A news story was just on talking about the growing childhood obesity problem in China, and mentioned that the “one child” policy is part of the problem. The reporter then went on to list all of the problems with only children.
I was sooooo glad that my only child son got to sit there and listen to everything that someone else thinks is wrong with him (none of which had anything to do with childhood obesity in China).
There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. We call that life. Son j had to sit and listen to a stranger list that he’s self centered, risk-adverse, lonely, lacking in empathy and non -competitive. (He is actually risk-adverse).
So as a counterbalance to all the negative he heard this morning, here I present the list of things that are good about being a single child:
- I don’t lose my mind. Really, I can barely handle the one child I’ve got, you think I could handle two?
- Empathy. I don’t know where the news story got their information about only children lacking empathy, or maybe they’ve never met the children I know. It’s probably not a coincidence that two of son j’s favorite literary heroes are only children and both are a bit odd, but both have helped to teach him about standing up for others and reserving judgement.
- Less competition, and I don’t mean of the good kind. I have a younger sister who’s prettier, smarter and cooler than I am. I wouldn’t wish that kind of competition on anyone. Son j will not grow up feeling like he never quite measures up.
- No “built in friends”. Son j doesn’t have a constant companion. When he makes friends he has to actually go out and put some effort in to the process.
- Amazing imagination. After the video games are done he’s on his own with his books and art supplies and imagination. He writes stories and tells them to us and acts them out. His solitude has meant that he has a better daily word count than I do. (Something he’s quite proud of). I’m thinking of signing him up for nanowrimo.
I still, at 47, get comments about when I’m going to give son j a sibling. People, I’m 47, that ship has sailed. We never intended to have more children. We’re quite content with the one we’ve got. I wouldn’t trade my sister for anything (although if given the chance I might sell her), but I also don’t think Husband J had less of a childhood because he was an only child.
You know what makes a childhood? Being a child. Period. As adults how about we stop judging and let kids be kids?