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To love being an only child?

(129 Posts)
NotTheLemonGumDrops Mon 18-May-20 12:14:17

I see so many posts on here where people feel guilty that they can't 'give' their child a sibling.

I just wanted to say that I am really happy as the only child. I had a really good childhood and I don't think it affected me at all, nor has it affected me as an adult.

Are there any other only children on here that were /are perfectly happy not to have siblings and don't understand why it's seen as so awful?

I'm not in any way suggesting it's better, but I don't really understand why it's seen as worse than or having multiple brothers/sisters or something for people to feel guilty about. It has never bothered me at all.

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SeaMonkey20 Mon 18-May-20 12:27:42

I currently have an only child (5 yo) and we are ttc our second but it's not going well and age is not on our side.

The thing that crushes my heart is my child saying they're lonely. I had a lonely childhood and was essentially brought up as an only child as had a much older sibling.

As such, we do as much as we possibly can to ensure they have a busy and varied life with lots of time with friends/family, although not at the moment obviously!

OP do you ever remember feeling lonely or saying you were as a child? What was your family set up like? Did you have lots of cousins/friends to fill the gap? Were you happy with your own company? Mine isn't, they crave constant interaction with others which can be very draining at times!

AdobeWanKenobi Mon 18-May-20 12:31:57

Personally, as a kid it was fine. As an adult, not so much.

I took on the care of both parents with no siblings to help, nursing my Father through cancer at home until he died and then needing to be there for my Mum who'd never known a life without him. All this whilst trying to juggle a degree and a family of my own.

When Mum died there was nobody left for me. Yes, a few cousins, but nobody there to say to 'Hey, do you remember when I was a kid and we went to XYZ?"

As an adult, it's quite a lonely existance. Some people may love that, personally I'd have love to have had a sibling here to support me now.

ErickBroch Mon 18-May-20 12:33:10

I was an only child until I was a teenager, so most of my childhood. I was honestly always happy and never wished for siblings. I had school friends, went to a childminder, and liked playing on my own with dolls and toys etc. I think I turned out ok grin

AravisTarkheena Mon 18-May-20 12:37:56

I always pop up on only-child-guilt threads to say that I was/am a happy only child. I was/am happy in my own company and independent- I didn’t have a lot of interactions with cousins etc but I obv went to nursery and school and interacted with kids there.
I’m not at the aging already stage yet but my mums experience suggest having a sibling is no guarantee you actually get any help with that.

There was a thread last week about people getting on with siblings that I felt could be bookmarked for Parents who feel bad about not having more than one child- it tallied with my experience of my gross as a three way split between - I love my siblings, I hate my siblings and I am indifferent to my siblings.

AravisTarkheena Mon 18-May-20 12:38:19

*ageing parents!

Mucklowe Mon 18-May-20 12:38:26

I hated it. I would have loved siblings, and would have had a better childhood if I'd had them.

I will do everything in my power to give my DD at least one sibling, and will genuinely feel bad if I can't. I want her to have a different upbringing to me.

SorryImNotCreative Mon 18-May-20 12:38:52

I’m an only child. I vaguely remember feeling a bit jealous of my friends when I was younger, as I was one of two only children in my class at school.

However, I like being an only child as an adult. I’m aware that people may say that “I’ll have the responsibility of looking after my parents alone” but I’ve seen plenty of examples of useless siblings, plus I don’t have contact with my dad. My mum has looked after my grandparents (with my help now that I’m older) as her own brother can’t be arsed. It’s the same as when people say they want their DC to look after them when they’re old - there’s no guarantee of happy family relationships years down the line.

DH and I are considering only having one child, and I think it’s probably becoming a bit more common now too. DH was one of three, and has said that after his childhood experiences, he wouldn’t want a big family.

AravisTarkheena Mon 18-May-20 12:39:13

*experience of my friends! Sorry!

SorryImNotCreative Mon 18-May-20 12:40:14

Also, similar to Aravis, I also wasn’t close to cousins etc. I’m now a very independent adult and I love my own company! Probably a bit too much grin

terribletwosandthrees Mon 18-May-20 12:41:27

I was very happy as an only child when I was younger and it was only once I reached my late 40s that it became a problem. Since then I have had to support one parent when the other died and now have a sick, elderly mother and no one to share that burden with. I realise that if I had had siblings we may not have got on but I would never recommend being an only child due to the situation I'm in now.

AravisTarkheena Mon 18-May-20 12:42:12

also, financially I have definitely done well out of me and my cousin being only children. Sounds mercenary maybe, but it’s noticeable as an adult.

