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To feel sad that I'm an only child?

(109 Posts)
perceptionInaPearTree Sun 30-Dec-12 23:38:46

At Christmas, particularly all my friends have their siblings to visit etc. I feel like I've missed out - I would have loved a brother or sister to have a close relationship with and talk to on the phone.

I'm very glad my children won't ever feel the way I do (lonely) as I have three.

Anyone else feel like this?

strumpetpumpkin Wed 02-Jan-13 20:09:59

its pure fantasy. Me and my brother don't get on at all. i have cousins and friends that are more like family

flippinada Wed 02-Jan-13 21:59:34

I think pangs over what could or might have been are normal ChiefOwl - especially if the sibling relationships in your group are happy ones and you think oh, wouldn't it be nice if....

I do think its a bit unhealthy if you focus on it to the detriment of of other things in your life, like having the mindset of how much better life would be if you weren't an only, because that sort of 'romanticises' it all. That's just me pondering generally, not commenting on anyone in particular.

Both my parents have got siblings but I don't really know my cousins very well as one set are much older than me and my sister and the other set lives abroad, so having siblings with children of their owner doesn't necessarily mean a close extended family.

I do wonder how my DS will feel when he grows up. This thread has certainly got me thinking.

perceptionInaPearTree Wed 02-Jan-13 22:06:17

That's exactly how I feel ChiefOwl - like you I don't spend a lot of time thinking about this but do just feel sad about the things you describe and the fact my children haven't got cousins on my side. Many of the sisters I know, who didn't get on so well as children now get on very well as adults.

foreverondiet Wed 02-Jan-13 22:09:52

YABU as even if you had a sibling they might not live close. I am very close to my cousin who lives locally - he is an only child - and his DC are similar ages to mine. Don't think it makes a difference really that he is my cousin and not brother in terms of holiday time together?

Or close friends just as good.

flippinada Wed 02-Jan-13 22:10:09

children of their owner should say children of their own! No idea where that came from.

perceptionInaPearTree Wed 02-Jan-13 22:36:40

I don't think close friends are as good though - siblings have a special bond. It doesn't matter if they live close or not - from what I've observed.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Wed 02-Jan-13 23:06:47

Not really U, and I do understand how you feel, but I think you (understandably perhaps) have a rose-tinted view of what a sibling relationship necessarily involves. IME how well you get on/how close you are is the result of a whole lot of complex interactions, not least the personalities of the siblings involved!

I've given this a fair amount of thought, as I had a sister until I was 28, and she was then killed aged 26. So since then I've been an only child for a lot of practical purposes, and will be when eg. dealing with illness in elderly parents (who have been divorced for ages, before DSis died). However in my head and emotions I don't think I will ever be an only child and it is a different way of experiencing the world.

We got along fairly well as adults but I have to say that as kids it was a real example of having one person in the world who can wind you up (and be wound up by you) to a truly astonishing degree.

NewYearsEvelyn Wed 02-Jan-13 23:16:49

YABU. I have 4 sisters and a bro and I see them very rarely, get on with around half of them. My little girl is an only, not through choice. I hate seeing threads like this as it reminds me of how much she might have to put up with on her own when she's older. You will feel sad if you must,but you have 3 children. I'm just hoping that my fertility issues are not hereditary, or she could end up with no children or just one and how lonely will that be?

Kendodd Wed 02-Jan-13 23:25:15


I am now an only child (brother died many years ago with no children of his own). My DH has one DB who lives abroad with no DCs. We both really have no other family apart from our 3 dcs and our two mums neither of whom life locally.

I would like a big close family like some of my friends but just don't have it. I think those of us who do wish for this have romantic ideals about what it's like that in more cases than not don't fit the reality though.

onetoomanytoo Wed 02-Jan-13 23:37:32

i think whether you are an only child or if you have a load of siblings, everyone has the grass is greener moments, i guess its human nature,

my dh is the youngest of a huge family, mostly scattered to the 4 corners of the uk, he sees maybe one or 2 of them a few times a year, none of them were ever very close,

me, i am the middle one of 3, younger sis, older bro, but for most of my life wished dearly i was an only child, never more so during my mum's illness, death and the aftermarth, they both managed to make what was a difficult time a hundred times worse, i don't speak to my sis unless i really have to, i can't be bothered with the competing she goes in for, nor her nasty bullying, as for my bro, i can tolarate him, but he is far more intrested in my sis because he feels she is more useful to him.

luckily i have been blessed with several wonderful friends who i feel are far more like my sisters than my own siblings ever were.

for the record, dd is an only, and to be honest, would not have had the wonderful things we have been able to give her had she been one of several, i think she is happy as she is, she is an independent, outgoing young woman with a very happy circle of good frineds.

