How many times have you looked at the Mom or Dad of an only child and told them, "Oh, she must be lonely"? Come on, admit it. I'm one and done over here, and I know I've heard it enough times!
But as I watched the latest episode of Mya and Her Moms this week, I wanted to stand up and start punching my fist in the air. Only child Mya was having a playdate with a little girl who has three siblings. One of the things the girls have in common? They're both a little lonely.
Got that y'all? Loneliness is not an only child problem!
I know, I know, "lonely only child" sounds so good. It even rhymes!
But I am parenting an only child, and I grew up in a two-kid family. I've seen both sides, and trust me, my daughter isn't nearly as lonely as I was as a kid (yes, I'm neurotic enough to ask ... frequently).
Like Mya's moms, we plan frequent playdates. Plus we have a steady flurry of young babysitters who play with her and adult friends and family who lavish her with attention. She also has a dog and two cats to keep her company. It isn't that she's never alone, but living in a house without other kids doesn't mean she has no socialization.
Living in a house with other kids, on the other hand, doesn't mean you have someone to play with. My brother is five years younger than me. At some stages we were able to play together, but we spent much of our childhoods at distinctly different developmental levels. We just couldn't relate, and we lived on a backroad with no neighbors to provide alternate entertainment. Loneliness was a state of being for me as a kid.
Even in homes where the siblings are closer in age, the fact is, not all siblings get along. As one sister told me recently of her (much closer in age) sister, "I love my sister, but I don't really like her. I wouldn't pick her as a friend."
So let's just put this myth to rest, huh? Kids can be lonely in houses with siblings, or without ... and their parents can do a world of good on either end. Just check out how they deal with it in Mya's house!
What do you do when your child is feeling lonely?
For more peeks into the real lives of real families, subscribe to CafeMom Studios' YouTube Channel.
Image via CafeMomStudios/YouTube