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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

batters Tue 05-Jul-05 10:18:23

Wonderful thread .

I agree with most of these posts. Especially the less guilt one. I have a friend who is a wonderful Mum to 3 children. But I do know she feels stretched extremely thin at times with the amount of attention that she is able to give each of her kids. Having said that she does a fantastic job, and I am in awe of her parenting skills.

I love being able to do things just with dd and I, so there is non-one else to please! She has also I think from a very young age realised the value of friendships. She loves her best friends dearly and adores spending time with them, and learnt to share and negotiate from an early age (due to nursery probably!).

I do look at babies and think, ahh, they are gorgeous but I can honestly say I have never seriously considered having a second child. I feel very priveleged that I am able to say that I have the type of family number wise that I want.

Tortington Tue 05-Jul-05 10:21:58

you can spend allyour money on one child
you can save all your money on one child
you can leave all your money to one child

divide any assetts i have by 3 - its really not worth the effort - so i spend it on me

batters Tue 05-Jul-05 10:22:43

thanks, bolekilolek, for your wonderfully supportive post.

katierocket Tue 05-Jul-05 10:23:55

what utter rubbish about only children as adults. My ex BF was an only child and was teh kindest, loveliest person around, also, he was incredibly self sufficient and loved his own company. I'm the youngest of 4 and I find it virtually impossible to amuse myself without others around.

GeorginaA Tue 05-Jul-05 10:27:49

"I have never met a nice (unselfish, unspoilt and on and on and on) ADULT who grew up as an only child ... "

I'm nice! And unspoilt! Hmm.... I am a teensy bit selfish though - but then I think that's a character strength to know yourself and know to look after you as well as your family

katierocket Tue 05-Jul-05 10:33:11

well as I say, I'm one of 4 and I am pretty selfish. is a personality trait IMO, nothing to do with number of siblings.

sandyballs Tue 05-Jul-05 10:33:45

Interesting. I've also never experienced one child as had I twins.

One thing I have noticed with a lot of "only" children - they seem so protected and cossetted, mummy and daddy fussing and fannying around them. I do wonder if its healthy to have so much focus on one. Siblings take the pressure off.
I know I'm generalising here, but this is my experience in our group of friends.

snafu Tue 05-Jul-05 10:59:07

Thanks for this thread. I need it. Yesterday it hit me for the first time that ds is very likely to be an only child. I was sorting out a load of his old clothes and wondering whether to take them to the charity shop or keep them. And then I realised that, in truth, keeping them was probably pointless. It made me feel so sad, and that really surprised me, considering I hadn't even really planned on having him!

So I took a great big bag of ds's baby clothes to the charity shop yesterday and (god this is going to sound PATHETIC) as I handed them over I almost wanted to say 'I hope you realise what a big deal it is for me to be giving these away'... but obviously that would not have been in the right spirit

Oh dear, sorry if I've brought the thread down - there are loads of positives, I know!

teeavee Tue 05-Jul-05 11:05:54

I know two only children who are now adults. They are not spoilt, or selfish, in fact they aren't much different to anyone else -
Only difference I've noticed is that one of them doesn't understand the dynamics behind sibling rivalry/arguments at all, and is perhaps harsher on his own kids when they argue, as a consequence...
Otherwise, I can imagine it would be quite a nice life for a family who stays as a compact little unit of 3 - for all the above reasons

gothicmama Tue 05-Jul-05 11:08:52

i don;t think solo children are cossetted excessively It means when they need you are tehre 100%

sandyballs Tue 05-Jul-05 11:10:14

I completely agree Teavee. My DH is an only child and he has had problems coping with the sibling clashes that occur in our hours (on a half hourly basis )and so have his parents.

sandyballs Tue 05-Jul-05 11:10:55

our house!

