Post # 1
I love children and always thought I’d have a big family, but recently my husband and I have found ourselves in a situation where both of our families have moved out of the state. I always believed we’d have the support of our families while raising kids, culturally that’s what happens, but we are now raising our son without that support. To clarify we have great jobs, a nice house, and we have a very happy life, we just don’t have family support. So, now I’m rethinking if we should really have a bigger family. For one thing, one sort of just feels right. Our little family of three suites our life style and we’re happy, but there is sort of a nagging feeling in the back of my mind like, “Will my kid be okay without a sibling?” or “What happens when we’re old and my son is stuck with the burden of watching us grow old without someone else to share the struggles with?” It really worries me.. So I guess my question is: do any of you bees have only children and are they well adjusted? Are those rumors about only children true? What can you tell me about having an only? And really anything you want to share about only children would be so helpful. Do any of you regret having an only child?
Post # 2
I’m not an only child, but I think when my husband and I do have kids we will be stopping at 1. I said something about this while my sister-in-law was in the room once and her reaction was “Oh my god, please don’t! You can’t do that to your kid!” And I just rolled my eyes because I think it’s a total myth that only children are doomed to be spoiled and lonely.
But honestly, I don’t get anything out of the sibiling relationship I have with my brother. We aren’t estranged, we don’t hate each other but we aren’t close really and I just don’t get the big deal people make out of sibiling relationships, based on my own experience.
I have several friends who are only children and there are some who fit the sterotypes but others who don’t at all! There’s so much more to who you becomes than any single factor, including having a sibiling. And for a lot of people having one child works for their lifestyle and their family feels complete at 3. Just like no one should be pressured into having children if they don’t want them, people shouldn’t be pressured into having more children if they are happy at one.
Post # 3
I’ve found that WB tends to be quite anti-only children, but I for one plan on just one (unless I’m overcome with an amazing desire for another, but I doubt it) and I was an only myself. My Fiance was practically an only too — he has a sister but she was nearly moved out by the time he was born as she’s much older. Both of us had amazing childhoods.
My parents always made sure I was involved in activities to make lots of friends. Outside of school, I danced, played sports, was in Girl Scouts, was in band, etc. I never felt lonely, I never felt like I didn’t have someone around my age to turn to. As my parents get older, yes, I have to start thinking about looking out for them. But I’m not in it alone — my Fiance is there to be there for me and support me, as are my best friends.
Having a second kid only to keep the first company/make sure they don’t turn into an “awful only child” seems really strange to me. There are a ton of studies out there showing that so many of the “only children myths” are just flat-out wrong. You might want to poke around Google one afternoon and check them out. Also look up famous only children and you’ll see a long list of happy, well-adjusted, successful people. Having one kid doesn’t doom him/her forever.
Post # 4
On the other side of the fence: my parents moved interstate when I was very young. My mother (and father) maintained their careers while having 3 children, without any family support at all. Then my husband and I had our children with limited family support, and certainly no daytime childcare from them. So personally, I wouldn’t let the closeness of family affect my decision of how many children to have. If you want just 1, that’s fine. But more than 1 is doable as well.
Post # 5
I am an only child and while it was lonely at times, i am honestly happy that i am only child. I spend alot of my childhood playing with toys and being very creative when i was not with friends. My parents got me involved in various groups too. Having a sibling does not gurantee having an easier life for your child and support helping when you are older as people move away, sometimes siblings do not get along, etc. I think if you raise your son in an envrionment with lots of social interaction with other kids his age and give him a balanced lifestyle you will have no problem. There are many gifted only children and often they are higher achievers than kids with siblings.
Post # 6
I have a brother, and he and I don’t speak. He’s an arsehole, a moocher, he’s lazy, self centred, and entitled. He assaulted me over noodles.
I think a lot of people romanticise what their children will be like with siblings. Like they’re going to be life long best friends. That isn’t always the case.
Post # 7
- Wedding: Los Coyotes Country Club
I’m an only child AND only grandchild. Please have another child. Here’s why… My grandmother is in her 90s and requires help (i.e. Driving, figuring out new situations/technology). My mother has completely changed her retired life to accommodate her mother. I also help but I work full time. If my mom had a sibling not all medical decisions, Drs appointments, grocery shopping trips would fall on her. I know the same fate is the same if I’m blessed to have my mom and dad live to her 90s. Granted having a second child does not guarantee they will grow to be considerate adults who care for their parents, but in my opinion it’s worth a shot.
Post # 8
I remember my co worker once saying ” I love both my boys but I wish I stopped at 1″ but a friend once told me its extreamly selfish to just have 1. I’m still going to have an only child. If you do research they’re actually quite loyal to parents and typically very smart. Just make sure you properly socialize him/her.
Post # 9
DH, my best friend, and I are all only children, as well as a non-biological “niece”.
Pros to being an only child: Independent, responsible, high achieving, often creative/imaginative/resourceful, relate better with older generations due to them being our primary source of friendship. We “adopt” our few long-time friends and their families to expand our own, so the support structure is there, even though we’re not biologically related.
