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Having an Only Child: Does It Make Us Look Selfish?

My kid doesnt need to have a sibling

By admin |

Within a few months of my son’s birth, I was put on the questioning block, “When are you having another?” I heard that almost as frequently as, “What a cute guy he is.” My husband and I had some questions of our own: Would our son be lonely, spoiled, bossy as people tried to tell us. What would it be like for him to grow up without siblings?

The “have-another” campaign intensified as our son got older. Some comments were harsh: “How can you do THAT to your child!” “He needs a sibling.” If you are considering or have a singleton, you undoubtedly will hear a variation on the theme, “You are being selfish.” Were we?

Friends, neighbors, parents, and in-laws – even perfect strangers – have no qualms about inserting their opinions into your reproductive life. It’s enough to make you wonder if you are being selfish or potentially damaging your child. For parents of one, the attacks may not stop until you are too old to have or adopt another child.

The admonishments are surprising given that the single-child family is the fastest growing family unit – not just in the US, but worldwide in most developed countries. In England, for example, 46 percent of families have one child; in Spain and Portugal, 30 percent. According to the US Census, one-child families represent 22 percent (and climbing) of families – and 30 percent in major metropolitan areas. The Traditional Family as we knew it – “a boy for you, a girl for me,” dad at work, mom home – has changed dramatically. In fact, New Pew Research Center findings confirm that women are holding off on having babies; declines in birth rates were particularly sharp between 2007 (before the recession) and 2009 (the latest data available). Provisional numbers for 2010 reveal the decline continues.

Realism vs. Selfishness

Women are marrying and starting their families later than in previous generations and often face infertility when attempting to conceive a first or more children. For the first time in history, there are more women than men in the labor force. Over 70 percent of mothers with young children work – some because they want to, most because they must to help support the family. Holding down a job and raising children at the same time is stressful and difficult, carrying risks in pay increases and in job security.

A job can be the thing that dissolves uncertainty about having more children. The impact of a second maternity leave, for example, can be extensive, particularly in the current economic climate; someone is always waiting to take your spot. I spoke with a woman who took what she says is the shortest maternity leave on record – two weeks. When her boss was out on maternity leave a few years earlier, she stepped into her boss’ job. As she explained, “I know this can happen, and I’m not about to let it happen to me.”

Compounding job security uncertainty is “The Motherhood Penalty.” Children help men advance, but mothers pay a price. The biggest gap is between mothers and childless women. Mothers’ starting salaries are seven percent lower than women without children; and over the course of a career, the penalty is conservatively five percent per child!

When you combine employment concerns with the high cost of raising children, the trend toward one-child is likely to continue. Although no one likes to put a price tag on children, raising them is expensive. According to the Department of Agriculture, families with an average income between roughly $57,000 and $98,000 will spend a little over $286,000 to rear one child from birth through age seventeen – college not included. About $46,000 is for food! Those of us who choose one child for whatever individual reasons – age, infertility, finances, health, lifestyle preference – are being realistic, not selfish.

Only-Child Myths Masquerading as Fact

The naysayers will try to tell you that your singleton won’t know how to share or stand up for herself; she will be spoiled without a sibling. The people who think that you are not a family unless you have two children are usually the same ones who cling to the antiquated stereotypes about only children. How many children you have is a personal choice that has nothing to do with the only-child myths that masquerade as fact.

Hundreds of studies conducted over the last three decades have disproven the stigmas attached to only children. For instance, research done at the University of Ohio and ironically titled, “Good for Nothing: Number of Siblings and Friendship Nominations among Adolescents,” showed that only children were just as popular as their peers with siblings. Furthermore, the authors noted, “These results contribute to the view that there is little risk to growing up without siblings – or alternatively, that siblings really may be ‘good for nothing.’” Onlies are more connected to other children than ever before by technology, and that connection gives them a social life that extends beyond school hours and the after-school activities they share with friends.

The parents of onlies have not cornered the spoiling children market. In this culture of yes-parenting, with or without siblings, so many children are spoiled because parents can’t say no. Look around at children you know with siblings. They are as likely to be spoiled as those without, but society has been programmed to believe only children are more spoiled.

Every child is exposed to an endless array of experiences that will shape his temperament and his functioning as a grownup. Having or lacking a sibling is just one piece of the thousands of pieces that contribute to and shape a child’s development : and her joy or misery during her formative years. It is parenting more than having siblings that influences how an only child – or any child for that matter – fares in the world.

The New Traditional Family

Given the many pressures on parents today, more and more feel that they can be better parents to one. As the parent of one, you can give your child the full benefit of your time, attention, and resources. Most people do a reality check before adding another child to their family. The era of getting married and having the requisite two children is long gone. Family has new definitions that include single parents, gay and lesbian parents, and, of course, one child.

This mother of one sums up the feelings of many who believe a singleton is right for them. To have one child she feels is “seen as selfish, because children are the ultimate sacrifice. Those of us who attempt to make the best of all aspects of our worlds are often seen as greedy because we want it all. I WANT and love my child more than anything, but I also WANT a career and I really WANT a happy marriage. Adding another child to our lives would directly affect two of the three things that have the greatest impact on my happiness quotient.”

Turns out she is onto something. There’s no question that people with children are happier – happier than those without children. But, how many? Increasing evidence shows that mothers of one are happier than parents with more than one child. Hans-Peter Kohler, a University of Pennsylvania researcher, discovered that second and third children don’t increase happiness. His study of 35,000 adult identical twins in Denmark showed that “additional children beyond the first child have no effect for fathers [in relation to happiness]” and that more children make mothers less happy. Kohler and other researchers agree – the more children you add to the family, the more stress you add to the adult relationship.

Having one child may not be what you intended when you started your family, but it is increasingly a popular, happy choice. “Here’s how I approach it,” explains Melanie, one of the hundreds of people I interviewed when doing research on only children. “I only look forward. You can’t go back and think, ‘Did I make a mistake?’ I never felt that way. I wondered if I would question myself, but she’s eighteen, and I haven’t yet.”

My son is in his 20s and we feel we made the correct choice for him and for us. As the New Traditional Family with one child takes hold, the good news is the judgmental have a new target – the childless. The heat is turned down on parents of only children because of singles and couples with no interest in having children. They are childless by choice. The barbs and judgments directed at them will sound familiar to anyone with a singleton, especially the first: selfish, neurotic, childish, materialistic, uptight, even deviant.

Where do you draw the line between being selfish and having a life that allows you to be a content, happy person or parent?

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Launched in December 2006, Babble has a National Magazine Award nomination for Best Overall Website (opposite Slate.com) and a Folio magazine award for Best Online Magazine (beating out everyone but Time.com). Time magazine named it one of the Top 50 websites of 2010. Babble was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in November, 2011.

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93 thoughts on “Having an Only Child: Does It Make Us Look Selfish?

