We're becoming a nation of only children: do you agree? And have a butcher's at our guest blog, too

(140 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Mar-13 13:02:23


There's an article in The Telegraph today saying that we're becoming a nation of only children, with almost half of all parents having just one child.

The Telegraph article suggests that many parents are "stopping at one" largely because of the mounting cost of bringing up children.

Do you think this is true?

If you're a parent, do you only have one child? If so, is that by choice or not? And if it was by choice, how big a part did your family finances play in that choice?

And what are the implications, if any, of a generation of onlies who've had no siblings to squabble play with?

MNHQ STOP PRESS: 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.

Do read what she has to say, too - and post your comments here or over on our Bloggers thread.

lljkk Wed 27-Mar-13 13:13:11

Would think it was good if true, but...

Doesn't fit my experience at all, very surprised by that stat. I thought the UK birthrate was far higher than most of Europe. Off to find some stats...

fuzzpig Wed 27-Mar-13 13:13:25

Wow, I didn't realise it was that many.

I have to say most mums I know (not that many TBF <loner emoticon>) have at least 2 DCs, but basically those I know with one just feel 'one is enough', or they don't want to do the baby bit again. I don't personally know anyone who has stopped at one just because of money.

I have 2, I would have liked more but health and finances mean we can't. However having 2 minimum was pretty much non-negotiable for me, and luckily I was able to have 2. I was a very lonely only. But that's just personal to me really. I feel I missed out by not having siblings (not for want of trying - mum had 2 MCs after me, one was a late one and very traumatic) and I wanted my DD to have somebody to grow up with. But I wouldn't generalise and say that all onlies are lonely, it depends on lots of other circumstances. My loneliness was possibly just as much to do with my parents' personalities (incidentally they also grew up as onlies) as the fact I had no siblings.

ReallyTired Wed 27-Mar-13 13:13:31

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

Newforestpony Wed 27-Mar-13 13:17:47

And remember that a lot of only children are the result of long infertility and IVF/ICSI.

I would dearly love a sibling for our one and only ds but haven't managed to conceive a 2nd, even from the 4 frozen embryos we had left from the cycle that our ds was the result of.

Hulababy Wed 27-Mar-13 13:18:02

We only have one child, DD will be 11y next week.

It wasn't really choice though. It took a fair while to have DD, and then it's not happened since. Have had OPs, hormone treatment, etc but it isn't to be.

Finances were not the reason at all. We could afford another child, we just haven't been able to have a child since we were TTC when DD was 2y.

We ensure DD has always had plenty of people around to play with, after school and in holidays. We chose to go on holiday with grandparents and also friends at times, though ensure we have one holiday a year just the three of us. We are taking her younger cousin away with us next week for example.

We also have to ensure that DD isn't spoilt. Yes, she is very privledged financially, money isn't a worry. But we have worked to make sure she is still a lovely girl with manners, who is grateful for what she has, and isn't grabby or needy.

lljkk Wed 27-Mar-13 13:19:00

Uk fertility is well above avg for OECD countries.

2012 data: only France & Ireland have higher birthrates than UK, within Europe.

Neah, sorry, Helen, I don't believe it! And after all, almost every family with 2+ children was once a single-child family. We won't know if there is now a definite trend of "only one" until 20+ yrs from now when the chance or choice of more children has passed.

Sounds like typical shoddy journalism from the Torygraph.

Hulababy Wed 27-Mar-13 13:20:06

Fuzzpig - I can say, without a shadow of doubt, that loneliness is not something DD suffers from, far from it. But we worked hard when she was small to ensure that, and not she is just surrounded by friends and family whenever she wants it.

BikeRunSki Wed 27-Mar-13 13:21:20

My eldest child is 4 and a half, and I'd say that around 50% of my "mum friends" has stopped at one child, although some because of secondary infertility or relationship breakdown. However, the majority (over half ) are by choice.

I have 3 siblings, and couldn't bear the idea of my son not having any, particularly as we live 200 miles from nearest set of cousins. I truly believe, that when times are bad, nothing bonds people like a common childhood. My mother 's adult relationship with her two brothers is testament to that.

Much as my brothers, sister and I squabbled when we were younger, I appreciate them now even though we live in different countries!

Despite hyperemisis and no financial sense, we did have a second child. More hyperemisis, and we are financially breaking even on childcare costs for the time being. There will certainly be very few holidays for the foreseable future, and I can't remember when we last ate out.

I say that we had DS for us, and DD for him. Obviously she is much loved now,but my driver for having a second child, despite nothing making sense about doing so, was DS's future.

I have an only but we seem to be unusual in my experience. The vast majority of ds's friends have siblings. My friends mostly all have more than one.

I would have loved another but dh didn't. Having struggled to find a position in his family as the middle of three boys he was adamant he was only having one. In the early days I tried to argue that not all families were the same (I have a brother and my family are close).

Unfortunately at the point where it would have been now or never, one of dh's siblings did something which literally tore the whole family apart and we are no longer in contact. It just wouldn't have been the right time for us mentally anyway but any arguement to support siblings would have been a lost cause for me at that point and I would never choose to have a child that wasn't wanted by both parents.

Dh was probably concerned about finances but I think ultimately there were bigger issues.

elQuintoConyo Wed 27-Mar-13 13:25:44

We are sticking with one for many reasons: financial, neither dh nor I are high earners and we live abroard where there's no help whatsoever; emotional, DS is highneeds in some aspects, plus at 15mo I still haven't recovered physically from the birth, that scares me. Plus I have one sibling, an older Dsis, and we have never got along, never.
DH's extended family is here with plenty of cousins to play with so we hope he won't be lonely.

Only doesn't have to mean lonely or spoilt.

grabaspoon Wed 27-Mar-13 13:28:41

My charge is an only child and so are 2 of his friends - However most of their peers appear to be 1 of 2; generally the eldest. We also know several families where there are 3 or more children.

fuzzpig Wed 27-Mar-13 13:31:24

Exactly, hula. If you have family friends with DCs, lots of cousins, neighbours etc, there is no need to be lonely. I didn't have any of that - absolutely tiny family with no other children except the uncle 12 yrs older than me who abused me but that's beside the point and unsociable parents, virtually child free street etc. I was basically treated like a mini adult, but that could have still been a problem if my siblings had survived. I do feel that maybe it would've been better to have someone to be a child with, but that is just my dysfunctional family, so I couldn't and wouldn't apply that logic to other families.

My closest friend with an only child has a sister and SIL with DCs, they are all really close and have lots of sleepovers, there is absolutely nothing missing from her DD's life IMO.

Blu Wed 27-Mar-13 13:33:35

We have a happy one-child family smile

Finances had nothing to do with it. I mean, childcare was a huge strain and we couldn't really manage on one income, but had we really wnated another baby we would have had one and managed somehow.

We were happy with one. DP felt a second child might put too much strain on our relationship, but had I been driven to have another, we would have overcome that.

