June 23, 2019

"Only children are so often accused of being selfish, but in fact what I’ve found is that growing up as an only child makes you more open to the world."

"You kind of have to go out and find your people and find your tribe; you don’t have that ready-made for you at home in your family."

From "The rise of the only child: How America is coming around to the idea of 'just one'" (WaPo).

61 comments:

tim in vermont said...

More honest headline: “We wish Americans would die out as a population and so we want America to “come around” to this idea.

tim in vermont said...

How do you put a cat on a leash? You do it over time. First you just have the leash around a little bit, for the cat to get familiar with it, then you rub it on the cat a little, to put the cat’s scent on it. Then you slip the collar on but don’t pull the cat around yet, then you attach the leash... etc, etc. It’s sort of like gas lighting. End result, you have the cat on the leash and you can yank it around any which way.

Unknown said...

When I was a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy from 1969-1973, only children tended to be difficut roomates.

Greg Hlatky said...
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Narayanan said...

Blogger Nobody said...
How do you put a cat on a leash?

Well described.

If only more are familiar with Cass Sunstein ideas and his socio-patho-philosophy.

Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead describes how to kill the human spirit in order to make men put on leashes on their own.

Bay Area Guy said...

And the WaPo wonders why so many folks believe that: (a) modern journalism sucks in general, and (b) the WaPo sucks in particular.

This isn't news. This is the subtle pushing of a pursued social policy, surprise, surprise, from a leftist persuasion.

Jupiter said...

The question is whether feminism necessarily leads to the destruction and replacement of the society it infests, or merely of the sociocultural groups within that society that embrace it. So far, Mormons and Amish seem to be doing pretty well.

Greg Hlatky said...

I go the church at a Traditional Catholic parish. At today's 7:30 Mass I saw a family of eight children and two of six kids. The parents must not be Post subscribers.

Narayanan said...

So far, Mormons and Amish seem to be doing pretty well.

Mormons have Mittens who fits Toohey's goal.

rcocean said...

I've always felt sorry for "only children" - we all have our childhood differences with our brothers and sisters, but to grow up without them...

Leaving that aside. Only children are always a bit odd. They think they're the center of the world and have a hard time accepting that others disagree.

FDR was an only child, and was an egomaniac. Obama was the same. Did McCain have a brother or sister?

rcocean said...

China has gotten rid of its one child policy. The NYT has instituted theirs.

Zero Population growth. Remember that from the 1970's? A complete left-wing scam. They were upset that WHITE PEOPLE were having too many kids. Later, when browns and blacks and Asians started pouring in, ZPG went into the memory hole.

The Left ALWAYS has its eyes on the prize.

rcocean said...

I"m against one child per family. Unless it prevents more Mitt Romney's

Quaestor said...

...in fact, what I've found is that growing up as an only child makes you more open to the world.

Epistemological nonsense.

DavidUW said...

Having just one kid is practically a guarantee against any grandkids.
I rather hope to have grandkids. Too bad only could manage 3 kids and not 4. The consequences of a misspent 19-29 decade.

narciso said...

yet they want as many illegals in this country, that would tip the balance am I being too cynical>

Lurker21 said...

Parents and children live in such one-person (or at most two-person) cocoons nowadays.

Does it really matter if one actually and literally is an only child if one will be as much alone as only children are said to be?

reader said...

When our son was little he used to ask for a brother or sister. Then one day when he was about seven he came home from a friend’s house and announced he had changed his mind. Both of his closest friends had siblings and my son said it was nicer not having any. Thank goodness for that because we weren’t able to have anymore.

A noticeable difference with my son was he didn’t like having groups of friends over. He liked having them over one at a time. By the time he was in middle school either of his two closest friends would come over on Friday and not leave until Sunday. Occasionally I’d run into their mothers at the store and depending on which one I had they’d ask me how their son was.

The Godfather said...

My observation of the families of my relatives and friends (not, of course, a representaive sample of the the US population) is that two or three child families have become fairly common, more so than one-child or no-child families. If we're atypical, then perhaps the "Godfather people" will take over the world.

Michael K said...

Anybody who has been married to an only child knows better.

fivewheels said...

I can't see past the paywall, but let me hazard a guess: Written by a woman who is an only child who wants to validate her narcissism by rationalizing why that makes her better than other people. Getting warm?

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The adult only children that I have known tell me they wish they had siblings and that that feeling intensified, not lessened, as they got older. I've had my disagreements with my brothers and sisters, but it does mean a great deal to have people in your life who share family memories with you. And it was especially important when my parents aged and their health worsened. Trying to care for ill and elderly parents is a heavy responsibility and at times it is terribly painful one. Having siblings to help me and to commiserate with when our parents died was a tremendous comfort. I see only children friends struggling with decisions about their parents healthcare and grappling with all the emotions and feelings of loss and they are essentially alone in their grief and pain. Even spouses are no substitute for siblings in that situation. They don't remember dad's
lectures and his mannerisms or that funny thing mom did at your 10th birthday party, or the time the family dog ran away on the Fourth of July.

chuck said...