  1. Francine says:

    I’m an only child and I turned out okay… I THINK l0l! ;)

  2. Stella says:

    I totally agree that it’s less about having 0 siblings and more about how the parents raise their only child (i.e. if they spoil them or not). I have plenty of friends with siblings who act like brats because of how they were raised.

  3. Beth says:

    I already brought one bucket of sunshine to this earth do I really need another?

  4. Kali says:

    You’re not alone on people bugging you and telling you your selfish for only having one kid. People do the same thing to me all the time, until I remind them that I’m an only, so are they saying all those bad things apply to me as well?

  5. The 21st Century Housewife says:

    Excellent article!! I am an only child, and my husband and I only had one child, who is now 18. I got so fed up with people pressuring us to have more children. The only ones who really supported us in our decision to have one child were my own parents. My husband’s parents, particularly my MIL pushed us for years to have more, saying all manner of nasty things. I am SO glad that we kept our family small. It worked for us, and has benefitted us all, parents and child, socially, economically and in terms of our level of happiness. And if you asked my son, he’d tell you the same thing!

  6. Calishorty4 says:

    Not all mothers are full time, salary paid, 9-5 workers. I understand your job is important but I put my child before my job. I, in fact, quit my job when I got pregnant so that I wouldn’t submit my pregnant body to the chemicals and danger of sickness. So I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about that.

    Coming from a two child family, I think it’s a wonderful thing to have a sibling. You have that one person who has been there with you through it all. You can sit back and talk about all those memories together. They understand.

    As for spoiling the child, that is up to the parent. If you choose to give your only child whatever they want, then it is your fault if they grow up expecting to receive whatever they want.

    I’m not saying having one child is selfish. If that’s all you want or can financially afford, then more power to you! I, personally, am the kind of mother who wants more then just one. :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    We are only having once child. Never gave it a second thought.

  8. Lilylu1234 says:

    While it is your choice, my experience with only children – in their adult form – has usually been less than positive. The only children that I know have little ability to empathize with others, consider a viewpoint outside of there own, or participate in activities where they are not the star. A HUGE benefit of siblings is you have to learn to share, consider others from an early age, and just plain realize that the world does not revolve around you!

  9. Asilee says:

    Wow, I only have one child, he’s 4 months and I’ve haven’t been asked or pressured into having another. My mother-in-law simply told me to hold off on having children, as well as the rest of my family. I’m not planning on having more children. People can call me selfish if they like until they turn blue in the face. It’s not going to changing anything.

  10. Shantel says:

    My husband and I have one child, and we plan to only be a one child household. In today’s age, it is financially difficult to have one child, let alone more than one. We are not being selfish, we are being smart and responsible. Our son, who is 4, gets to go to private school, is into Karate and is loved more than anything in this world. We knew that if we would add another child to our family, we couldn’t afford private school for 2 kids, and we would have to limit our kids to one sport per child. Brady is blessed with many good things in life, but he is not spoiled. He is respectful, polite and an all around good boy. we have no intentions of adding any more children to our little family. We are perfect just the way we are :)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have 2 girls, one 10 years and one 3 years. My 10 year old doesn’t live with me (long story for another time) with my X-husband. I thought I didn’t want anymore kids until I got with my Husband now, we have a 3 year old together. Both of my pregnancies were very difficult, my last one was extreamly scary especially after I came home, I had allot of health problems due to complications of my C-section. I chose not to have anymore kids due to financial difficulties also. I love both kids, but looking back I am not sure how I have made it this far. Mother hood is a wonderful, awesome experience, but it’s also been hard. I have a sister who has 6 kids and I would not be able to do what she does every day, I think anyone who thinks having one kid is being selfish, should keep it to themselves. They don’t know why you have chose not to have more kids and it really isn’t any of their business. If you feel you have the family you want and u are happy then it doesn’t matter what people think. I think having more than one kid is difficult and applaud anyone who is making it.

  12. Becky says:

    I’m an only child. I’m the daughter of an only child. I have never found only children to behave selfishly or to be unsocial. Quite the opposite, my mother and I are social butterflies. Was I spoiled? Probably, but my parents never let it go to my head. I am seriously considering stopping after one child. I do not believe there are any drawbacks and it allows me to concentrate all my efforts and resources in one direction. Also, only children of only children = only grandchildren = devoted babysitters for life!

    I can’t imagine with my background that anyone in our families would bug us to have more kids, but if they did, I’d just laugh and say, “Why, do you want to have to buy more birthday gifts?”

  13. Lisa says:

    Where do I draw the line? I draw the line at criticizing people for their family size choice, whether it’s one child or ten children. I’ve known people who criticize others for having one. I’ve known even more people who criticize other friends for having five. Criticizing the choices of other parents regarding family size is just wrong imho.
    I’m married to an only child. I wouldn’t call him spoiled at all. I’d say the only disappointment on DH’s part is there’s not a cousin for our DS to play with. Cousins are so much fun! DH said he was never lonely as a child being their only son. DH and I are trying and have been trying for another child though.

  14. MomOf3 says:

    Regardless of the “selfishness” of a couple for having only one child, or how much they spoil that child, I can’t help but be struck by the way in which social relationships change when the world is made up of mostly singletons. What about the bonds of brothers and sister to each other? Siblings go thru the most intense experiences of their lives with their parents and their siblings, not with friends. It’s in the nitty-gritty of daily life that siblings learn to interact with peers, not parents, and a big part of this is having a sibling to interact with. I don’t completely believe in “blood is thicker than water,” because that’s not always true. But I do think that it is a lot of the time. The family is the main unit of socialization (or, it should be, though for many kids, daycare and school seem to be the socializer these days), and I think that siblings are an integral part of that.
    And what about sharing the burden of caring for elderly parents? Parents of singletons ask their child to carry that burden alone.

    I know that families of multiples aren’t always perfect, by any means. But I do find the “singles are best” mentality to be antithetical to the meaning of “family,” which should be about forming some of the strongest bonds that humans can form, and not about saving enough money to get your one child into a top school.

  15. anonymous says:

    I think the biggest gift I’ve given our children is their siblings. I appreciate that now that our parents are aging and all we have left in this world is each other. Blood may be hard at times, but it’s what keeps till the end.

  16. Brett says:

    I have a sister, and while she’s fine, we’re not really friends today. I don’t feel a particular bond with her. Just goes to show–each one of us is very different. I have one son who won’t have a sibling. I didn’t know about Dr. Newman’s research, but I found Bill McKibben’s “Maybe One” to be very helpful both in distilling the research on only children that was available up to that time. One thing he pointed out is that it’s not siblings that socialize a child, it’s their friends and classmates. You don’t have to be nice to a sibling–they’re your family. As long as we make sure that our children have enough social interaction as they’re growing up, presumably they’ll be fine.