More choice for women in our generation operates in many ways, and I felt free of the sometimes evident pressure to have more kids...the endless 'when's the next one due?' / criticism of the perceived characterstics of only children aka prejudice / my own role as a mother being established and having a busy and fulfilling career alongside family life.

Tee2072 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:36:29

I have an only who is 3 and will remain an only because I am an old, tired, ill woman. Part of that may be because I have a 3 year old...

In any case, thinking about my son's preschool class, I know of only 5 only children out of 24 students. Two mums are pregnant. 5 or 6 have younger siblings and the rest are the youngest of 2 or more children in their families.

So, nope. Don't buy it.

TheFallenNinja Wed 27-Mar-13 13:42:02

I often wonder why it is the sole purpose of the press to heap nothing but misery and doom on us. Surely there's some good news?

For example, today I had a fried egg sandwich for lunch and when I squeezed my ketchup on I made a smiley face smile

MorrisZapp Wed 27-Mar-13 13:49:02

I've got an only, but I'm the only one out of ten at my ante natal group not to have a second - and I hear vague murmurings of thirds!

Money and age is only part of the reason. Yes, I'm ancient, and yes, childcare is like having a second mortgage. But its also just preferring a small family. I'm not a 'super mum' type at all and I'd rather just concentrate our resources on pfb DS.

I love being a family of three, but I can't see it becoming a big trend. Most women do want more, ime.

badguider Wed 27-Mar-13 13:49:42

We might not have a second, we haven't decided yet. But we met in our 30s and I will be at least 37 before we could have another, realistically much closer to 40.
It's nothing to do with finances. We feel that we're probably sociable enough to have an only.. two does seem the 'default' but we'd have to be really sure not just do it because society feels 2 is better.

I have a sibling I have almost no relationship with (don't dislike him at all, just nothing in common) and my DH has a sister we get on great with now but they didn't enjoy each others' company growing up at all.

MelodyBaker Wed 27-Mar-13 13:51:31

I have one child. I wanted more but exh was abusive and refused.
He wanted dd to have everything he had and if we had more dc he said he wouldn't pay for schooling etc.
I wish dd had a sibling but looking back, it was easier too leave with just her (I left while he was out). Fiance was never a issue.
I wish dd had siblings but I am happy that I have even 1 child. I treat her like I would if she had a sibling. She isn't spoilt and she has lots of friends round and goes away with them/they come away with us.

Taffeta Wed 27-Mar-13 13:52:38

About 1/8th of the families I know have one child. Most are because of secondary infertility, some financial.

GetOeuf Wed 27-Mar-13 13:54:22

I have got an only, and finance was a major part in my decision to only have one, but also other circumstances (I was single for years) contributed. I also never really had any desire whatsoever to have another, apart from a few mad moments of broodiness.

RocknRollNerd Wed 27-Mar-13 13:54:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 27-Mar-13 13:56:11

I have an only and I am the only person I know to have one.

I don't believe those stats at all at all at all.

<waves slyly to Getorf and waits to see if she recognises me....>

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 27-Mar-13 13:57:09

(I do imagine more Telegraph readers to have only children though...)

EauRouge Wed 27-Mar-13 14:02:59

I'm surprised too. I'm in the minority in my group of friends by only having two DCs. Most of them have three or four (or more!). I don't know anyone that's only had one child and isn't planning more.

Everhopeful Wed 27-Mar-13 14:11:41

It certainly doesn't reflect DD's class at school. She's the only only out of 31 as far as I'm aware. I did always want more but lost 4 before I got her and doctors down on bended knee begging me never to do it again she kind of got it out of my system. After that it was financial though I'd have done it if I was sure she would be harmed if I didn't. A friend pointed out to me that he and his DB hardly spoke, so the playing together thing doesn't always happen anyway.

Everhopeful Wed 27-Mar-13 14:13:23

Tell a lie - just remembered another one in her class!

Bramshott Wed 27-Mar-13 14:13:47

Any idea what this new research is and who did it? Must say that doesn't chime with my experience at all - I only know a handful of families with only children.

Bramshott Wed 27-Mar-13 14:17:03

Hmm - I guess from here - quite a number of important disclaimers about older siblings living elsewhere, and of course the vital point that all families were families with one child at one point (except families with multiples)

Bramshott Wed 27-Mar-13 14:18:39

Now frothing with rage at "should we worry about British mothers turning out a generation of spoilt singletons?"

Blu Wed 27-Mar-13 14:21:26

I agree with RockandRoll, it is an obnoxious article:
1. the emperors and empresses line
2. Sexism: "the mixed message sent by last week’s Budget, which proposed to make childcare more affordable for women who go out to work but did nothing for mothers who want to raise more children in the home." Parents. Childcare more affordable for PARENTS.
3. And more sexism " “superwomen” – the bankers and lawyers whose salaries enable them to pay for the childcare to support multiple children;" when 2 parents work childcare is for BOTH of them, and the father's salary also goes towards childcare.
4. Sexist and obnoxiously prejudiced: "should we worry about British mothers turning out a generation of spoilt singletons?" Fathers never turn out a child of any character, and are irrelevant?

And Sue Palmer's book is not one I will be buying, as she seems to either state the obvious or talk shit say things I don't agree with.

Hulababy Wed 27-Mar-13 14:25:09

Most families we know have more than one.

In DD's class:

2 - only children (inc DD)
6 - family of 2 children
1 - family of 3 children
2 - family of 4 children

Only one of our friends have an only child.
Most families we know there are 2 children.

neriberi Wed 27-Mar-13 14:26:02

I only have one DS, I would love to give him a sibling but unfortunately I can't for health reasons.

Viviennemary Wed 27-Mar-13 14:33:01

I hardly know any only children these days. I am an only child and there seemed to be more around then. But there were quite a lot of bigger families then too.

CMOTDibbler Wed 27-Mar-13 14:43:10

I'd be suprised if the figure isn't more like 20% of families are one child in the long term - certainly looking at my sons class and our friends.

I have one child, partly by choice, partly not - I had multiple miscarriages before we had ds, a bad pg and a premature birth - so its more that we never had felt that we wanted another enough to risk all that heartbreak again.

Littlefish Wed 27-Mar-13 14:46:24

I have one dd. Absolutely not my choice, but because of fertility issues. I know 4 other people who have a single child, 1 due to fertility issues, one as a choice (don't know about the other 2)

ouryve Wed 27-Mar-13 14:48:54

I only know three only children. One of those hass a single mum because her father was an irresponsible sod who mucked around then went and had a child with someone else, then left them, then.... The other two are children of single mums, too.

I know far more people with 2 kids, like us and a lot of people with 3 or more.

By definition, a lot of children are going to be an only child, anyhow, even if it's because the younger sibling hasn't come along yet.

MrSlant Wed 27-Mar-13 14:52:12

I have three and my two best friends have three each too, other friend has 4, therefore if I was a Telegraph hack I would conclude that families are getting bigger and go off to write a load of drivel based on my huge sample size. That's how it works isn't it?

milktraylady Wed 27-Mar-13 15:31:15

So what?
What business is it of anyone else to judge/ comment on how many children you have?

