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I can,t take having an only child I hate it

(63 Posts)
mindscape Wed 02-Sep-09 16:26:14

I don,t really know why I feel like this now and how it came to this.
I have a ds who is an only and he is 8 years old.
About 2 years ago I started to feel that ds should have had company around him in the way of a sibling however it turned out to be too late for me as I was by then it seems suffering from infertility problems.
I may have tried sooner for another dc but dp was not keen on another dc anyway so stupid me didin,t push it as I should have.
Now just over two years later I have realised that I should never have let ds be an only like this.
I am getting intensely jealous and feel truly awful when I see other children playing with siblings and sharing family days out.
My ds is not outgoing and can be shy he has no cousins of his age to play with and basically no friends.
He has some friends at school but they are just people he sees at school.
I am shy and ds's dad is a introvert type and I am sure that we are not doing ds any favours but I can,t seem to change and give ds a good social life.
I have tried forging relationships in the way of playdates for ds and he has had a fair few but I have given up of late as its all been one sided and nobody ever takes an interest in inviting ds.
My ds has difficulty going with the flow on the odd occasions that he has played with nieghbourhood children and they have just turned against him and now nobody ever calls for him.
I hate the fact that he doesn,t have a brother, sister, to help him along can,t help but feel that he would have been more outgoing with a brother or sisiter to do stuff with.
I just don,t know how I should be parenting an only and I am finding it very intense and awkward.
Ds has spent most of the time on his own this holiday.
I have tried to encourage him inot friendships with nieghbourhood children but he soon goes off them and even if he does suddenly decide that he wouldn,t mind playing with them again he is too shy to call for them.
I just don,t know what is right by him any more.
He has been in beavers only to give it up, and generally he can be extremely awkward about joining anything as I think it worries him meeting new people but he is generally okay once he has been once but the getting him there is a nightmare.
I know that he needs toughening up and to not be so much of a whiner but how do I do it.
At the moment I just feel like throwing him into every club going to try and stop him from turning out like me.
I suppose the bottom line is that he wouldn,t have been like this if he had not of been an only.
I know that I need to sort out my own shyness on this one but I just don,t seem to have it in me.
His dad never joins in any social events however he has no desire to be any different but I don,t want to be like it for the sake of my ds.
I wish that I could get a network of friends with onlies going ro help me feel better as I feel so lonely about this.
I feel so useless and reading on here about other one parnet familes has made me realise that at least others have got it all sussed with their only.
help me please I am getting more and more depressed.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 16:32:31

That's a very sad post. Your reasons for feeling sad for having an only child are intrinsically selfless ones.

I think you probably need to work on you and DS being sociable together. You are quite right to be unhappy about your DS having spent most of the summer holiday on his own and also quite right to think of "throwing him into every club going" - you need to get him (and you) out and about.

Have you thought about getting membership of a nice family health/sports club? That can be a low key way of joining in with other people with low commitment.

TotalChaos Wed 02-Sep-09 16:36:07

"At the moment I just feel like throwing him into every club going to try and stop him from turning out like me.". This sentence is leaping out at me from your post. Sort out your self-esteem and everything else will seem so much more bearable. If he's not lonely, and is happy at school then I'ld let him be, prod him to do the odd activity if you think he'd enjoy it.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 16:39:27

Would you be able to afford a residential summer camp for him next summer?

mindscape Wed 02-Sep-09 16:46:03

Yes I know Bonsoir I have suffered from shyness all of my life and its killing me.

I think that my mom probably bought all of my feelings to the surface today, we have a social event planned on Saturday a 21st party where it won,t just be close family attneding I hate these socail events and try to avoid them.
I am too shy to talk to anyone and usually end up sitting on my chair all night I am pretty sure that ds has picked up on it the times he has gone with mem to stuff like this.
Ds is saying he doesn,t want to go and he said that he will not play with any children that are there. My mom told me that I shouldn,t let ds be like his dad and not be sociable.
But the problem is me as well so I am going to drag ds and myself along and try and interact a bit more.

