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AIBU to ask parents of only children...

(97 Posts)
thatsenoughelsa Tue 06-Jan-15 21:02:52

Do you regret not having any more children?
What in your opinion are the best and worst things about having just one child?

Before we became parents, DH and I always imagined that we would have two children. Now we have a 14 month old DD and she is without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to us. We have been talking about whether to extend our little family and we can't seem to make a firm decision. I am 30 so we don't exactly have to get cracking on baby number 2 right away but we don't have all the time in the world either. We are about to put our house on the market though so we need to decide whether we are looking for a house to suit our current family or one that we can grow into.

We are a very happy unit of three. We are both quite contented with the way things are. We aren't desperate for another child but we're worried that if we don't have another we may regret it one day or that DD might wish she had a sibling when she's older.

I know that people can be a bit funny about "only children" and that there seems to be an assumption that they will inevitably be lonely or just a bit odd. I know that this is a load of rubbish because I'm an only child, I had a very happy childhood. I had a very happy childhood, never longed for a sibling and I don't think I'm too odd grin. However, I had a lot of cousins that I was very close to growing up (and still am) whereas DD only has one cousin, on DH's side of the family, and we do not have much to do with them for reasons I won't go into as that's a whole other thread! When I mentioned to a friend that DD might be an only child her response was "aww, what a shame for her" which made me feel awful!

Would we be depriving DD by not giving her a sibling? Do you feel that your DC has suffered in any way as a result of being an only child?

Would really appreciate your views and experiences

Thanks smile

Littlefish Tue 06-Jan-15 21:06:12

There is a topic one one child families. Why don't you ask for your message to be moved there.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Tue 06-Jan-15 21:09:31

No, I don't regret only having the one.
The best thing...the time and the money available for dd. We are extremely close and spend lots of time together doing things we both enjoy. I would not be able to afford this if I had another (theatre tickets, trips to London, lunch in Yo Sushi, endless dance lessons etc)

There are no worst thingssmile

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Tue 06-Jan-15 21:10:30

Swings and roundabouts. Loads of differences in the way you would bring her up than if you have another and as a result she will be a different adult...different. Not better one way or the other IMO.

However, if your only reluctance is that you can't imagine loving another baby as much as you love your DD or whatever, then you're wrong, you will and she will gain another person to love and be loved by as well. It's a common misconception between babies one and two that your next baby couldn't possibly be as perfect as your first, but if you have another you'll soon see you can!M though as the eldest I'd have to say there is some truth in it GRIN

thatsenoughelsa Tue 06-Jan-15 21:13:38

Littlefish, thank you for the suggestion. I find that responses on AIBU tend to be the most candid and honest so thought it would be good to post here for that reason but if the MN mods feel it would be more appropriate to move it I understand.

EatShitDerek Tue 06-Jan-15 21:14:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justmyview Tue 06-Jan-15 21:14:22

We only have one child. If we'd met earlier, I think we would have chosen to have more.

I do feel sad for DD that she has no siblings, and any children she may have may not have cousins (unless she forms a relationship with someone who has siblings).

I also (selfishly) feel sad for myself that with only one child, we're less likely to have children / grandchildren living locally.

However, I think it's far more common now to have one child only. My DH often reminds me that neither of his parents are in regular contact with their siblings and he has very limited contact with his cousins. We try to compensate by encouraging DD to have frequent contact with neighbours' children, in the hope that they will be "here is someone who has always been in my life"

One advantage of an only child is that they will never be compared with a sibling and found wanting. An only child is accepted as they are, not labelled as "the sporty one", "the naughty one" etc

dustarr73 Tue 06-Jan-15 21:14:22

As an only the thing i would say is dont make the child the centre of Your universe.Let them experience loads of things,in other words dont tie the apron strings too tight.My mam did as a result i found it hard to make friends as my mam hadnt other hobbies.

But the decision is yours and you will make the right one for you.

CMOTDibbler Tue 06-Jan-15 21:14:45

I have one child. I don't regret this, though its not entirely of my own choosing.

Ds doesn't have any cousins close in age - gap of 10 to 15 years - but he doesn't seem worried about this.

perplexedpirate Tue 06-Jan-15 21:24:30

I've always known I only want one child. Lucky for me, DH feels the same.
DS is 6 and it's the perfect family for us. We have ample time, energy and money to enjoy ourselves, and we are very happy as our little unit.

The only negative is in-laws invasive questioning about when we're going to 'complete our family' angry. But that's their problem not ours.

NeedABumChange Tue 06-Jan-15 21:33:20

I'm an only child and have always hated it. There is no family on my mothers side and everyone on my dads is much older. My parents had no friends with children my age. I think it's quite lonely, I'll never be an true auntie and when my parents die I'll have to do it all myself. I'd never have an only child by choice. I think siblings have a bond that you can't get anywhere else.

However an only child with cousins or lots of family friends is very different IMO. Different things work for different people I'd say it made me more independent than my my peers and tbh my parents treated me as an adult from day 1.

haphazardbystarlight Tue 06-Jan-15 21:34:58

I honestly think the family you have should be one you are happy with. There are seven years between DS and DD and this is perfect for us. It means they don't 'play together' but honestly I don't see any other disadvantages.

noitsbecky Tue 06-Jan-15 21:38:14

justmyview

I am the child of two only children, so do not have cousins. It has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful, not having any. I had a marvellous childhood, very close to my grandparents, as my siblings and I did not have to share the attention and time.

My grandma particularly, was one of my closest family members right up until her death. I was 22, and she was 76, and we used to go out for cocktails!