If its the government concerned about population replacement then clearly they need state funded nursery care.

Otherwise- bog off!

slhilly Wed 27-Mar-13 15:43:05

It would be nice if someone at MNHQ had actually looked at the underlying report rather than just relying on the Telegraph. It's easily available here and it shows that the proportion of families with one dependent child has changed from 42% in 1996 to 47% in 2012. So it's not an especially big trend, and it overcounts because it excludes families with adult children and families with children living elsewhere, and obviously also can't account for the fact that families may have more kids later on.

Froth and nonsense.

phlebas Wed 27-Mar-13 15:44:52

another 'so what?' and also not my experience.

(I just did totted up the number of children my 19 closest friends & I have (no more babies planned for any of us) - 4 families with one child, 4 with two children, 7 with three, 4 with four and 1 family with six)

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 27-Mar-13 15:47:08

Yep, can't afford it. DD is 8. Would love another but (reasons in order of importance):

1) can't afford it financially
2) can't afford it career wise
3) reluctant to do 0-3 stage again (now DD is very helpful and independent)

unebagpipe Wed 27-Mar-13 15:50:08

I have an only, as want my DC to have a private education- and can only afford for him to have one. If that makes me a "telegraph reader" hmm then so be it!

I was technically an only child as my sisters were vastly older than me (20 years) and I was incredibly lonely at times.

Think parents are much more vigilant in ensuring this doesn't happen now tho. Most of the people I work with have only one child too

EggBasket Wed 27-Mar-13 16:10:26

Think this is a case of "lies, damned lies and statistics". Of course loads of parents only have one child, that doesn't mean they won't go on to have 12!

In my experience families which remain single-child are very much the minority. Not that I think it matters.

wonkylegs Wed 27-Mar-13 16:12:46

I don't believe this (and not just because I dislike the telegraph) Our nearly 5yo DSs only child status is a rarity in both his class and our friends & neighbours and can only think of 2 other families in this situation.
One through choice and one not.
We live in a well off suburb of a big city and most families we know have a minimum of 2 children and usually interrogate us as to why we only have one.
Currently we are getting ready to try for no 2 but due to my health this is enormously complicated hence the gap.
I know that this is purely anecdotal evidence but surely if the figures were approaching 50% we'd know more or at least there would be more families in the school with single children and we don't even go to the catholic school up the road where there seems to be an average of 4 children per family!!

IslaValargeone Wed 27-Mar-13 16:13:28

I'm surprised by this too.
We have an only, through choice, but don't know any others and even after 11 years still get the odd raised eyebrow that she has no siblings.
My dc loves being an only, isn't lonely or spoilt.

lljkk Wed 27-Mar-13 16:19:08

I am thinking of the adults I know age 40+ probably
1/3 child-free
1/3 one child
1/3 2+ kids.

EuroShaggleton Wed 27-Mar-13 17:10:21

I really doubt it's true that there are more onlies around now. I don't know any and the families I see out and about all seem to have more than one child.

I was the only one in my class of 30 growing up. I'm not sure it's more common now.

prettybird Wed 27-Mar-13 17:20:30

I vowed I would not have an only child after seeing the strain on a friend of mine at Uni when her mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer sad

However, two MMCs after having ds, I have to accept that ds (now 12) will be my only - and much loved - child. smile

It's not always a decision to have an only child. Nature plays a part too sad

39yo expecting DC1 and am split 50/50 on whether to stick at an only or have 2. Suspect it'll be the one in the end (Age, finance, career, age, tiredness, age...) but I know I am DEFINITELY in the minority!
Rubbish article from rubbish rag!

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 27-Mar-13 18:11:33

Everyone I knew at work planned 2 from 2008 crash onwards as job security zilch. Have first, take a year, return pregnant, take a year, either return on flexi or hope for redundancy whic being city firms was extremely likely. A certainty if a flexi request approved.

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 27-Mar-13 18:13:59

Forgot to add, all have had or in process of second. 6 of 11 have since been made redundant following either a year off or flexi requests approved.

tunnocksteacake Wed 27-Mar-13 18:13:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDimples Wed 27-Mar-13 18:16:08

One child here. Through choice, can't afford more.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 27-Mar-13 18:19:30

I think as more families have both parents working, there are many saying they can't afford more due to childcare costs, not food, clothing etc.

Also many women are leaving it longer before having a child, maybe due to career. They only have time to have one child.

I know several who fall into each of the above categories.

perplexedpirate Wed 27-Mar-13 18:35:24

One child here.
We stopped at one because we are happy.
I know people just hate that, so they write snotty articles about shit that has nothing to do with them.

PainForLife Wed 27-Mar-13 18:44:30

one child here - would love more but due to health reasons not possible plus have been a single mum for 3 years now (came out of a physically/mentally abusive relationship!!!). so no plans to ever get in a relationship again unless he happens to be a billionaire smile

I only know of 1 person with an only child & that is again due to health reasons. 1 friend with 4 kids & 2 friends with 2 kids.

WrenNatsworthy Wed 27-Mar-13 18:59:59

Didn't intend to have an only but failed to conceive a second and gave up last year. I have to say that I would worry about money if I was to find out I was pregnant with a second now though. We already struggle at times.

Guardian reader here by the way. [hmmm]

Snog Wed 27-Mar-13 19:18:37

I have one dd aged 13 and I think the "little emporer" tag is just crass and frankly offensive.
It's no surprise to me that there are more children amongst the very rich and very poor.
If you are a working mother it is easiest to have one child imo. I personally think this gives you a great life balance and have found having one child to be brilliant for our family. I can't comment as to whether having had more would be even better of course!
Economics very very definitely has played a part in our choice of family size. We live in a high property cost area and could not move to a bigger place without spending another £150k plus. We are two full time working parents and the costs of University seem huge even for one child.
I think that for mothers who don't work, having an extra child generally wouldn't be so difficult as for working mothers.
If I had won the lottery in my 20s or 30s I would definitely have had several more children - but we are all very happy with our status quo.

TiredFeet Wed 27-Mar-13 20:03:45

I always assumed Ds would be an only as it took so long to get pregnant and, despite coming from a large family myself, I was pretty much at peace with that. I made sure he had a lovely sociable time at nursery and baby groups, and we did lots of holidays /weekends with friends and family with young children. However, just found out I am rather unexpectedly expecting number 2 and while I am happy I am also struggling a little to adjust. Financially it is going to be much tighter. I am sure we will adapt and love the new addition, but I don't think life is necessarily bad or worse for onlies, and I certainly think that it is possible to take steps to ensure they have lots of company and aren't spoilt. There can be downsides to being in a big family too.

LadyLech Wed 27-Mar-13 20:05:44

I only know of two children who are genuine onlies. I know of others, but they have half siblings, from one parent's previous marriage.

Most of my friends have 2 or 3 children.

