Only Children Reveal The Biggest Things That People Who Have Siblings Will Never Get

How many times did little you dream of your siblings disappearing from your house and giving you peace and quiet? And how many times did us only children wonder what it would be like to have siblings at all?

It's a question only Reddit can answer. User thisshortenough asked the internet:

Only children of reddit, what is something that people with siblings don't understand?

Here are some of the answers.

Some Insight

Relationships are hard.

I've always envied people who had not just siblings (because, yeah, learning to have another person in your space is hard), but siblings of the opposite sex. Growing up with an understanding of how the opposite sex thinks/feels about their body, about friendships, how they deal with fears and insecurities, and react to power-struggles among their peers... all that shit is a complete f-cking mystery to only-children, and it's an complete mind-f-ck when you run head on into it in your first relationship.

Equal Ground

There's no person of approximately my age in my family.

I've got one cousin but she's 20 years older than me so I've always percieved her like another aunt. Her children on the other hand are 10 and 15 years younger than me and we don't even meet much.

Because of that I kinda cannot grasp the concept of having a non-hierarchical relationship with your relatives or basically having a relative who's also a buddy of yours.

Physical Safety

I've never been punched or hit or kicked! I think for people with siblings that's surprising because siblings often get physical in their arguments.

Only Each Other

Wife and I are both only children - net result - our kids do not have any aunties, uncles or cousins... And we had a big family in part because we were only children!


If you have trouble with your parents you don't really have someone to talk to who is that close to your parents as you are and who understands like you do. So it is only you who has to deal with your parents' frustration of life, their disappointment in you, their anger because you don't live your life like they wanted you to do.


I'm curious if other only children were very sensitive? I definitely got a big shock going into school and encountering the cruelty of children for the first time, having been raised by a single loving mother. Makes you a pretty big target for bullying when you're that naive.

The Life I Never Led

The pressure from family to have kids and to have a family of your own is quite high, especially if you have other plans.

Chosen Family

How your friends become your siblings - but for your friends WITH siblings you don't become theirs.

Growing up (and still) I had/have a core group of friends - 1 is an only child and the others all had brothers and sisters. I feel closer to this set of friends than almost anyone else after 25+ years (even my husband) but I'm always aware that they have siblings who THEY are closer to than me. For me that's the loneliest part.

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

That when they both go you are truly alone.

I don't currently have a partner and my father passed 2 years ago. It's just my mother left, I don't speak to my family that live in the same state so if/when my mother goes and I'm still single then....I'm it...

I have friends, great friends but as for family mum is it

Some Help

Im 30 and an only child, spent the last 14 years helping the family look after sick and dying relatives, because we were all they had.

Nursed my father, 2 grandmothers and grandfather through cancer, dementia and old age. Cleaned things and seen things no grandchild should ever have to.

Even one sibling would have made this whole process much much easier. For any parents reading this just two bits of advice

1- Your child will want & need time to just enjoy life and cut loose without a purpose, give this too them but let them know you're close if needed

2 - Think about your own future, my mother is essentially a shut in aside from 1/2 weekly grocery trips since my father passed, no matter your age try to keep your independence as long as you can & start a payment plan for your own funeral, you can pay it off over 20 years and it wont bankrupt your kids


Watching my friends and cousins fight with their siblings was TERRIFYING. It was a great relief to return to my books and video games.

Be Careful

When you become an only child as an adult be prepared for never ending 'be careful' lectures.

My mom must think that I'm an idiot now. It's like, I'm just checking so see if the new season of that show is on Netflix yet. "Well, be careful."

May or may not be a slight exaggeration.

Some Quiet

i need my alone time. I'm not being antisocial, i'm not a hermit.

I had 20+ years of keeping myself entertained and it's exhausting to have constant chatter in the background now. Sometimes i just want to be alone with my thoughts.

New Lessons

When I got to college, and even after college, I found it difficult to have roommates because I was used to things being just "my way" in my living space as I hadn't had to share that space with other peers for years while growing up. Took me a long time to learn to cohabitate with others.


You are both the Golden child and the scapegoat. When you do good, praise rains upon you. When you fuck up, you get their undiluted wrath.


I'm an only child AND an only grandchild --- on both my mothers and my fathers side. And it's not like my parents were only children, both have siblings who married so I have 8 aunts and uncles but no first cousins. It made for a very different upbringing because all of our holidays and family gatherings, there was no kids table. I sat with the adults and had to have discussions with adults all the time, which I believe helped me intellectually, but there were so many times where I would just want to be a kid. It's kind of ironic, I would get lots of toys at Christmas and my birthday, but never had anyone to play with them with.

As for what people don't understand, many people have already touched on this, but just the immense pressure of expectations. Also every conversation you're the only millennial who now has to speak for an entire generation in front of 10 adults.


I know what it's like to spend a whole day occupying myself. I think I can largely credit my only child experience with how creative I am. I spent time drawing or inventing stories with my toys, building things and dreaming. I think this general thought process has translated well to my everyday life problem solving and designing as an aspiring architect.

Weight Of The World

You are the one to carry the legacy. You will be blamed for ruining your family or making it greater than it ever was. We also seem to be a bit more content with being alone and are a bit more emotionally mature due to only speaking to grownups our entire lives except for school and friends. At the same time we have trouble making friends a bit more but thats more due to us looking for someone thats just as content as we are in ourselves. Suprised no one said this the one perk is dare I say.... Inheritance.

Lonely Board Games

How much it sucks growing up and not having someone to play with you. Both my parents worked two jobs when I was a kid, so I had to make up games that I could play with myself or just kick a soccer ball against the wall. I remember I got a really cool Star Wars Monopoly game for Christmas one year, but then I realized I had no one to play it with unless I had friends over, so it spent a lot of time gathering dust. It did get better when I got a dog, but playing with a dog is not entirely the same as a sibling.


The responsibility of taking care of one's parents. Most of my friends didn't understand what an undertaking it was when my mom got sick last year. I was her POA and responsible for all the decisions. I had to be available for everything, court dates, meetings with social workers, hospice planning. Most of my friends have one sibling who could help out or they could tag team. I carried a case of documents in my car so if I was called when not at home I could look up answers.

Also trying to plan a funeral as the only one responsible is ridiculously stressful. I couldn't find a place to hold it, i spent six hours one day just calling places to see if there was a free spot.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

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