatever activities I care to explore?
What I know for sure is that I wouldn’t have to worry about being trapped at home babysitting my younger siblings when I could be out with my friends. I also wouldn’t have to worry about wearing the same shirt both my older sisters wore before me—the same shirt that went out of style five years previously. If I was an only child, I’d have more opportunities to have and experience new things.