  17. cheeky says:

    Not all siblings have that “special bond” I keep seeing here in the comments. I have two siblings, both younger, and we’re friendly enough as adults, but we aren’t “friends” in any traditional sense. And we fought viciously with each other as kids. So I have to say that having a sibling is not necessary to emotional well-being. And I would NEVER call a parent selfish for stopping at one.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Women get told we are selfish if we don’t have children, if we have one or more than three. I was a single mum of one for five years, we had a happy and fulfilling life. Now I am a married mum of three and, while I see the benefits of siblings, my eldest and I miss our times together. Either way has benefits and draw backs, chill out and let people do what is right for them.

  19. tbug says:

    Thank you for posting this. I too am constantly faced with the questions and comments about when we’ll be having a second child (I now have a two year old). I’d always thought we’d have a second child, but now I’m reconsidering. Many people think my desire to have only one is for selfish reasons, like she’s too much of an inconvenience to our lifestyles. But the truth is almost the opposite…. My daughter is such a joy and focal point in our lives that I feel it’d be hard to find the time to split with another child. At this point, my husband and I have found the perfect balance between having enough time for our daughter, ourselves, our marriage and our careers. I’m scared to disrupt that balance! I believe that being a good parent means taking care of yourself and your marriage! I think I’d also feel strongly about wanting a second child if my brother and I were closer; as children we were never close and fought constantly. Since we didn’t have a strong sibling bond it’s difficult for me to see what my daugher is missing.

  20. Imogen says:

    I’m an only child and never minded until my parents passed away within a few years of each other. It’s lonely being the only survivor of one’s family of origin … but I suppose there’s no guarantee that won’t happen in other kinds of families, too. We’re having another, and though I admit it’s partly to provide “back-up” family for our first child (and probably myself), it’s also pure selfishness on my part: wanting another darling child in our lives. Whatever we choose is selfish — you can’t win!

  21. L says:

    I think it does make you look selfish. Obviously no one can know at a glance whether you’ve suffered miscarriages, or other tragedies, but having one (but only one) child does make it look like you were/are not open to life.
    Maybe we need to work for better protections for moms who take maternity leaves rather than stealing their jobs, then trying to use that as an excuse not to expand our families.

  22. nolanola says:

    @L Seriously? Why don’t we work for better protection of people’s rights to have whatever kind of family they choose to have? Clearly the writer is open to life. She had a child! What an ABSURD statement.

    You seem very closed-minded and I feel sorry for you. It must be very wearing to be so judgemental of others.

    Jeez!

  23. Snakecharmer says:

    People will criticize you no matter what you do, so do what works for you and your family. Honestly. I know of one person who has one child and has no interest in having more…but then again, she’s the type who behaves as though having the one was a contractual obligation to her husband and now she’s done (she’s not very maternal). I know others who have one because that’s just what works for them and it’s what they can afford. We’re having a second but I’m done after he’s born…I know that two is all I can personally handle and still remain sane! lol!

  24. KC says:

    Great article here. I would just point out that there is one error in it. Actually, numerous studies have shown that people with no children are happier than parents, not the other way around. Understandable, given the stress of raising children, no matter how much you love them. People’s irrational fears of being selfish lead so many people to do things they do not want to do, including having children. Anyone giving a one-child family flack is probably just jealous they did not make that decision. Having another child to guarantee some sort of special relationship for your children is in my opinion, as much of a gamble as having children to ensure someone cares for you in your old age. It seems no matter what you do, you run the risk of being selfish, whether you choose to have no kids, one kid or several kids..I guess two is the magic, acceptable number. A lot of parents love their children, no doubt, but many are not happy being parents and it is for this reason, I believe that so many people get so heated about the choices of others regarding this matter. If you only want one child, stand strong! Raising kids is hard and you have gotten a taste of it already. If you know you do not want to do it again, stand firm in your decision.

  25. Anonymous says:

    HOW does having ONE kid make you selfish? My Gawd, you dont bring a HUMAN BEING into the world because someone out there needs some sort of stupid, false, half-assed PROOF of what, they cannot tell you. I will tell you all a little truth: I was 40 when I had my first daughter. She is a holy terror, always has been..but her sister came along completely as a SURPRISE when I was 42 and I just wanted the one to focus on and make happy. I love her sister to death, she is a sweetie, but all they do is fight, and make me miserable during the day with the biggest one constantly WHINING because of jealousy. I could do without all that, but, as many noticed…my Hubby thought it was ‘mean’ (huh?) to raise my older one alone. with NO sibs. I have one, he has TWO. Everything, unless you miraculously get angels, is about WHO HAS MORE OF THIS AND WHO DOES MOM LOVE MORE. at 44, I am absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. I know what I can take, and what I can handle, and honestly, it WAS ONE KID. So the kids see the worst side of me at times, even though I love them dearly, but I feel like I do not have sufficient time to separate and devote to each child equally without them going bonkers if the other climbs in my lap. Nothing wrong with ONE kid. Personally, I think it’s SELFISH to have more for other reasons than love of kids. You know what is right for you and what works for you. Dont listen to anyone else.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Love this… We are expecting our first and only. Im one of 5 and have always wanted just one just so I could give the attention I didnt have. My lil Max will be here in Jan.

  27. Leah says:

    “Theres no question that people with children are happier happier than those without children.”

    If you are going to make statements like this you really need to give evidence or you look foolish. Indeed this statement is wrong, as has been verified by many studies (some of which hint towards the converse being true). It is true that people who WANT children but then don’t have them struggle to be happy, but people who have never wanted children and don’t have them are perfectly happy.

    No wonder some childfree people hate us parents, with comments like this we really give off a vibe of being quite despicable people!

  28. Leah says:

    “Why don’t we work for better protection of people’s rights to have whatever kind of family they choose to have?”

    This is only a good thing to do as long as the parents are taking responsibility for and paying for those children! If parents cannot afford to have more children then it is not up to society to ensure that they can afford more.

    Having one child is not selfish. Bear in mind that having children can be considered selfish (let’s face it, we have children because we WANT children, not because those children want/need to be born) so on that basis the more we have the more selfish we are.

    I also know a woman who had one because she didn’t want children but (being from a very old school background) felt it was her obligation to her family to have one. Thankfully recent studies have shown that only children are more independent and capable than children with siblings, and there is no evidence that they suffer for lacking siblings. Also, the number of people I know who are estranged from their siblings (causing them a background feeling of lifelong unhappiness) is shocking, I would rather have no siblings than suffer the estrangement of siblings. Worth noting that siblings often become estranged because the parents try to force them to have unnaturally close relationships rather than letting them develop their relationships on their own (forcing older kids to take out younger kids etc, rather than letting the older kids develop at the appropriate rate).

