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To be pissed off that “only children” are talked about so badly?

(83 Posts)
AboutAGallonofDietCoke Sun 17-Dec-17 18:10:41

Tonight I saw yet another thread on a mummies group, talking about having another child in order to prevent (the curse of) their child becoming an only child.
Am I the only person who thinks it’s really not that bad, there’s actually loads of advantages to being an only child, and the child doesn’t normally care, they know no different.
The only people who seem worried about it are those with siblings?

I am an only child and growing up I had lots of comments normally along the lines of
“aww so sad you’re all on your own”
“ you must be really spoiled”
“Only children are weird”

What the hell do you say to that?

After I had my son I had people telling me “ you are going to have another aren’t you? you wouldn’t want them to be ON THEIR OWN!!l” like it’s the bloody plague.

Am I being unreasonable to think you wouldn’t talk about any other group like this? After all I had no say in my only child status, my mum had cancer when I was little and that’s was that. Why don’t people seem to realise how unpleasant it is?

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sun 17-Dec-17 18:22:29

I have an only, absolutely through choice. He's a cheerful, generous little soul who always thinks of others before himself, sometimes to a fault. I really don't think this disposition is uncommon amongst only children. They don't have the experience of competing for attention or things so they are unthinkingly generous with their time and things.

However, I have had people say to me 'oh but he's not like an only child'. hmm

I think one issue is that in some families having the only child has been a real struggle, or there is real sadness about there only being one, and this translates into over-anxious parenting. I think over-anxious parenting can create difficult children however many of them there are.

BornInSydneyy Sun 17-Dec-17 18:30:52

I don’t know many only children so hard for me to form an opinion.

One is ridiculously sheltered and had to be collected from school trips because they were so distraught.

One is in her 30s and still uses her parents to take her food shopping and buy her clothes - she has a well paid job as well.

BUT it’s the parents that have allowed and enabled this behaviour. So I don’t think them being born an only child is the reason they are the way they are.

AboutAGallonofDietCoke Sun 17-Dec-17 18:31:55

Yes I have had the “you don’t seem like an only child” comment

It’s normally followed up by, “only children are usually selfish/weird”

IMO this is simply not true and really discriminatory.

I have found it’s given me a real resilience. While I had a great childhood I’ve had to cope with my parents early deaths alone. Also I’ve noticed that I don’t have the same uncomfortable feelings that some of my friends have when they are left alone for a time, I actually enjoy it!

ludothedog Sun 17-Dec-17 18:34:23

Ignore, ignore, ignore, people say stupid things sometimes.

Of course there are disadvantages as well as advantages to being an only child just the same as there are having more children.

I would remind them that you don't have to deal with the constant fighting and arguing between siblings along with the "why does he have more than me!!".

and as for being lonely...... well my brother and I don't speak. He's far to busy to have anything to do with DD or I which is very sad as I don't think he realises what he is doing.

Yukbuck Sun 17-Dec-17 18:34:24

Whatever works for you works for you. I know plenty of adults who don't get along with their siblings. Equally I know plenty of adults who wished they had a sibling. Especially when their parents pass away.
I'm one of 3 and I love it. We are incredibly close and speak several times a week. Can I imagine my child being an only child?! No. I can't. But I know no different and to me having siblings was the best growing up.
So it's each to their own and what works for one doesn't work for everyone.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 17-Dec-17 18:34:59

Not helpful at all but two only children I know how both gone on to have 3 or 4 children as they didn’t like having been onlies themselves. It isn’t just people who have siblings who want more than one child.

It is very rude and unnecessary for anyone to be negative about only children!

ScipioAfricanus Sun 17-Dec-17 18:36:40

My child is an ‘only child’. I hate the phrase because of its unfair stereotypes and its suggestion that there’s something wrong (‘there’s only one chocolate left’ sounds much more negative than ‘there’s one chocolate left’).

I am also sick to the back teeth of the negative remarks about only children and people who suggest I should have more even when I tell them, to shut them up, that I can’t.

Lots of behaviour at school has been assigned to him being an only child (e.g struggling to listen - have you ever heard of someone with siblings struggling to listen/concentrate? Apparently it must be rare as the head teacher suggested it’s because he’s just the one at home).

YANBU in that it is highly annoying. However I think people do stereotype younger children, boy vs girl etc in all sorts of wrong and annoying ways too so I think it’s a lot to do with being more sensitive about the only children status, which makes it seem more prevalent.

SuperPug Sun 17-Dec-17 18:36:54

We will probably only have one child due to a number of factors. Also because I like children but do not repeatedly want to go on maternity leave etc.

ivykaty44 Sun 17-Dec-17 18:38:02

I find people with siblings can be incredibly rude and judgemental- it often takes them a while for the penny to drop....

