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In praise of only children - the great things about having just one!

(297 Posts)
flobbleflobble Mon 04-Jul-05 18:54:53

Just wanted to start a positive thread about how fab it is to have an only child! In reaction to all the threads worrying about how sub-optimal some folk find it not to have more than one...

So here goes - to start off a list in praise of only children :

- you can take them to stuff appropriate to their age group without having to drag along a disinterested sibling

- peace and calm at home with no sibling rivalry and squabbles/ violence

- you can do something with another family without involving 2 cars/people carrier

- far easier to combine one child with work/social committments

- easier to provide financially for 1 child

pintsizeprincess Mon 24-Feb-14 09:33:08

This thread has been so nice to read and has really helped me feel better about our situation and not feel that our dd, 19 months will miss out being an only. It's increasingly likely she will be an only due to a few factors. I'm 40 this year, my dp strongly feels he just wants one ( obviously a major factor!), i had a few health problems when pregnant, no guarantee i would have these again but i had huge anxiety problems when dd was a newborn and was in quite a dark place for a few months. I got myself in a state of panic and anxiety over simple things and even getting out the door became a major hurdle some days. i would go over and over in my head about what if this or what if that went wrong and got so anxious that it became "safer" to stay at home most days. It wasn't until dd was around 8 months that i started to feel the cloud lifting. i realise this may not happen again and if it did i would know to go to the doc sooner but i am in a happier place now, enjoying life as a family of 3, enjoying seeing the little person dd is growing into and i'm back at work part time which i love. Knowing all this doesn't stop the guilt trip i give myself when i think that dd might grow up feeling resentful that we didn't give her a sibling but reading other peoples stories on here defininitely helps me feel more positive about our choices . so thank you to all you lovely ladies for sharing your experiences.

princessalbert Mon 24-Feb-14 09:38:17

My DS is now 16 - and I don't think he has been adversely affected by being an 'only'.

Although he now has two much younger sisters (on his dad's side) and a couple of step brothers courtesy of my DH.

When he was younger he was happy to do a lot of activities with me. It sounds a bit off, but he was treated more as a young person than a 'child'. Hard to explain, but he had more opportunity to converse with another adult (usually me) and had all my attention.

Most of my friends have two or more DC, and I find it amazing how they fit in all their activities, and individual attention. It's much easier with just the one grin .

neepsandtatties Thu 06-Mar-14 20:55:00

Great thread! DS (6) is an only and we have a fab, active and social life!

Would like to dispell the myth that only children need constant entertaining. It totally depends on the child. DS can entertain himself for hours and hours (used to be train-set, mainly lego now) and he's always been like that since a baby. I think that personality has more to do with it than anything else, but a bit of benign neglect when they are a baby (never interupt or distract a baby who is engrossed in playing; when daytime naps get dropped, swap them for a routine of quiet cot/bedroom play etc) might help.

bettergetamoveon Sat 15-Mar-14 11:08:34

I needed to read this today. My DS is 5, I have a loft full of baby things buy the realisation that another child is now unlikely. I think I always wanted 2 or 3 children but tbh I don't know why. All of the positives I've read about having 1 child are true. My DS is a delight and I feel blessed to have him. I'm gearing up to clear the loft and accept the wonderful family of 3 that I have.

MuffTheMagicDragonButter Sat 15-Mar-14 11:23:07

better, I'm not sure I can be as strong as you on this one. sad

I'm having a tough time at the moment with only having one, DD is 3 and I have that urge for a baby that I struggle to rationalise to DP who doesn't want any more.

My soul aches for a baby, and the thought of clearing out the loft breaks my heart.

I'm 43 and, whilst there's nothing biologically wrong with either of us, the option of 'see what happens' isn't likely to result in a child.

Atbeckandcall Mon 17-Mar-14 16:44:18

I love this thread. Thank you thank you thank you

iheartshoes Mon 17-Mar-14 16:54:46

DD has had a lovely long nap this afternoon and I've been sitting in the garden with a cafetiere of fresh coffee and a good book, didn't have to worry about entertaining another toddler/older child or doing jobs. I feel very relaxed and calm (for today at least!!) and I know more than one child would just be too much for me - this is definitely the right decision for us - I like my "me" time too much grin and I feel I have more of myself to give to DD and DH - I think with more than one child I would probably be a horrible shouty stressy mum. I need afternoons like the one just gone for my own sake and with one child there is lots of opportunity for this.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Thu 20-Mar-14 13:21:44

iheart, I totally agree with you. I do get the occasional pangs of broodiness but know in my heart of hearts that ds is better off as an only - I'm a better Mum that way. Great thread.

