Feel really sad for my only child's future, please help!(44 Posts)
My DD has had a fantastic day but looking on the dreaded FB I feel so sad for her. There seem to be lots of pictures of her friends with siblings, cousins, basically lots of children of their generation. She is an only child, born after much fertility treatment and unless there is a miracle she will not have a sibling, nor is it likely that she will have cousins. This is something I worry about a lot, she frequently asks for a sibling which of course I feel guilty that I can't provide. Christmas is such a big family time for us that I feel sad for her future, she will never have any family member of her generation to share this with. Although she has had a great day I know she would have loved another child to play with. Sorry this is a very rambling post but I hate the idea that she is the only child on both sides of the family. I really worry about her being lonely, or feeling that she has to do things with DH and I as we get older
What a lovely caring person you sound.
For every parent feeling the way you do about an only child, there are other parents who belong to big families where there are squabbles and pettiness and family feuds to contend with!
If I were you I would consider her joining something like the Brownies or another group or hobby interest where the children belong to the organisation for a long time and make lasting friendships.
Many only children are very content and happy and with loving parents such as yourself, I don't think your daughter will be missing out on anything.
DS(8) is an only child & I am a lone parent. He spends a lot of time with adults & I often feel sad that he doesn't have siblings. It's not how I'd have planned things but it's how things are...
He does lots of activities - swimming, karate, stagecoach, after school club, goes to his childminder etc so has lots of opportunities to play with other children which is good but not the same as having siblings. All you can do is your best & it sounds like that is what you do. Don't fret about things you can;t change.
Don't be too hard on yourself, you cannot help it if siblings and cousins are not likely to come along. You say yourself that she has had a fantastic day and from your post it seems that you are thoughtful and loving parents. In larger families it's not always 'the more the merrier'. I understand where you are coming from, I'd love my DD to experience the big family Christmases I enjoyed as a child but it just hasn't worked out that way.
Thank you so much Sunday for such a lovely reply, that has brought tears to my eyes! I know I have an underlying insecurity about her being an only, largely I think because DH and I both have 1 sibling who we get on so well with, spent today with my sister, seeing his brother tomorrow. My DD is sociable and get on well with others (so her teacher assures me), and as DH reminds me she may not get on with a sibling even if she had one! Thanks again
Thank you also to the other posters, I really appreciate this support and reassurance, especially on Christmas night!
I'm an only child, I do have cousins but we lived overseas for most of my childhood so never had much of a relationship with them. Sometimes I did wish I had siblings to play with but I always had friends to play with. Unlike friends with siblings, I always had my own space at home and I've always been happy with my own company.
I always said that I'd have lots of children when I was older and I have four. I find myself worrying that they don't get as much as I did and always have to share toys and sometimes the older ones can't have things like Lego as the youngest would wreck it. I worry that they will hate having siblings and having to share bedrooms. They also don't get as much attention as I have to split it between them.
I second the rainbows/brownies or maybe dance or cheer leading. I went to rainbows and brownies and made lots of friends. Focus on the positives of your daughter being an only child and try and help her have opportunities to be around children her age outside school.
My sister has one, she always makes sure there are loads of opportunities to mix with other children. Her daughter is 12, has loads of friends, my children love her. In fact she is just rather special. An only is not a bad thing at all. All children ask for a sibling, perhaps you could tell her you would have liked her to have one too. It is natural to worry, we all do. I hope you can start to see some of the positives, rather than the negatives.
How old is she?
Because I suspect she is very young. When children are young, the children they spend time with are family children, or children of their parents friends and relations.
By the time they enter secondary school, their peers are their own friends, and by the time they leave home they are likely to have little contact with distant family (maybe Christmas and the occasional wedding/funeral).
They will make their own friends, and their own lives, and their lives aren't going to be ruined by not having siblings/cousins etc.
If you are very determined you could always find more distant cousins of similar ages, and try to reopen family relationships. Otherwise don't worry, she will be fine.
And remember, you are saving her 20 years of sibling rivalry, sharing clothes, parents and attention. Although she may ask for a sibling, there are many children who want to send their siblings back
And I second things like brownies (dd joined at 5, and is still a very active member at 17 - she went abroad last year with two girls who she has been in guiding with from the beginning).
