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One-child families on the rise - tell us what you think

(50 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Mar-13 21:03:12

A new report suggests that nearly half of all families now have only one child.

Another sign of economic struggle and the increasing cost raising a family - or a conscious choice by a new generation of parents who know their limits?

In a guest blog today, MN blogger and mother of one Stephanie Pomfrett (who blogs over here) writes about her decision to be a one-child family - and why she won't be adding a sibling to the mix.

Is this your family set-up - and if so, what influenced your decision? Are you under pressure to conform to the 2.2 'norm'? And if you have more than one child, are you surprised by these figures?

Let us know what you think, and if you blog on this post your URL on the thread.

princesspoet Fri 19-Apr-13 20:43:47

Well, I was an only for 11yrs did I miss having a sibling no. Do I love having a sister yes. We have a huge age gap and that comes in handy. I am tempted to just have my DS and call it a day, pregnancy isn't brilliant to my body but I am broody for another. We are opting for a bigger gap though.

racheyp Fri 05-Apr-13 18:53:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Athrawes Tue 02-Apr-13 03:52:57

I only want one child but do worry about how DS might feel and that I am being selfish not giving him a sibling. I can't quite face another - the birth was traumatic and we as a couple have barely recovered 3 years later.
But how will I explain that to DS?
He will have everything - a PFB until he is 25! - but will he be lonely and want the one thing he can't have.
Motherhood = guilt

SlimJimBra Tue 02-Apr-13 03:23:10

For us it is a case of not being able to afford it - £4.5k for a round of ivf is way out of our reach now I work pt and 1/2 my salary pays for nursery. That £4.5k would only give us a 33% chance of successful pg anyway. So DS is our little ivf miracle and that's more than I thought we'd ever have 4 years ago.

happynappies Tue 02-Apr-13 03:09:45

Sorry about the typos, one handed on iPad while feeding dd!

happynappies Tue 02-Apr-13 03:08:19

I know a few people who appear to have chosen to have o e (can't be sure that it isn't their first choice, but I think it is). Agree that a lot of older parents may find themselves in this position or that the experience of pregnancy/birth maybe enough to put people off. I have a male friend who was an'only'and had a very positive experience himself. I think he would have been perfectly happy for his ds tone an only too, but felt a lot of pressure, particularly from his wife, to have another. They have two now... I thought I would have one because at the time couldn't seeme going through labour again. Have four now smile. Everyone thinks we're mad so can endear stand what it is like to feel judged about your choices re number of children.

I find it very unusual that the suggestion is that there will be so many families with one child.

A lot of talk about having children seems to focus on what people want/plan, but I know a lot of people who don't get the number of children they might have wanted.

I am one of only 9 families I know who have just child. In just one of those families I know they only wanted to have one child. Two families I don't know why they have one child, three families are ether single parents (and presumably have not had such easy access to having another child) or didn't get on with their partner and so did not want to have any more children together and three families (myself included) had fertility issues.

I am sure that many people who only have one child may not have chosen to only have one child. The blurb at the top of this thread makes it sound like a choice! It is not always a choice.

purpleroses Mon 01-Apr-13 12:13:52

The figures are a bit misleading. 47% of families at any one time, have only one child living at home. But a family that has 2 or more children will usually have a few years at the start with just one, and a few more years at the end with just one, so would probably appear in the survey as a "one child family" on around 6 out of 20 odd years they could be surveyed (assuming an average 3 year age gap between children) - ie around a third of the time.

So the survey says around 53% of families have 2 or more children, but I'd estimate around 78% of families have 2 or more children at some point in time, but a third of them (25% of all families) show up as "one child families" at the point when they are surveyed.

That would leave a bit less than a quarter of all families as ones that only ever have one child - which would fit a lot better with most people's experiences.

The proportion of children from one child families is of course lower still.

Nanniejo Sun 31-Mar-13 14:24:56

I agree with Wispawoman, although her childhood experience was that of my mothers, who ended up having four of us. I have great memories of being part of a large family and still really appreciate them, now that I also have four children. We have had to work hard at maintaining good relationships, but it has definitely been worth it!

We have a one and only DS. Part of me would have liked another and wondering whether he would miss out. However, he has genetic condition and this was a big part of decision not to have another, also TBH we could spend more in terms of time and money if we only had one.

As an only child myself, I'm fairly neutral. There are plus and minuses. Lots of people I know with siblings aren't particulalry close to them. OTH I know lots who enjoy very close suppportive relationships and it is a pity J will miss out on that.

Around these parts, there are quite a few only children. Also a fair number of 3s and 4s, so not sure the recession is having that big an impact.