I love when we're out the three of us and ds is walking holding both our hands looking so happy. I want to freeze time.

The ability to take turns when he isn't in such great form is nice too.

Eva2010 Thu 17-Apr-14 17:26:34

Hi - looking for advice on how to explain to my 4 year old child that we are not having she is asking why she has no siblings? & has said she wants one?

Misfitless Fri 18-Apr-14 01:04:42

Hi Eva,

I think you might get more responses if you start this as a new thread.

Don't have any words of wisdom, but I'd definitely be drawing her attention to the fact that there are (bound to be) other onlies in her class, and that families come in all shapes and sizes..

I know an only child who will say "It's great not having any brothers or sisters, you get loads more presents and get to do more stuff" which I always think is a really sad thing to be told, and to grow up believing, even if it is true!

ChairOfTheBored Fri 25-Apr-14 13:00:39

Hi Eva. I'm just starting to explore this board, I'm an only, and having had DC 1 earlier this year, DH and I are considering whether our family is now complete.

My advice, based on my experience as a child, is to expose your DD to the realities of life with a baby. My Dm did this when I was about 6 and one weekend of crying nights and my sibling quest came to an abrupt end! (Not that I would had had much joy, Mum was a lone parent). Also, we were (are) blessed with great godparents who acted as a second family, giving me time to experience life with siblings, with the option to head back home to my own space when we started to grate on each other - best of both worlds!

Good luck with it all. As an only I don't regret anything about my childhood, but there is still such a social stigma to it, it's very odd.

ChairOfTheBored Fri 25-Apr-14 13:03:25

Double post, MN faux pas, but to add my thanks for this thread. As an only myself I'd never considered I might want more than one DC, but as with all parenthood, am finding little bits of doubt creeping in. It's great to hear such positive views.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 25-Apr-14 13:42:41

You've all experienced toddlers and how frustrating they can be. It's hard even as an adult to not get furious and frustrated with them at times.

Picture then, if you will, the emotional roller coaster rides in a house where the person on the receiving end of the toddler behaviour is not 40 years old, but 4.

In a nutshell, this must definitely the best thing about only having one child!

Bumps (DD 4, DS, 2.5)

CareBearWithFangs Sun 19-Oct-14 20:45:49

Just found this thread and thank you to everyone who posted such positive stories over the years.

DD is 3 and I ache for another baby but it's unlikely to happen, we've lost 2 babies this year and may be facing a genetic problem and I'm not sure we can take anymore heartache.

This thread is really helping to alleviate my guilt at not being able to give DD a sibling. She's at that age where she's a bit obsessed with babies and keeps asking for a baby sister so I'm finding it really difficult at the moment.

I'm going to keep all the positive stories in my mind!

CateBlanket Tue 28-Oct-14 06:06:55

CareBear - so sorry for the losses you have suffered and I hope that, if another baby isn't meant to be for your family, then you are able to find peace.

Here's a positive story of an only for those who need it.

DD will soon be 10; she wanted a sleepover for her birthday and has so many genuinely good friends she's having to host two sleepovers to accommodate them all. Hope that helps dispel the lonely only myths!

That isn't to say I haven't had wobbles in the past; I'm one of four kids so I know the advantages and drawbacks of siblings. However, we are a family of 3 and I work at giving DD the most loving, fulfilling, fun childhood I can and try not to waste this time I have with her by worrying about what might have been. She's here and she's what matters.

CareBearWithFangs Tue 28-Oct-14 10:38:06

Thank you Cate. It's always good to her positive stories. DD is such a kind, considerate little girl I know she'd be brilliant with a sibling and I hope her lovely nature will bring her lots of friends too. DP and I have agreed we'll always try and have an open house policy so she can have lots of friends round. Her being lonely is one of my main worries.