Not my experience at all. In DD's class there are three kids who are definitely onlies (including her), five I'm not sure about, 11 who have at least one sibling, and eleven who have at least two siblings. Practically everyone I know with kids outside the school circle has two or three. The only peer group of which the nearly 50% thing is true is our NCT class - of eight couples three, probably four, did not go on to have second child. But I think the deciding factor there was age - the other two mums who definitely didn't have another baby, and the one I suspect didn't, were all 40+ when they had their DC.

I do wonder if this is a combination of misunderstanding the stats combined with some journo's London-centric anecdata?

Finance wasn't a factor for us anyway. It's an advantage now, being able to do more with our ever dwindling salaries, but had we wanted a second child then, biology willing, we would have had one, and done less.

MrsDeVere Wed 27-Mar-13 20:16:06

I don't think I have anyone in my close or extended circle of friends with one child.
But then, I am working class and we are renowned for 'popping out' kids hmm

Oh, I knew the article would make me cross. People who have had one child through choice, through secondary infertility, other health reasons, relationship breakdown, financial reasons are NOT the same as an entire, vast, nation required by law to have no more than one child. Entirely different kettle of dim sum.

And as for 'log on to the mothers’ forum Mumsnet, and the reasons for having only “the one” sound simple', such bloody lazy journalism. Go to Mumsnet, read thread entitled "Only by choice - what are your reasons?" (or something like that), think you know it all. Ignore threads about whether PND was a factor. Ignore talk of secondary infertility. Ignore threads where one partner desperately wants a second child and the other doesn't. Ignore heartbreaking tales of miscarriage and stillbirth. No, those wouldn't be simple, wouldn't they.


41notTrendy Wed 27-Mar-13 20:47:08

We are a one child family. And very happy. It's because
1 I found pregnancy a bit traumatic because of a previous miscarriage and I developed obstetric cholestasis.
2 ds never slept and it sent us round the twist and I can't do that again
3 money has been tight, but if we stay as we are, life is good and affordable with treats and holidays now and then
4 I'm too old to do it all again grin
5 I'm an only and I'm alright
6 we have lots of friends and family with children

I am surrounded by families with one child. In fact I know more people with 1 child than I do with more. This is not the case however for ds's class. The norm is 2 or more.

When I was at school, in a class of around 30 there were only 2 children who were 'only children'

My DC (I have 2) 7 & 9, are now in the minority in their classes by having a sibling.

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 27-Mar-13 21:07:52

I agree with Snog. I am a FT working mum and my partner works FT too. It just about works with one child. I can't imagine doing it with 2. ( I mean of course without live in nanny that does everything, homework, costumes for school play, dinner. )

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 21:14:54

I think only child families are becoming less of a stigmatized group.

All the reasons listed, albeit in a very offensive manner, in the article are valid ones I've heard many parents cite. I think those parents to be very honest and pragmatic. So surely there will be more families who can relate to each other for those reasons?

As it stands, I have one child and am unsure if I could have a second. I don't worry that my DD will be a "spoilt singleton" at all. She already has a loving family and lots of little friends. She'll be fine.

jellybeans Wed 27-Mar-13 21:28:01

Most of my friends have 2-5 children. I know a few with only children and usually it is through infertility/age than deliberate choice. 3+ children is very popular too.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Mar-13 21:29:31

Hello. We've just edited the OP to add a link to our guest blog by Stephanie Pomfret, who's written today about her decision to be a one-child family - and why she won't be adding a sibling to the mix.

Do please read and share your thoughts, either here or on our Bloggers thread.

I only have one DS, and my one set of friends have one daughter and are not having any more. However, 7 other couples that are my friends have 2 children, so the 'almost half' comment was a bit surprising.

I see having a child as a special time, I didn't want children for many years and was an older mother (37) when DS was born, but I think I can afford to give my DS everything he needs with regard to time, but I would have to split my time if I had more than one. Only having one meant I could take him swimming every week on my own without dragging another adult along to be with the second child. It's easy to take him on rides at the funfair, I'm thinking of those rides for little ones where you only have enough room for you plus one. Ditto to shopping bags in one hand and the child's hand in the other.

I am perfectly capable of seeing the benefits of having more than one, namely them playing together, but personally that doesn't outweigh the benefits of having one IMVHO.

Cheaper? Not sure about that one. hmm

FannyBazaar Wed 27-Mar-13 22:34:40

I have an only child. I never planned to have children so it was rather a shock and I definitely didn't want to do that again. My DH had the snip but now we are no longer together. Answering the questions about having another with 'I'm single' is a great way to kill that conversationgrin.

I do regret that my DC doesn't have siblings but I was never in the position of wanting to provide them and being able to.

My parents do find an only child a little difficult when they are here because they are not used to it and expect DC to play without involving them all the time, but my DC doesn't have siblings to play with or to fight and argue with!

We have lots of only child families as friends, most single parent families, 3 we met on holidays last year and have kept in touch with. The children all love having someone else to play with so we often do things together. I think the only children have a great empathy with each other.

I do not know if there are other only children in my DC's class, can't think of one, must ask...

letsgetreadytoramble Wed 27-Mar-13 22:37:22

I have one DC, and although we are both working (we earn around £45,000 between us) there's no way we can afford another. The cost of Childcare already means we can't afford to do anything with our baby, like swimming lessons. The plan is that once he's at school, we can hopefully afford a better lifestyle for him. Having another baby would scupper any chances of that, because one of us would have to stop working. I'd love to have more children, but we simply can't afford to.

DuelingFanjo Thu 28-Mar-13 00:00:06

Yes. I have one chid primarily because of the cost. I want to carry on working but if I had a second child it would probably mean I'd have to give up work and rely on just my hsband's wage and benefits (which I would get more of if we were on one wage) ...I really woudn't want to do that so just the one for us, plus I am too old. Plus I had to have IVF.

Coud Also be that more people are havng children in their forties, meaning if they have their first at 40 they may not be able to have another. When I say 'more people are having children in their forties' I mean since the 1940s as statistics show that back in the 40s and 50s there were more 40 something's having children than there are now.

DuelingFanjo Thu 28-Mar-13 00:03:34

I hate the idea that my family is stigmatised by my son being an only child. Who I. Their right mind would think like that? Not worth knowing, people like that - oddballs.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 28-Mar-13 00:17:15

Some of my favourite friends are onlies smile. .

Isn't the Telegraph's usual party line that it's selfish to have children you can't afford? But now it's also selfish to only have one child if that's what you can afford? Gotcha.

TiredFeet Thu 28-Mar-13 06:56:49

Agree, some of my favourite friends are onlies. And some of the most spoilt, entitled, selfish people I know come from big families

I can't read the article as I know it will upset me - they always do.

We have dd an only, she's 4 next week. We have TTC for #2 since she was 1 but with no luck sadly. We gave up recently and decided to focus on the fact that we are so lucky to have her, and lots of people can't even have 1.

We still get a lot of "When are you having another?" but I have started being honest and saying "We can't!". That usually finishes the conversation pretty quickly.

