Social Question

bucko's avatar

Did you get too much attention growing up?

Asked by bucko (648 points ) December 29th, 2012

I am the only child of an only child. I grew up two streets away from my grandparents (who had no other grandchildren) so I always had a ride anywhere I wanted to go and never had to make my own meals. It was like my grandmother was determined to make my childhood as easy as possible.

When I was younger I never thought there was anything wrong with the level of attention I got. But now, I look around and I don’t know anyone who got as much attention as I did. Maybe it was for the best and maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know.

Anyone else in a similar predicament?

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20 Answers

janbb's avatar

I wish!

dxs's avatar

No, my parents both had (more than) full time jobs.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Well I was an only child and I saw both sets of grandparents on a regular basis (I didn’t live within walking distance of them) but like you I never had to make my own meals. I don’t think that I’m spoiled or anything because of it. But who knows?

Now where’s my wife it’s time she fixed me a pimento cheese sandwhich and brought me a beer…topless LOL

marinelife's avatar

I never had that much attention.

dabbler's avatar

That sounds like the right kinds of attention, folks watching over you and making sure you have what you need.

Coloma's avatar

I was an only child too and have an only child. I didn’t get a lot of attention at all, busy and emotionally unavailable parents, to say the least. Everyone in my family was also about 104 by the time I was born. My mother was 38 and my father was 45.

I was a very independent child and pretty much raised myself. I was very devoted to my daughter for these reasons. I think my independent upbringing was beneficial. I am very comfortable being alone with myself, highly innovative and creative.

I am never bored and while an extrovert by nature I cherish my solitude equally.
I don’t think there is really such a thing as “too much” attention for a child.
Attention is not the same as spoiling with material stuff to make up for lack of attention.

chyna's avatar

No, I was the 4th child and my mom was one of those people that had children because she thought she was supposed to, but had no idea how to raise them. Don’t get me wrong, she was a good mom, but didn’t really pay that much attention to us. My dad was always at work, so when he got home he was too tired to play with us.
My brother closest in age to me always took care of me. There are tons of pictures where he was always pulling me in a wagon, on a sled, holding me, holding my hand. I’m very fortunate that he was there for me.

janbb's avatar

@chyna My one brother who was like that died young. I think it is still a lack.

bucko's avatar

@dabbler plenty of people resented the fact that my grandmother would do anything for my dad and I.

Shippy's avatar

No, I had an older brother and the whole thing was bizarre. But our family was bizarre all in all. He was sent to Public schools (in the UK) Private Schools here. I went to a random rat bag school. He got all new clothes, all my toys and clothes were second hand. He had birthdays every year, I never did. He got bikes and watches I got new clothes on Christmas.

I have no idea why it was like that, except to say, that my dad really wanted a son. My brother turned out not so great. He was a helpless drunk and addict by the age of 18. Finally my parents disowned him. By literally deporting him from the country we then lived in. They had strong connections to the police. I really must write my book.

Ela's avatar

Nope. Being the youngest of six (with a total of seven years between us), I got stepped around a lot. I was always “the baby” (which did not mean I was spoiled, it meant I was the youngest and least competent one) and the “tag along puppy dog” (when ever my sisters were told they had to take me with them). None of my siblings gave me too much attention growing up. I was usually either in their way or an inconvenience to them because they had to look after me.
My dad left when I was five and though my mom was always around, she was never there (for me). I was cooking, cleaning and doing my own laundry (hand washed / line dried) by the age of 11.
My grandmother lived in the same town, but whenever we went there, we always had to “go find something to do”. Same with when we got together with aunts, uncles and cousins. We were told to “leave our mother alone”. and “go find something to do”.

My mom didn’t know half the shit we did. If she did, she either didn’t care or just didn’t say anything about it. As long as the cops didn’t come knocking on the door, she pretty much didn’t care. My sister who is one year older than I, took over the role of parent in our dysfunctional, alcoholic father-less, family.

(This is all from a child’s perspective. My mom died when I was 18 (she was 47) so I never got a chance to talk to her about growing up and the effect our alcoholic, emotionally and physically abusive father had on her.)

jonsblond's avatar

Not at all. I am the youngest of six children, with the next youngest being 6 years older than me and the oldest being 14 years older than me. There were many times when I felt like an only child because my siblings were never around, or when they were they didn’t want me bugging them. My father was in upper management and was rarely home. My mom kept to herself most of the time, with her time being spent with a glass of wine in her hand while she paced the living room waiting for my dad to get home. I felt pretty lonely.

