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Why do you think that so many people just don't consider it an option to have only one child?

(181 Posts)
Gunnerbean Mon 29-Dec-08 00:58:03

Is it because of social pressure to conform to the "2.4 children" model?

Is it because of pressure from family?

Is it because people don't think that a family with just one child makes a "proper" family and you need more than one to have and enjoy the full "family expereince"?

Is it because people think that they are doing thier first child some awful disservice if they don't give them a sibling or siblings?

Is it because people always want to try to have one child of either sex and to do that you have to have more than just one?

Maybe it's just that people are genetically programmed to have more than one to perpetuate the species?

These days, having just one child makes sense on so many levels. Particularly financially as bringing up children has become such a huge fiancial responsibily expense and so many people want to carry on working to maintain a lifestyle and standard of living for thier family too.

It seems to me that lots of people would like to stop at just one child but that something stops them and it just got me thinking what that is...?

moomyn Mon 29-Dec-08 01:57:53

I chose to have one child only so i could devote my time and finances to one child.as the eldest of 5 myself money was always tight and i often felt ignored and not special. i coulnt imagine loving another child as much as my first

shubiedoo Mon 29-Dec-08 02:09:27

Well, single child families are more and more common because of finances and people having children later in life.
I grew up as one of four and couldn't imagine not having my sister (though I don't get on with my brothers, that's a long story...)
As difficult as it was having ds1, the usual huge shock, difficult birth, he didn't sleep etc., I never thought I would stop at just one, and we're now expecting #3!
Everyone has their own reasons for the type of family they want, whether it's one child or six...

NCBirdy Mon 29-Dec-08 02:20:12

I only know one person who only wanted one child and they only have one child.

I am not sure that anyone who really only wants one child would have more because of any of those reasons, perhaps it is more that they feel society wants then to have one so they feel they have to justify the decision to have more?

meandjoe Mon 29-Dec-08 07:11:13

i feel that family/ society expects us to have another. i only want one, although i do sometimes look at newborn babies and think 'awwwww, wouldn't it be nice to have another', then reality kicks in and i think 'nah, it would be bloody awful!'. i think society has a way of looking at only children with pitty as if they are somehow missing out on something. i think not enough people cosider all the perks of only having one! i must admit that sometimes i do worry if ds will be happier with a sibling at some point but i guess he won't miss what he's never had.

seeker Mon 29-Dec-08 07:26:02

I have 2. I intended to have one - but after 4 years with an only child, I realized that I felt quite strongly (to my surprise) that I wanted another. I felt that our family dynamic was unbalanced - we were too focused on dd. We were very lucky (I was a very old first time mother) to be able to have another one and it felt right from the beginning. The first time dd said "Us" and I realized she meant her and her brother rather than her an me and dp was wonderful!

MrsMattie Mon 29-Dec-08 07:55:04

I think most people who have more than one child do so because they genuinely want to, not because of any outside pressures.

Lockets Mon 29-Dec-08 08:02:49

Message withdrawn

belgo Mon 29-Dec-08 08:12:01

It's for none of your reasons. I have three children purely because I wanted to have three children- I would have more but practicalities and finances are stopping me.

Flihgtattendant Mon 29-Dec-08 08:16:24

I suppose growing up with a sister taught me the value of an ally - despite not getting on brilliantly most of the time - I really do appreciate not being the only one.

It takes my parents' focus off me, which I am grateful for, and makes me feel I have a right to be a real person in my own right rather than just their child iyswim. (because there are two of us to share our own growing up and back each other when the olds get a bit heavy!)

Also ds1 was terribly lonely when he was little. I'd have given him a sibling sooner if I'd been allowed, but his dad went off and I had to wait to meet someone else. Mind you when I did he wasn't very nice after all and I've ended up with a big age gap and not much support apart from my parents.

I guess different people would have found other families to socialise with so their child wasn't lonely. But I am not much good at that. I prefer us to have built in company if that makes any sense...it makes us all happier.

Flihgtattendant Mon 29-Dec-08 08:17:46

Also I was incredibly broody!

my body wanted another child, it still won't shut up, I think it has plans for another 5 or so actually. grin

Fillyjonk Mon 29-Dec-08 08:17:58

I don't think many people have more than one child for social reasons.

I always wanted more than one child for a lot of reasons, none of them on the list.

Since you asked, here are some.

BIG DISCLAIMER: these are specific to me and my family,I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with anyone else having an only.

