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Can anyone reassure me about DD being an only in later life?

(16 Posts)
TigerMoon Tue 07-Feb-17 10:00:26

I'm an only child as is DH. We both had a happy experience of being an only so I'm not worried about DD being an only as a child. She's 4, happy, outgoing and we have a great time as a family of three.

However, I do worry about how she'll feel when she's an adult - with no siblings, aunties, uncles, cousins, etc. I'm worried she'll be alone in the world once me and DH get old/are gone.

DH says not to worry because she'll have friends instead but I can't help thinking that it's not the same as having family to turn to. Christmas, celebrations, difficult times; I can't help worrying about DD being alone.

Another baby isn't likely as we were older parents when we had DD and a combination of PND, finances, etc. mean another isn't something we're considering. Plus, we're very happy just the three of us at the moment.

Not sure what I'm asking but just wondered if anyone out there could reassure me that not having family doesn't necessarily mean you'll be miserable later in life.

TigerMoon Tue 07-Feb-17 10:14:40

Just to add to above - is there anything I can do to help ensure DD has people around her in later life?

CMOTDibbler Tue 07-Feb-17 10:40:09

I have an only, and although I'm not an only and neither were my parents, I do have some perspective on this as for various reasons I have no contact (beyond christmas cards) with my brother, aunts/uncles, and have never had any relationship with my cousins. Mum now has severe dementia and dad is frail and has the start of dementia - so I support them, but theres no support or marking of occasions from them.
And in fact, I'd rather have no relatives than have to deal with the annoyance of them not doing anything or making snipey remarks about things.
I don't miss not having involved extended family - I've never had it, and dh and I have been through some very tough times as the two of us

Bythebeach Tue 07-Feb-17 12:06:43

This is interesting because I'm an only and I am a happy adult I think. I don't miss siblings I never had. I don't know if I will feel isolated when my parents die but I do not worry about it. I have an amazing husband and good friends.

We did choose to have 3 children because I disliked being an only as a child and my DH loved the busy family-ness of being one of three. But I wasn't unhappy and being an only was much more unusual 30 years ago so all my friends had siblings and more child-focused households than I did so I felt the lack of siblings more acutely than I imagine I would have in the present day!

TigerMoon Tue 07-Feb-17 12:27:49

Thanks for the comments.

It's lovely to hear your perspectives.

It's true what you say Bythebeach, I was the only only child in my primary class in the early 80s but it does seem more common now.

JessiCake Wed 08-Feb-17 10:17:26

Hi OP
I have your same fear and am pretty much in your exact circumstances (older parents, we won't have another, we are very very happy as a 3 etc) except that my DD does have cousins on my side of the family (won't have any on DH's as brother-in-law isn't having any kids)

On the cousins front (I get that this may be unhelpful to you as you don't have cousins for your DD but am also trying to repsond to your question about how to make sure they aren't isolated!) I go out of my way to make sure DD sees her cousins regularly, that we sometimes holiday with them, that we try to do either Xmas or Easter together each year. If she didn't have cousins, I think I would probably try to take holidays (not always, just sometimes!!) with friends, obviously ideally with similar-age kids - I'm thinking of the kind of family friends that you have known for years yourselves and you hope you will always know.

For example, DD has a friend at nursery whose mum I've known for a few years now and hope very much to still be friends with (as our girls get on really well) for years - we talk about taking a holiday together and hopefully will one day get around to doing it - I'm by nature not the kind of person who holidays with others but I can see how much my DD would love it so I would go out of my way to facilitate it. Just trying to forge bonds with people who know her in her childhood IYSWIM, and maybe that kind of relationship will stick throughout life.

I know too many adults with bad silbling relationships to count! Yes, I know some who get on with siblings but I know so, so many adults who have really bad/non-existent relationships with siblings so I tend to think it's magical thinking to assume a sibling would be there for your child no matter what.

I, too, like you, do have those horrible moments where I imagine DD all alone at Xmas when she's older etc. It's horrible to imagine and I can torture myself with it if I allow myself. But I think all we can really do is teach them the importance of friendship and relationships in general. My SIL is an only and has better friends (like sisters) than I have ever had. My MIL is effectively an only and had a best friend for 40 years who was more like a sister.