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Thu 03-Jan-13 00:17:04

My little girl is an only, not through choice. I hate seeing threads like this as it reminds me of how much she might have to put up with on her own when she's older

Try not to worry - she may well have a completely different perspective on it.

I always wanted 4 children, ideally 2 of each. A less than brilliant pregnancy, labour and rampaging PND, followed by other health issues (minor but badly timed and with a possible impact on future pregnancy) soon put paid to that. Also DH has never wanted any more, probably I suspect because he doesn't get on with his younger brother.

DD is absolutely delighted to be an only child - she loves seeing her friends and has no issues at all with sharing, but has no desire to have to do it with siblings on a 24/7 basis. TBH I really enjoy just having her to focus on and not having to divide my attention any further. I work and do also need a bit of me time/space to function properly - if I had more than 1 I don't honestly think I'd make a very good job of it and would probably end up in the loony bin!

teacherandguideleader Thu 03-Jan-13 00:26:41

I'm an only child. I would give anything to have experienced having a sibling. I know it is not always a great relationship between siblings as my boyfriend is estranged from his now. However, I can't help feeling like I've missed out. My mum is a single parent too. It makes certain things difficult as I am my mum's only real relative. Christmas is just me and mum - I spend it apart from bf as can't leave mum on her own. As mum grows older, there will be no-one to share her care with.

Mum and I are really close and that's great, but I can't help feeling like I've missed out.

BunFagFreddie Thu 03-Jan-13 01:19:55

twofaced and Utterly lost, I don't speak o my sister, she sounds very similar to yours. I rarely speak to DB. Probably about twice a year and that's messaging on Skype.

DS is an only child and do I feel guilty about it. Then again, I split from his abusive, alcoholic father when he was 18 months old. I have never had any male admirers who were desperate to father my children, even though I did desperately want more.

DP isn't interested in having children. DS is 14 and he has always said he likes being an only child, because he doesn't have any competition for my attention. hmm That could change though! I don't think I could go through the sleepless nights and toddler years again now. I also have health issues that would make it a very bad idea to have another. I feel pretty lucky to have DS, we get on pretty well considering the fact he's a teenager.

Hulababy Thu 03-Jan-13 08:18:52

My mil does all the care for her father. She as a brother but he has never helped her, she doesn't really have a family relationship with him at all. Her wn husband, my fil, and ET own friends, totally unrelated to her and her father, are far more help and do way more for both of them. Mil certainly doesn't benefit from her brother IMO, close friends way more.

Iggly Thu 03-Jan-13 08:22:06

YANBU for feeling that way at all. Those are your feelings.

I only see my brother at Xmas and birthdays (of my DCs - he's a generous uncle!) but the fact he is there is a huge comfort. We were very close as children, less so now, but having the shared childhood is such a comfort to me.

I feel quite strongly about only children and think they must be lonely but I know that I'm massively generalising. Which is why I had two DC.

Iggly Thu 03-Jan-13 08:26:18

All those saying it's greener grass/fantasy etc - for many it isn't. Having siblings is a joy. As for sharing - that's one part of being a sibling but not the only. I didn't get much attention from mum, neither of us did, but that was from her upbringing not because I had a sibling.

Hulababy Thu 03-Jan-13 08:32:51

Iffy - it does depend though. Not all families work that way. For some people a sibling is definitely not a joy, I am lucky and have good relationships with my siblings although don't see them loads. Not everyone does. It is definitely not uncommon for there to be no relationship or even totally broken down ones, eps in adults.

Dh is a solicitor and deals with families a lot, normally around the time of a death but alSo before and after for different reasons.. The amount of family breakdowns he has seen is huge.

So yes, sometimes siblings can be a joy. Sometimes they can be nothing but trouble, sometimes a nightmare.

Fwiw dd is an only child. She's 10. It wasn't really by choice but that's the fact. As a child she is very very happy, is very social, shares beautifully, no issues at all. Financially everything is being put in place to ease any burden on her as an adult and we are elderly. Hopefully, as an adult, she will have her own new family of a partner and maybe children, as we'll as close friends, plus her cousins, to help her out emotionally too.