Buda Wed 02-Sep-09 16:46:37

I have an 8 year old DS too and he is also an only. I had never planned on only one child but that is what happened and I am too old now for any more.

DS has also spent most of the summer on his own. He had a couple of playdates with friends from school. But you know he was ok with that. He enjoyed playing on the computer or playstation or trampoline and we went to a few movies etc.

My DS is fairly sociable generally though. Has friends at school etc.

Does he seem unhappy or do you just think he is? Does he have any interests? My DS loves football so goes to a football club. Maybe Beavers just wasn't right for him.

And you know siblings are not necessarily close. I have 3 sisters, 2 of whom are close in age but even though they have children of a similar age and live very close to each other they don't actually get on. They see each other because of family things but would never socialise with each other. And it was like that when they were children too.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 16:48:40

Oh 21st type family parties are awful, even for reasonable sociable souls like me smile. If you are shy, they must be truly frightful.

Like I say, you do need to start getting out and about with your DS, but doing activities where you are learning new skills, not just socialising, as that is much less daunting than having to converse with strangers.

Do you have any hobbies or anything new you would like to try?

mindscape Wed 02-Sep-09 16:52:01

I probably could afford it Bonsiour I have had him on a soccer camp during the hols which he enjoyed and it seemed to do him a world of good.
I am definately looking more into clubs and things for him now and am thinking of forgetting playdates for a while unless he asks for them as they were becoming a joke with no recripocation, and me spending money on them, and people letting ds down.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 16:56:26

If you start looking into all the camps (day or residential) and activities he could do next summer, you will have lots of time to discuss it all with him and "prep" him so that he is all enthused when the time comes.

I am a great believer in psyching children up to new experiences - and have been quite successful, too, in getting my DSSs to camp overseas. It does them so much good on so many levels, building self-esteem and skills away from the inevitable constraints of home (none of us parents are perfect, after all).

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Sep-09 16:59:57

Yesterday I had some friends and their assorted kids round. One of them (an 8 year old) didn't play much with the others, and apparently she doesn't play with kids at school either so she's given monitor jobs to do at playtime. She doesn't play much with the neighbourhood kids either.

The thing is, she's the middle one of 3. So don't go blaming yourself for having an 'only': "I suppose the bottom line is that he wouldn,t have been like this if he had not of been an only". Kids vary in their sociability. Some don't get on with their siblings.

OK, I've got an only, she did spend quite a bit of time bored and demanding me to play with her until (fortunately) a new little girl moved into the area and they took to each other wonderfully (despite being very different types!). I would recommend that you don't give up on the playdates with your DSs school friends, even if they aren't reciprocated. If any of the other lads share some particular interest with DS maybe you could take them both to some activity?

With local kids, it might help if you had something that attracted them... in previous years DD got a lot of playmates when the big paddling pool came out. Something like a basketball hoop might encourage casual friendships... that sort of thing.

Finally, my DH was an only and I know that his dog was very important to him as a boy. Some kids really do benefit from a 'companion animal' (the little girl I first mentioned pleads unavailingly for a dog...)

mindscape Wed 02-Sep-09 17:02:46

We have started bike riding together, we go swimming together, walk the dog, play on the trampoline together.
He doesn,t seem unhappy and has over time had plenty of friends at school but he doesn,t seem good at maintaining friendships out of school.
I have noticed that when a freind has been here he is no good at compromising wanting them to do what he wants to do.
He is far too much of a whiner and of wanting his own way to play out with other children it seems.
I have tried to help him on this but he can be so difficult.
He loved the soccer camp and the opportunity is there for him to go to weekly lessons but he is saying he doesn,t want to but I am thinking of making him.
Then I have dh saying in front of ds he doesn,t have to do something he doesn,t want to do why are you making him.
I feel like screaming because I don,t want him to be like us.

