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To ask you to tell me some GOOD things about having/being an only child

(95 Posts)
lostmyfeckingkeysagain Sat 13-Jan-18 10:27:37

We have a 4yo DD who was conceived the first month of trying but have been TTC baby no 2 for almost 2 years now.
I just got my period this morning having convinced myself I was experiencing all kinds of pregnancy symptoms for the last few days sad

DD loves babies and has started asking brother or sister (although she's generally a very happy child) so I feel guilty that I may not be able to give her one but I need to prepare myself for the possibility that baby no.2 may not happen for us and she may be an only child.

DH and I are constantly being asked "when are you having another??" as though I can just click my fingers and make a baby appear! When I say "we'll see" or "we're not sure yet" etc (because I don't want to go into the whole sorry saga of my possible secondary infertility), we invariably get told that "DD needs a brother or sister!" , "Surely you don't want her to be an only child!" or worst of all "an only child is a lonely child".

We are very lucky in lots of ways and the three of us have a lovely life together. I would like to just appreciate what we have and not worry so much about it all but I am finding that all the negative stuff people say about only children is making the situation much more difficult for me to handle.

So, please MN, can we have a thread with positive things about being an only child or having an only child??
Also any advice as to how to deal with the aforementioned comments would be appreciated, bearing in mind there are some situations where "fuck off" isn't an option! grin

Thank you.

peachypetite Sat 13-Jan-18 10:28:59

I'm sure there is a long standing thread on here already with all the benefits of one child, maybe do a search?

peachypetite Sat 13-Jan-18 10:30:48

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/one_child_families/1002083-only-by-choice-what-are-your-reasons

Emilybrontescorsett Sat 13-Jan-18 10:35:32

Some people are rude.
I think the only thing you can respond with is 'why?' Followed by silence.
Of course there are benefits to being an only child.
Not having to fight for attention
Not feeling second best
Choosing what you want
Having more time and money lavished on you
Quieter times
Quality time
Not having to compromise with siblings
Parents having more more so it can be spent on hobbies for the one child, better house, holidays, smaller car.
Things cheaper so more day trips as money not spread so thin.

There are positives to every situation.

Neither having no children, one child, 2 children or 12 children is better.

Remember to that lots of people don't speak to their siblings once they become adults.

Ilovechocolatetoomuch Sat 13-Jan-18 10:35:47

We also had our first baby really quick. Two years down the line I was just about to give up when we made a few lifestyle changes and I'm now 20 weeks pregnant.
I would have been happy with just one, life is so easy and ds1 is a dream, holidays are a breeze so I think having one has lots of benefits.
Don't give up on your dream if you want two it does happen.

annandale Sat 13-Jan-18 10:36:05

I have an only because overall it was best for us as a family - dh is chronically ill. The best response to those sorts of questions IMO is to bat it back to them - 'oh do you really think that?' 'What makes you say that?' I sometimes say 'it's a long story but we're all fine'. I would say that ds has definitely missed out and would have loved a sibling but it's also OK to have made our choice. Dh is stable and we are still together and these are things that benefit ds as well. I would start saying that there won't be any more babies to your dd, then it will be a nice surprise if it happens.

UnaOfStormhold Sat 13-Jan-18 10:49:42

I can recommend the book "Parenting your only child" - it has made me feel much less guilty about the prospect of not giving our child a sibling.

lostmyfeckingkeysagain Sat 13-Jan-18 10:52:32

Thanks peachy I probably should have searched but was concerned that previous threads about onlies would contain a lot of quite negative stuff about "weirdos" and "little emperor's" that would make me feel worse so wanted to request a thread focusing specifically on the positives.

peachypetite Sat 13-Jan-18 10:58:28

Yes that link I posted above is very positive 😃

Greebz Sat 13-Jan-18 11:02:01

People are such dicks angry if you can can, just don't answer the question... I have done similar and it is quite fun to watch the cheeky fucker wilt / make excuses for asking / witter on.

Lack of toxic sibling relationships springs to mind. These can be so damaging.

PrivateParkin Sat 13-Jan-18 11:02:13

Try this thread OP. The OP came back a few years later as well with a nice update: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/one_child_families/89525-in-praise-of-only-children-the-great-things-about-having
What annoys/saddens me is that one-child families often have to "justify" the fact that they have one child. I hate it. There are so many different ways to make up a family, none of which is any better or worse than any other and, more importantly, is nobody's business but that family's!
All the lonely/spoilt "only" crap has long-since been debunked and it might be worth mentioning that to the various nosy parkers commenting/asking on when you're having another. angry

Sundaymorning1316 Sat 13-Jan-18 11:03:27

My daughter's best friend (5yo) is a single child and will continue to be. He has wonderful quality time with both his parents and they are able to choose activities that really suit him (rather than trying to juggle the needs of different aged children). His parents also make a special effort to support and nurture his friendships and to give him opportunities to make new friends. He is a very articulate and confident boy, equally at home with adults and children. I hope things work out the way you'd like, but if not, I'm sure your dd will be absolutely fine.

ohreallyohreallyoh Sat 13-Jan-18 11:04:57

Wow. Do people really say weirdos? I am an only child and have 3 children myself. I have benefitted financially without doubt all through life. I am content in my own company, self sufficient, self-assured? Not afraid to be alone, do stuff alone etc.

The downside has been as my parents grow older and the responsibilities that brought and continues to bring. No one to share it with.