ScipioAfricanus Sun 17-Dec-17 18:38:18

And I know some only children who loved it so went on to have an only child themselves. It’s almost as is if you can’t actually draw an overarching conclusion and they are just as different from each other as all the siblinged children are...

AboutAGallonofDietCoke Sun 17-Dec-17 18:39:37


But do you, deep down, put those traits down to them being an OC?

Because I’ve seen the same in friends with siblings

ludothedog Sun 17-Dec-17 18:41:05

of course this is anecdotal but just to give another view from that expressed by Born... my DD is very confident and quite independent and has never had to be picked up early from a school trip. However I put that down to the great nursery that she attended from being a baby. I think that it really helped with socialisation and she learned early on about sharing and on her social skills.

not sure about entitled behaviour... I will do anything for my DD. I probably spend way too much on activities (I would not be able to afford that if I had more than one) and I over compensate for her having to spend so much time in childcare. We will see if that brokers a sense of entitlement in the future.

However, I know if you asked her teacher they would tell you that she is a lovely kind, polite, helpful sole that is liked by everyone.

HollyBollyBooBoo Sun 17-Dec-17 18:43:10

Who are these people? I can genuinely say no one has commented on the fact my daughter is an only child in 7 years.

crazycatgal Sun 17-Dec-17 18:45:32

On the other side of the argument I'm an only child and didn't like it. I was bullied quite a lot as a child and felt quite alone with no siblings to confide in.

grasspigeons Sun 17-Dec-17 18:45:34

I cant tell if people are only children or not.

People say such horrible things. It probably wont make you feel better but people do attribute all sorts of negative characteristics to being the precious first born, the much maligned middle child and 'the baby' of the family too.

Trb17 Sun 17-Dec-17 18:46:18

I’m an only and never wanted a sibling growing up. I’m fiercely independent and certainly not babied. Much the opposite tbh.

My DD (11) is an only and is a happy smiley girl. Her friends all seem to spend their time arguing and falling out with each other yet she deftly keeps herself out of it. She’s generous and caring too. Not spoilt and spends time happily with people or on her own.

So I’d say all round... onlys are no different to any other kids. It’s not the number of children that matter. It’s their personality and how they’re raised that matters.

ScipioAfricanus Sun 17-Dec-17 18:46:31

That’s great Holly but in my neck of the woods I’ve been offered unsolicited only child opinions several times.

divadee Sun 17-Dec-17 18:46:55

I have 2 "only" children. One 20 years old and one 10.5 months old. People have said the usual comments to me. I just ignore them. It does get easier.

When I get pregnant last year people even had the cheek to ask if it's because I felt bad my eldest was an only child. Sigh.

JonnaSilvie Sun 17-Dec-17 18:48:15

As a teacher, I can honestly say that I would never have been able to guess which pupils had siblings/no siblings based on spoilt/entitled behaviour.

Conversely, I know several adults who are only children who definitely behave like they are they centre of the universe, and their parents still pander to that!

Mari50 Sun 17-Dec-17 18:49:29

My dd is an only.
She has already told me that she will have at least two children because she wouldn’t want her child to be alone the way she is!
My dd has plenty of friends and seems popular, many of my friends also only have one child- mainly because we all had children relatively late in life- a lot of my friends had their children after 38 or had fertility issues to start with.
I have one because I have secondary infertility.
I don’t think entitlement is anything to do with being an only child though - judging from the children I come into contact with.

Henrysmycat Sun 17-Dec-17 18:50:00

I have one child and refuse to say ONLY. DD9 is lovely and generous to a fault and that is a bit upsetting as once she gave away some proper jewellery she was given as a christening present because her friend liked them more. I hope she doesn’t end up penniless having given all her money away shock
People were always commenting but since I hit 40, they all stopped. It was a conscious choice to have one child. I never gave anyone any opportunity to give me grief about my child’s status.
What I find fascinating and could be because she has no siblings, is that she thinks of nothing to get involved in grown up conversation having opinions (albeit very immature) on politics, environment and anything else.

TittyGolightly Sun 17-Dec-17 18:51:28

People in my wider circle have recently met my younger sibling.

They completely understand why I’ve decided DD will be an only.

OpalIridescence Sun 17-Dec-17 18:51:53


People make really silly comments. I have one friend who was saying only child comments yesterday and she does it with real scorn, I don't understand it at all.

I know two only children, both are seven and both seem to be having a wonderful time. I know one of them does ask for a sister, but on the other hand my eldest often wishes thier sibling away.

eurochick Sun 17-Dec-17 18:52:02

BornIn I suspect you know others but just haven't noticed because they are not "weird".

I'm an only (not by choice - my mum miscarried the next 4). I have an only (not by choice - I needed four rounds of ivf to produce her and then had a pretty traumatic pregnancy and a 34 week delivery for medical reasons). I don't think I have any more ishooos than the general populace.

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