Cons to being an only child: Interpersonal problems with the majority of our peer group growing up, lower than average tolerance of others’ perceived rudeness and/or stupidity, judgmental of others who are different than we are (I worked hard to overcome this, but none of the other onlies in my life bothered), stress/tension due to internal/external pressures to succeed, often feeling like failures even in the face of success, high level of existential ennui.
I don’t understand the stereotype that we’re selfish and don’t know how to share, since all of the only children I know are quite generous with our time and money… if you are family/a friend or there is a charity that we support.
Post # 10
My brother was born when I was 10 so I was an only child until then. I don’t think its an issue at all so long as you make sure that he has plenty interaction with other children his age.
Regarding looking after you falling on him- my DH’s grandmother requires quite extensive care and although his father has three siblings, none of them contribute. And I imagine that is worse than there being nobody else to contribute.
Post # 11
You are definitely allowed to have only 1 child! I looooooooooove this blog on the subject – it might help you feel more confident in your decision:
Edited to add – this book is recommended: Parenting an Only Child: the Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only by Susan Newman
(FYI – I have no kids yet, and am still on the fence about 1 vs. 2, for me personally. I have a sister, who I consider a best friend, and who understands me like no one else on Earth. Part of me would want to give that relationship to any kids I have. But there’s no guarantee they’d be close, even if we have 2 kids. On the other hand, there are a lot of posiitives to only having 1 child, and I know a lot of only children who are great people, with great friendships and fulfilling lives.)
Post # 12
I’m very very pro sibling as I grew up in a big family and it made me who I am and provides me with a lot of happiness as an adult. So I am biased!
I think if you want a 1 child family, that’s fine but you need to be very convinced of your choice and you don’t sound all that convinced. Your thought process is mainly around what your son will MISS but not what he might GAIN. Some of that gain is negative- eg. a burden of responsibility to his parents that the eldest of 2 or 3 kids wouldn’t have. You need to be 100% cool about all the possibilities that unfold as he gets older and be sure you’ll never expect more of him than you would of a child who was one of two.
Ask yourself a few questions that relate to the basic idea of ‘all eggs in one basket’ eg. If your son never marries or has children, will you ever pressure him to do so? Would you be disappointed never to be a grandmother? If he decides to go and live in Australia -or even the other side of your country- with his wife, would you regret only having one child….. ie one shot at having a child living nearby or giving you a grandchild or visiting you when you’re old etc. ?
Of course there are no guarantees but it’s just statistical probability, raising your chances of getting those things (if you want them).
I think the reason so many only children are high achievers is that all the parental expectation goes into one child. Personally I would have found the pressure unbearable.
Post # 13
I’m pretty sure that even though I’m an only child I am normal… I was never lonely and I love the relationship I have with my parents. I take offense when people say that being an only child is mean or relegating your child to a lonely upbringing. I don’t care if I’m the only one that has to assist my parents in the future. They were responsible with their money, so I’m not going to be financially burdened with any kind of aging costs.
Post # 14
I am an only child and very happy to be so. It’s funny you ask “will they be ok without a sibling?” Because my thinking is always “Would a kid be ok if they had to have their parent’s attention split with a whole other kid?”
Frankly, if there was some correlation between being poorly adjusted and the number of siblings you have, psychologists would have found it long ago! There isn’t a correlation like that. Raise your kid well and they will turn out well. Only children are absolutely capable of socializing and getting jobs and having successful relationships, etc. just like everyone else.
And if it’s any consolation, as an only child I also plan to only have one child. It would give DH and I the ability to continue loving the lifestyle we love, which is filled with travel. It has never occured to me that my child will not turn out as well due to a lack of siblings, simply because I didn’t have them and was very happy. You can’t miss what you’ve never had. So yes, your child may have a different childhood experience then you did growing up, but try not to think that as an only something is missing. It’s not. It’s all they know, and I assure you they will be turn out to be just as well adjusted.
Yes there were some times when I wish I’d had another kid to play with. A sibling does not guarantee that, and I appreciate the creativity I gained from playing by myself. Those are some of my favorite childhood memories.
ETA: After reading a PP about being the only grandchild, I wanted to add that I am as well. The only thing that ever meant is that all the presents went to be on Christmas. It’s unfortunate what happened to PP, but I think that is not a big enough reason to tip you one way or another in your decision. Do what is best for your family. And on that note, it may be of higher importance to save for retirement and future bills because there is a higher likelihood of the burden falling on an only child. But luckily I will have DH and friends to help when the time comes that my parents pass. It sucks to be an only in that situation but that is again not worth changing your decision by itself.
Post # 15
I’m not an only child but my brother is 7 years younger than me, so it was not like we grew up together. I never felt lonely or did not have some one to spend time with.
However, as an adult and facing my parents immortality (they are no where near the grave, but it has been becoming more obvious in recent years that they will need us one day) I can’t imagine doing it on my own. Even as an independant, take charge person, I would not want to share the burdon on my own. I think the biggest thing that has shown this to me is that both of them have lost siblings in the past 2 years, while they had each other for these times, I think having other siblings who were going through the same thing at the same time helped a lot.
Ultimately, how large a family you have is your (and of course your spouse) decision, but I don’t think it is something to take lightly.