I think also that onlies are going to be more and more common and hopefully they will all be better at forging familial-type links than our generation were.

x

TigerMoon Wed 08-Feb-17 17:48:26

Hi JessiCake Thank you for taking the time to reply - you're absolutely right, I'm hoping to teach DD about the importance of friendship and hope that she will make life-long friends as she gets older. My best friend has two children of a similar age so I'm hoping that they will be surrogate cousins to DD.

HappyGirl86 Sat 11-Feb-17 21:29:53

Hi! I'm an only child and I'm perfectly happy! Haha! I'm 30 and I have a daughter who is one. I'm not sure if I'll have another child but at the moment I think it may just be her.
I've never felt unhappy being an only child and i admit I often get a bit defensive if people treat us like we are freaks of nature! My dad is actually one of 11 children, he recalls it being horrible being in such a big family and they all used to fall out so much that he ended up having hardly anything to do with most of them. He is 60 now and he has me and my mum. He's perfectly happy with that. There is nothing to say that if you have siblings you are going to get along as adults or even live in the same country!
I've got a few friends who have hardly anything to do with their siblings, yet I know only children who have really wonderful best friends in life. I actually think you often become closer to friends or cousins if you are an only child, well that's from my experience anyway!
I also think you don't need to push your daughter to make other close relationships- she'll do this herself!
I really wouldn't worry if I were you, there are much worse situations to have in life!
By the way, I really hope I don't sound defensive....it's just how I see it!

TigerMoon Sun 12-Feb-17 10:01:33

Hi HappyGirl - love the name! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You didn't sound defensive at all, it's great to hear your experiences.

user1486897010 Sun 12-Feb-17 13:55:44

Hiya. I only just joined mums net. I kinda feel the same as you. I am a only child and don't have siblings or much family. I fallen out with my mum too so don't really have anyone to rely on. I am a single mum and really don't want my dh to end up the same. But i don't know what I can do about it.

user1486897010 Sun 12-Feb-17 13:59:14

Sorry I mean dd not dh. Still new to this

ighinici Wed 15-Feb-17 11:30:01

here's an interesting article about only children not being at all lonelier or more selfish: www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/only-children-lonely-and-selfish.html

Gormless Sun 26-Feb-17 20:57:31

Sorry to come late to the thread but I am an only child of two only children. It never bothered me in the least until my parents started getting elderly and infirm. Then, I admit, it has been hard- very, in fact- but I have had good support from friends. If you can perhaps try and anticipate how your own care might need be later in life (impossible, I know), to take some of the potential burden off your child at that time? But to stress, it's all been completely fine to this point, and this sort of situation could be equally tough even with siblings who may also live away from my parents and/or might not be willing to support with care anyway.

gtyrfctsrght Sun 26-Feb-17 21:04:31

If you're an only why don't you look at how you feel about it?

You know having siblings doesn't mean she won't be alone. I've lost count of the amount of people I've met through work who have siblings who they never see or talk to and are probably worse off because they feel they should have support and don't.

If it's never been there they won't miss it.

I've got a 4yr old who is going to be an only and we've decided to stick to one so we can give him a good chance in life - if we had a second we'd struggle financially so we are. It going to. He'll hopefully have financial help from us with uni and housing etc when he grows up (not telling him this until he need it though!) and he won't have to fight a sibling for that.

squizita Thu 30-Mar-17 15:05:58

My DM is an OC. She has a lot of school and college friends, and married, therefore having a full very full enormous international Catholic cousin convention family of in laws.

All my 'only' mates have partners and kids of their own. One was an only from a single parent household and has a big long term network of friends, partner etc.

hiccupgirl Sun 14-May-17 21:47:03

My DS (7) is an only and I think he will be ok when he's older. He's pretty good at making friends, is popular at school and understands that he needs to compromise (as much as any 7 yr old does!). I feel I'm doing all I can to make sure he won't be alone when we're here with him anymore.

He does have 4 cousins - 2 much older and 2 closer to him though he is the baby of the families. We meet up with the closer ones as much as possible and I talk about them lots so hopefully he will be close to them when he's older.

My dad and my nan (his mum) are/were both only children which was very uncommon then. So my dad has no close family now although my nan did have close cousins when she was growing up. My dad has never said he was/is unhappy about this and he has groups of friends he sees regularly as well as his children (I'm one of 3).

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