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To ask about your ‘only child’

(99 Posts)
Thatsnotmyotter Mon 04-Mar-19 18:51:15

DS is only 6 months and I’m in my mid-20s so in all likelihood we have a considerable amount of time to decide if adding to the family is right for us but at the moment, I just can’t see myself wanting to.

I just wondered what it’s like to just have one child. Is it harder work because you constantly have to entertain them? Are only children really more spoiled or selfish? Do only children grow up being weirdly grown up due to lack of younger company?

Sleephead1 Mon 04-Mar-19 19:02:13

I'm a only child and will probably only have my son. I wasn't lonley growing up at all but had cousins and friends to socialise with. To be honest I've always liked my own space and don't mind doing things on my own. My parents made a effort to have play dates ECT I think maybe more than if I had a sibling. I don't think I'm weird but not sure how you know ? but I've been told I'm Independant and I also like just doing things my way and m not great at accepting help at home not at work ( I don't know if this is a personality thing or only child thing) I had a lovley childhood the only thing that ever worries me a bit is if anything happened to my parents ( I think having a sibling would be very supportive at that time ) I do know a friend really wanted her child to have a sibling as she was a only child she says she got lonley but it's not something I ever experienced. Hope that helps

Governoress86 Mon 04-Mar-19 19:04:14

Me and my DP only have one and she will be 9 this week. We decided that we were only having one at the time as I had a bad pregnancy and our DD was very prem and very poorly and for the the first couple of years had a lot of health issues and we felt having another would just make things ten times harder and we just concerntrated on DD. However now she is older I'm starting to get broody again, and I would love another one. I'm now nearly 33 and my DM is saying I'm too old for a baby now.

We don't find it hard with just one, she is spoilt but in a good way that if we say no to something she doesn't throw a tantrum and she understands that she cannot get everything she wants. She also knows that if she is naughty she will have her privileges removed.

My DD does activities after school and has plenty of friends so it is not a problem to keep her entertained

Mari50 Mon 04-Mar-19 19:07:49

My dd(10) is an only child. She also has no cousins. She’s still pissed at me for the fact she’s an only child (secondary infertility so I think this is massively unfair)
She’s not precocious but she is spoilt, although no more so than her friends who have siblings. She’s the only one in her class without a phone so I don’t indulge her every whim.
I’ve been able to take her on some pretty amazing holidays and she’s probably going to go to private school.
I would have loved another child, although once I got to a 5 year gap I stopped trying as I felt the gap was too big and would change the family dynamic.
We’ve made a nice life for ourselves but given the choice i’d not have stopped at one.

Needcoffeeimmediatley Mon 04-Mar-19 19:11:35

I have one child (7) had him when I was 22 and immediately couldn't see myself having any more. I'm 30 next month and pretty certain that's 'it' for me.
I do feel guilty that he doesn't have any siblings to play with but he doesn't seem to care.
It can be exhausting being the playmate but equally my son is happy to play on his own when I need to get stuff done.

Do whatever you feel is right for your family, and don't be pressured by people telling you "they'll be spoilt", "it's unfair" etc.

wishingforalotterywin Mon 04-Mar-19 19:27:41

Comparing myself and friends yes you do have to be playmate but that's offset by not having to deal with squabbling

You have to make effort with playdates and school holiday time though so they have plenty of unstructured play with other kids

It is easier with one to say yes to things (eg yes you can have an ice cream in the park) compared with others who have to pay for three or four kids so think you have to make efforts to not give them everything they want as soon as they want it

EthelFechan Mon 04-Mar-19 19:29:45

Only children are no different to children with siblings. They all need to be fed, watered, exercised and cherished.

greatbigwho Mon 04-Mar-19 19:34:04

My only isn't spoilt or selfish in the slightest - we can indulge her more than if we had two or more, but we don't go overboard at all, and we definitely say no more than yes.

It depends how you bring them up. Mine is kind, thoughtful, shares without a second thought and is more than capable of entertaining herself.

Thinkinghappythoughts Mon 04-Mar-19 19:37:43

We have only one. She is 7 and gorgeous. We have a lovely happy family unit. I think the lack of siblings mean that our attention is not split and we can focus on giving her the attention that is needed. I have more siblings and we were born fairly close together. My mum remarked that when we were younger she just let us get away with with stuff (or just ignored from my memory) as they were always busy with the others.

However she does miss not having other children to play with. And I would have loved a second, but couldn't due to infertility.

AgentJohnson Mon 04-Mar-19 19:37:52

DD would happily play in her room with her crew of stuffed animals but she is also very social. She always wanted a sibling but her best friend’s little brother has pretty much moved that notion to the ‘what the hell was I thinking’ scrap heap.

We are our little team of two and I can not imagine diving my time amongst other children.

ValleyoftheHorses Mon 04-Mar-19 19:39:02

s it harder work because you constantly have to entertain them?

