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'People assume you're spoiled.' Just 5 things all only children know to be true.

Without only children the world would be a much different place. And when I say different I mean there would have been no space travel (well at least not as early as it occurred), mathematics wouldn’t be where it is today, we would have fewer kick ass tunes and a significant lack of fairytales to occupy the imaginations of children.

Why? Well, because some of the world’s greatest minds and biggest talents that have contributed to all of these thingsm – names like: Alicia Keys, Betty White, Elvis, Hans Christian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Lennon, Christina Applegate, Isaac Newton and Leonardo Davinci – are all members of the ‘only child club’.

Things mums never hear. Post continues after.

These ‘only lonelys’, sibling-less, sole children, singletons or as most commonly known, only children are becoming more and more common in today’s society, often down to a parent’s choice. But despite this there is still often a negative stereotype (bratty, selfish, need I say more…) around us.

So, in honour of all only children, here is a list of five things we all know to be true.

1. Our parent/s are our BFFs

It’s true – we speak with our parents more than many other people speak to theirs quite simply because we don’t have a brother or sister to talk to. Our relationships with our parent/s are often extremely close and meaningful because they are our only immediate family.

Because of this they are more than our parents, they are also our best friends. From a young age we rely on them as our go-to for any issue, no matter what it is (even a broken condom – thanks Mum). We are comfortable to talk to them about it, we know they will be there.

They are our emotional support, we speak with them about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, there are not many secrets between an only child and their parent/s.

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2. We have AWESOME imaginations

All that time spent playing on our ownsomes isn’t a negative thing. It’s quite the opposite. From doing this, only children learn to be extremely imaginative and creative, often thinking outside the box to figure a problem out or just to have more fun.

This often means we had imaginary friends (hey there, Priscilla), a toy that somehow came to life to take the role as a sibling (only when we wanted one of course), or a very close bond with a family pet.

3. We get lots of attention and this is a good thing!

This is often where that negative stereotype rears its ugly head, but attention does not always equate with being spoiled. Just sayin’.

Attention can be through a parent’s time and energy, it can be through money and resources and it can also be through opportunities. Often only children will receive more of all of these things, simply due to the fact that there is only one of them.

In my experience this was very much the case, especially being from a single-parent home. Money was not always of the essence, but thankfully I rarely went without due to be an only child.

Listen to Mamamia’s parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess. Post continues below. 

4. We have great self-esteem and are very mature – research says so

Parenting writer, Cynthia Hanson says: “Only children benefit from their parents’ undivided attention and emotional support in several ways, say experts. They instil high self-esteem, foster maturity, and enable a child to develop a strong identity.”

This has obvious benefits at school, the workplace and within relationships.

5. Wed actually have really super social skills.

Despite the notion of only children being selfish and bratty, generally we are quite great friends with A+ social skills.

Whether this is because our parents, being wary of this stereotype are highly vigilant and have ensured our social behaviour does not go down that path; or whether it is because only children see their friends as family, either way only children often have wonderful, significant and long-standing friendships.

Shona Hendley, Mother of Goats, cats and humans, is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate, with a morbid fascination for true crime and horror movies. You can follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/shonamarion/

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