FleeBee Sat 13-Jan-18 11:08:05

I'm an only child & I loved it growing up. The only downside is now I'm in my 40s I have an older widowed parent who needs help with illness etc I've no one to share the load or talk about things with.
That said DH has an older sibling & they are not close, don't speak or see each other. There wasn't ever a falling out, they just are not close & both seem ok about it. They do occasionally text but haven't seen each other in over 10 years.
So there's no guarantees in life.
I wouldn't have changed anything about my childhood & I was very close to my parents & always felt wanted & loved.

lostmyfeckingkeysagain Sat 13-Jan-18 11:10:28

Wow. Do people really say weirdos?

I'm afraid so. I have had people claim that they have "never met an only child who wasn't a weirdo" which is ludicrous as you don't go around asking everyone you meet if they've got siblings! angry

ineedaholidaynow Sat 13-Jan-18 11:14:39

DS(13) is an only. He doesn't seem to have suffered in anyway.

He is a very happy child. He likes being in a group but is also happy being by himself. Has always been able to entertain himself. We haven't gone out of our way to ensure he has children to play with but he doesn't seem lonely.

purplebat Sat 13-Jan-18 11:16:11

I am an only child and (I know I have no alternative to compare it to) but I have absolutely LOVED it. I get asked all the time 'awww what was that like growing up' as though they think I will reply will tales of woe, and I always reply 'absolutely fucking fantastic'. I also had a lot of cousins a few years older so I could be immersed in the busy family scene and then go back to peace and quiet. Very close to my mum as a result. Now in my 20s and I don't wish for any different, except when I see my best friend and how close she is to her sister, BUT, I know this isn't the case for all siblings so it isn't enough to make me really and truly wish for any different. Ultimately, don't pay others any mind. Your child will likely grow up more secure in their own company and more confident in terms of initiating convo with others as I have found generally is the case with only children because you are the only one e.g. if you are at the park as a kid and want to play with the other children, you have no one to hide behind, you have to approach others yourself etc. (although I know there are exceptions and this isn't the rule).

comfortandjoy Sat 13-Jan-18 11:16:25

A lot of families seem to have one child nowadays. You have more time to listen to them and answer their questions .You get to spend a lot of special one to one time. There's none of that sibling fighting in the holidays , instead you invite friends around all the time and they play nicely while I get to do my own thing. They get used to making friends easily at the playground or on holiday. You can do more adventurous or adult things as one child is a lot easier to manage than a group of different ages.

purplebat Sat 13-Jan-18 11:17:23

I also echo the benefits that Emily said above

Fundays12 Sat 13-Jan-18 11:18:16

My son was an only child for 4.5 years and we were starting to think he would stay that way to be honest. I actually ended up changing my diet to a much healthier one, loosing weight, cutting out booze and using Angus cactus herb and eventually conceived but I don’t know if these helped or not.

My niece is an only child and she is the most sweetest natured, loving, friendly, polite, intelligent child. She is very sociable as her parents took her to lots of activities because they could afford too, has had fantastic holidays, has had a lot of individual attention from her parents, she is vey confident, well spoken and self assured. She is so loving towards younger children. My son has ASD and she has really helped him at school breaks. She shares so well and is a complete joy to be around.

treeofhearts Sat 13-Jan-18 11:20:41

Do you mean to be so fucking rude? Would be my go to response

Velvetbee Sat 13-Jan-18 11:22:29

You inherit everything.

ssd Sat 13-Jan-18 11:27:14

I'd have loved to have been an only child, I was in many regards. Don't think having siblings is a support as your parents get older, everything was left to me.

I have 2 and my greatest wish is that they get on and support each other when we are gone.

TSSDNCOP Sat 13-Jan-18 11:44:57

I have an only, I have a sibling.

Most people with a shred of intelligence and empathy do not tend to ask. In DS’s class there are 5 onlies and all are IVF babies. It’s not an unreasonable assumption that onlies aren’t always a consequence of choice and whether that’s the reason or not it’s a unspeakably rude in my book to opine, question, intimate or judge family shapes and sizes and anyone that does is a gold plated cock.

Back to your question. DS benefits from a dual parent income with no siblings. He is without question indulged, but he has beautiful manners and is brought up to appreciate everything he’s given and value it. It takes him ages to open presents because they have to be photographed and the giver thanked (if they’re not there) before he can move on.

He has opportunities for expensive pursuits which he loves and looks forward to, but also loves cubs and football which aren’t expensive.

He attends independent school because it’s the one that suits him best, and we can do it. But he worked his socks off to pass the 11+ and his entrance exams to have the choice.

I worry about him being lonely and make sure I have kids to play and take on outings. But DS is very happy playing alone, he’ll disappear into the lego box for hours. We spend a lot of time as a family watching movies, eating out, going on short breaks and lovely holidays. Killer monopoly and Death by Uno are our thing.

I worry about old age and the fact that unlike me he will have to cope to a degree with elderly parents alone. I have made a lot of provision and set plans and deadlines for when DH and I will downsize and move into suitable accommodation to try to remove difficult decisions.

If the choI’ve to have an only isnt your own, it’s initially very hard I think but you’re a family whatever size and shape you take and that’s to be cherished.

Hanuman Sat 13-Jan-18 11:48:58

I am an only and my DH is one of 5. His parents had to have very rigid rules to make sure that they were being fair whereas my parents were able to wing it and tailor their rules just to me.

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