Sometimes but they learn to play by themselves. I’m an only child of an only child and have an only - DS who is 7 in June. I played lots on imagination games and DS does the same.

Are only children really more spoiled or selfish?
No. Some of the most spoiled and horrible children I have met have siblings. Most only children are very concerned that they get on with people.

Do only children grow up being weirdly grown up due to lack of younger company?
Maybe a bit. DS teacher says he’s mature in some ways and young in others. He’s happy in the company of his peers though.

Being an only child isn’t a big deal. It does affect you in the same way as being the eldest/ youngest/ middle affects you but it’s fine.
Have another if you want, if you don’t want to then don’t. Do it for yourself and your partner, do not do it for a sibling only. Sibling relationships can be great or can be neither here nor there. DH has a sister we see once a year- we have friends we see much more often!

Piglet89 Mon 04-Mar-19 19:40:23

I am an only child and so is my father. I think I am very independent and like to work things out for myself, which can sometimes be a disadvantage! My husband says I am quite single-minded and am not easily persuaded to take a different course of action from the one upon which I have decided!

I wasn’t lonely growing up because my parents were very generous with their house and I always had wee pals from my street round to play. I had a really happy childhood and haven’t missed siblings as I don’t know any different. Like a PP said, I do worry about what will happen to my parents when they get really old and infirm, though. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it and my husband will support me too, I hope.

Deadbudgie Mon 04-Mar-19 19:41:08

Op I have an only child through secondary infertility. There are several only children in his class. Only children are as individual as any other child and the parenting will impact on the child.

What I can say is research has shown time and time again that the preconceived notions about only children being spoiled, lonely, socially awkward etc are far from the truth. Yes you will find examples of only children with these traits but you will also find children with siblings who are like this too.

I know quite a few only children and they are all quite out going socially, good at sharing and empathetic as they know they can’t rely on siblings so male more of an effort to make friends. They are also very good at entertaining themselves and don’t seem to conform to peer pressure as much as they are quite happy with their own company. Realise this is just my experience of only children I know

But be prepared for every Tom dick and Harry to have an opinion on only having one, very rarely positive. But I often think it’s their jealousy of all the things you can do with one child, you can do more things both time wise and economically with one child. You aren’t as tired and I know I am a more present and energetic mother with one than I would have been with more.

Doghorsechicken Mon 04-Mar-19 19:44:05

My DS is 9 months and I only want one so following with interest..
I love just having DS and couldn’t imagine having another I think I’d find it stressful and less rewarding to have more. I think that’s when it would become a daily grind of packed lunches and after school activities/ being a mum taxi to several children. It really does not appeal. Plus I’m a bit of an eco warrior so our overpopulated planet also plays on my mind.
The only reason I doubt having an only is because other people are aghast when you tell them that you only want one.

CostanzaG Mon 04-Mar-19 19:44:38

My DS is an only child. He's 4 and so independent and is great at entertaining himself. He's been in nursery since 10 months and we socialise with other families so he's learnt to play well with others

DareDevil223 Mon 04-Mar-19 19:46:13

I have one DS who's 24. He wasn't hard work at all as he was happy to play independently and also you're not constantly breaking up sibling fights. I was in my mid 20s when i had him, it was much easier to go back to full-time work with one child and my career hasn't suffered at all.

DS is a total joy and always was, we hare very close and he is the total opposite of spoilt and selfish. One child worked just great for me and I have no regrets.

Thatsnotmyotter Mon 04-Mar-19 19:46:39

The only reason I doubt having an only is because other people are aghast when you tell them that you only want one. This!

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Mon 04-Mar-19 19:48:57

I've got an only who is very sweet and kind, not spoiled or selfish at all. I suppose he is spoiled in that we get do to a lot more for/with him than if we had 2 or more, but he doesn't have a spoiled attitude.

I think he can be lonely sometimes, and I do feel like we need to put a bit of effort in e.g. inviting friends on days out etc. so he's got a bit of company, and sometimes arranging holidays with friends so there are other children around for him to play with (he's not the best at going off and making friends with kids he doesn't know on holiday).

It wasn't our choice to have one, and for all it's challenges, there are upsides from a financial point of view. Extra-curricular activities are easily affordable, we don't need a bigger car, we can afford to stay in a really nice area with great schools without feeling cramped etc. And we can afford better/more frequent holidays.

LondonJax Mon 04-Mar-19 19:49:21

DS is an only (I had him in my 40s so very little chance of another).

He doesn't seem overly worried about being an only. I remember him coming home from a friend's house a few years ago and saying something like 'it's so nice to have peace and quiet. X and X are always fighting!'.

Now he's 11 he does sometimes get bored but he's at an age when he can phone a friend and invite them over. It's rare for us to say no as we know he needs that company.

He's probably one of the least spoilt kids I know. He is the only one of his friends with a hand me down phone (and a very old one at that) which he has just in case he needs to get in touch now he's travelling for school.