I'm also an only child of two only children, except all my family are now gone. Do I wish I had brothers and sisters? No way! Watching how my friend's siblings are destroying her over her mum's estate, I'm glad there was just me to sort it out when my mum went.

My DS is an only, he really doesn't care, we have lots of friends, and he loves people of ALL ages and will interact with anybody - you're a friend whoever you are - he was sharing his tablet with a 90 year old the other week, it was lovely to see them 'playing' together grin

Effic Tue 06-Jan-15 21:54:57

I am an only child and loved it. Very independent and happy in my own company. I have some very close friends who I love and are 'family' to me without any of the hassles or sibling rivalry! Also I like them because we get on and have compatible personalities - I don't have to love them because we are related!
I have an only child (son). He's seems very content - again he is very happy in his own company but has a good set of friends too. He's 12 and has yet to complain about a lack of siblings....

So...it seems to work for me & my boy but of course everyone is different.

Cockadoodledooo Tue 06-Jan-15 21:56:31

Ds1 was an only for 5 years. We were happy with that, we'd never intended to have any when we married. Ds2 decided he wanted to join us then so now we are 4!

I do sometimes wonder what life would be like if we'd stuck with one, but on balance I think our family is how it's meant to be.

MsHighwater Tue 06-Jan-15 22:00:17

I don't regret only having one but would have had at least one more if the circumstances had been different. DD has certainly expressed a wish to have sibling playmates but it is what it is and she'll have to live with it.

GlitzAndGigglesx Tue 06-Jan-15 22:05:13

My cousin is an only child. Her mum wanted more but her dad didn't. Due to medical problems she's unable to have any more now even if they tried sad

Ragwort Tue 06-Jan-15 22:07:03

I am very happy with my choice to have an 'only' child and would not have wanted more. Neither DH or I (who both come from big families) are particularly close to our siblings so I just don't think it is always true that siblings will get on with each other.

We have the time, money and (most important) the energy to devote to our DS and his activities - I see so many parents rushing around, having to make all sorts of complicated arrangements to facilitate more than one child's hobbies. I also think there is a huge emotional investment in being a parent and would struggle to cope with more than one child.

We've always made a huge effort to ensure that our DS meets lots of different people, as MyCar says, our DS is very good at socialising with lots of different people and is often complimented on his 'people skills' blush - perhaps because a lot of social interaction is with adults.

Can't honestly think of any negatives.

Starlightbright1 Tue 06-Jan-15 22:08:42

I always thought I would have none or lots. I have one. I think we are closer because of it because I have to find time to play games as no siblings to do it, Make sure we have play dates,

But I love it We get to arrange activities around him, we don't go somewhere which is not age appropriate. Very easy to get one child out. Only one child to be sick.

I am a childminder so I have done the balancing act in different ages when working..It is so nice not to have to.

nottheOP Tue 06-Jan-15 22:15:24

I have one child. He's enough, no only about it.

Initially it was selfish. I struggled massively in his first year & couldn't possibly do it again.

Now I love our happy unit of 3 & don't want to upset the balance. Siblings just seem to bicker endlessly rather than play happily as advertised. I don't know that it would enhance ds's life.

Financially I think we'd adjust although I'm looking forward to the end of nursery fees and don't fancy another round.

radiobedhead Tue 06-Jan-15 22:15:49

Proposal - lifetime bans for posters who shoehorn their non-AIBU posts into AIBU.

WyrdByrd Tue 06-Jan-15 22:25:04

I'm an only child & always thought I'd have at least 2 DC's.

We have just the one 10yo DD and we're all very happy with that decision.

I do find now my parents are older that I sometimes wish for a sibling to take the pressure of 'being one' off, but we all know there are no guarantees in that respect and otherwise I've been perfectly happy being an only & so far so is DD.

BouleSheet Tue 06-Jan-15 22:27:14

I have two but with an 8 year age gap. I felt under enormous pressure to have a second (pressure from myself mostly for our first child to have a sibling). The age gap worked for me although it wasn't intentionally quite so big and my children get on well despite the difference in age (and gender).
My mother is one of three but has no relationship with her siblings as long as I am alive so she used to negate that argument for siblings when I was dithering about a second.
Of course I love and cherish DC2 who feels like a bonus sometimes as I had accepted never having a second when I got pregnant that time but DC1 would have been fine as an only and we would have more time to focus on her and her activities. That said it is okay for her to have to share too it's just that I am constantly reminded of my almost blind panic to have a sibling for her and how misguided that desire was.
I was 37 having DC2. Older than I would've liked but his big sister mothers him too so I don't feel he's losing out by me feeling being so ancient.

Cabrinha Tue 06-Jan-15 22:27:18

I have one.
I don't feel sad about that, as she was IVF and frankly having seen some friends never even get one, I just can't feel too despondent when I'm so bloody lucky!
I also didn't have too much choice about going for another, as her father turned out to be a lying cheating stealing arsehole!

Downsides: she'd love a sibling to play with, lights up with cousins around. No guarantee she'd get on with a sib though.
Also sibs related - I'm sorry that as she gets older I'll potentially be a burden she can't share. But them my best friend is an only and she says "shut up, I love my mum, she's no burden!"
One more downside that's maybe a bit personal to me... I worry, not obsessively but maybe more than normal, after a MMC before her, that she'll die and I won't have another child to keep me going.

Upsides: she's my entire world! (Well, I have plenty going on outside her!) But it's fab not having to compromise, and base everything around her. And I like the simplicity of one set of childcare fees etc.

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