I don't recognise the statistics at all where we live - we feel in the minority definitely. In her class of 17, I think there is 1 other only child, mostly 2's and a couple of 3's. Most of our friends have 2 or 3.

DD is certainly not spoilt and we are bringing her up to value good manners and kindness/sharing grin

As an aside I have 1 sister, but we don't even speak and live at opposite ends of the country!

Spuderoonerism Thu 28-Mar-13 08:45:05

That's an obnoxious article all the 'spoilt singletons' 'little Emperors' bollocks with a little bit at the end about the 6 onlies they found on wiki who they reckon are ok (and even then it includes Lance Armstrong!). I'm also aware of quite a few parents of more than one who foist extra tuition, piano lessons etc on their kids when the children probably don't want it.

Onlies aren't a new phenomenon in any case: DS is '4th generation' only - 2 of my grandparents were onlies as a result of WW1/the father dying young of other causes, both my parents are onlies (presumably in part because each had one parent who at least had grown up realising onlies aren't freaks), I'm an only and so is DS.

We could have afforded more children but just didn't feel the need/desire to have them. The security to trust that feeling undoubtedly came from the fact that to me only children are nothing unusual, grow up well adjusted (the proof being generations of my family seem to have the social skills which enable them to find a partner and go on to have a child), and all of the onlies in my family have happy memories of our childhoods.

OhMyNoReally Thu 28-Mar-13 09:09:00

First of all calling it China syndrome raised an hmm from me.

As did the reference that only the wealthy have large families or the very poor who don't cut their cloth. Especially as the article claims only the very poor choose to have large families as they get state support. This seems to be another kick to those who use the support available to them to brand them as criminal in accepting it. Not a very sensible thing to do when so many families would struggle without that support. We should be more understanding especially as that support is changing dramatically for them, I don't think they need to be vilified at this time.

When we decided to have dc I was 23 we never considered salary or how many dc we planned to have, we have an age gap of around 20 months between our dc and now I'm 30 I think this is the right time to complete our family. My main reason to have dc at 23 were that I wanted my mum to be a younger grandma and I wanted my grandma my children's great grandma to meet my dc and have a role in their lives. I also wanted to be young when my dc were in the 20s.

We have 4 dc, we are on a decent salary. Earning around 36,000 I am a SAHM, and yes I take the child benefit and child tax that is available. If I didn't life would be impossibly hard. Althought my dh is changing jobs next year and is predicting his salary will be around the 50-60k mark. Meaning we will no longer need to child benefit or child tax. Hopefully I will return to work part time in 4 years when my youngest dc returns to school. The change in childcare provisions is infuriating but we will be able to afford extra preschool sessions without it.

I think the advantages to a large family are never ending. I know my children will always have someone to play with and be creative with, I know it helps them develop empathy and understanding for other people, it also helps them develop maturity and it gives them an understanding of budgeting.

My dc know that we don't have holidays and we follow a budget because they have siblings, I have taught them that a sibling is a precious and an amazing thing to have and that holidays will come later. We have special days out and treats at the weekend. I don't think my dc miss out on anything by having siblings in fact I think as they grow older they will have far more than an only child.

I also don't believe this trend is as uncommon as the article makes out, as many of our friends on simillar salaries have large families. Of between 3 and 5 children. This article feels as though its written to justify the reasons of having only one child and to reassure those with only one child that their decision was best for their child, rather than themselves. How many parents with an only child try to borrow a playmate for the summer holidays or to trips away or to the cinema. Not many of these negatives were included in the article nor were successful adults from large families.

In my area (educated, middle class, not rich) most families have 2. Mothers around here are probably older than in other parts of the city & most of the families I know who have stopped at one are families where the mother was around 40 when she had her first.

So I would suggest that professional/highly educated women tend to start their families later, making a small or single child family more likely.

Spuderoonerism Thu 28-Mar-13 09:29:15

I know it helps them develop empathy and understanding for other people, it also helps them develop maturity and it gives them an understanding of budgeting.[...]This article feels as though its written to justify the reasons of having only one child and to reassure those with only one child that their decision was best for their child, rather than themselves. How many parents with an only child try to borrow a playmate for the summer holidays or to trips away or to the cinema. Not many of these negatives were included in the article nor were successful adults from large families.

Just goes to show how we all interpret things differently and also how you should select your words carefully. Did you mean to imply that my family don't have empathy, understanding, are immature and crap at budgeting? Most of the parents of onlies commenting here found the article pretty nasty and negative about onlies, not reassuring.

Do your children never go to the cinema with friends or have friends round to play? I'm mystified by that comment as DS is regularly asked round to play with friends, go on outings etc with his friends who have siblings?

OhMyNoReally Thu 28-Mar-13 10:01:42

No we often don't have friends round to play, not in the holidays at least.

And I was just giving the alternative to the article commenting that only children develop maturity because they have a lot of adult interaction.
Dc from large families develop the maturity because they are around younger children and often have to help out a bit by being more independent, even if they don't have a lot of adult interaction.

The comment about budgeting was trying to be a positive about a negative, the article claimed that dc in only families often made the decision to have one child because they wanted fewer money worries and to give their dc the best possible in life. Larger families need to be strict with money which is often seen as a negative, I was only trying to imply that it's a positive in a negative, yes we have less but hopefully it will teach dc about budgeting and money when they are older.

The comment on empathy was in regard to the article saying dc in only families did lots of extra curricula activities and went to lots of groups, my dc don't do that, we can't afford summer holiday groups or extra tuition but I hope they develop skills they miss out on from group event because they have siblings.

Some people here may find the article nasty, which it is. It is a puzzling article but some parents may equally who read it may find it backs up the reasons to have one child.

I wasn't trying to be hurtful, just to counter some of the points in the article. I apologise about it coming across as hurtful. I hope I have made my point clearer.

Hulababy Thu 28-Mar-13 10:11:38

I am surprised that you see the article as that much in favour of only children. Did you not read the comments such as:

- Are we to become a nation of little emperors and empresses?
- Economics aside, should we worry about British mothers turning out a generation of spoilt singletons
- Otherwise they don’t learn sharing or other social skills
- There can be a lot of pressure for the only child to do well, and to make their parents happy
- the only child who is the sole repository of two parents’ aspirations and hopes


Hulababy Thu 28-Mar-13 10:14:33

Every only child I know has developed empathy and understanding, btw, not just children with siblings. Children rarely live in a bubble and will encounter other children and adults every day.

It's interesting that you chose not to have friends round to play with your children though. As a child, with siblings, growing up I found that I really wanted to play with my own friends, not just my siblings.
Almost all of DD's friends have siblings - and they enjoy playing with their friends just as much as DD does.

bebejones Thu 28-Mar-13 10:15:43

We have only one, I would dearly love another but we just can't afford another child right now. DD is 4.5 so I guess there is still time, but I think we are past the stage where another baby will be a good playmate as the age gap will be too big IMO. Not sure if we will ever be able to afford another child, things are pretty grim right now! I am an only child and it breaks my heart to think of DD growing up without siblings but unfortunately that may well be what happens!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 28-Mar-13 10:25:31

If the fruit of your loins is a repository for your hopes and ambitions, you've got problems whether you've got one child or ten, methinks. I like to have hopes and ambitions for myself, weirdly.