Siblings are overrated, trust me, I have a few!
I used to pester my parents for a sister. The idea was that they would create a little kindred spirt for me and life would be an endless Green Gables fairy tale. Thankfully, they didn't oblige.
The point is that people always wish for ideal siblings, and unfortunately, they don't exist!
Thank you again, someone asked her age , she is 5. Starting to do some activities outside of home / school like rainbows, ballet and swimming but mainly still very family orientated. I suppose that, as some of you suggest, I idealise having another but in reality a 6 year age gap (even if I could get pregnant) would not automatically produce the best friend sibling that I envisage, and am fortunate to have for myself! I think a lot of these feelings stem from infertility, and mostly I have overcome them but every so often they rear their ugly heads and I wish for the impossible! I am truly grateful to you all for taking time to be so kind. DH usually a big help when I feel like this but he has gone to bed poorly
DS (5)is an only, and will remain so through choice.
But I just wanted to tell you that DBro is 8.5 years younger than me and we are very close (when he's not calling me a 'fucking Christmas idiot' like he did today ) so don't worry about age gaps one bit!
I wouldn't worry about age gaps, my extended family has quite a few big gaps and I don't think it makes any difference to closeness over a lifetime. Though as children it can make the relationship more semi-parental (e.g. 13 years between two family members).
But as for your main point, your DD isn't missing out. She really isn't. No, she won't have the big family Christmas as a child (though nothing to say she won't as an adult one way or another with her own offspring or partners' family), but nor do many people who have the big families. And she will have other things.
Really, Christmas is a very small part of the year and it's special whether or not it conforms to advertising-land stereotypes. What matters is being with the people you love, however many those number.
Christmas is such a big family time for us that I feel sad for her future, she will never have any family member of her generation to share this with
You say this, but my family of my generation are the friends I have chosen. We always do christmas together. I rarely see the family members who are a similar age to me.
I'm an only child and I feel so fortunate (mostly!) to have all of my parents love and support. There is something incredibly special to be part of a family of 3. It's wonderful that you are so concerned for your DC, obviously they will be as lucky as I have been
By the way we have had a lovely day with my DH, our DSs and my lovely Mum and Dad - quite big and jolly enough! You can make your own family - she doesn't need to be lonely - I know lots of people with siblings they cants stand who are v lonely at Christmas .
Ah, Queen! That's just lovely.
DH, DS and I have adopted a phrase from the Doctor Proctor books: one plus one plus one is so much more than three.
In case it helps, my DF is an only child and he is one of the most sociable, grounded people I know. His dm (my granny) always invited other kids over and he spent a lot of time with cousins too and at boys brigade etc.
I know how you feel OP, DS is 5 as well and because I split up with his dad if he ever gets a sibling, there will be a large age gap. He's very extrovert as well and I struggle with being playmate for him all the time. I so wanted him to have a sibling and I find that really hard.
However I agree with the others - only children don't miss out, they just have a different experience. You mentioned feeling sorry for him "having to" do things with you - actually, it's quite the opposite. Because you only have his needs and wants to consider and only one child to find money and time for, you can explore far more of his interests with him, plus, it is likely that some of yours and his interests will overlap meaning that you can do things together. And with him being only one it is easier and/or cheaper to find babysitters for when you want to go and do your own thing.
Here are a few links to articles about the benefits of being an only child.
I used to worry about this but now that ds is 19 and at uni I see that he has his own life aswell as us and we all add up to a lot!
I have 5 brothers perhaps 45 cousins , I see 4 of my brothers , none of my cousins big families aren't always close. There was a huge spilt in my family 20 years ago, the fall out is still evident.
Enjoy your little family,
We had a lovely day yesterday 6 of us and now ds is up and gone out with his 2 mates to the sales and both of them were happy to be getting away from their siblings!
My dd is in the same situation as yours OP. It doesn't seem to bother her right now though (she is 8) and I suppose you don't miss what you have never known. I like to think that in the future she won't be alone, she may well marry into a big family and have lots of her own children if she wishes. She loves the company of all the older relatives and as she is an only child she is thoroughly doted on and the centre of attention on family occasions.
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