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So do you agree with the birth order traits? Mrs. Maister and I recently had a discussion about adopting another child and one of the reasons she gave me why we should was that she did NOT want our son to be an only child (....."oh how terrible it must be to grow up as an only child, so alone in the world, so resentful towards one's parents for not providing them a sibling, laying such a heavy obligation to be solely responsible for the care of parents when they are elderly......")
I didn't buy it, but maybe you'll set me straight.
I'm an only child and I was never lonely, I had friends and I could entertain myself if I had to. My parents were the youngest of 3 and 7-11 (depending on how you count the steps and halves).
I think that (what Mrs. Maister said) is a load of crap, but a commonly held set of beliefs. I've never been resentful, just as most children with siblings are not resentful that they have them (most of the time ;-)). Like others have said, having more than one child does not mean elderly parent care will be equally shared job. In my experience and observation, one child usually handles the bulk of that care. The children that don't handle the elder care are clueless about how hard it is and miss out on important parts of life, IMHO.
My boyfriend is the youngest of 4 and his siblings all have small children. Being an only is a big foreign thing to them and they tend to assume that I am overwhelmed by all the adults, children, etc, even when I'm not.
Things about me that some people attribute to being an only child (even if they are unrelated):
*I liked being around adults more than my friends with siblings did.
*People always thought I was older than I was.
*I tended to make friends with people older than I was (in college my friends were all about 4-5 years old, not a huge difference, but I never had crazy 18-20 year old friends who bonged beers, hooked up with random people, etc.).
*I tend to just sit back when I'm in a huge nutty crowd, rather than jump right in.
I guess it's that if it's what you grow up with, it's not really a big deal. People who are bitter only children would probably have been bitter children with siblings.