Buda Wed 02-Sep-09 17:09:53

I think it is hard if you are both shy as he will have inherited it a bit maybe. And if you are both quiet people then he may just naturally be quiet.

My DS is also bad at compromising when he has friends over. But so are his friends! That is part of being a child and learning about compromise.

If he enjoyed the soccer camp I would encourage the weekly lessons. I would not force him but use gentle encouragement and bribery if necessary!

mindscape Wed 02-Sep-09 17:10:38

He does have a dog and he loves it to death and he is very protective of it.
It seems to have done him alot of good.
I would love ds to have some peer company though without the disheartening task of arranging playdates.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 17:12:35

Playdates aren't always a very productive form of social activity. I much prefer meeting casually at the park (or a club), or going round to another Mummy friend for a drink while our children have a sausage and mash supper and watch a DVD and are more or less occupied but always free to wander off and do imaginative play if they feel like it.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 02-Sep-09 20:22:36

I agree with other posters who have suggested that you need to tackle your own anxieties about social situations. It's not easy, I know, but you are clearly dissatisfied with how things are and that's the first step towards making a change. Have you got a hobby or interest? An evening class in something that interests you or some voluntary work for a cause that's important to you, for example, might give your confidence a boost and you might make friends without having to be in a purely 'social' situation.

For your son, the football lessons do sound like a good idea. But don't convince yourself that your son would have had a different personality if he'd had a sibling. Maybe he would but maybe he wouldn't. You can never know for sure. Don't feel guilty about things you can't change but focus on things you can. (Sorry that sounds so trite).

Best of luck!

Reallytired Wed 02-Sep-09 20:48:55

I am not sure if I am allowed in this forum. I have two children, but my seven year old was an only child until 4 months ago.

In many ways my son's situation is still like an only child. Our baby is far to young for him to play with. He still has the same problems of having no one to play with.

I also think that its a mistake to think that having a sibling is the solution to all parenting problems. It brings a different set of challenges. Today I had my seven year telling me that I have ruined his life and that if I loved him I would put his baby sister in an "never lasting nursery".

Some of the things that have helped my son have been, making friends with families who only have one child. There are a lot of families who only have one child for a multitude of reasons.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 20:51:54

Reallytired - it will get better!

DSS1 was 9 and a half and DSS2 was 7 when DD was born.

They are all three the best of friends smile. They have recently taken to sharing a double bed (all three of them)!

pleasechange Wed 02-Sep-09 21:01:44

OP - I think you are really mistaken to think that having a sibling would help your DS to become more outgoing. I have an elder sister who has always been more outgoing than me - the result of this when we were growing up was that she always did all the talking for both of us, and I really do think that this exascerbated my shyness a great deal. I never had to make an effort, because she was the one always making new friends for us, and I tagged along

It is very often the case that only children end up more sociable and outgoing than those who have siblings

DownyEmerald Wed 02-Sep-09 21:03:27

Is he into wildlife at all?

There is in some areas a Watch group (run by local Wildlife Trust), usually parents tag along and enjoy as much/more than kids?

DontCallMeBaby Wed 02-Sep-09 22:29:52

I started typing this a few hours ago, but got sidetracked by a vet appointment, tea time, bedtime and general procrastination, so it's been said by others, but it bears saying again I think.

You don't know that he wouldn't have been like this if he hadn't been an only child. I've had these thoughts about my DD (younger, only 5) and have had several examples of equally touchy children (ie whiners, I know exactly what you mean!) pointed out to me, oldest, youngest and middle children in families. As to the shyness, he is a child of two shy parents, as is my DD, a sibling would have made neither of them into the life and soul of the party.

I've had times when I've thought that she is the worst possible child to be an only child - fairly shy parents, no cousins ... but that's just the way it is, so I've given up (well, mostly) being sad about it.