    If anyone questions your choice then they ARE jealous! Frankly, people who are truly happy in their own choices have absolutely NO need to question other people’s choices, they just don’t. Next time someone gives you the nonsense about having more kids just ask them why they don’t concentrate on being happy themselves.

  29. Courtney says:

    I like to say: We’re at capacity. Because that’s my truth. There are about a 1,000 reasons why we are only having one child, but the simple reason is: We’re at capacity. Happy, healthy parents who take care of themselves the best they can and heal/work on what needs attention, we’ll we are the lucky ones. Call me selfish but my kid needs a healthy mom for all of our sake!

  30. Anonymous says:

    “Maybe we need to work for better protections for moms who take maternity leaves rather than stealing their jobs”

    Absolutely not! Working in HR and seeing the negative effect that pregnant women and then women on maternity leave has on our staff (and we do minimise it as much as possible) I think women need to understand they cannot have it all and leave work to have their children. I understand that for some this is genuinely not possible, but for many they could cut back on luxuries, move to a cheaper location etc and they would be able to afford not working while raising their children for the first few years.

    I would never expect preferential treatment in the workplace for a choice I have made (getting pregnant), nor did I. My mum didn’t either, and my children will be raised to take responsibility for their own choices too. Where I live the average age for having your first child is 28. Even if people go to Uni they have minimum 7 years of working to save for taking some time off to have children. They CHOOSE to NOT save!!!!! Instead they go expensive holidays abroad, have lots of luxuries, eat out loads etc. THEN they turn to the taxpayer and want to be paid for being at home pregnant etc. They should have saved up for that time and taken responsibility for their own decision. Taxpayer’s money should be reserved for emergencies (sickness etc) and emergencies only, not for people’s life choices. I went without holidays etc. to save up for having children, why should I then fund other people’s kids? Some people are just so selfish they want it all and they expect the rest of us to do without to provide it all for them! Shocking. Your decision, you should pay for it.

  31. Midwesterner says:

    Incredibly helpful and comforting article. I’m dealing with all of these questions and issues. Thanks for helping me feel like I’m not abnormal!

  32. Leah says:

    Courtney Nov 13, 8:55

    Well said! At least you are not contributing to overpopulation, you are considering your child’s influence on this entire planet, not just prioritising to your own wants. That should be applauded, not criticised. No man is an island and our decision to have children affects our local area, our country and ultimately our planet. In having children we have to take seriously our responsibility to everyone on this earth (something too many parents fail to do). We have to keep our children in line when they are out in public and not allow them to negatively affect the lives of strangers etc. This is much each to do when the ratio of parent:child is 2:1 or 1:1. I would like to see public transport bring in a 1 adult per child rule for travel so that children are less out of control in these areas where members of the public cannot escape them!

  33. Anonymous says:

    anonymous on nov 12 is a good example of why it is important to have only as many children as you feel comfortable with. her children must feel her frustration and discontent and perhaps also feel unloved. feeling unloved by your parent is the worst feeling in the world. bravo to all women who listen to and follow teir feelings…

  34. Marie says:

    I think it can be just as selfish of parents to want to give a child siblings in certain circumstances. I know a couple who always dreamed of having 3 or 4 children, but faced fertility issues after their first was born. They looked into fertility treatments or international adoption, but either one would cost tens of thousands of dollars. They decided it would be more selfish to use up all the family’s financial resources in an attempt to create the family of THEIR dreams and to instead focus on the family that they had. (and imagine the pain that mom feels when unthinking people imply that she’s selfish for not giving her child a sibling!)

  35. anon says:

    just to add a slightly different perspective, when I was 18 confessing to my family that I was pregnant, there wasn’t anyone around asking me to pop out a few more for his sake. My son is almost 13 now and he is still my only, though he has complained of being lonely and wishing for a sibling, even blaming me (to some degree) for only having him. Which to me, is comical considering how felt being the oldest, wishing I was an only child… the grass is greener n all that…

  36. Analisa says:

    I was an only child and while a sibling would’ve been nice, I grew up perfectly fine and I think it’s terrible that people say these things. Every family is different. I have two daughters, my friend has 1 son, my cousin has 4 kids, and none of us are doing it “the wrong way”.

  37. Snakecharmer says:

    Anonymous on November 13 wrote:
    “Taxpayer’s money should be reserved for emergencies (sickness etc) and emergencies only, not for people’s life choices.”
    Ummm..okay, wow. Then you know you shouldn’t be paying for the military, the government, education, hospitals etc. Those are obviously not emergencies and yet taxes are used to pay for those things.

  38. Olivia says:

    “Theres no question that people with children are happier happier than those without children.”

    Are you serious?! Wow. I’d like to see some research to back that up. In fact, I’m pretty sure you might find the opposite to be true.

  39. Gretchen says:

    @Momof3…”Siblings go thru the most intense experiences of their lives with their parents and their siblings, not with friends.” This is your opinion/experience only. Others have different experiences.

  40. Proudliberalmama says:

    Yawn. Leah and Anonymous full of Republican talking points on a parenting website. Good thing their type is becoming passe! For the record, Leah and Anonymous, I don’t want to pay for you to walk on sidewalks, drive on roads, drink clean water and get an education (which, btw, obviously failed you both)…

  41. kick me says:

    people can ask the most annoying questions

  42. BackUpPlan says:

    A friend of mine said about (not to!) parents who choose only one child: “Wow, so you think that you’re such a awesome parents that you only need one kid to ‘get it right’? How conceited can you possibly be?!?” LOL! I thought that was kind of funny. Of course I have more than one kid. So I guess that even if one of my kids is a terrible failure of a human being, or something terrible happens, I’ll have a couple more with whom to try to “get it right.”

  43. Megan says:

    I am an only child. My grandfather was an only child, but my dad was one of 5. Of those 5 my dad was the only sibling to choose to have an only child, 1 has no children, 1 has for children, and 2 have only children due to medical issues(one’s wife was diagnosed with leukemia during the first trimester of her second pregnancy and chose to terminate the pregnancy and begin treatment which left her infertile, the other has type 1 diabetes and was barely able to carry her only to term after one miscarriage and on stillbirth at 30 weeks). I am not judging any of the parents who are choosing to have an only child. I don’t know your reasons, so I can’t say if they are selfish or not, but please listen to the thoughts of one 32 year old only child who would NEVER choose to raise an only child. I have watched both of my parents struggle through caring for my elderly and ill grandparents with the help of their siblings. It was hard enough for them to do with help, I don’t know that they could have if they had been only children. My dad died almost 3 years ago after fighting colon cancer for a year. I would have given anything to have a sibling to go through that with. My mom was still young(mid 50′s) and able to shoulder some of the burden, but I shouldered a lot because she was also caring for her parents who were recently in a nursing home. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I have to be the sole caretaker for my mother, especially if I am unlucky enough to have to deal with an ill husband at the same time. As an adult, some of my best friends are my cousins, and it pains me that my children will not have any cousins growing up. I only have 2 kids so far, but I want 1 or 2 more. My son is eight and my daughter is 10 months, and my son is happier now than he was as an only child, and I’ve noticed that he is a better friend to his friends in the neighborhood and at scouts than he was a year ago. I’ve seen some comments from other only children further downthread who plan on having an only child themselves, but I want to ask them if they have had to deal with a seriously ill parent yet. They may yet change their minds. All of the only children that I know personally either want no children EVER, or they want more than one. Obviously I don’t know every only child in the state let alone the country or world, but I would bet that if you were to survey only children it would be a very small percentage of them that would say they would CHOOSE to raise another only child.

