Don't be a bad parent. Be a good parent. But don't be TOO good a parent. That is BAD.
I'm telling ya, some people need to invent stuff to grouse about. Ahem. Let's pretend I had an attitude like this (I don't, the letter is fake, no fair unfriending me on facebook). Ready?
Dear Mom and Dad:
You were always there for me. You were always helping me with homework, or buying me new clothes, cheering for me when I went to soccer practice, and generally being nice people. You even FED me three times a day. I seriously blame the extra 20 pounds I had as a high school senior on YOU for indulging my pizza habit. I also blame you for the fact that I thought I was a pretty great person and had this "self-esteem" thing going on. You even paid for four years of college, my room and board and drinking- I mean spending- money, at a prestigious university.
In short, you were bad parents all around because you were too GOOD, you see. I am now in therapy to work out my issues... which are all your fault and all caused by you.
Happy Elf Mom.
Can you beee-lieeeeeve this stuff? Honestly, I think it comes from the fact that most of us are able to escape childhood diseases, are well-fed, and don't get sent out to work 13 hours a day right when we turn six. Because from my perspective, a too-good parent is still good enough, you know? Reality WILL smack you in the *whatever* soon enough. Might as well have some people around who really love you.
But this. This smacks of prejudice as well. The "spoiled only child" idea, culled from the comments section:
"I think smaller families are PART of the problem simply because there are fewer kids, and they get too much focus. I know one child, for example, who for four years was the only child in her family; she was an only child, and her parents’ siblings weren’t married. So at family gatherings, everyone was an adult but her. Parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents . . . and one center-of-attention child who was even bossing her own great-grandfather around, because it simply never occurred to anyone that she was the cutest person in the room but not the center of the universe. If there had been ten children and six teenagers in that room as well, children would have seemed less of a novelty. Plus, if she had had siblings she would have learned some things about sharing and negotiating; she wouldn’t have had full access to toys and attention."
May I gently say to you that this is not a "not enough children around" problem, but a DISCIPLINE problem? And um, if she's the only kid around, you have LOTS of time and energy to teach her good manners. I think siblings are excellent to have, but not everyone has them, and I don't like seeing only-kid families disparged any more than I like seeing families like mine sneered at as though we were rabbits. Plus, to be quite honest, it is much HARDER to teach manners to child #6 than kid #1 because you are that much older and have that many more things to do that MUST get done. Yes, the children must learn from siblings as well as parents because it's simply a different dynamic than in an only-child family.