Marina Tue 05-Jul-05 11:13:02

I know some adult only children who are great, generous company
I know some adults with siblings who are dire and selfish
The same applies to children of my acquaintance too
Ds was a probable only child for four years and all these positives are making me nostalgic and rueful
Food-hurling competitions have been mentioned but I would also like to add bogey-analysis seminars to the list of drawbacks of more than one [bleurgh emoticon]

GeorginaA Tue 05-Jul-05 11:27:32

LOL at the bogey analysis... have that yet to come

Of course, there have been some very good points made, of course there will be disadvantages - but none that can be got around as long as you are aware of them and act accordingly.

Of course, there can be socialisation issues (please don't do what my parents did and move to a village where they knew no-one then spent most of my childhood complaining if they had to ferry me anywhere - it did mean I had very few friends growing up - but that's really a parenting issue rather than an only child issue).

Of course there can be extra stress put on the child in terms of expectations - but if you're aware that is a danger, you can catch yourself and take a few steps back. I think I do feel it more keenly as an adult since my father died - I am the ONLY one responsible for my mother and I've gone through a bit of a rollercoaster on that one.

Then again on the flip side, I think I've come through with a fairly self-sufficient, confident personality, and I'm laying down the law with my mother a bit more - so those two major disadvantages (even though not addressed in my parents' parenting style) have been dealt with by me as an adult anyway.

And besides - being perfect is boring. We all need our character flaws to be interesting, well-rounded individuals

cardy Tue 05-Jul-05 11:40:46

My mum is an only child, I have one sister. My mum loves the relationship my sister and I have and laments the fact that she has never experienced a sibling relationship but I don't think she is 'different' as a person in fact personality wise we are very similar.

The sad thing for her was that when her parents passed away she didn't have anybody around her who really understood her greif and I think although married with children, she felt very alone.

bobbybob Tue 05-Jul-05 11:40:47

Thank you everyone, I've got two weeks off work next week and I am going to do the following:

Get Mirena Coil fitted
Sell all baby clothes on Ebay

Ds is going to be an only. I just don't want any more, dh and I are happy as we are, and it's great to see a thread to celebrate it.

Cam Tue 05-Jul-05 11:45:08

Both my parents were (still are!) only children and are very well-adjusted people.

I have had 2 only children (of different generations, they have never lived together), one by first marriage one by second marriage.

My sister who has 3 children (a daughter and twin boys) says that from the child's perspective, being an only child with 2 parents is the ideal because all the child's needs are met.

I think that sounds right.

Tortington Tue 05-Jul-05 11:49:32

they can't say
" it wasn't me, it was him"
"why do i always get blamed for everything"
"he's your favourite"
"you always side with her"
"she is your favourite"
"you always blame me" <slam door>
"but he did it yesterday"
"why do you always ask me to do it. you never ask them"

jodee Tue 05-Jul-05 11:55:56

snafu, your thread was close to the bone for me - my ds (5.5) may well turn out to be an 'only' and I very reluctantly did a car boot sale the other weekend and sold car seats/travel cot, etc. I still have suitcases full of clothes I must sort through, but it really does bring it home to you. I would never say 'never', but I need to 'clear my head' of ds's things, as it were.

sandyballs Tue 05-Jul-05 11:58:20

One can also sit in the front of the car with mum every time, instead of taking turns. This is a big big thing in our house .

My DD stepped into the road recently without looking and I went mad, saying she could have been killed, how sad we would all be without her etc etc, then this little voice (her sister) piped up "It would be quite good though mummy if O went to heaven because I could sit in the front with you every day". Charming

fishfinger Tue 05-Jul-05 11:59:03

soryr but Id hate to pueposely only have one

ediemay Tue 05-Jul-05 12:02:36

thanks for starting this thread. I feel so lucky to have my DS. I had lots of cancer treatment and didn't imagine I'd ever have even one child. I love the completeness of our relationship and he is a laid-back, sunny-faced funny little clown who loves his life. Thanks flobble x

Tortington Tue 05-Jul-05 12:05:23

one doesnt have to share a room or toys or attention.

batters Tue 05-Jul-05 12:05:27

That's okay, fishfinger, I'd hate purposely to have 3!

fishfinger Tue 05-Jul-05 12:06:27

fgs you hasve to play with one

adntheya ll talk like adults
grr gets my goat

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