Growing Up as an Only Child

My family is a big Mexican and Italian mixing pot, which naturally means that I have a big family that’s really close with each other. When it comes to the circle of me and my parents, I’m the only child. Now granted, my parents are divorced, and more people whom I love have been added to my family - but I was raised as an only child.

Growing up as an only child, things were different from those around me - which is given if they aren’t only children. There were pluses to it, of course. I never had to worry about sharing with other people around me. The cousin closest to me in age is two years younger, so for two years of my life, everything that was mine was only mine (but don’t worry, I love to share).  I was always on my own.

All that time did spoil me, though. I loved that when I had people around me, I wouldn’t have to worry about sharing time with other people. And there were times when I was able to win when it came to decisions about what to watch on TV or games to play. It was nice to have a voice and not compete with anyone else. But I will I need to learn how to make my voice be heard at times, something I didn’t need to worry about when I was growing up.

People would think that because I was an only child I was very spoiled growing up. To a certain extent, that may be true, but I was never raised with the idea that I get whatever I want when I ask for it. I was always involved in things (participate in school, doing activities, etc.) I was always raised with the idea that as long as I worked hard, no matter what it was in, I would always be rewarded for what I did.

I will admit, it does get lonely at times. Unless my cousins came around to hang out, I was by myself. I didn’t have anyone to be with except my parents or if my friends came over for playdates. I will say, though, that this made me learn how to be independent and how to work best in situations where the only one that I can depend on is me.

One thing people who have siblings may go through is having trouble relating to other people your age. Because I was an only child and the only child born within all my family at that time, I was the only kid at parties a lot of times. Because of that, I’ve been able to learn that it’s easier for me to start a conversation with adults when I’m meeting them for the first time. When it comes to kids my age, I was very shy, my nerves would shift into high gear and I was socially awkward. Of course, those occasions come with its exceptions. But now that I’m older, I’ve learned and grown from it. I still am.

Being an only child, since I was always on my own unless I was with my parents, it made me kind of an introvert. Up until maybe my senior year of high school, I was never really the party or wanting-to-go-out-kind of person. I still am more of an introvert. But it makes me appreciate those who are extroverted and makes me want to venture out of my comfort zone more.

My parents always had their attention on me since I was the only one that I had to worry about. Because of this, they were always there to push me to be my best, to never give up and to always work hard. Some might say that my parents hounded me, that they were always on my case or that they may have been too hard on me. But it always made me stride me for more. I always wanted to be the best, to make my parents and family proud and show them that I could. I think if they hadn’t, the drive and motivation that I have now would have never existed - and I’m glad that they always pushed me.

Growing up, I was very independent. Being an only child, there were pros and cons. But if you ask me, I had a fantastic childhood that I wouldn’t trade for the world.