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

(295 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

GrimmaTheNome Wed 10-Jun-09 15:04:30

grinLover is one of those words that has shifted meaning in common parlance, which is a shame. When you come across the word in Jane Austen or the Little Women books, it doesn't mean that the pair are having it off!

Anyway - I have an only, and its lovely to be able to have the time (and money) to let her follow her interests to the full.

halia Wed 10-Jun-09 16:02:10

nessus there is a world of difference between loving somone and being 'in love' I really would think twice about referring to your child as your lover, thats a role for an adult. Nor should she be your sister or your sole companion. Let her be your daughter - and you be her mum. Most kids need parents not 'lovers' or adults acting like 8 yr olds.
Seek out other adults for your trips and cinema, and certianly if you feel the lack of a lover in your life (someone to cuddle with and be 'in tune' with) then please find someone not related to you and over the age of consent.

Sorry for thread hijack - this is one of the things I do feel is a danger in only having one child especially if you are a single parents. You use your child as a substitute for adult company. What on earth do the poor kids do when they are 16 and wanting/needing to rebel against mum?!

ljhooray Wed 10-Jun-09 19:33:03

Halia, although I agree that Nessus post did concern me with the role a child should take in the dynamics of a family and agree with mocuh you have said, this is not the danger in having one child. I'm afraid a child becoming friend, sister, carer substitute can happen to any child whether one or one of many (I know this first hand, I am 1 of 4 and took exactly that role with my emotionally fragile mum).

DorotheaPlenticlew Wed 10-Jun-09 20:13:47

Oh please don't let this thread go sour and turn into something else. It has been so lovely to read. Please, if you want to air differences re the lovers thing, could you start a thread for it? (though I hope it won't be necessary as I imagine tempers may be lost)

ljhooray Wed 10-Jun-09 20:17:14

Sorry Dorothea, totally right I was enjoying it too, have given myself a slap for getting drawn in! BTW dd and I had a fabulous time at her first gym class today, whilst half the mums juggled little ones trying to show them their forward rolls and rocking crying baby in a car seat, us parents of one got to jmp around on the equipment too grin

DorotheaPlenticlew Wed 10-Jun-09 21:16:35


We aren't sure we will conceive successfully a second time. We are letting nature take its course at the moment, but this thread is helping me to feel it is genuinely fine if we don't have another. DS is totally the light of our lives anyway

My main fear of having no more DCs is that DS might feel burdened by our care/grieving for us when we get old/die, and that he'll wish he had someone to share it with. But having said that, I am my mother's only child (my dad has others) and I don't really feel that way. Or at least, I don't think it would be all that much nicer to contemplate my mum's eventual death if I had a sibling. hmm

In any case, so many of the people in my extended family are on rotten terms with their siblings (as adults) that in fact it makes me feel friends are often more reliable sources of support than family at those crisis times.

Sorry, waffling a bit there but mainly I wanted to say hooray for all the positive and warm messages here. I expect to revisit and re-read in the future.

nessus Thu 11-Jun-09 11:55:08

WOW. Look where this has gone in my absence. My child and I live a full and expansive life. We are blessed with wonderful friends and close family and I am lucky enough to have the means, time and inclination to invest in making our lives as rounded and enriching as possible.

As a single parent that works 30+ hrs a week, I refuse to apologise for having the desire to spend time with my child. As much as I love my friends, I can't surely being out every weekend with mojito in hand!

As to stating that she is my sole companion, please highlight where I said that?! No, I am not some socially or emotionally inept person that substitutes all adult relationship with that I have with my child. That would clearly be unhealthy.

Halia, your over the age of consent comment is simply abhorrent. What exactly are you insinuating?

flobbleflobble, I am sorry that your thread hasn't remained as positive as you would have hoped. It wasn't my intention when I chose to contribute as GrimmaTheMore mentioned, lovers is a term that has been greatly misappropriated, much to my own amusement.

I have no problem with the term lovers and if anyone finds the very notion hard to deal with, that is for you to deal with, not me.

I look forward to reading what others have to say on the original topic matter, afterall, this is a place for celebration.

halia Thu 11-Jun-09 14:22:33

sorry for getting drawn into an of topic area - wont' clutter up thread with other thoughts on that topic.

I think the thing about siblings is really important. As parents of an only we are often told "oh they will miss out on having a sibling" but I know just as many siblings that dont' get on, or who are politely distant as I do the wonderful mutually supportive playmates and adult friends.