HSMMaCM Tue 28-Oct-14 11:21:18

Only one set of school admissions, only one stress of Uni expenses. Being able to let her dance 6 days a week without worrying about anyone else. Not worrying about only having 2 bedrooms. Fitting friends in the car.

blinkingrabbit Tue 28-Oct-14 11:40:42

This thread is brilliant. I have a DS (1) and DSD (12). while DS has a sibling I keep wondering weather he should have another sibling closer in age. DSD stays with us half the time and is busy with friends and hobbies so I don't feel like they are developing a strong sibling relationship.
But tbh I don't want to pregnant again, and don't really want another child... it's great to see so many happy stories of one child

MillionPramMiles Tue 28-Oct-14 13:39:57

Dd will be able to choose her friends, choose (to some degree) how much time she spends with them, where and when, what they do together. They'll most likely be a similar age with similar interests. I recognise I need to facilitate this as much as possible.

Everyone knows (but noone likes to say) the reality of siblings is often that they don't particularly get on or have things in common. Age or gender differences, perceptions of (and actual) favouritism or just very different personalities can mean sometimes they (at best) tolerate each other and at worst wreck family harmony.

If siblings gave you everything (or even most things) you wouldn't need friends.

JufusMum Wed 12-Nov-14 11:43:23

The fact that DD's dance hobby is not quite bankrupting us (yet) because there is only one set of everything to pay for...

number1daddy Sat 22-Nov-14 23:46:22

my son is an only child and he loves it when I suspect he doesn't have to share me and in that regard he also is keen on it staying just the two of us. I have a brother several years difference and loved it. There isn't a right or wrong answer but obviously things to think about on both fronts. in my case my son deserves the focus on him still but as he gets older who knows....

Lonz Mon 16-Mar-15 22:28:04

Going to BUMP this! Because it's great!

Only one set of clothes to get ready for nursery, only one lunch to get ready and I can let my son stay up a bit later on a weekend to watch a film without totally blowing a routine out of the water, or other things like I can quickly throw a dinner on a bit later without faffing about with what I'm cooking. I will only have to throw away his old toys and baby stuff once! You're just more flexible with one kid.

Blondiewoman007 Wed 18-Mar-15 12:53:40

I love this thread too. It really helped me when I felt guilty at times at not providing a sibling for my DS. Not that he is remotely bothered at the moment.

Lovely calm house, calm mealtimes and bedtimes (most of the time)
Friends can come to play easily
Only one sick child to deal with at the time
DS will hopefully benefit academically from the time we spend with him doing homework etc when he starts school in the summer
Our lives don't completely revolve around child centred activities. DH and I still have a little time for ourselves which I think makes us less stressed and more relaxed
Housework more manageable than households with 2+ DC
IMO having a child/children is wonderful and lovely but it's tough at times. I feel having only 1 DC allows us to really enjoy the benefits of one and not be overwhelmed with the extra work another would bring.

Lonz Fri 27-Mar-15 14:35:25

Don't have to deal with silly sibling squabbles every 5 minutes!

So... the house is much more quieter.

Taytocrisps Sat 09-May-15 14:09:52

I would have loved more than one child but life doesn't always go according to plan.

The pros of only having one child are:-

Less work - only one set of clothes to wash, only one child to bathe, only one child's toys to tidy up etc.

Less organisation required - I only need to keep track of one child's afterschool activities, play dates, uniform/tracksuit/afterschool activity clothing etc.

Sickness - I only have to deal with one vomiting child/child with diarrhoea. I can only imagine how horrible it would be to be tending to multiple sick children at once <shudders>. My bosses are fairly understanding if I have to take the very occasional day off work if DD is sick. They would be less understanding if I was taking twice as many days off (or three times as many etc.).

More peaceful - I don't have to deal with siblings fighting over toys or a TV programme.

Less expensive - childcare, school books, afterschool activities, days out, college fees etc.

Travel - a lot easier packing for one

DD gets my undivided attention. If she's upset I have the time and energy to find out what's wrong and try to resolve it. I come from a big family and my mother was always tired and stressed. When I was getting bullied at school, I never told her because I figured she had enough on her plate.

DD gets to do activities that are suitable for her age and interests. She's not dragged along to places or activities just because an older or younger sibling is going.

These are the main ones I can think of. There are cons too obviously but I'm sure you all have plenty of judgemental people in your lives to point them out. Like the mother who told me that she wouldn't want her son to date DD when they're older as DD (being an only child) will be a spoilt princess and he'd never be able to make her happy shock. Or my male colleague who told me that an only child is a lonely child etc.

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