  44. Thinkingofanother says:

    Thank you, Megan! Your comment is a huge help as my husband and I wrestle with the decision of whether to have a second child. We’ve been up for more than a year at night with the first, and are thinking of trying again when she’s around 2. The thing that frightens me the most is going through the whole not sleeping thing again, but I know that is miniscule compared to the gift of a sibling that I could give my daughter. My two older sisters and I nearly lost our mom recently, and had to help her move out of her house to an apartment that’s easier for her to maintain. I could NOT imagine going through that alone.

  45. wietog says:

    1) It is NO ONE’S business whether or not a person/couple has children or not, nor is anyone’s business how many children may or may not be borne/adopted. UNLESS it involves any type of abuse or neglect.

    2) It is IMPOSSIBLE to determine whether or not having kids or not (regardless of how many) “makes” someone happier. There are far too many factors, and it is something one could never figure out. You either have them or you don’t. There are either one or more. You can only look back over an entire lifetime and guess, but that would also be pointless.

    3) NO ONE has the right to evaluate your choices or judge you or decide whether or not you are being “selfish”. Your life is your life. Their life is their life. Again, only in the cases of abuse or neglect should anyone even attempt to assess another person’s life.

    4) The #1 determining factor of whether or not a person’s life choices seem to be optimal has to do with SUPPORT. If you have support, everything seems to be “right”, if you don’t, it doesn’t. Support can be everything from family, friends, money, luck, positive reinforcement, etc. If you have support, any decision you make will be easier.

    5) Anonymous HR person is being fairly typical of that profession. Women have had to work now for some time. Single incomes are simply NOT ENOUGH for most families. How the family chooses to spend their money is NOT HER BUSINESS. SHE (or HE) may make choices others see as frivolous, that seem crucial to her. For example, an employee does not divulge their entire existence to an HR person. Perhaps a woman cares for an ailing relative and takes brief sanity vacations, or goes out to eat as a small luxury. It’s not your business to decide what another person can or can’t do, or should or shouldn’t do!!! MANY industries value employees so much that they are given sabbaticals or extended vacations. An employee brings more than their day-to-day work. They offer experience, expertise, history, personality, efficiency, innovation, etc. A woman does usually have to take a few months off for maternity – but she can return and do just as good a job (if not better) as well. Would you fault someone for being injured and having to be away from work for some time? I think not. Meanwhile, the real reason HR hates maternity leave is because few companies think to actually replace a person, and instead foist all the work on OTHER WOMEN in the office. It’s ALWAYS the other women who end up taking on more work. And those without kids become resentful. Sure, some mothers take advantage of maternity leave (I once covered for someone who returned to work for 1 day after the leave in order to cash in on the system – then again, the boss was a douchebag so maybe she was getting back at him). But most don’t. Meanwhile, our entire society depends on future generations. This HR person’s attitude reflects the general perspective employers have on families, which is to say, they are NOT SUPPORTIVE.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Both my husband and I are only children, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Currently our 5 year old is an only kid (though for us we’d like at least one more), and he’s a kind, considerate kid. Just today I was watching three brothers plus my son, and the three brothers did nothing but bicker over my son’s toys. My son? Had no issue sharing his toys with his friends. How’s that for being a “selfish” only kid?

    It’s not hard for any good parent to teach their child how to be good, kind, and considerate, no matter if they have one kid or ten. With about seven billion people in the world, it’s near impossible for an only child to not learn how to be a functioning member of society, even without siblings. Plus, the bonus of being an only child? NO SIBLING DRAMA!

  47. sad says:

    People don’t want more than one kid because it’s less than comfortable — financially, emotionally, physically, whatever. People are shallow. 80% of these comments below show me what’s wrong with the world today. Children are a gift that should be taken on their own terms, not on ours. And I can’t imagine not giving them the vital gift of family. Sure, some families suck, but most don’t. Shallow, selfish pessimists are what I generally see, looking around here. Time to go hug my sleeping beautIES. This makes me sad.

  48. Imogen says:

    Megan, I went through the incapacity and death of my parents as an adult only child, and while it would have been great to have the support of a wonderful sibling, I was also aware that in some ways I had an easier time being able to call the shots by myself. I did also have the support of my husband and many family friends and extended family members. I saw my father’s family (eleven siblings) ripped apart by the illness and death of their parents — those events stirred up all kinds of disagreements and old grievances, and some of them are still not on speaking terms. So, while I do think there are many benefits to having siblings (as an only I’d like to have more than one child), and that it may be possible to foster closeness between them through one’s parenting choices (there are reasons my dad’s sibling relationships were so fraught), I’m also aware that it’s easy to fantasize about the perfect brother or sister who would have made everything better, when there’s no guarantee that would be the case.

  49. Meg says:

    As my husband already had a daughter when we got together (who stays with us weekends and Wednesdays) I knew that our family wouldnt be traditional even when I was pregnant with our first son. Hes 3 and gets to experience being both an only child and having a sibling around. Its hard to imagine it being any other way but most mornings when my son comes into our bedroom and asks is Niamh here? Im reminded that he loves his sister and enjoys having someone to play with. Im expecting another child now and Im very happy. My son asks daily whats the baby saying and is looking forward to being a big brother. Sometimes when we have opportunities to do fun stuff for him I make sure its on a day that we also have his sister so they can share the experience yes I also dont want her to miss out but when we go to interactive science museums or the beach as a foursome I feel like a proper family unit whereas if its just me, my husband and son I feel like a couple with a child. Of course they bicker but they also love each other and I dread to think how bored Rowan would be on holiday with just mummy and daddy rather than spending a week doing fun things with his sister. Theres a balance of course and every one is different but as Im one of 4 and my husband 1 of 7 we always agreed that we wanted more than one child. That said, weve made sure we can afford the children we have and Id rather that my career suffers for my having to work part time and have a fulfilling family life than be like most of my friends yes they earn more than me but I work in an industry I love and as Im 28 at the moment and this will be my last child Ive got a whole life of career and life opportunities still ahead of me beyond turning 30 but with a fun, fabulous family in tow. I spend a lot of time with just my son and we do lots of fun activities together Im not dissatisfied with him, hes amazing and if I were only able to have one that would be fine. But Im young, fit, fertile and want to have a larger family. Ive read articles saying responsible people should only have 2 children per couple so we dont blow the worlds population up too much. Hmm.