It does sound mostly like you're terribly unhappy with your own shyness and anxiety, and that makes life very difficult. A friend of mine has managed to get herself referred for counselling for social anxiety, she is terrified, but has high hopes. Worth some thought?

hester Wed 02-Sep-09 22:49:58

mindscape, I would echo others in suggesting you need to address your own shyness and loneliness. That is something very important you can do for yourself, and for your son (because then you will be able to model the social skills he needs).

I am very sympathetic to how you feel, but you know, a sibling may not have made much difference. I was intensely shy (and lonely) throughout childhood, despite having two siblings. Actually, my brothers weren't so great at friendship either. In fact, it's like the family disease - generations of us all social misfits grin Now I am grown up and have learned to be a reasonably functioning social being with a wide network of friends. I have a daughter, an only child who is shy and struggles to engage with other children. I see it as my job to coach her in the skills she will need to make and sustain friendships. Maybe at some stage I will be able to provide a sibling for her (I am applying to adopt) but it will be a younger child and that's not the same as learning how to engage with your peers.

Don't beat yourself up about not having had another child. There is plenty you can do to help your son. Reach out for help - for your sake as well as for his.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 02-Sep-09 22:53:58

That's a lovely post, hester.

mindscape Thu 03-Sep-09 09:29:30

Thank you
I was worried that everyone may think me odd for such a post but you are all very understanding of how I feel.
I have got my ds into a wildlife club with the wildlife trust and he is going to his first meeting on Saturday they have told me that I am welcome to come so I will probably do so.
Maybe I need to work more on me and ds and possibly dh doing the socialising together.
My ds just seems to fit the profile of an only child such as not been able to compromise and problems maintaining friendships and it worries me although he seems okay at school with this.
Has I metnioned I do stuff with him but can,t help but feel that he should be doing it with his peers, or siblings if he had them.
All the things we do I see other children doing it with their friends and I don,t want him to just have mum all of the time.
He seems happy enough really but can be a real whinger and very stubborn.
Funnily enough he has always been popular at school.
He did aquire one friend in the street who was a couple of years older than him and I thought great, however someone else came into it of similar maturity to this lad and they turned on ds and the lad told me that he was sick of ds's tantrums every night when they all played.
I do suspect that they didn,t want him there once they got they got the threesome but I felt so sad about the situation and hurt for ds.
It just made me feel more so that all of this is becasue he is on his own and hasn,t learned how to interact properly.

Starbear Thu 03-Sep-09 09:49:10

I've got an 'only' he is about to be 5 yrs. So I'm going to pay attention to the suggestions above. So far the small things that have helped us. Gymnastics with a nursery friend helps us keep in contact with what is happening with the wider group. Swimming lessons (expensive, but has helped)
We also try about twice a month have Sunday dinner with friends with kids. This is rarely returned but I think of it as an investment in his future. We put away special toys so they don't get broken by younger siblings. We have a set ritual for dinner. It about 3pm so people can get other things done in the day. Serve things that kids like stuffing Yorkshire puddings. Lay the table in advance. Put on some easy listening music Frank, Dean or even Andy Williams (blush Friends come over kids have half hour playing while parents have a drink. We sit down & click glasses (kids love this) and our own sort of Grace on how lucky we are to have all that is good around us. Just an idea. Kids play, get into trouble fight around us and we carry on chatting & drinking (responsibly) until it get too much and we call it a night (normally around 6pm) because its school the following day.

mindscape Thu 03-Sep-09 10:48:56

We don,t have friends and their children to get together with and I know thats probably my fault feel awful about that.
There is no one at all to arrange impromtu play for ds and for me to get together with.
Nobody to phone up in the holidays and say lets take the kids down soft play, or have a picnic down the park with them.
The children that ds has had on playdates their parents are just people I have a little bit of conversation with at the school gates sometimes.

I hate the situation and I know only I can change it but it worries me.
I just feel like I am in this lonely world with me and my only.
Funnily enough when he was much younger it never occured to me how I would feel as he got older.
Dh thinks that all of this is in my head.
Sorry I know I sound like a worthless case and am probably wollowing in self pity.

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