VoiceofUnreason Thu 03-Jan-13 08:34:56

*Perception", I totally understand. I am an only child (male) who can't have kids. I have been single for 3 years. A lot of the time it doesn't bother me, at other times I notice it very much. Xmas being the obvious one. On Xmas Day it was just me and my parents and I am aware that very soon it will be just me.

Even if I had a sibling who I wasn't close to - maybe even hated - somehow knowing there WAS someone else actually would make me feel less isolated. I grew up in a small village, no other children, so perhaps a sibling might have been company back then.

Even if I didn't get on with a sibling, maybe I'd have been a fab uncle to their kids? I'll never know. I have a goddaughter but it's not the same as blood family. I have good friends, but they are all busy understandably with their families over Xmas and New Year so it was a pretty lonely time.

But you have lovely DCs instead.

JingleBellaTheGymnast Thu 03-Jan-13 08:37:29

I am one of two, I didn't get on with my sibling at all as children, we really hated each other. We get on OK as adults but don't live anywhere near each other, or phone just for a chat etc. I can't see we'd be friends if we weren't related.

DD is an only, and likely to remain so as OH doesn't want anymore. At the moment my mum is in ICU and it's really making me think about when I'm old and DD will be on her own.

swallowedAfly Thu 03-Jan-13 09:00:44

it is a bit hard to read this as the parent of an only. i do think though that saying your mum could have but didn't want to as she had an anxiety disorder is a bit harsh - she felt she couldn't have more and that's enough. you don't know what strain might have come with another child, you don't know if she would have lost the ability to cope altogether and your childhood would've been entirely different. she made the best decision she could for you all.

my son is an only - he's lucky to have 3 cousins close by who are quite a bit older than him but very close (especially one is like his big brother who he adores). i went through a stage of really wanting a second child and even considering deliberately setting out to have one alone but decided that gut feeling it wasn't right to do so.

i think just as siblings can be mismanaged (playing them off against each other, sucking them into the family toxic dynamics) so can an only be managed wrong. either way you can take preventative steps for the possible downsides - re: teaching siblings to treat each other well or encouraging an only to not feel overly responsible for you. the parent of an only for example should make sure they are independent as possible and don't overly lean on their child - maybe you can also make clear your wishes about what will happen when you get old and infirm and try to set aside the money for that.

the point is really that fucked up parents can fuck up any situation! siblings or none. ergo good parents can do all they can to make the best of any situation and put their child/ren first.

swallowedAfly Thu 03-Jan-13 09:03:30

for example i think the being an only plus growing up in a village with no other children could have been avoided by making the decision to move somewhere that served a child better.

for myself i chose to move back to the village where my parents and my sister and her children live when ds was 1.5. i want him to have the feeling of family around him and when he's older to be able to walk round to see his GPs or his cousins. i've also let him play out from a young age so he feels part of a community of kids.

so yeah - i think both can be managed well or badly and there are definitely advantages to being an only as well as potential negatives.

perceptionInaPearTree Thu 03-Jan-13 09:07:39

'i do think though that saying your mum could have but didn't want to as she had an anxiety disorder is a bit harsh'

No, it's not harsh - it's what she told me was the reason which I am merely relaying!

perceptionInaPearTree Thu 03-Jan-13 09:16:47

Also, I didn't start this thread to make parents of only children feel bad and/or need to justify themselves on here for their decision. It's my feelings about being an only child which I've posted on an anonymous forum to see if anyone else in my position feels the same. It's not something I would feel the need to say to my parents at this stage in my life.

VoiceofUnreason Thu 03-Jan-13 09:26:19

swallowed - yes, because in the mid- to late-70s, the economic climate was SO much better than it was now and my parents could quite easily afford to just up ship and relocate. One of the reasons they only had me is because they couldn't afford more children. Luckily, both sets of grandparents lived nearby when I was growing up to help - moving away wouldn't have solved that dilemma, would it? My parents rented a house (not council but a housing association), had a right old banger of a car and we didn't even have a phone in our house until 1984 (when I was 11) because we weren't well off. Dad being a builder, mum working in a shop.

swallowedAfly Thu 03-Jan-13 09:33:28

i didn't mean they could do that easily voice - just meant talking in hypothetical terms there are ways to compensate. ergo only doesn't have to equal isolated if steps are taken.

i think the anxiety is a perfectly valid reason - to say she could is imo untrue, she felt she couldn't.

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