  50. Megan says:

    Imogen, Thank you for your thoughtful reply. My mom and her sisters basically split in half when my grandparents were ill and my grandfather died. My mother still does not speak to her older sister and she is polite, but not friendly with a younger one, however it brought her and her younger sister very close. My dad and his siblings all pulled together, and everyone still gets along wonderfully. I do know that not all sibling relationships are wonderful. My mom stopped talking to her sister when my aunt got mad that my mom(power of attorney for both of my grandparents) sold their house to my stepcousin. My aunt thought that the house should “stay in the family”. Everyone else thought it was staying ion the family by selling it to my stepcousin. You did support one of my points that only children do not want to raise only children though. I don’t think my childhood was bad, although family vacations when I was older would have been much more boring if my parents hadn’t always let me bring a friend along. Its more as an adult that I really wish I had a sibling. Sometimes friends and husbands and extended family aren’t enough. I also sometimes feel like I missed out on the important life skill of making and keeping friends. All of my close friends are people I’ve known since kindergarten or even earlier(with the exception of my husband). I’ve made other friends, but we always seem to drift apart or start fighting. I’ve also found it easier to parent 2 kids than I did one.

  51. Emily says:

    Thank you Susan, I greatly appreciate your wisdom and kind words. Both my husband and myself are only children and I would say we are kind, considerate, and well-adjusted adults. We have a beautiful baby boy who may be an only child; specifically because he has a rare genetic condition that was passed along through me, which means any additional little boys have a 50% chance of having the same condition (I was unaware that I carried this particular condition). I am saddened that people, perfect strangers, feel the need to insert their opinions into my families personal life; while also insisting that I will be raising a snotty adult. Frankly, I know plenty of people that have siblings and are the most selfish individuals. Let us all remember that we do not know what happens in the homes of others-maybe one child is the best for that family, but the neighbors can have 10 children. That is okay.

  52. Kendra says:

    It might bring some perspective to know that as parents of 8, we’re seen as selfish, too. There’s just no pleasing everyone.

  53. Imogen says:

    All good points, Megan. In many ways I feel just as you do about wishing for a sibling as that “something missing” in my own immediate family, particularly as an adult, and being aware that it may have been harder for me to make friends without the experience of having siblings.

  54. Kari says:

    I totally think you are being selfish and to un-selfish yourself, you should become like the Duggars, because they are clearly making more self-less choices. (please read sarcasm into previous statment.)

  55. Anonymous says:

    A sibling is not a gift for an elder brother. One person should only have another children if she or he truly desires it. In the other hand, I feel that because people are more and more deciding to have less children, companies have to make the most of that decreasing population. If, in the past, rasing two or trhee children used to cost a certain amount of money, now it is mandatory that raising one child costs about the same. So it´s difficul to say what came first… It´s my opinion. I am a Brazilian mother of three beautiful girls.

  56. KimDC says:

    Yes to what Megan said. I’m an only child and would’ve given anything for a “real” family growing up and even today. My dad, who I adored, died when I was 20, my only grandmother 2 years before that. My mom and I are not close due to how she treated me when I was a kid. I have felt for many years like I don’t really have any family, and it has only been recently, since marrying, that this has started to change. If you really, really don’t want a second kid, then don’t have one, but if it just seems like a hassle remember that some day (and maybe not when you plan it, maybe earlier, maybe before your single kid is really an adult) you will be gone, and your kid may not have anyone to have holidays with, or talk about growing up with, or feel anchored to in the world. It can be a pretty crappy feeling. Make sure you keep in mind the world your kid will have to live in once his/her parents aren’t around anymore. Try to make it the best one it can be.

  57. Krista says:

    I have one child and she is 4 years old. Because I am now 40 I don’t see us having any more children. My daughter always says “I wish I had someone to play with” and it pulls at my heart strings. However, I am making a huge effort to make sure she takes swimming lessons and dance classes with her cousins who are girls and the same age. If we can’t give her siblings then we are making every effort to make sure she is close with her cousins. My sister loves it when I take her two girls for a few hours on the weekends LOL.

  58. mccn says:

    My brother is a psychopath. His mental limitations inflicted serious hurt and suffering on my family – my mother spent most of her life doing his homework first (not for him, but herself first, so she could help him), trying to set rules, limitations, and consequences, and my family was beggared trying to find programs that would keep him from harming others and be a productive member of society. I often wished I was an only child, and my family would have been no less “real” without him.

  59. MicheleBC says:

    I think having a baby just so your child will have someone to play with is a terrible reason to have another child and is lazy. I am so offended by some of the posts I have read here. My daughter is one of the most well adjusted kids I have met. I know I’m biased, but I get complemented all the time on how sweet, unselfish and well behaved my child is. Some of her friends are a lot more selfish and self centered than she is, and they have siblings. I do worry about how she will cope when my husband and I get old, but we are making sure that our finances are in order and are saving for our old age so she won’t have to worry, and we couldn’t do that if we had more kids. Also, having siblings doesn’t guarantee that they will be there to help with your aging parents: siblings move away, have complicated marital issues, can die themselves, etc. My husband’s brother died at 27 and he is actually closer to his good friends than to his family. His friends have been there for him when his family wasn’t. I’m very happy that I’m almost 40 and people have stopped asking me when I was going to have another, it was getting annoying.

  60. Jen says:

    My son will be an only child, and I was an only child. Sure, I missed out on some things, but life is about trade offs. I also had benefits my friends with siblings did not.
    As for brothers and sisters, don’t make the assumption that just because they are family they will bond (or even get along). Looking at some of my adult friends dealing with family issues, I’m really not sad at all to be an only child.

  61. Mom2anOnly says:

    My husband and I have a 4 month old son and he will be an only child, not because we are selfish but because of medical reasons. We tried for years to have a baby, we suffered a miscarriage in 2010 and by some miracle became pregnant with our son about 8 months later….I almost died giving birth, unexplained, uncontrollable bleeding. We are still trying to accept the fact that he will be an only child and we pray he will be okay in the future. It pains me all the judgements we get from family and friends and even strangers that our son will be an “anti social freak” and that no matter what we been through we should have at least one more.. statements coming from people who have no idea what its like to deal with what we been through.. my point is before you judge someone for having an only child there may be a medical cause for that “choice” :(

  62. missfrazzled says:

    I have four kids and don’t think anyone needs to explain and/or justify their family choices. Only kids are fine by me… then I can buy all your gently-used clothes and gear from the consignment shops! ;)

  63. Donna says:

    Yes, it’s selfish to have one kid. It’s as selfish as having none, or as having more. What’s is it about “selfish”, that gives it such a negative connotation? EVERYTHING we do is basically selfish, no matter what other excuses we find for it! We do it so we’ll fell good, or so we won’t feel bad! Let’s be honest, who makes children for the children!? So having children, one or more, is just as selfish as not having any. And despite the general belief, there’s nothing wrong with that.