I think it is good for my children to grow up in a family where they are not the centre of attention. Give and take and sharing and all that. I have several lovely adult friends who are onlies, BUT I am afraid that most of the really self centred, difficult, immature adults I know are onlies. The sort who, aged 35, throw a strop at the works Christmas party because someone has eaten all the green triangle Quality Streets, that kind of thing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am sure that it is more than possible to bring up onlies to avoid that-as I say I do have friends who are onlies who are nothing like that-BUT I am not sure I could do it, the investment of time and concentration for me would be too great. I think I can be a bit precious with my kids as it is and I would quite possibly end up with a 35 yo who still believed all the green triangles belonged to them.

More than that though, depsite being shattered 24/7, I love the buzz and energy in a houseful of kids all bouncing off each other. I love that we can play board games for lots of people. I love that they learn a huge amount by firing ideas off each other (they are homeschooled). I love the relationship between my kids-they really look out for each other. I love that they have playmates of the same age but more, that they really do have to learn to get on with their siblings because they are going to be around for the forseable future.

I do invest a lot of time into making sure that my kids have the tools/techniques to get along, but I do then largely leave them to it and it is wonderful to watch a sibling relationship develop.

Um...so for that reason really grin

ProfYaffle Mon 29-Dec-08 08:17:59

I have 2 children because I knew I didn't want one but 3 looked like hard work!

I'm an only child so don't feel your first 3 reasons apply to me. Growing up, my family felt very adult heavy to me, I wanted a household which was more child centred.

Flihgtattendant Mon 29-Dec-08 08:18:53

I wonder how many people don't experience that awful need to have another baby, or if they do experience it, and have decided not to have another child, how they cope with it? i was a basket case by the time I finally got pg again. I was testing every month, hoping for accidents, frightening really!

ProfYaffle Mon 29-Dec-08 08:19:18

Umm, can I just point out that I have never thrown a stop about Quality Street? Ta. smile wink

Flihgtattendant Mon 29-Dec-08 08:20:58

Lol. Only because you prefer Roses innit wink

Fillyjonk Mon 29-Dec-08 08:21:54

oh I am sure you haven't profyaffle. I can't imagine a woodpecker bookend would ever behave so childishly.

I think the majority of onlies grow up socially lovely, BUT I think my parenting style PLUS an only could be a bit of a self-indulgent combination.

I suspect most parents are more no nonsense than me so this doesn't apply.

ProfYaffle Mon 29-Dec-08 08:22:03

Oh yes, Roses different matter altogether <twitch>

Fillyjonk Mon 29-Dec-08 08:22:44

oh and isn't the average family size about 1.7?

ProfYaffle Mon 29-Dec-08 08:25:50

Actually Filly, I agree about the sibling relationship being so much more special than ordinary friendships. Watching my daughers develop a realtionship is amazing, it's my only first hand experience of how siblings are together. tbh it makes me a bit sad and I feel I missed out.

Guitargirl Mon 29-Dec-08 08:43:55

We are expecting a second and not for any of the reasons you mentioned. I am an only child and would not like DD to grow up an only.

I will admit to being partial to the Maltesers from Celebrations. You're welcome to the Snickers - see, I am capable of sharing...wink

MrsMattie Mon 29-Dec-08 09:10:23

I wasn't sure I would have any more children after my first child was born (difficult birth, PND etc). but when DS was about 2 yrs old I got hit with the same 'broodiness' as first time round ('broody' - such a ridiculous word for such a powerful instinct). I just absolutely HAD to have another baby. I think this happens to an awful lot of people.

lljkk Mon 29-Dec-08 09:25:58

Most the people I know or meet with onlies didn't want an Only. They wanted at least two, but it didn't work out that way (Infertility, birth trauma, relationship breakdown, etc.). Some people say that having one was so disruptive to their lives they don't dare chance having another and yet more upheaval. Very rarely someone says something like "I don't think I could give as much to two as I can to one".

Which are fair enough reasons. There's nothing wrong with having just one, but OP kind of upset me because it implied that many people were having more than one for 'wrong' reasons.

DontCallMeBaby Mon 29-Dec-08 10:35:59

I can only think of one person I know with one child who really set out to have one child. Others - set out to have one, but on the grounds of being over 40 rather than really not wanting two; relationship breadown; secondary infertility; recurrent miscarriages. And me - set out of have two, but had one, found it all very very hard work and have never been struck by the desire to have another.

As far as I know, everyone I know who has more than one child* really WANTED the second (third, so on), and it was the stopping that was for practical and social reasons, not the carrying on (ie those with two might have had three if it weren't for those reasons).

* well, maybe except my mate who had all three completely by accident, but even she's happy enough

beanieb Mon 29-Dec-08 10:42:13

I think it's entirely up to the individual what they choose to do. It's those bastards who insist on having twins that go and mess everything up wink

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