“Four legs good, two legs bad.”

Fen said...

""Only children are so often accused of being selfish, but in fact what I’ve found is that growing up as an only child makes you more open to the world."

Good for you. The only reason I have a brother is because my father grew up very lonely as an only child and didn't want his kid(s) to endure the same thing.

says Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author who has researched only children. “He concluded that only children are selfish, they’re lonely, they have more imaginary friends than other children — which is absolutely not true.”

WTF does Susan Newman know? Another "study" by "experts" who can't reproduce the results of 1/3rd of their previous "studies".

It's really irresponsible of you to push this junk science.

Fen said...
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Jokah Macpherson said...

"FDR was an only child, and was an egomaniac. Obama was the same. Did McCain have a brother or sister?"

Weirdly, all US presidents have had at least one sibling, although several, including FDR and Obama, had only half-siblings.

Yancey Ward said...

Friends can't replace siblings. There are increasing numbers of people who are going to learn this the hard way.

rcocean said...

"Weirdly, all US presidents have had at least one sibling, although several, including FDR and Obama, had only half-siblings."

Who was Obama's "Sibling"? FDR had an "Uncle Rosy" who was 20 years older - and died when FDR was 43. He was the only child of the first wife who died 7 years before FDR was born. Weidly, "Rosy" had two children who were older than FDR.

stevew said...

All the only children I've known have been narcissistic, some more so than others.

Jokah Macpherson said...

"Who was Obama's "Sibling"?"

Maya Soetoro on his mother's side.

Malik, Auma, Mark, David, Abo, Bernard, and George on his father's side.

rcocean said...

John McCain actually had a brother "Joe McCain" - he was an actor with no kids. And a sister Jean Alexander - 2 years younger. No kids.

Sounds like a freak family.

Fernandistein said...
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rcocean said...

"Maya Soetoro on his mother's side."

Yeah, thanks for reminding me that Obama was a foreign weirdo.


Fernandistein said...

Like it says in that song, "The first child is the onliest."

tim in vermont said...
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rhhardin said...

It's the population implosion.

8 great grandparents
4 grandparents
2 parents
1 you

Jokah Macpherson said...

Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford also had only half-siblings. Coolidge had only a sister who did not reach adulthood.

FWIW I am an only child (due to fertility reasons, not a desire for a small family on the part of my parents). I like to preemptively agree and amplify when it comes up in conversation and draw peoples' attention to how spoiled and self-centered I am.

rcocean said...

Glad to learn that Jerry Ford was an only child. It confirms my theory. People don't realize that "Jerry Ford" was an egomaniac. Primarily because he was such a blockhead. But he thought he was smarter than Everyone. One reason, why he was a blockhead.

Egomaniacs are misunderstood.

rcocean said...

Jerry Ford went to his grave believing the USSR did NOT dominate Eastern Europe. And he was super-smart. Unlike Jimmy Carter and Reagan.

rcocean said...

You know why egomaniac Jerry Ford thought he lost in '76? Reagan didn't campaign hard enough for him. True story.

Jerry Ford thought he'd be a "shoo-in" in 1980 and thought Reagan would lose in a landslide. He was all ready to run for office when Rumsfield and Cheney convinced him not to run. Jerry didn't speak to them for months.

n.n said...
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Jupiter said...

"Malik, Auma, Mark, David, Abo, Bernard, and George on his father's side."

Those would be the children of the Kenyan guy his mother knew briefly. No relation to his father.

Wince said...

What does sex mean to me?

I see another baby born
One more mouth to feed
Sometimes I can't comprehend
This urge to breed

Travel through a crowded land
Where people love each other as they love the state
They love their work
Their work is love
Love's no excuse to procreate

Their party slogan reads
And I quote
Making love is a mental disease
It wastes time and
Depletes our energies

Unknown said...

Liberals justifying their life decisions. My biggest regret was not have 4 or more.

rcocean said...

Brothers and Sisters.

Can't live with 'em. Can't live without them.

policraticus said...

The test of the only child rests in the parenting. If the parents do a good job setting boundaries, instilling character, fostering independence, then the only child will grow into a decent person. Just like if they had siblings galore.

My life was enriched by being an only child. I had opportunities that my parents simply could not have offered me if I had been one of three. Also, I was blessed by being born to two people who were able to understand that loving someone completely and willing the good for them is different than giving them everything they want. Sometimes, love says no, son, you can't have a pony. Of course, everything is a trade off. When my mother dies, I will be largely cut off from my past, I will be the only person on Earth who will remember our life together. There is something bittersweet in that.

Do I wish I had siblings? How do you miss something you never had? If you had asked me before I had children, I would have said that it never crossed my mind. Truly. Now, watching my three kids tumble and contend through childhood I am sometimes utterly baffled by their behavior. And sometimes, I'm a little jealous, too. Fighting over a spot on the sofa is entirely outside of my experience. Did I miss something in that? I don't think so, but I wonder.

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

Its like I told my older brother. You're an asshole. But you're OUR asshole.