  64. Buckeye says:

    Minor correction — there is no such institution called “The University of Ohio.” The study referred to in this article was completed by researchers at The Ohio State University.

  65. Alice AN says:

    Don’t deceive yourself. It is your own child you have robbed of a sibling. Surely you do realize that your own child wishes he had siblings. Maybe not all the time, but he does. Friends will substitute for siblings and they will do so for your kid’s entire life. The thing is, friendships come and go: a few rare ones last a lifetime. Siblings last a lifetime: a few rare ones come and go.

    Which is not to say that there are no bad siblings. There are. But there are also bad friends, and bad spouses.

  66. kgasmart says:

    The line “As the parent of one, you can give your child the full benefit of your time, attention, and resources” is a key reason why being or having an only child is fundamentally different for both the parents and kids than having several.

    The bottom line is, if you only have one – you expend all your parental resources on that one child. All your financial resources, all your emotional resources. If you have more than one (I have three), you have to parcel out your attention. That’s just the way it is – and how it is in the real world, as well.

    I can see how onlys might be higher achievers – there’s only one set of homework for mom and dad to check, and as the sole star of the family there’s more time for mom and dad or whomever to spend reading to the child, teaching the child, etc. It’s easier to uphold your ideological parenting standards with one, too. My first was 5 when our daughter was born; he watched virtually no TV because TV IS BAD FOR CHILDREN!!! Now with three, you know what, they can watch a show every now and then because you simply need some peace and quiet.

    So what happens when you are the sole star in the galaxy and you go out into the world – into school, into college, into the work force – and you are but one star among many?

  67. Winifred says:

    There is something special and unique about a sibling relationship that I will never get to experience. I have a large extended family due to my parents having lots of siblings and I see the sibling interaction as adults and know that I will never have that. My husband and his brother have such a relationship. No matter how close I get to my girlfriends, it will never be the same as if we were raised together. There is something about a shared experience. All parents screw up. I know that my kids will have their own things that they will share that is due to me. I have no one to share that with. I also want my kids to have nieces and nephews and cousins, and being an only, I had to be sure to marry someone with a sibling to provide. Someone mentioned being sure that their only played with their cousins. Well, your only’s kids won’t necessarily have that same luxury.
    I don’t begrudge anyone their choices, but a sibling is not something you can create for yourself. It is a gift only your parents can give you, one my parents (selfishly or not) choose not to do.

  68. michael laporte says:

    Thanks for this.

  69. MomofanOnly says:

    Thank you for this post. I have a sibling, he traumatized me, and we haven’t spoken in years. I’d have been better off an only child. Siblings do not guarantee anything. I am closer to my friends, many lifelong, than I am to most members of my immediate family. The argument that “siblings are special” holds no water. What matters is parenting, community, and establishing lifelong bonds.

    If you had an article called “Problems with Siblings,” I bet the comment thread would be filled with negative examples. I can’t believe some of the harsh ranting posted here by militant sibling-oriented families.

    We’d all do well to cut each other some parenting slack. There are gay families, lesbian single parent families, foster families, divorced and grandparent-run families, onlies and multiples out there, folks, and there’s no ideal. Everyone struggles. Everyone has strengths.

    For what it’s worth, I have an only daughter and she loves her life. We do what we can.

  70. Alison says:

    I have three siblings and currently an only child. With my SO and I both working full time (and huge student loan debt that makes any more children look pretty impossible) I think we will stay at just one. I am not very close to any of my siblings and would have been better off without siblings and with parent resources devoted just to me. My SO is also one of a large family, and also has large debt, and also would have personally been much better off as an only (and he isn’t close to his siblings either). In my experience, siblings are rarely very close once they start their own families and often are more of a liability than a help with elderly/aging parents. It certainly isn’t enough of a reason for me to consider having another child, just for the possibility of a close sibling relationship for my LO. On the other hand, I don’t begrudge anyone else making different choices or having different values than I do.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I must be missing something here. How can only have 1 child be selfish? Turning my time and energy away from my son to care for another baby? Selfish. Having another baby in an increasingly volatile economy? Selfish. Have a second child when the environmental footprint of 1 is already so large? Selfish. Splitting our financial resources between 2 or more kids? Selfish. Teaching my children that we do whatever we want even if it makes no sense financially or for our family or it’s impact on the planet produces what kind of child? Selfish.
    And I say this as NO judgment to people who do decide to have more than 1 kid. I trust they know their situation best to make that decision. Ain’t none of my business. And you know what thinking it’s YOUR business is? Yep, Selfish.

  72. kd says:

    I take issue with the number of people stating they wished they were an only child due to trauma or disagreements with siblings. Who is to say that you would have been that child??? Even if you were born first, you would not be the same person. I have no issue with people choosing to have one child or no children, I do have an issue with grown adults wanting to retroactively remove siblings or complaining that a sibling has a mental illness. At the same time, I do get irritates when those with one child criticize me for having 4 children. I hear a lot of “didn’t you learn how that happens?” Or, what your husband is that irresistable???? I chose to bing each of my children into this world and they are loved and well cared for, so just as having one child is “your” business, having more than one is mine.

  73. anon says:

    Wow! Completely missed things like ” I would have been better off with all of my parents’ resources devoted to me” and comments like that….hmmmm….I would dare one of my children to EVER say something like that, if they do, they will see no more parental resources. Get over yourselves….

  74. OneandOnly says:

    After having my daughter, we decided that we did not want to have a second, for various reasons. I would only be having another to satisfy the people who think every kid should have a sibling. Is guilt a good reason to bring a child into the world?

  75. KiddEmily says:

    my neighbor’s step-sister makes $73 an hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her paycheck was $9012 just working on the computer for a few hours. CashBrave

  76. Lauryn says:

    I got as far as “research done at the University of Ohio.” There is no University of Ohio.

  77. Shawnda says:

    Actually,Lauryn, there is. It’s just called Ohio University.

  78. Marty says:

    I would have loved to have had more children, But I couldn’t have more. I could deeply relate to the earlier part of the article in which people just won’t lay off about having “more” children. Once they get over that part, then you get the whole “but it must be so easy, you only have ONE child”. Raising children isn’t easy whether it’s one or five. Its all relative because only those with five kids understand what it takes to raise five kids and those with one are the only ones that understand what comes with raising an only child. People should stop making assumptions about things they know nothing about and just assure that their own children are properly raised. The number of children you have is entirely personal and sometimes nature makes the choices for you, like it did for me.