Having just been talking about what happens when GParents die I am very glad DS is an only because at least there wont' be any false expectations or arguments about whether big sis ought to sort out mum and dad because she lives closest, or whether Brother Jo should be cut out of the will because he ran off with a stripper.

discoball Fri 12-Jun-09 11:52:36

Having read this thread, my heart goes out to people who are struggling to conceive their FIRST child - I am very grateful to have my DS - I cannot have any more, have been to hell and back). But, I am SO HAPPY
that I have a wonderful, kind, gentle DS whom I love with all my heart. He is definitely not lonely (our house is always buzzing with friends, etc), he is not spoilt (we get him to save his pocket money for some things rather than just buying them for him), etc.... and he is very generous with his belongings/sharing. He can be quite shy, but is generally getting over this (having started at sec. school now), and is gaining in confidence thanks for brilliant teachers. So, please be thankful for your "only" children (hate that term!) and remember that some people are not lucky enough to have one. (By the way, my sister has 5 and it's a madhouse, but it's always interesting!!!!) Live and let live. smile

storminateacup10 Sun 03-Jul-11 21:18:54

flobble thanks for starting such a great thread- I am so undecided at the moment about whether to even have a 2nd child or not and threads like yours really help smile

DilysPrice Sun 03-Jul-11 21:28:30

As a parent of two I haven't read the whole thread, but feel the need to point out that whilst only children will may choose to have chicken pox immediately before your vital presentation to the board while DH is out of the country, they will not wait until the last spot has healed and then immediately get it again in the manner of Multi-child households.

But I'm sure the vast majority of the other stuff is true as well.

PurpleCrazyHorse Mon 04-Jul-11 20:03:06

DD is an only and it's great. DH can cope with just the one so I get to go out with out worrying he's lost/forgotten a child. We've got out life back quite a bit as we only have to work around DD's naps and the PIL are happy to have her overnight loads (they would struggle with two I think). Don't desperately need a bigger house/car/shed.

Sadly I do want to re-use DD's Itti Bitti nappies.... so we'll wait and see. We're lucky enough to (currently) have a choice.

An only-child friend did say that she worried about being the sole carer for her parents as they grew older. This is actually my only concern for DD being an only.

Snog Sun 19-Aug-12 16:08:21

It's seven years now since I started this thread.
My dd is now 12 and has never wanted a sibling.
She is sociable and has lovely friends but also likes to have time in her own company or with her family.
We share lot of interests and can follow them together with nobody being left out.
I have been able to devote resources to helping her with her dyslexia such that it no longer seems to be holding her back. She is very happy at her new school.
I have changed career and love my new job.
Life is good for us and a family of three can be a very happy one.
If anyone is struggling or worrying about having an only child I hope this thread helps.

RaisinDEtre Sun 19-Aug-12 16:49:18

awwwwwwwww Snog, that's just lovely smile

TyrannoSoreArse Sun 19-Aug-12 19:13:22

Snog. A couple of weeks ago I had to have surgery because of a bad labour and have been told that I won't ever be able to carry another child. My DS is 17mo and my whole world and I loved reading this thread and recognising that even when it all feels really hard it could be so much worse...!

Thank you for starting it and for coming back and saying what you did. thanks thanks thanks for you smile

Snog Sun 19-Aug-12 21:37:15

Wow, thanks you guys! Smileys AND flowers!
<blows kisses to tyranno and raisin>

pudding25 Mon 27-Aug-12 15:57:19

Snog, thanks for posting this. Lovely to hear. I am an only (always had tons of friends and never bothered about a sibling) but wanted DD (5) to have a sibling. Now pushing 41 with several miscarriages under my belt, have decided enough is enough. DH wants to keep going but I can't so DD will definitely be an only now. I feel sad but I know I was a happy only and am trying to think of all the advantages for us and her.

Frontpaw Fri 31-Aug-12 14:27:35

After witnessing two boys literally rolling on the floor of a supermarket fighting over a 20p one had found before their dad tore them apart I was quite happy to have one.

Now, as I sit watching four sibling punching, kicking, name calling and crying as they wait to get on a ride at the park, I am ecstatic.