Spuderoonerism Thu 28-Mar-13 10:50:58

OhMyNoReally - thank you for clarifying, I get where you're coming from now; you can chuckle at the irony but I hadn't really thought about the fact that if you have more than one, you can probably also interpret the article as having a go at your choices and making sweeping assumptions about how they will turn out. You're right in that it can be seen that way from the parents of more than one aspect too - top work from the Telegraph in apparently managing to piss us all off grin.

I guess I'm a bit prickly about the whole assigning characteristics (and generally negative ones) to anyone because they are an only which that article does a splendid job of - as a parent of an only you do get it a lot, even the backhanded 'I'd never have realised he was an only child' type compliment. I shouldn't have seized so much on your comments though - sorry!

Trills Thu 28-Mar-13 11:52:07

Surely "becoming a nation of only children" is not something that one could agree with or disagree with - it's a question of numbers and statistics.

Either there are more only children than ever before or there are not. Someone has probably counted.

Agreeing has nothing to do with it.

Spuderoonerism Thu 28-Mar-13 12:04:57

Fair point Trills but the statistics over the 20th Century posted above don't show huge variation and the average completed family size is skewed more by the reduction of >4 kids rather than increasing onlies up to the sixties.

I don't have the article to hand but I read one once which made the very valid point that until some Psych professor wrote about the only child (I think possibly pre WW2, maybe just after it) there was no real 'obsession' with them. The guy kick started the whole schtick around the negative stereotypes (selfish, pushed by parents, lonely etc); even though studies since have shown that it's not true the twaddle he came up with has stuck in the general mindset. Incredibly frustrating as it's no more scientifically proven than the 'medical' bollocks of previous generations like women can't enjoy sex etc.

There have always been only children, secondary infertility isn't a modern phenomenon as far as I'm aware and my own family's experience was that 'circumstance' with fathers dying in wars etc has a lot to do with it. WW1 and WW2 also created families where they had to stop at 1 as plenty of woment either delayed having families or ran out of time (so to speak) to have subsequent children whilst their husbands were away fighting.

It's the whole 'this is a modern phenomena' (with the implication that it's a problem/there will be dire consequences) that is irritating.

I will try to dig out the article/reference for the stuff above, running out of time at the moment thought.

Trills Thu 28-Mar-13 12:05:47

If it is the case that there are more single-child families than before maybe it's for the same reason that more people are choosing not to have children at all - people are actually thinking about what they want rather than doing the thing that is done.

Maybe societal pressure has eased up a bit, so people who want 2 children can have 2 children, people who want one child can have one child, people who want no children can have no children, rather than there being a pressure and expectation that all adults will find themselves an opposite-sex partner and have two children, and that anyone who doesn't is not normal.

talltails Thu 28-Mar-13 12:35:19

I have an only child but I feel very much in the minority amongst my friends - most have 2 or 3, or have remained childless. It was by choice in my case, but not for financial reasons, more our own lifestyle reasons. My life has more in common with my child-free friends than my friends with larger families - we've continued to live in a city centre location, we travel a lot, I have a good social life and a lot of time for my own interests. DS is happy and sociable, and I'm glad that he's able to have opportunities that he wouldn't have if I'd had more children (not just because of finances but with amount of time I could give as a parent).

I'm lucky that I don't feel I've been criticised or judged for it though. I think my friends with more children have tended to be a bit envy as I'm not juggling as many things as them, and my friends without dc are just impressed that I even have one child as they often say that they've never been ready for the responsibility of having a family.

Blu Thu 28-Mar-13 13:23:21

"Try to borrow a child I'm the holidays" as a NEGATIVE point? In our circle of families and friends arranging outings with a friend in tow is entirely normal and the children are v keen on it. Especially as in our case all DS's friends have two younger sisters. Their parents often 'try' to get me to take all the boys to an older/boy friendly activity so they can do likewise with the younger girls. Sometimes big families 'borrow' ds to gookeep his friend company, sometimes we all do things together, sometimes I have all the kids from a bigger family to offer childcare.

You make parents of on lies sound predatory and desperate, we find the arrangement is part of being a community.

CambridgeBlue Thu 28-Mar-13 13:40:21

I find this quite surprising. I have one DD but we are very much in the minority among people in our circle/DD's school etc - the only other families I know with just one child have not had more because of marriage breakups or similar.

I do feel there's still a stigma attached to only children - people tell me how much easier life must be for us and strangers have been known to blatantly ask why we don't have any more without any thought that I might find that offensive. On the other hand my friend who has 5 children gets similar remarks about her family so maybe it's just not conforming to the usual 2.4 that bothers people confused.

Our reasons for having one are a mixture - MC followed by failing to conceive combined with my DH not really wanting another (partly because he's not really a natural parent but also, I think, because of money).

In some ways I wish we had been able to have more. I often feel as though we are not really a proper family and I do worry that DD will resent not having siblings although she seems very happy as she is.

I am paranoid about her being seen as a typical only child though, and go out of my way not to spoil her, but inevitably she does have advantages over kids from bigger families. I don't feel as though we have either much spare time or spare cash but I am able to do things with her 1 on 1 that I couldn't if we had more, and can get more or less what she needs in the way of toys/clothes/activities etc without it being too much of a struggle.

I think there are pros and cons to having one child - just like there are to having more - and don't see why it needs to be a discussion point really, it's just a different family set up like any other.

edam Thu 28-Mar-13 13:46:29

We have one ds for financial reasons. We would have loved to have had more but dh lost his job and has only found short-term or part-time contracts ever since. I feel sad about it but we do work hard to make sure ds spends lots of time playing with other children, neighbours or school friends and family - he has a very close relationship with his cousin.

Btw, it is a tad tiresome when people slag off a news story just because it doesn't chime with their personal experience. The Telegraph is covering a perfectly reasonable story based on ONS statistics showing nearly half of all families are one-child affairs, the number has increased by almost 700,000 in 15 years to 3.7 million, and one-child families are likely to be in the majority within a decade. That's not 'shoddy journalism' by any standard, it's perfectly legitimate.

Badvoc Thu 28-Mar-13 14:29:36

There are several onlys in my sons school classes.
They are 9 and 4 respectively.

Pyrrah Thu 28-Mar-13 14:57:00

I imagine where you are geographically may make a big difference.

We live in London and have 1 DD. Property prices are huge even for a postage stamp - to move to a bigger flat we would need to double our budget and that's before looking at stamp duty, estate agents etc.

Basically you only have a decent sized place to live if you are a council tenant or a lottery winner round here.

I'm in my 40's, had terrible HG and then was lucky to survive DD's birth so DH is very against our having another. DH works very long hours and we don't have any family nearby so all the childcare falls to me.

We both come from large families and the idea of an only is a bit frightening to me.

