Why Do Only Children Get A Bad Rap?

only-childA few weeks ago, my husband, son, and I were at a bowling birthday party. Kids and parents were everywhere, and while it was a little crazy, everyone was having a great time celebrating. When it was time to rally the kiddos for cupcakes, everyone sat down at a place. Cupcakes were waiting and everyone was getting ready to sing happy birthday when a boy had a meltdown about his cupcake. It wasn’t the color that he wanted and he started screaming at his mom and hitting her because he wanted to switch seats. I totally get meltdowns and never judge them – kids get tired, gets get overstimulated, kids get hungry. I get it.

Mamas yell, Daddies growl, parents look exhausted. I get it.


In this case, the mom started bargaining with kids who were sitting near her son so that she could broker a trade for the cupcake that he wanted. The mom then announced, over the screams of her son, “What can you do? Only child syndrome.”

My son, my only child, was not screaming and yelling. He may have not liked the design on his cupcake, but he was happy to have one anyway. I don’t like it when my son gets a bad rap because people still say things like, “What can you do? Only child syndrome.”

My mom is an elementary school teacher and also my best friend. In years past, she has been guilty of squeezing in asides into her stories about work like “well, he’s an only child” as if that makes it okay for the child to behave poorly or the parents to be hoverers. Now, though, that I have a child – just one – she hasn’t been saying things like that anymore and I’m glad.

Only child mothers, do you see or hear the same things or am I just being too sensitive? I promise not to use my son’s only child status as an excuse for his behavior, or for mine. Do you agree?

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About This Blogger

Haley Burress

Haley Burress is the proud Mama of Jackson, a 4 year old who was conceived after 4 years of injections, procedures, and more early morning internal ultrasounds than she cares to count. She spends her time writing for parents and educators while her son is at preschool or napping. Haley lives in the northwest Chicago suburbs with her (handsome) Principal husband, son, and a fish named Blue that somehow has not died in the past year. She's a Christian, an introvert, and a wanna-be yogi. You can usually find her reading a good book, dancing in the kitchen while cooking dinner, falling on her face while attempting crow pose on her yoga mat, and hiding in the bathroom eating a brownie so she doesn't have to share.