Frontpaw Fri 31-Aug-12 14:29:16

And watching the look on DSs face - the kid equivalent of WTF????? - is a joy.

axure Fri 31-Aug-12 22:33:42

DS is 3rd generation OC, the first time I took him out for a walk (or hobble, stitches still in situ) in his pram a neighbour asked when I'd be having the next and I replied that this would be my only child. Since then people have said mean things such as "one's not a family", well I'm perfectly happy with our little unit, DH, DS and I get on well together and now DS has a lovely GF who we also think the world of. My relationship with my DM is a bit strained, and she does have a selfish streak, but not convinced that it's because she's an OC.
I admire women who can manage large families, but it wouldn't have suited me, perhaps I'm a bit selfish, enjoy quiet time and hobbies etc. Have never regretted our decision to have only one child.

Dogstar1 Wed 19-Sep-12 10:01:48

My DD is an only child by choice. It took me a long time to have her and I have always been perfectly happy with one. We are incredibly close and have the freedom to go out and about without worrying about pleasing various siblings etc. She spends lots of time with her friends and is close to my friend's 3 kids but can very happily amuse herself. We love the chaos of having a houseful but both her and me breath a sigh of relief once everyone goes home and all is quiet again.

When I split up with my ex, my DD informed me (in a very firm voice), "It's ok if you want to have a boyfriend, Mam, but no babies ok!" Not that I wanted anymore kids anyway but that was me told lol.

Caladria Sun 14-Oct-12 20:47:34

I don't understand why people worry about this. Being an only is fine, as is being one of seven. It doesn't make much difference - eldest/onlies do a tiny bit better at school and are a tiny bit more law-abiding. That's it.

OvenReady Thu 27-Dec-12 20:35:52

This thread has really helped me!

I have DS who is 2; have tried to have more but a few miscarriages down the line I'm beginning to think it's time to stop at one and make this our life. Stuck at the point of "do I don't I" - more ttc or not.

My DS is my world, I have been a SAHM since he was born and I couldn't imagine anything different. We take him everywhere. The poster who mentioned meals at restaurants - so true! We take DS with us when we eat out during the day and he loves it, is very well behaved, and sees it as a real treat. Can't imagine struggling with two!

Thanks for this thread.

Bullets Tue 01-Jan-13 20:32:52

Really useful ammunition helpful thread, thank you!

We have two year old DS and love being the three musketeers, no plans to have any more.

I don't buy the sibling = playmate argument after my experiences with my brothers.

And as for the "burden" of looking after us when we're old, I wonder what people think childless people do? We will ensure we have sufficient care insurance and savings in place to pay for the appropriate levels of assistance. I wouldn't want to be a burden for anyone, whether we have one child or ten!

I can't remember who mentioned regular trips with their DS to carluccios for lasagne but I love that idea, what a great ritual to begin and an opportunity for some regular, quality 121 time, I'm going to do that too from now on, thanks for the suggestion!

Final positive for me about deciding to only have the one child is our sex life! Now sexy time is just for DH and me to enjoy ourselves, no pressure, just fun grin

Perriwinkle Tue 15-Jan-13 21:46:18

Best decision we ever made. Always felt/knew we only wanted one and stuck to it and did not bow to pressure to "go on, give him a playmate!" as someone once said to us.

I would make the following observations:

* Actually our DS has never been short of a playmate - family, friends, school friends have always been around to play, sleepover and to go away on holiday with. Best thing about that arrangement is they are not around when you don't want them to be. grin

* DS has always been able to enjoy as much of our undivided attention and time as he has wanted.

* We have a very chilled family dynamic - no squabbling with other kids, no dramas and the older he gets the better it gets!

* As DS is getting older (almost 13 now) he arranges his own social life so no pressure after this age to worry that they have no one to play with (something I often see raised on this board). The onus to make their fun for them in place of siblings (again something I often see raised here) is not apparent anymore after this age.

* The way kids interact with one another these days means that they can connected with friends without the need to be in their company physically. I know of many children with siblings who are cloistered away in their own rooms interacting with their friends - not with their siblings.

* There are pros as well as cons in having a sibling too remember. They can give rise to resentment, jealousy, ill feeling and upset and make one anothers lives a misery at times - and not just as children. This can carry on into adulthood too. How many people have a sibling who they don't talk to, have lost contact with, have nothing in common with or who they are in conflict with or who causes them emotional misery, pain or upset or who just makes family life difficult?

* Children with siblings don't always get on with them and many wish for them to be as far away from them as possible a lot of the time. Never underestimate how siblings can argue and how much conflict and discord this can cause in a household.

* One child is totally manageable in terms of washing, ironing, feeding and looking after generally. Less work and less stress all round! grin

* One child is far more manageable financially. You are able to give them more in every sense - not just in material terms.

After almost 13 years I'm still 100% happy with the decision we made to have one child.

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