Frangible Mon 18-May-20 12:43:04

I would adore to have been an only child on the perfectly good grounds that my parents simply didn't have enough resources, financial, psychological, time, space etc -- for the four children they had. Without being anything that would have drawn the attention of social services, it was a disastrous childhood overcrowded, not enough individual attention, space, care etc and unsurprisingly, as adults none of us siblings are close, and three of the four are childfree by choice. I have one child by choice.

Willowmartha1 Mon 18-May-20 12:43:26

I feel dreadfully guilty that my dd doesn't have any siblings, I'm a single mum and we are quite isolated. She does have big cousins so hopefully they will be there for her when she is older.

Redleathertrousers Mon 18-May-20 12:44:24

Happy only here. Had lots of friends and cousins to bounce off. Love my own company now as an adult.

NeutralJanet Mon 18-May-20 12:46:43

Having more than one child doesn't guarantee anything in terms of eventually looking after elderly parents etc. DH was one of three, his sister died in childhood and his brother in adulthood in a car accident, he's the only one left now. I live locally to my parents, my brother lives on the other side of the country and I can't see him being much use in terms of practical help.

loutypips Mon 18-May-20 12:48:02

I love being an only child. When I was a child I had loads of cousins and friends and was never lonely.
My parents could afford far more with one, so I had a better upbringing. Certainly wasn't spoilt, I never did get the Mr Frosty maker that I wanted. I only have one too, she has a step-sister though and lots of cousins the same age so she's fine.

CovidicusRex Mon 18-May-20 12:48:43

I had a great childhood but as my parents got older I often wished that I had someone to share the hardships with. It’s easy not sharing all the good things but it can feel very lonely when you have to go through the hard stuff alone.

Tandoorimixedgrill Mon 18-May-20 12:48:49

I didn’t like it as a child and hate it even more as an adult.

Having had to nurse two (separated) parents through cancer and then funerals etc it was awful. With no extended family I’m very much alone, no one to share memories of them with now that they are no longer around.
I have a fantastic husband and kids but not having any other family is very tough.

Maria53 Mon 18-May-20 12:49:53

I have generally been very happy as an only child.

But I've felt differently about it over the last couple of years. My parents are ageing and it is a different story when you are the only person to help put with everything. It is a lot of pressure for one person

AravisTarkheena Mon 18-May-20 12:50:16

I think it’s probably more likely for only children to say they would have wanted a brother or sister Than those with siblings to say they wish they were an only child. Because once you have siblings it’s harder to disown them, admit that you don’t like them. I really don’t think only/not only is the deciding factor in childhood happiness or personality. No need for guilt either way! It’s just circumstances.

NotTheLemonGumDrops Mon 18-May-20 12:51:17

I do enjoy my own company, whether that's because I was an only child or because of my personality and I'd have been that way whether I had siblings or not is another question I guess.

But I've honestly never been bothered. I don't recall every telling my parents I was lonely (of course I'd have to ask them to be sure!) But from seeing my step kids and the way they are with their siblings, I reckon they'd probably have said they'd prefer to have been only children! They argue and fight so much, it's certainly not all happy, playing games together and sunshine. A lot of the time they ask to come to ours separately so they can spend time without the other!

My mum told me once that they asked me as a child what I'd say if they told me I was having a brother or sister and apparently I cried for most of the day 😂

As it turned out my parents couldn't have anymore children due to fertility issues which I didn't know about at the time obviously.

I've never felt I missed out though. Although granted I'm not at the stage of having to care for elderly parents yet although as others have said, having siblings is no guarantee that they will help out. My grandma did all of the care for her mother before she died, her two brothers did nothing, one didn't even attend the funeral.

OP’s posts: |
loutypips Mon 18-May-20 12:51:33

Also, as I am quite happy in my own company, lockdown really hasn't bothered me. I am usually more of an extrovert, and am looking forward to seeing friends again, but can just as easily stay in and watch Netflix!

Newchapter2020 Mon 18-May-20 12:52:40

I'm an only child and I hated it. Looking back it wasn't necessarily because I didn't have a sibling, but it was because I had a bad upbringing, and I wanted someone else there with me. I wanted someone, whether it was a sibling or a step dad. I'm now ttc and I'm looking forward to just having one child after having looked after familys of more than 2 children, I know one is the number for me .

NotTheLemonGumDrops Mon 18-May-20 12:54:20

I'd have hated for my parents to feel guilty because they couldn't give me a brother or sister though. I really would have. My childhood was not negatively impacted because they were unable to have more children. It was very good, loving and fun. I have really fond memories, even if I had said once or twice to my parents that I was lonely, I certainly don't remember spending my childhood lonely and isolated.

OP’s posts: |

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