However, with just one we can offer her everything. Private education, university paid up front and help with getting on the housing ladder etc. With 2 it would be a very different story as we couldn't afford any of that for 2 children.

Of all our friends I would say that onlies are about 50/50.

Blu Thu 28-Mar-13 15:48:59

Edam, the statistics make a story - especially if there is a credible attempt to look below the numbers and see what might be behind a trend.

However, I think it's fair enough to slag off the writing in a feature if it makes repeated references to 'mothers' instead of 'parents', repeatedly uses language which accepts a negative stereotype of only children and restricts itself to speculation rather than actual fact finding.

MrsMaryCooper Thu 28-Mar-13 17:39:14

I'm an only and I have an only, but most of my friends have 2. I had a rough pregnancy and a bad birth and I just couldn't face it again.

My parents are dead and DH's are quite a distance away so no family help.

snowballschanceineaster Thu 28-Mar-13 19:27:13

I would be surprised if this was the case. In my area, quite middle class, the usual family unit is 2 - 3 children. There were only 2 children in my dd's class that were only children...snowballjr and a friend up the road. I had wanted more, but dd's friend's mum never did. Personally, if my womb had been less rubbish, I'd have happily had a handful or more. Love being a mum and had enough resources to be a mum to many. If I could take DH into fostering or adopting, I'd do that like a shot, but he just won't get on board sad

FannyBazaar Thu 28-Mar-13 21:29:09

My DC is the only, only child in the class!

I never knewblush. Is that bad?

Have four, two of each , mad busy wrecked tired most of the time. But the good thing is they all play together. Neighbours/school friends with only children, always trying to organise playdates for bored kids..not an issue here although we do have playdates from time to time. Only problem is when they try to kill each other..which is quite a lot grin

OrWellyAnn Thu 28-Mar-13 23:15:22

I only know one family with just one child...everyone I know seems to be going for a third at the moment!

MrsShrek3 Thu 28-Mar-13 23:29:35

don't know any 1 child families. all my friends have 2 or 3, many have 5.

nkf Fri 29-Mar-13 07:10:05

It's a silly article based on bad reading of statistics.

SquidgyMummy Fri 29-Mar-13 07:30:05

would love another , but was a late starter. DS 2.5 was born when i was 40.
DP doesn't want anymore as DS has been hard work, and also has 2 older DC's who live abroad, so he has enough children as far as he in concerned.

I just would like a sibling for DS to play with, although that is not guaranteed.
I am one of 3 and not close to either (perhaps more due to our dysfunctional childhood...!)

Part of me still hopes I can pop one more out if i manage to change DP's mind...!

leatheralley Fri 29-Mar-13 11:40:28

Having your only close relationship with a parent (usually the mother) is very unhealthy for both mother and child. The problems don't show up until the only child tries to establish close relationships with other people - especially spouses.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 29-Mar-13 13:42:53

Leather, have you got links to any studies on that point?

aliphil Fri 29-Mar-13 13:55:56

We will probably stick at one - though as she's only 7 mo I reserve the right to change my mind! DH was a very happy only child, and I hated having a brother, so there isn't the urge to provide DD with a sibling. But also, much as I love DD, most of pregnancy and a large part of the last 7 months have been so miserable that I don't think I could face it again (tendency to depression).

Spuderoonerism Fri 29-Mar-13 15:25:51

What are you basing that on leatheralley?

cazboldy Fri 29-Mar-13 17:29:31

I think childcare costs for working mum's probably do play a part..... my sil says she can only afford childcare for one, and originally planned on having another when her dc1 went to school (he's 3) but has since realised that there would be 2 to pay for in the hols, and also, now she is out of the baby stage is finding things much easier, and has no real desire to do the whole pg, newborn thing again.

I am a sahm (apart from being a part time student, and working 1 day a week) to 5 dc, and am 12 wks pg with a surprise number 6.

I think also, on the whole, people are more comfortable with saying they only want one nowadays. People seem to look down far more on large families these days than small ones!

There is too much generalisation ( i.e not all singles will be lonely little napoleons, and not all large families live off benefits/rely on a massive income - we cut our cloth and make sacrifices instead!)

I think it might even become more common with the lack of jobs, difficulty in getting on the property ladder etc. If the average age of a first time buyer is mid 30's, and you don't have your first baby until 40ish, you are going to be hard pushed to pop out 4 (or more!)

morethanpotatoprints Fri 29-Mar-13 17:39:34


Children have close relationships with all sorts of people, they don't NEED siblings.
There's extended family, friends at school (who at some times in the childs life become more important than parents). I'm sure there are many others.
Teachers, pre school workers, nannies etc.

Snog Fri 29-Mar-13 17:59:48

leatheralley what an odd viewpoint. What is it based on?

TheEasterQODdy Fri 29-Mar-13 19:11:39


Dd is a surrogate baby.

TomArchersSausage Fri 29-Mar-13 20:26:30

I am an only but def wanted more than one dc if possible. I have 3 dc.

Desperately wanted number 2 but I got too old sad

Nattynar Fri 29-Mar-13 22:49:12

We just cannot afford to put 2 children through childcare, it wouldn't be worth me working as my entire wages would be used on childcare. And I think it is unfair to expect DP to work all the hours that God sends whilst I'm a SAHM. I just don't think I want to go through the whole being pg, newborn once DS starts school.

Plus it would effectively mean that I would have to put my career on hold for 10 years, and still be on the same wage at the end of it.

DS is a well adjusted boy, who is social and happy. He will never be a brat, because we are careful to make sure he knows his boundaries and his place.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 30-Mar-13 00:14:40

Forgive me for not having read all the thread (so someone may well have said this already) but all that article seems to be saying is that nearly half of all families currently have one child in them, not that those children will spend all their lives as onlies. As nfk says, it's statistical illiteracy.

i would be very, very surprised if this was true (it might just be that 50% of families surveyed have only had their first child so far).

i have one child and i seem to be pretty rare and even as a single parent people are always asking me if i'll have anymore.

my reflex was to say that it wasn't due to money that i only have one but upon reflecting further it actually is to do with money in a way. i am not sure i have the energy or could cope with starting again with a second child. i'm a single parent, have gone back to work last year and sometimes feel run off my feet. but actually if i was on a really high income that wouldn't put me off because i'd have more childcare options. whereas i stayed home with ds i'd happily have a second child and go back to work quite quickly and utilise a lot of childcare and possibly domestic help to make that work. at present i couldn't afford to do that.

so when i really break it down it IS because of money because if i knew i could afford decent childcare and domestic help and could carry on with my balance of work and home i'd do it. because of lack of money those kind of 'options' aren't there.

Moominsarehippos Sat 30-Mar-13 10:23:43

I know very few only children. Please stop treating us like an effing freakshow. Tbh, I was one kid in a large family, and we were treated like a sideshow attraction too.

I'm reading a very good book about parenting an only child (will pop back with the title when I get a mo).

