Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Dangerous Reprecussions of Only Child Syndrome (OCS)

Heh my title?

Anyway...I was an Only Child, and I loved it. I often threatened to leave home if my parents even looked at another kid. Yeah, I threatened them with my newly acquired outdoor and streetwise abilities for such an occasion; I had learned how to poke a hole in the top of a water bottle in order to carefully ration my water, while trekking through the city with a blanket full of stuffed animals on my back and a pack of Twinkies in my pocket. I was serious ya'all. Many people think being an Only Child is lonely. Psh. It's awesome. For example:

-I never had to share my toys
-My clothes were always new
-Heck my TOYS were always new!
-I watched whatever cartoon I wanted and played whatever games/video games I wanted
-My parents' friends always brought me little gifts because I was so, "quiet and good"
-Birthdays and Christmas were all about ME!
-There was always extra dessert left over for the next day
-I never had to share my friends, OR my parents!
-I never heard, "why can't you be more like..." (which was good because the comparison would have been to the family dog, or the cat. That would have been lame.)

Now I know what you're thinking, because I have Only Child Syndrome, (OCS) which makes me incredibly intuitive and off-the-charts smart. You're thinking:

-Poor woman, she's delusional
-She's WRONG! I love my siblings and she missed out terribly!
-Wow, that hole in the top of the water bottle trick is genius!

Or, you are muttering all the usual blah blah blah stereotypes, such as:

-Only Children are spoiled brats
-Only Children are spoiled brats, and the famously cited stereotype,
-Only Children are spoiled brats

Well, to that I must concede, because we don't learn to share, or compromise, or have empathy quite as quickly, because we don't have to! We tend to lead rather than follow, seek to achieve, and we do very well in isolation, so if you think you're punishing us by leaving us alone, well, you're wrong.

And lastly, I bet a million fake dollars there is an Only Child reading this who totally disagrees with me, and is stubbornly refusing to read the rest of my post because they think I am ridiculous and totally wrong. Hmph! Typical...

I was reading this research paper, because I was planning on over-achieving on this post and being totally right, and I found it interesting that the paper noted that most Only Children are equally extroverted and introverted. I so agree! Because like, I am not only suffering from OCS, I also suffer from OCD due to my introversion, and tyrannical tendencies due to my extroversion. Hey, they don't call Only Children, "little dictators" for nothing! Why do you think I abuse hand sanitizer and demand that the entire soccer team use it before shaking hands after the game?? (Hellooooooo, OCS!!!)

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, I just did two posts on my fantastic kids, and I must admit, agreeing to have 2 kids initially was no easy feat. In my mind, one kid was perfect because sheesh, I was a perfect child so ya know, why ruin the trend?

But actually, my first real encounters of siblings getting along and being close was my husband with his sister, and truly I did not know siblings could have such fun and close relationships. Sure, I was told of fights and periods of distance during those tumultuous teen years, but for the first time in my life, I actually wondered what it would have been like to have a sibling and to enjoy that bond, those experiences in life that you can only share with a brother or sister. Someone that is totally a friend, and totally family, and by your side through thick and thin.

So that's when I decided that yes, having more than one child would be a great idea, and the positive benefits to the little people I was rearing in this world would outweigh the positive benefits I had as an Only Child. And these benefits for them are:

-Constantly fighting over the big comfy chair in the house, every morning
-Finding THE one toy they both MUST have at the SAME TIME which they CANNOT share
-Hiding each others tooth brushes and hoarding the sink when it's time to spit
-Screaming, "don't touch me!" and "stop it!" every 3 seconds
-Hating whatever game/movie the other one likes, and getting into a knock-down drag-out battle during the "compromising" phase
-Scrambling to grab the biggest piece of dessert
-Sharing a room, and one liking it dark and quite, the other needing a nightlight and noise.
-Gloating when the other one is in trouble, or simply placing all the blame on the other one, and
-Always always ALWAYS being in each other's bidness!!!!

Friends, this is all very hard for me to regulate, I must admit. In fact, in the beginning I deferred the regulating of these encounters to my husband, usually accompanied by the desperate question, "oh my goodness is this NORMAL?" To which he would always say, "yes Kim," and then assure me that allowing them to figure it all out themselves, short of major bodily harm, was the way to go. this:

Jacob: I had it first!
Audrey: Jacob won't share!
Jacob: It's MINE!
Me: Wait, who had it first?
Jacob: ME!
Audrey: It was on the floor!
Me: Audrey had it first?
Jacob: I was gonna play with it!
Me: When?
Jacob: I don't know, but it's MINE!
Me: Look, you both need to learn to share, I-
Me: OK! That's it! Give it to me! NO ONE plays with it now!
Jacob: See what you did Audrey?
Audrey: You're mean Jacob! A big dumb meanie!

You all, truth be told here, my OCS and OCD kick in and I can't DEAL! And, did you know just two children can take down a tyrannical dictator in a matter of seconds? You have to act fast, especially when you're dealing with a ninja and a gladiator!

Apparently, even according to Super Nanny, the answer was NOT to confiscate said object as a lesson to the children that screaming and fighting doesn't get them what they want. I was supposed to just let them work it out, teaching them compromising skills and how to stay calm in conflict.

Um, no. The lesson here, which I learned and execute well, is to restore SILENCE in the house by removing whatever is causing the problem. Because silence, and lack of conflict, are the most important parts of harmony in a household with more than one kid. That's why we no longer have games, toys, desserts, TVs, big comfy chairs or toothbrushes in our home.

Go ahead Super Nanny, put me in time out on my "naughty spot" but I know I'm right and I don't need to listen to your advice. The End.


Kearsie said...

We had a babysitter this summer for my two kids. I would trudge up the stairs, open the door to the apartment and immediately the babysitter would begin to tell me how horribly my children got along, how they fought constantly, how they would yell and scream, etc.

After a few days, it occurred to me why she couldn't handle it.

She was an only child.

I finally just had to say, dude, this is how siblings act. It's not good or fun to be around, but this is Life With Sisters. Or Brothers. Or Sister and/or Brothers. Etc.

Jennifer said...

Wow Kim, you hid your OCS well. I didn't know you were one. That's a compliment because I do think only children are brats - most of them, anyway. I steer my children (all 4 of them) away from being friends with only children because I can't provide them with the brand new toys their only child friends have... and because I expect them to get along with each other, take turns and share rooms! :)

Insanitykim said...

Yes Jennifer I don't blame you! It took marrying a "Middle Child" to reform me. ;)

Cluttered Brain said...

Hmmm Interesting. I like it. So you basically live in an empty house with nothing but a bed and a dresser. That will work. Until you start craving that cheesecake or anything sweet any you forget and make a wonderful chocolate cake AND the arguing begins... Good luck with that.

Did you go to college and have roommates? Cause that might have helped the OCS alittle. Just wondering. Somehow after all these years you have seemed to manage though.:))

DoThat4U said...

But the Toilet. What about that? Don't they argue over the bathroom. Perhaps you can tape off that section of the house too, just to be sure.

Well done.

Jennifer said...

Oh, Lord, I would be breaking the Super Nanny's rules, too, and I would have grabbed that thing and tossed it into the trash. I suppose that's what I learned from my dad, growing up with siblings... I turned out okay. ;-)

w said...

i'm an only child. and i'm only the awesomest person ever.

being an only child has trained me to:
1. not care that michael vartan refuses to join twitter and follow me.
2. think it normal to buy expensive "collectible" dolls like the alias michael vaughn doll and play with it - out of the box.
3. never ever cry.


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