As lonely as I was, my parents always gave me a great holiday and vacations. They are my fondest memories. I was a bit spoiled in that respect.

bossob's avatar

It might be more enlightening to consider the quality of the attention, rather than the quantity. You were fortunate to be raised by a supportive, engaged extended family interested in your immediate welfare. The other end of the spectrum are the children who receive lots of attention that is derogative and abusive.

As a child, I felt loved, and I appreciated that my immediate needs were provided. But it came at the expense of having parents who were seldom around to share their knowledge and experiences about the mundane details of living and enjoying life.

JenniferP's avatar

My mother gave me too much attention in one way. She was bossy and controlling. Everything had to be her way and she was overprotective. She also snooped in my personal belongings and read my diary.

At the same time she always had her head in a book or was out bird watching and didn’t take the time to bond with me in a constructive way. I wasn’t overly spoiled. There wasn’t much money and I wasn’t given whatever I wanted. I barely even got an allowance and my clothes were rummage sale stuff.

My dad did not give me enough attention. His father was an abusive drunk and my dad repeated some of his behaviors but not all. He wasn’t abusive but he drank and fought with my mom. He would stay out all night drinking and on his days off from work he would either be watching sports and drinking or fishing and drinking. He did have a good sense of humor though and would joke around with us kids and tell us stories and I relished that.

My relatives including grandparents were either deceased or living far away.

As far as my siblings, they are all very difficult people and to this day I keep my distance.

bookish1's avatar

I was an only child and received plenty of intellectual and material support. But I was also emotionally and physically abused.

Because of the academic and material support, it took me a long time to realize that I had been abused (not until I moved away for college). I thought that… I had to be eternally grateful for the good things I received, but the rest was my fault or excusable somehow.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe there is no such thing as too much attention. It depends on the type of attention, and the personality of the child.

My mother lived for the three of us, and gave us attention all day every day. She hated sending us off to school, because she missed us so much. We lived within walking distance of four related families, and easy driving distance of two sets of grandparents, so family was always around. My brother and I were the oldest of all the cousins, and we never lacked for attention.

wundayatta's avatar

When I was one and a half, my brother was born and he soon developed some life threatening illness. My stint as king of the household ended suddenly and permanently, and my therapist thinks that left lasting scars. I think it’s just a convenient excuse.

In any case, this trend kept on for the rest of my life, as my brother always got more attention, and so did my sister (as the only girl, she was my father’s favorite). They even bought my brother a building in NYC, which is now worth a fortune, sitting in the heart of what is now a very trendy neighborhood, but back then, was a bunch of warehouses. He’s an artist. It was his studio.

My sister ended up traveling the world, reporting, making documentaries and giving my parents many excuses to arrange parties for her whenever she deigns to come home.

I, of course, am somehow the failure of the family. I never did anything great enough. I’m just an ordinary schmoe, with a wife, two kids, a retirement plan, and a 100 year old house in the city. I think I was supposed to save the planet, but I didn’t, so I’m not worth much in my parent’s eyes.

I once asked them why they paid so much more attention to my siblings. My mother said, “We didn’t think you needed it. You could always take care of yourself.”

Well, yeah. We do what we have to. But it costs. Now it seems like there is never enough love to make me feel safe. Never will be.

On the bright side, I no longer feel like I need to save the world in order to be considered a halfway decent human being.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta So many parents are narcissistic in the sense of favoring the child or children that stroke their egos and dead dreams the most. I think that is so sad. I always encouraged my daughter to just be herself and she knew ) knows ) she doesn’t have to do anything amazing to earn my “approval.” I support whatever interests her short of being a stripper or porn star. haha

I broke the chain of narcissism in my exes family where gushing favoritism runs rampant and whomever makes mom and dad the most puffed up is family flavor of the week, month, decade. Such utter phoney bullshit!

Blondesjon's avatar

Tons, but only the bad kind you get when you’re constantly trying to get the good kind that is never there.

burntbonez's avatar

No. Not too much attention. My father was a workaholic. My mother was busy raising three kids while dealing with a host of medical problems. I was the middle one. I don’t think there was enough attention to go around.

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