Tuesday, 28 May 2013

How is it to grow up as a single child ?

Hi again !!!

Here am going to talk about what it is to be a single child.

People always tend to have a perception that single child are usually introverts, socially awkward , less competitive and self obsessed.

Am a single child and I wish to give you some background about myself in order to clarify that the experiences of single kids aren't the same , for the whole social experience that one has is influenced not only by siblings, but also by parents, grand parents, cousins, nephews and Uncle / Aunts.

* My family is basically a nuclear family in Chennai and with my parents being new to the city, we had all experiences of an immigrant family . As my parents weren't comfortable with the city experience, I was raised more protective.

* So that means, I didn't have friends in my neighbor hood. And add to that , I visit my relatives only during vacations and the duration is usually too short to have any memorable experience. 

* I didn't get the experience of grand parents for reasons that they were either no more or it really didn't matter. I never heard stories of Devas/ rakshashas from my grand mother nor moral lessons from my grand father. Add to that, as a kid I used to hear from my friends about the awesome stories their grand parents shared with them and I didn't have any thing to say. I mean really I didn't even have a word to say, unless I make up some stories .

* With me being the elder kid of my generation in the extended family, I didn't have any role model as such. I never had a elder cousin who would share his/her experiences ranging from  fights with their friends or learning a sport or  stories about their crush. 

* One thing which I did have is my uncle and aunt who were more like a parent to me. But that couldn't change the experiences which I had. 

So with all above , that may seem as an ideal setup to grow into a introvert, socially inept, less competitive person.

But it wasn't so. And I can vouch that to any, who is reading this entry.

The one thing  the experience as a single child taught me is 

To be open to views and experiences from outside : As a child, when you don't hear much from people around you, you always tend to observe more people other than your family. Television became my friend and I indeed learnt much more,  for I needed stories to be discussed in school, to sound cool. 

Loneliness is not fearful : One thing that you face in current society is that many people are increasingly feeling lonely due to their lifestyle and resort to many avenues to break off that feel. In my case, I was conditioned to being lonely. Being alone wasn't a choice, but more a reality. That slowly makes you enjoy the idea of being alone. Hence I would like to use the word ' Alone ' in place of lonely , for its attached negative connotation.

Accepting people as they are : One thing you tend to develop is tolerance and the idea of accepting people as they are. This may be a protective mechanism within to not lose people but it slowly makes you a person who can accommodate completely differing views with elan. So that certainly makes you more a sociable person and hence developing into an Introvert is completely out of question. But it doesn't mean that you are going to be real extrovert. Personal experiences decide the degree of extrovertedness .

Competitive, Hardy, Independent : Being alone, you have no choice other than being competitive for you won't have a sibling to help you with any. In my case, I didn't have grandparents to run and sob that I lost at something or I was bullied. Being alone also makes you develop a sense of independence and hence you would stop bothering your parents for trivial issues. That actually makes you independent, hardy and have a sense of control on yourself. After all in life, you can't afford to always have a companion to overcome barriers, be it real or emotional.

* Accepting views of parents and their hardships : Being in a nuclear family and being a single child, helps you to empathize the position of your parents much better and you there are chances that you would be taken seriously. And people , Empathy is essentially a skill to be learnt. For in fairly large families, there is always a possibility to not know the real situation.

To counter superficial celebrations : Over a period of time, you would come to view birthdays, father day, mother day and all other days as a superficial celebration. Though it may depend upon the peer pressure, my personal view is clarity of thought that you acquire helps you to sift superficiality from real feel. In fact, single kids usually don't end up sentimental. And that also guards you from disappointment for you would have known that all relationship is fallible. 

And superficial celebrations, are usually a defensive mechanism to fill the emotional vacuum we have inside. And we all know that running away form a problem isn't exactly a solution. 

But I do miss a close confidant to share , have every chance of becoming self obsessed, lack of a role model to look up to, the push you need to give yourself  to move forward is sometimes painful, the pain you feel when you look back to see what have you missed and the crushing pain to see you are on your own in future.

But people, on a lighter note, birth rates are falling worldwide and single child are going to soon become a norm. So cheer up, form lasting friendships , enjoy every moment which you can ( Enjoyment is not always celebration, enjoyment is mostly the internal feel when you cherish what you do ) and take care of parents ( for we being single is mostly because of the conscious decision they took for our well being ). So let's not make them rue over that. 

Am open to hearing views from any who is reading this post and wish to hear them. Looking forward.

Jeyannathann Karunanithi Pillai's answer to Life: How is growing up with a sibling different from being a single child?

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