FionaJT Fri 29-Mar-13 20:38:55

My dd (8) is an only. She was unplanned, as a result I have been single since before she was born, and, as I'm now nearly 40 and can't imagine even starting dating for some time to come, she will remain an only. Having said that, I wasn't ready/planning to have kids when I fell pregnant, and I don't have any desire for any more. But I can imagine that if I was in a relationship I would feel I ought to have a second, I'm one of 3 and my siblings are important to me. However, my cousins are too, and I have made sure that dd has pretty close relationships with her cousins (first and second) who I hope will provide that common family link through shared memories.

SprinkleLiberally Fri 29-Mar-13 19:57:55

Where we live there are lots of one child and lots of three child families. Two seems more unusual, especially at the reception type ages.

suebfg Fri 29-Mar-13 19:55:02

I wasn't particularly close to my sister. Perhaps not surprising then that we both have single child families and our 'onlies' are very well adapted.

Siouxsie76 Fri 29-Mar-13 19:49:42

I suppose you can only talk from experience. There was a big age gap between my brothers and I, and I always felt like I was missing out by not having a close sibling around. Now we are older i really appreciate the fact that I have two brothers, a niece and nephew who we see regularly. My m-in law was an only child and says she felt really lonely when her parents died because there was no link to her childhood. We always planned to have two so they could be there for each other, both growing up and when they are older.

rushgirl28 Fri 29-Mar-13 19:20:18

I only have one child and he seems happy his got other family his sort of age that he very close.We always said we only wanted one boy if we did have another we have to move which we couldnt afford to that.We are happy to only have one child that what we wanted.

Smithsgirl88 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:04:28

Before I had my son I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't have kids (partner had 4 from a previous relationship and didn't want anymore), I wasn't overly distraught about it but then I was young so who knows how I would've felt as I got older. Anyway, I fell with son after coming off the pill to get implant, it was a shock, and partner without any thought wanted to keep him. After I'd had son i was adamant I didn't want any more. I had a very easy pregnancy and labour so that wasn't the reason for my decision, it was more financial. Partner refused to get the snip though because he felt I would eventually want another one. He was right, grandad died last year and was so touched by how much family were there for him towards the end that I realised I didn't want son to grow up without a sibling, someone to be there with him till the end (of course he's more than likely to have his own family but you never now). I immediately started trying and I'm now expecting a girl in July smile I feel more complete having a boy AND girl and am pretty certain this is it kid wise, we wouldn't be able to afford anymore even if we wanted to!!

WilsonFrickett Fri 29-Mar-13 10:39:07

minipie - good point. Lots of families have one child now, but they will be planning to have more, so how is that reflected in the statistic?

WilsonFrickett Fri 29-Mar-13 10:37:47

Oh I see - I don't think it necessarily follows tbh.

I had the upbringing of an only child (DB was born when I was 14) so we're not close at all. I don't really have close relationships with family and we don't spend a lot of time with them, although I've worked hard to make sure DS has a good relationship with my parents of course.

Obviously I can't know if I'm missing out, but we have a very full life with lots of very good friends. I have one niece I'm close to, but I'm close to her because I love her, not because she is a relation.

DP has brothers and sisters but they're not close either.

noddyholder Thu 28-Mar-13 22:00:20

I just asked my ds on the way out the door about being an only and he laughed and said Quit that MN bollocks so I think I am going to smile

Caladria Thu 28-Mar-13 21:29:38

What noddyholder said.

noddyholder Thu 28-Mar-13 21:20:33

I think it depends on the individual. My ds likes being an only child he is very social though and has very close mates. I think things have changed as well Family means a lot of things. It is not all about being blood relations as much as being close and loved by a wide group of people. There are some off the mark jugdements on threads about only children. I know a lot of sibling groups who do not get on and have nothing but trouble between them.

patricksmum Thu 28-Mar-13 21:15:19

Wispawoman this was exactly the point i was trying to make...people who chose to
Only have one child sometimes fail to realise how much they appreciate their own family...hence why ive got three children ...being an only child can be a lonely place especially when your parents pass away or if youve got rubbish in laws

noddyholder Thu 28-Mar-13 21:06:31

I think as it increases it will become more common. I did want another but health issues stopped that. I do think finances are a consideration esp now.

noddyholder Thu 28-Mar-13 21:05:07

My ds is 18 and in his class were 9 only boys!

ZZZenEggain Thu 28-Mar-13 21:02:38

can't access the link to the report unfortunately. We only have one child after an easy pregnancy and birth. We are happy with the situation. I know more families with more than 1 child than families with 1 child tbh so am a bit surprised at the figures.

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