Ralph L said...

An only child friend of many years got married at 48 and now has 3 little kids. His mother was one of 9, but I only heard her speak of one of them.

it does mean a great deal to have people in your life who share family memories with you. And it was especially important when my parents aged and their health worsened. Trying to care for ill and elderly parents is a heavy responsibility

The first part I think is very sad. As Navy juniors, we moved around so much before HS that we didn't put out roots.

I've had my 91 yo dad for almost 6 years, and I'm ready to pass him on. My brother's daughter goes to college this year, and my sister could use more of his financial help. Unfortunately, I'm the only one with a one story house.

MayBee said...

I was having the hardest time reading "Only Children...." in this sentence.

Ralph L said...

It's an oxymoron, or rather, they are.

Lurker21 said...

I have a hard time believing Gerald "A Ford Not a Lincoln" was more of an egotist than other politicians. Most politicians are egotistical or narcissistic. You don't run for office if there isn't something egotistical in you.

And any politician who isn't narcissistic to begin with becomes narcissistic fairly quickly. Sales can involve manipulating people and if you are the product you're selling, it can go to your head very quickly. When everyday is a personal struggle to survive against rejection by the crowd it can be hard to be a moral, responsible and caring human being.

But truly malignant narcissists - people who truly cannot control their impulses - can get weeded out in the electoral process, given enough time, and in rare moments of crisis, the expansive and buoyant qualities of narcissistic leaders may actually help to keep societies going.

Michael K said...

But truly malignant narcissists - people who truly cannot control their impulses - can get weeded out in the electoral process, given enough time,

Close run thing with Hillary. Travelgate was a long time ago.

Amadeus 48 said...
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Amadeus 48 said...

This doesn't work so well down the line: four grandparents, two parents, one child. That child is carrying a heavy load.

Rory said...

This pattern was seen in the Soviet Union, correct? The family with the good apartment having one kid, who was revered by grandparents, aunts, uncles? They never really got around to what happened when that older generation died off.

Narr said...

What about birth order? Significant or not?

I was second of four boys; my wife had three older brothers and one brother eight years younger. We have only one son, and will probably never be grandparents. I'm the only one of my four to have a kid at all; two never married. Her older brothers have nine kids among them, from six total marriages.

My older (by almost four years) brother was an asshole too, but he wasn't MY asshole. He couldn't handle the loss of our father, and had never liked me at all. After a life of addiction and crime, he died doing what he loved in 2004, aged 55. Son #3 died in 2010, now it's just me and my youngest brother; the six years between us is not a major factor--we haven't much in common and acknowledge it. The age isn't a big deal in itself.

I have some good memories (unfort son #3 was the one all the rest of us liked the most), but do I think my son missed some important and special thing by our not having more children? It's moot, and we struggled financially with the one.

Narr
#2 son, like Napoleon

Szoszolo said...

I could not have gotten through my mother's decline and death without my sister. A close friend who is dealing with the decline of both parents would say the same of her brother. It's not just the sharing of the daily burdens of dealing with doctors, nursing homes, etc. It's also grieving at the end with someone who really knows what you've lost. I hope all these onlies marry well and have good friends ... they'll need 'em.

Yancey Ward said...

"Fighting over a spot on the sofa is entirely outside of my experience. Did I miss something in that? I don't think so, but I wonder."

Yeah, you probably did miss something. It is possible you picked the missing things up somewhere else along the line. I know the thing I picked up was being fully aware at a young age that I wasn't the only person for which my parents were responsible- my siblings needs mattered, and became part of my responsibility as I got older.

Someone above wondered about birth order. I am the oldest of 4, and we are all different in the sorts of ways the common research on the matter would have predicted, though in our case, we came in distinct pairs- my oldest sister and I are only 3 years apart as are my two youngest sisters, but there was a 6 year gap between #2 and #3 child.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I'm the elder of two sisters, but my sister died over 20 years ago. Growing up, I was very like an only child -- the bookish, violin-playing loner, next to my tanned, athletic, gymnast-and-cheerleader kid sister. I don't recall our playing together very much. And yet as the years go by, she is in my every dream involving my family. Every one. She grows more and more precious as she recedes.

DEEBEE said...

All makes sense now. We need to import people who do not believe this societal suicidal piggies with lipstick. They then can fill the gap we create and give back all the looting and plundering our ancestors have committed. Not in my name.

Narr said...

Due to the uselessness of my older bro, I functioned as an eldest to a large degree, and had a lot of responsibility early. As it turned out, as the favorite grandson (a status earned the way Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize) I became conservator for our oma for five years; my little brothers lived at home, and then for about four years my youngest bro and I were nurses and body-servants to our mother (he did 90% of the work).

My wife, as the only girl, and living a only a few miles from her mother, did 99% of the work for her in the end--which was years in the making.

My wife and I have actually both gotten much healthier ourselves with the pressures of eldercare gone--but the way our son eats, we may outlive him.

Narr
I only ever dream of my dead younger brother, never the elder