  79. Dillanger says:

    That’s way the betesst answer so far!

  80. Anonymous says:

    To all the only children who as an adult, view their lives as painful because they lacked a sibling, life can be uncomfortable at times, and we need to take care of ourselves as individuals. We need to believe that life is what it is. Every life has value. Every life has a purpose. Every life/family is meant to be different. Live and love your life! Mother of one

  81. SummiesMom says:

    Your article has some valid points, however as a mother of one considering having a second, I feel you neglected to consider something. What about the benefit of having a sibling when you have aging parents. I have two half sisters, 15 and 18 years older than me, and I can’t imagine coping with my aging parents as easily without them. When my husband’s father was sick and dying this year, both his siblings were there and they all found great strength in each other, even though they haven’t always been close. So maybe, we shouldn’t just consider the short term effects of not having a sibling, but look at the lifelong benefits for the child.

  82. Happiness says:

    Hi I would like to debunk the SummiesMom comment because in my profession I have dealt with families who were losing a parent. The families did not agree and mostly the brunt fell on one of the children. There is no factual proof only individual experience that life with or without a sibling will be beneficial.

  83. To Be or Not to Be says:

    I am a follower of the Catholic faith. I never was so “aware” of the life of an “only Child”, until I had one of my own. In my adolescence I thought I would get married and have a large family and be favorable in God’s eyes. What I never really acknowledged that Christ is an “only child” and part of a Holy Family. Therefore, I accept and praise what God has done for us.

  84. Lonesome Onesome says:

    Being an only child myself, I was quite lonely. Until we got a dog.

  85. Tays mom says:

    My husband and I are both only children. I like to think we are both some awesome people! We always wanted just one child and we now have a six month old girl. I had a placental abrution and the doctor said if I got pregnant again it would definatly happen again. Just thinking about the trauma of that event makes me cry a little sometimes (baby girl came out perfectly healthy!). This just really made the whole one child idea definate. Even after all this people still harrass, mostly me, about when were going to have our next child. I think just one child makes going out and doing things just plain easier. An easy life makes a happy life and dont we all just want to be happy!

  86. clfaught says:

    Then you need to get out and meet more people. You are stereotyping based on very little experience.

  87. Just because says:

    The only children can be very spoiled and feel more pressure from parents to follow their wishes and dreams for that child. I have 2 girls that are 2 years apart ,and i also have a sister and I feel really lucky to have her.We live in different countries,but just a thought of her being somewhere even if shes far awy warms my heart up.The truth is friends come and go ,but siblings bond runs deep.

  88. Delia says:

    Funny, my experience has been the COMPLETE opposite. The most bratty “I want all the attention, I have to be the star” people I have known have siblings. I am an only and I am NOTHING like that, either. As a matter of fact, I hate being the center of attention or the “star”. I am quite content being in a supporting role, so to speak.

  89. Delia says:

    This is HEARTBREAKING to me to read people don’t think my family is a “real family” because we only have one child. Who do you think you are?? My family is as real as yours, because I decided not to have more than one doesn’t mean SQUAT.

    As for wanting siblings: I can give you 3 examples of onlies who have NEVER wanted them: me, my DH and my daughter. We are all onlies and never asked for siblings or wanted them. Honestly, I thought siblings were a pain, especially from what I saw within my own family and my friends.

    Having siblings is not an automatic guarantee that you will be happy or that you will share the load with someone when parents were sick or that you would be friends. My mom and her sister DESPISED each other from very early on and ended up not speaking as adults. When my grandfather died, it was all on my mom to take care of everything, my aunt just showed up.

    Yeah only children can be very spoiled. So can children with siblings. It is the PARENT that does this, not the fact they have no siblings.And to automatically judge only children because of this is ignorant on your behalf.

    People are awful and cruel. I was so happy with some of the positive responses and then I read further.

  90. Clo says:

    My husband and I planned to have 2 children from the start but here we are with one beautiful daughter of nearly 4 and asking ourselves if we should have another one. We both have siblings. My husband has one brother and I got two. I grew up with 3 cousins as well. We had the best time together and altough we had lots of friends we didn’t felt we need any as we were already 6! We never got bored and have amazing memories together! Yes we fought, of course, but we are very close. I can imaging my life without them and although we now live in different countries, I know they are there for me. My husband also has a great reletionship with his brother so we never planned for an only child. Having said that, we met in our early thirties and wanted to have them before I was 40. We waited because we felt the need to enjoy our relationship before having another child. We love traveling, spending time together as well as with our daughter and I don’t really know if a second child is the best way for us. I have all the usual reasons for having and not having another so…the real questions is if I really want to be a mum again. Mi daughter is a wonderful child. She is very friendly and not a all selfish and spoiled. WE make sure she is growing up knowing there are other people in the world so we are no worried about this. It is mainly for her not to grow up without a sibling but we wonder if this is enough reason to have another child. I fell it shouldn’t be like that because to raise a child is hard enough as it is just to have one if you really aren’t sure of it. We fell that we are a perfect team of 3 and I’m afraid we will spoild this. I like having a lot of time to spend with her and we do a lot of things together. We are fullfil as parents and like the idea of giving her a good education and experiences that other way we may not be able to keep doing so. We are so happy together that I’m afraid we will spoilt it! She may resent us in the future for not having a sibling but I think is equal important to have happy parents. I love my mum but I don’t think I have a very close relationship with her. She was always stressed out and used to shouted all the time because of this. I don’t want that for my daughter and I think that is better to have a fullfil and happy mum with a life of her own. There is not right answer!

  91. Sarah says:

    I have an only child (7 y.o.) and he is the most confident, outgoing and social child in his peer group. People always comment that we “hit the lottery” with thim. He is also at the top of his class. I believe it is partly because he is an only child. I have concentrated signficant time to raising him and taking him everywhere to stimulate his curiosity and intellect. I also highly encourage him to speak up, to go up to people and interact. I can also afford to enroll him in numerous activities and programs. I would not have been so insistent upon this if I was overwhelmed with other kids.
    As for siblings, there is no guarantee. My brother was a disaster for my family. He was a menace that sucked up so much energy and money dealing with his problems. At 47, he still isn’t grown up and I could never count on him. My father’s sisters are nasty, self-absorbed women and my mother’s sister became estranged from her and my mother found out years later that she died.
    As for dealing with dying parents, my husband and I will go to extra lengths to prepay for funeral costs, plots and prepare specific instructions to alleviate as much of a burden on my son as possible. Dump me in a senior home with a TV remote and get on with your life and/or “pull the plug” will be part of our command. He won’t have to worry about consoling me when I am old and floundering. I believe to have another child just to prepare for our ultimate demise is ridiculous. That is the last thing I want him to worry about and he will know it.

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