It's easy with an only child. We take him on holiday easily - there's only him to worry about so once he was out of nappies that was it, no hauling a toddler and a baby around. If he or we want to go to the cinema we can just go. We don't have to worry that it's a 12A and there's a younger sibling or that it's too babyish for DS.

I was one of three kids. My DSis's aren't talking to each other at the moment and haven't for 18 months. I was the main carer for my mum (who's now in a home) and barely saw one of my sisters (the cause of the rift as the other sister lost her cool one day and things were said). My friend, who is an only child, has the busiest social life of anyone I know. She seems able to make friends and keep them very easily and we, her other friends, are convinced it's because she had to learn to at a young age.

Hiddenaspie1973 Mon 04-Mar-19 19:49:31

It is exhausting as I have to be there for her. I love her though she's always on me.
She needs me alot more closely since she started high school. I think she finds navigating social stuff very challenging.
But me and her dad are socially reserved so it's hardly surprising.
She's not spoiled but didnt get cousins until she was 9 so bit late. I'm not close to my sister anyway, so wouldn't make any difference.

TeacupDrama Mon 04-Mar-19 19:54:18

my DD is 9 she is an only child I was 41 when she was born so though a sibling would have been nice it didn't happen and by the time she was 3 we knew she would definitely be an only child, she is content has lots of friends though we live rurally so have to be a taxi ( we would have to do this if she had a sibling too) I am the eldest of 4 and get on well with my sisters

she is quite independent and has always been used to adult company, she probably gets more being an only child as the income would be the same with 2 kids. I do not buy her everything she wants though she has the spare bedroom as a playroom

try to encourage them to entertain themselves, you can't be a 24/7 entertainment manager, I think being content in your own company for short periods is a really useful life skill for anyone, just as being able to socialise is important, she has activities 3 days a week and we often go somewhere on Saturdays

MintyCedric Mon 04-Mar-19 19:57:55

I am an only child and have just one, 14yo daughter.

She is amazing, privileged in a way she wouldn't be if she had siblings, purely because the money would have had to stretch further, but not spoilt.

We have a very close relationship, and I can honestly say she is one of my very favourite people. As far as I can tell being an only child has had no impact on her.

The only things that have been a bit of ball ache are trips to the park and holidays when she was small where you kind of have to be their companion a bit more than if there were siblings, but I think that also depends on the child. She was just not one for wandering off and befriending other kids, but her best mate was the same and she has a younger brother.

From my POV I have never minded being an only child. I like my own space, possibly a bit too much tbh and never had any problems occupying myself.

As an adult it has hit me more. My dad broke his back a couple of months ago and having to manage his medical needs, support mum, run a home and parent my DD single handed whilst working full time has been fucking horrendous, and I'm currently off work due to stress.

At one point a chap was admitted in the bed opposite my dad. He had 2 daughters and 2 sons all tag teaming looking after him and supporting his wife. One at least one occasion I left the ward in tears seeing the difference having siblings can make. But equally I know plenty of people whose siblings have been worse then useless when the chips are down.

It really is a case of what feels right for you as you just can't predict how having siblings (or not) will pan out.

Amibeingnaive Mon 04-Mar-19 19:57:55

I'm not an only child, but my brothers are much older (16 and 17 when I arrived), so I was sort of an only in the sense that I grew up alone.

I was very lonely at times. I remember being given board games at Christmas and thinking 'well, great, who's going to play this with me?' As a result, it was very important DS had a sibling - DD arrived 18m later and they are so close. They get on famously about 95% of the time and they really play. Tons of role play all the time, which is nice as they're 9 and 7 now. Left to his own devices I think DS wouldn't look up from a screen but DD won't be ignored 😄

In terms of how I am as a person - I'm not selfish, but I do need my own space and a fair bit of alone time. DH can find this odd, having shared a room with his brother until he left for uni. All in all, I think I've turned out ok. I do remember feeling very envious of my best friend who shared a small room with her two older sisters though. I suspect she might have envied me!

But that's just my perspective and not even that valid as I do have brothers - they just weren't around.

ideasofmarch Mon 04-Mar-19 20:01:08

Children will only become spoiled if they are indulged too much; and selfish if they are allowed to be. And that isn't their fault.

Hughes12345 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:02:12

I’ve got an only DS who’s 10. He’s ace, very well grounded, balanced,happy,easy going, out going. He doesn’t follow any of the stereotypes. I’m dead proud of him.

I made a huge effort with play dates when he was a toddler and then once he got to school age I encouraged inviting kids to tea etc. He’s got a nice group of friends now who I can ‘borrow’ for days out or that come around here. Equally he’s happy if it’s just the 3 of us and will often say no if I ask him if he wants to invite a friend to join us.

You’ve got to be prepared to join in though. We tag team on holiday (especially when he was little). I’ve become far more active because of it.

When he was 2/3 people just couldn’t get their head around us stopping at 1 and it gave me major wobbles but none of my worries have come come true.

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