That they are selfish, bossy and socially awkward. Bad-tempered and spoiled. The stigmas that once weighed on those growing up without siblings have disappeared thanks to science, which has shown that sons and daughters alone are not particularly different from those growing up with brothers and sisters. Caterina shares her own experience here.
“In theory, my mother couldn’t get pregnant and suddenly here I was. I was the only girl they had. My parents were always workaholics when I was growing up, especially my mother. It’s not that they were carefree, quite the contrary, but as an only child, she sometimes felt the need to have brothers and sisters: I especially wanted an older sister. This feeling lasted for a few years, I felt it until I was about 10 or 12 years old.
What helped me a lot was that my mother’s family was and is very close. I have always been very close to my cousins and we would all go on vacation together. The youngest of them, with whom I have a six-year difference, came to somewhat supplement the siblings I didn’t have and make up for the lack of an older sister. She spent the night with me and we were together every summer, I didn’t feel alone. Nowadays my cousins are a bit like my sisters . We are still very close, they know my business and vice versa.
The fact that my parents were both workaholics and I had no siblings It forced me to grow up very independently. , I’ve always been like that. Looking back, I think things turned out the way they should have. I’ve always been grateful for it because it’s why I made the decisions I made as an adult.
At one point I had a conflict with my mother because I felt she was distant, I felt like she was away from home all day. But When we grow up, we see things from a different perspective. : I see that thanks to her I was also able to flourish professionally and have economic support. Now I see her as a great example of a woman.
I think spending time alone has helped me a lot. develop my own inner world that I still cultivate and appreciate today . I remember sitting at a small table where I also did my homework and spending hours between pencils and drawings, between books. This blew my mind. I still like doing manual things and I see it as therapy because it reminds me a little of that, it gives me a feeling of calm. I lived in a condo and loved collecting plants and other things. I would sit on a bench and start cooking with things that fell from the trees, I spent many afternoons like that. And so I had other games, I always felt stimulated.
The reign of the only child
I’ve never had any problems socializing, in fact I consider myself a very sociable person. And I think that growing up more alone, but in a very familiar context at the same time and with a lot of love, shaped me. I don’t view being an only child as a negative thing. I think if you empower children well, give them love and educate them to have good values, they shouldn’t need to have brothers and sisters. This shouldn’t affect them too much.
Obviously there are family things that have been difficult as an only child. I’m not saying it’s a bed of roses. At one point I felt it more. My father died eight years ago after a long illness; he remained bedridden for two years. He suffered from dementia and his situation deteriorated over the years. Even though my mother and I lived very closely together, no one else understood what I was going through. We grieved together for many years, but I needed to share it with someone else, with someone in the same vein as me, who could support me not only financially, but also in my life. grief. I had no one with whom to share this experience as a girl, because another figure was dying for my mother, her companion. It was complex in that sense.
At school, I had a classmate who was an only child who arrived when we were in sixth grade. We became great friends. She lived near the school and I was always at her house or she at mine. We told each other that we were lost sisters and we told each other everything , even though we knew that our relationship was above all friendly. We probably would have been just as close if we had brothers or sisters, but we kind of made do with that.
I think there has always been prejudice against only children, But what strikes me is that I never received comments about this when I was little, but rather when I was already an adult.
This happened to me during my first setbacks, when I was getting to know my colleagues. They asked me questions about my family and my brothers. When I said I didn’t have any siblings, it always provoked a reaction: “Oh, I can imagine what you must look like!” In other words, they imagined me as a selfish, selfish person who doesn’t share his affairs, who has everything going for him.
I told them that yes, I have always been a gift, especially from my father. But selfish, no. I’ve never had a problem sharing my stuff, I have no problem. Although I have always set limits, I will lend anything as long as they ask me or let me know. They also say we can be bossy and angry, but I never remember being said anything like that or being like that. I was also never involved in space issues, I lived with more people and when I was little I had all the space to myself.
I think things have changed a lot, especially regarding today’s world and its impact, for example on climate change. At one point when I was younger, I thought I was obviously going to have multiple kids because I didn’t have any siblings. But now I think differently, based on the experiences I’ve had, I think I would settle for just one. Maybe bringing a son or daughter, I feel like it’s a big responsibility. I think the decision to bring children into the world with the partner you have should be something very discussed and conscious.
I recently said this to a friend who is having a lot of trouble getting her second bus: Life doesn’t stop when you’re one, there’s nothing wrong with that. There are things that you have to deal with, it happened to me with my father’s illness and then I will have to take care of my mother who is doing very well fortunately, but she is already 75 years old. You have to take care of yourself, but it’s the law of life, people get old and get sick.
You can also always have people around you who are like your family. I’m super social and I have a wide circle of friends, but obviously in the end, it’s a few friends who will be there for you through everything.
*Caterina is a nurse and is 34 years old