Moominsarehippos Sat 30-Mar-13 10:29:26

Leather - do please explain that 'gem'. My mum was an only child - happily married for 50 years. Only 2 siblings have not been divorces/not middle aged and single. A schoolmate was one of 7 kids - last heard 2 sisters up the duff as teenagers and one arrested for sexual assault.

I akways ask only children about their experiences. They usually say that they had a good childhood, didn't miss out and why am I asking such a stupid question?

leather's statement is backed up by nothing. i also loathe the assumption that an only child's only close relationship would be with it's mother. i'm a single mother and there is no father in the picture at all and yet i am not my son's only close relationship. he spends regular time in the care of his grandparents, lots of time with my sister and her teenage children (one of whom he is especially close to) and he has lots of friends.

i am not an only but was a pretty lonely child due to a combo of parental disinterest and a divide and rule family dynamic that made it really hard for me and my sister to be in any way close. however even then i had a grandfather i saw a lot of and was really close to and enjoyed a fab relationship with which meant i experienced unconditional love and intimacy and reliability etc.

parents/siblings are not the only relationships children have.

unless you're living in one of those freakishly hermetically sealed in a domestic unit families with 'babes in the wood' syndrome.

Moominsarehippos Sat 30-Mar-13 11:00:17

My mum was far closer to her father actually.

Booky: you and your only child, Dr Patricia A Nachman, publisher HarperPerennial

PurpleStorm Sat 30-Mar-13 12:34:10

Surprised to hear that one-child families are so common.

I know far more families with two or more children than I do families with only children.

Although, having said that, 19 month old DS is an only child at the moment. All being well, he'll be part of a two child family in another 6 months or so. There may be many more families where the only child isn't going to remain an only child.

tallulah Sat 30-Mar-13 13:04:58

At nursery most of DD's peers were onlies until they left for school (we've all gone separate ways, so they may or may not have had another child since).

At our school DD's Y1 class have a high proportion of onlies. Of 28 pupils, 11 have no siblings and 2 have a half-sibling (in both cases same mother but different fathers). Only 3 of those with siblings have more than one.

When I was at school the vast majority of my peers had one sibling.

badguider Sat 30-Mar-13 13:24:43

When does a family officially become a 'one-child family'? When the mother reaches menopause?
So many people (like us) have one not knowing if they're going to have a second... then there are combined and blended families, step-siblings, new partners, half siblings etc. etc.

Spuderoonerism Sat 30-Mar-13 13:25:52

This is the article about the only child myth and the idiot who came up with it. Leatheralley you might find it an interesting counterpoint to your 'sources' which we're all still waiting for

Spuderoonerism Sat 30-Mar-13 13:28:57

And linked within that article is a gallery of famous onlies. It also includes Lance Armstrong but it's from a few years ago I guess. Interesting as well that it comments on the spike in onlies after the Depression in America, adding to the fact that there have always been periods when there have been increases in the number of onlies.

Spuderoonerism Sat 30-Mar-13 13:33:50

One final link from me: this article about a threatened school shooting a few weeks ago in the US gives an interesting perspective about just how quick people and the media can be to assign negative characteristics to a lack of siblings.

skyebluesapphire Sat 30-Mar-13 13:40:00

I only have one DD, through choice, by a forced choice for medical reasons. I suffered from severe SPD when I had DD and could barely walk for the last two months of pregnancy. I was in agony all the time, on crutches and hardly left the house. Then I had an awful back to back labour, on a drip, epidural wore off....

The consultant himself told me to think very very carefully before having any more children as he didn't think that my body would cope with it. I was 36 years old, overweight and inclined to agree with him, as was my then H (now XH).

I didnt even know if I would have kids, due to endometriosis, so see my 1 DD as a blessing.

She has lovely friends nearby and family of a similar age (cousins children and XH's great newphes/nieces). I have one brother, but we didnt always get on.

I make sure that I spend plenty of time playing with her and she has such a fantastic imagination, that she happily spends hours playing on her own with her toys.

Financially, we would have struggled to have 2. I live in a 2 bed place, so if we had a boy, would have needed another bedroom eventually.

My XH walked out last year when DD was 4yo, so I now make sure that I spend a lot of time with her, giving her cuddles etc.

I don't think that anybody should be criticised for having just 1 child.

jodee Sat 30-Mar-13 15:26:56

Haven't read all of the thread yet, or links posted, but to add my situation: one DS, turned 13 this week. His best friend since Reception is an only. Two other boys he has known since Reception are onlys. The planned two children has become one, who is wonderful.

BernadetteRostenkowskiWolowitz Sat 30-Mar-13 16:15:17

cost is not the reason my friends with onechild have one child. i have two and sometimes daydream about how much easier it would be if i also just had one.

yes but it would also be easier with a full time nanny - wonder how many people who allegedly only have one because it's easier would feel differently if an extra 40k a year was in the mix.

Spuderoonerism Sun 31-Mar-13 15:25:04

I didn't...no 'allegedly' about it for me, I wanted one, I stoped at one. Through various career changes DH and I probably had not far off that extra available to us before DS started school, never crossed my mind that we ought to therefore have another.

Also - the 'allegedly' leaves me a bit hmm; is it so hard to believe that maybe some people might just decide to have one and be happy with it? Do you honestly think that all those of us saying we wanted one are kidding ourselves? Staggering though it may seem in the face of the kind of rudeness that is doled out to parents of onlies fairly frequently (and not just on MN but in RL too) we're not all deluded and lying to save face about the choices we make.

DuelingFanjo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:37:12

My son is quite clearly fucked.

I am old
He's a boy
He's an only child

Or...perhaps he will be just fine and perhaps he won't turn into some kind of Norman Bates character. I think the most offensive thing I have read on this thread is the idea that a close relationship with a parent, and in particular a mother, is somehow going to psychologically damage a child. Projecting much?

DuelingFanjo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:40:57

Plus, I really do believe that you're either a pushy send your child(Ren) to every class going kind of parent or you're not. Having one child doesn't mean you push them to over achieve. Some of us just want to send our child(ren) on their way as decent enough human beings who can fend for themselves and live an independent and happy life.

agree df. i am a real 'let him be' kind of parent. the idea that because he's an only i'll over push him is bizarre to me. i'd be more inclined to be using every class and extra known to man if i had more than one rather than hear them bickering at home.

whilst i say given enough money i'd risk having another child i am actually pretty happy with one and that child would be a bit.... well not less wanted but... hard to explain but i suspect some other mum's of onlies would know what i mean.

i'm not sure i could love that much and that consumingly again. a second child would get a lot less from me i think and i know that i got a lot less as a second child.

jodee Mon 01-Apr-13 23:09:50

DF, agree too - being pushy would never work with DS - he would be completely miserable.

Actually, we went down the adoption route when he was about 9/10 - after a year they (sw) put everything on hold, apparently ds's SpLD would be a problem (literacy/processing difficulties) - even though they never even met ds, who is in mainstream school; we were angry but looking back it was for the best and we had to go through the process to realise it wasn't right for us or DS, who actually said without any prompting that he didn't want a brother or sister any more.

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