To wonder why on earth people think having one child is cruel?

(172 Posts)
WoburnSands Mon 15-Aug-16 09:19:44

Just this really. I don't understand why there is a negative stereotype around only children. People say - 'it's cruel to have one child' and then the other stereotype for only children is that they're spoilt. Surely this is ludicrous as these criticisms somewhat contradict each other?

Personally I think this kind of stereotype is a total myth.

puglife15 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:23:30

Yeah it's bullshit.

Studies show only children are happier and so are their parents.

I think people think kids will play together and have someone in older life, but for every close set of siblings there is probably one that hates each other.

Champagneformyrealfriends Mon 15-Aug-16 09:24:39

I have one child, my sister has one child. They have each other to play with but they don't have to live together. Win win.

puglife15 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:25:21

Oh and I have two kids. But strongly considered only having one. I had another because I wanted to, not for my other child's sake.

Sparklesilverglitter Mon 15-Aug-16 09:28:10

I am an only child, my Mum was unable to have any more after me as it was a difficult birth with ended in a hysterectomy. I don't felt I missed out as I didn't have a sibling I had cousins I was extremely close too, I got all my parents attention.

I now at 39 years old have a 5 day old DD and due to my age and after having ended up with a c section after not an easy birth I will not be having any more

Mollymoo78 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:28:51

It's another ludicrous stereotype used to pressure people using guilt. I have an only child and all I've ever felt is positives about my decision.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 15-Aug-16 09:29:06

Well, I was an only child and hated it. I wouldn't have only one child myself out of choice.

But for every 50 people who say that, there are another 50 who say they hated their siblings and never got on with them and would hate to put their children through it.

I think whether you want an only child or not often depends on YOUR experiences as a child. My parents both came from 6-sibling families and never wanted that for their child. So I was an only child and want several kids. OH came from a 6-sibling family and still wants lots of children because he had a fab upbringing with them.

Neither is right or wrong.

spacefrog35 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:29:07

On the flip side there are negative aspects to being an only child. Now my parents are elderly there is only me to care for them. It's draining & concerning as if for any reason I'm not available to resolve an issue it doesn't get resolved. Care costs will be exclusively mine to find should they be needed & the regular visits are all mine, no-one to share them with.

Doesn't make it 'cruel' to have an only child but equally it's not a perfect solution.

Mollymoo78 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:31:01

My dh has a sibling and she doesn't lift a finger to help their terminally ill father. He's just as "on his own" as an only child.

throwingpebbles Mon 15-Aug-16 09:31:34

Do they? I don't.
I do think their parents need to ensure they get plenty of time with other children, but all the parents of "onlies" that I know do exactly that.

Every family is different, there is no magic perfect number that would guarantee happiness.

Similarly I wish people wouldn't feel sorry for the children of separated parents, mine are happy and flourishing.

NavyandWhite Mon 15-Aug-16 09:31:50

I don't think it's cruel. I think there are many benefits actually. Some people think children need a sibling for the present and for the future though.

puglife15 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:33:54

My dh has a sibling and she doesn't lift a finger to help their terminally ill father. He's just as "on his own" as an only child.

This is almost worse than being an only, is feel quite resentful

BasinHaircut Mon 15-Aug-16 09:34:05

I think the stuff about not having sole responsibility for ageing parents, being lonely etc etc is true in some cases, but equally irrelevant in others. Not all parents will become a burden that needs to be shared, and not all siblings are great company for one another.

NedStarksHead Mon 15-Aug-16 09:34:25

I have 1 DD and can't bear the thought of having another, I really don't want a second child.
But then I read posts like spacefrog's and feel sad and like I'm doing the wrong thing only having 1.
I don't want DD to be plagued with DP & I when we're old and need care sad we're still young (22 & 23) but I just can't imagine having any more children. By the time we are in a decent financial position we'll all be much older & not wanting to go back to square 1 again.

puglife15 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:35:04

I also know very few people who think it's cruel. I have more friends with onlies than not too - definitely becoming more common.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 15-Aug-16 09:35:15

There are benefits to both, though. I had two working parents and spent most of my school holidays in childcare. But when we did go away, I found it boring as an only child. My parents had holidays for "them" and I slotted in around their needs. I was always envious of my friends who had siblings to play at the pool or beach on holiday with, for example.

But my friends said they hated being stuck with their brother/sister all holiday and wanted time alone with their parents which they never got.

Both situations have problems and merits.

mrsfuzzy Mon 15-Aug-16 09:36:48

as an only child i sometimes wanted a sibling but don't think i missed out, wasn't spoilt as such, but did go on to have a big family instead. it's not 'cruel' to have just one child, circumstances dictate situations so i think that it is nasty and cruel to say that to someone. not everyone wants more than one dc anyway.

CurlyMoo Mon 15-Aug-16 09:39:51

There are lots of different ideas on what is cruel, just do what is best for you and your circumstances.

I have a larger family (4 children) which is viewed as cruel by some of my family who chose to have a single child, as they share a bedroom and don't get as much material things (although that is down to my principles rather than not being able to afford it)

I have a few cousins who are only children, some really enjoyed it and others didn't. That's life really! IME (which I admit is nowhere near a scientific study!) only children are much more demanding/controlling of their parents than sibling groups, so I would never have chosen to have only one myself.

mrsfuzzy Mon 15-Aug-16 09:41:07

it annoys me when people say 'fuzzy you are so lucky having plenty of potential carers when you get older' i didn't have dc so they could nurse me in my old age, if they want to do that or be involved then that's good but i don't expect it. i

purplevase4 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:42:59

YANBU. I am an only child and have an only child.

And you can have two children and then one of them dies and the surviving sibling wishes you'd had 3 so they still had a sibling. I have a friend whose brother died in his 40s and she felt that way. But what can you do - you can't cater for every eventuality.

Those who say it's selfish to only have one child have not been through pregnancy and childbirth! And in any event not everyone can have more than one child - I have an acquaintance with one child who had about six miscarriages.

We live in an age where we can choose whether to reproduce or not. We should take an informed decision to have a child or children, not just produce them because someone else thinks we should.

Ilikesweetpeas Mon 15-Aug-16 09:43:38

I have no choice, would have loved more but unable to conceive again so negative comments about onlies upset me. We try to be positive and promote the advantages of only one

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 15-Aug-16 09:43:59

Because people are stupid? And they love to have an opinion on things they know nothing about?

mmgirish Mon 15-Aug-16 09:45:00

Some people are assholes who say crazy stuff. You should try and ignore them or else tell them they are bring an asshole.

MusicMania Mon 15-Aug-16 09:45:50

I think those things are said by parents of multiple children who are envious of how easy us parents of one have it. smile

Middleoftheroad Mon 15-Aug-16 09:46:36

In our case I only factored in one child....then we found out it was twins!

Sometimes nature over-rides choice with more or fewer children than planned.

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