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I feel as though my ds has missed out on certain joys of childhood due to no siblings

(46 Posts)
mindscape Mon 01-Sep-08 19:16:39

I am really not sure if this is all in my head and I am been silly.
However I have deep regrets about my ds being an only and not giving him a sibling close in age, and my state of mind has become gradually worse because of this.
I have never had mom friends and I suffer from terrible shyness.
There are no children within the family of similar age, my ds is 6 and for all of his life I have mostly done everything on my own with him.
Now he is older I have come to the conclusion that he has missed and is missing out on so much, there has never been anyone for him to take off to his room and play with, nobody to wonder off into the garden with for a play, or anybody to take a bike ride with down the street, nobody to bounce around with on a trampoline on long summer days or to lark around with in a paddling pool.
When we go on holiday I see groups of what looks like siblings walking around happily going down to the adventure playground together, and the clubs, and soft play together, and I feel awful that my ds is always on his own.
I have made plenty of effort to ensure he has had company during the 6 weeks holiday and I have noticed what a difference it makes to him when he has company and I just feel so much regret and sadness that I didn,t give him a sibling close in age as I feel it would have been beneficial to him.
These feelings for some reason have only surfaced with me in the last year or so.
Me and my dh do try to keep him occupied but its not always easy.
Does anyone ever feel like this, feel free to tell me I am been daft.

TracyK Mon 01-Sep-08 19:20:23

I feel like this sometimes too - but there would be no guarantee that the siblings wouldn't fight like cat and dog. Like my friends 2 ds's. Round her house it's bedlam - nice to retreat to the sanity and moderate tidyness of our house.

I just try and get him to get friends round to our house in the good weather - god knows what it'll be like in the wet winter.

blowsy Mon 01-Sep-08 19:22:28

Don't forget that for much of an average day siblings are squabbling and being vile to each other!

mindscape Mon 01-Sep-08 19:27:16

I suppose but I still feel bad about it.
Its hard work as well at this age has the only way he gets company is if I continually ask other moms if their dc wants to come and play.
Not many seem that fussed about asking my ds although he is quite popular at schoo with a good circle of friends it only ever seems to be me that bothers about arranging playdates after school they are more than happy to come though.
I am pretty sure that he would not have seen a soul during the 6 weeks if it wasn,t for me.
It makes me think that I am the only one who has a need to do this and that everybody else's dc already has a good line up of friends waiting to play with them so no need to have school friends.

Shoegazer Mon 01-Sep-08 20:46:49

My only DD is 2.2 and she is an only by choice. I do identify with the feelings you describe in that I do sometimes wonder if our decision not to have any more children will mean that DD misses out. I find it helps to think about all the things DD has because she is an only child. I do know what you mean by having to make a particular effort. Neither DH or I are naturally social people and are rather happy in our own company getting on with our own thing. I have to make a conscious effort to socialise with other mums and arrange things too.

DrNortherner Mon 01-Sep-08 20:49:20

Listen, folk with more than 1 kid, as a treat, like to spend time with their kids on a one to one basis. you have that all the time.

I am an only, am happy, well adjusted (omitting mad fly women) and feel I did not miss out on a thing!

pushchair Mon 01-Sep-08 20:58:11

Children with siblings also miss out on a lot. Its swings and roundabouts. My DD1 is 9 and with a 5 year gap between her and DD2. Had us all to herselffor that time and then sisters. So had the experience of both.
Perhaps those with more than 1 find it hard to find time to organise playdates I know I do.
You sound as if you are really making an effort for DS and he will be happy.smile

diddle Mon 01-Sep-08 21:03:35

it sounds like you are clearly making an effort now these feelings have come to light. Having 1 child was the best decision for you as a family. What you are doing now is great, and there are places you can go where your child socialises but you don't have to if you'd prefer not to. A lot of school age children round by me go to a local soft play centre some afternoons after school, why not take him there where he can meet other children and you can read a book and enjoy watching him playing with others.
I'm very pleased to see that he is well adjusted and has a good group of friends, sounds like he's a good socialiser.
He'll soon have a best friend sthey'll be inseparable. don't worry. there is no point regretting the past, there is no right or wrong.

slayerette Mon 01-Sep-08 21:07:19

My ds (5) is an only and I feel terrible guilt about this even though I don't want another child. I feel I am depriving him of something irreplaceable by not giving him a sibling and this feeling is constantly at war with my certainty that I don't want another. I do understand what you're saying, mindscape.

However, your post shows how much you think about his well-being and how hard you work at making sure he has company so please don't torture yourself too much. Do you have his friends for sleepovers? My ds loves this and it really gives him a chance to experience sibling-like relationships more than a couple of hours play can. Over the holidays I have had plenty of days out with friends, again so he gets the chance to share experiences with children of his own age. We have pets (at the moment he's deciding between a puppy or a kitten to go with the guinea pigs) to help him learn about caring/responsibility. I am good at playing silly games - I roll around on the floor with him and we do play wrestling and make rude faces at each other. Just a different sort of fun! Does your ds make friends when he goes on holiday/to soft-play? Try to encourage him to join in - other kids can be quite accepting and welcoming - much more quickly and simply than adults are! Don't worry about always seeming to be the one who organises things - I joke about 'rent-a-sibling' with my friends! It does help if you can make some 'mum-friends' though - my close friends are aware of my anxiety and have happily lent me their kids/let mine run with with their broods this holiday.

You are a good mother who cares about her child - that is the most important thing!

Takver Mon 01-Sep-08 21:24:38

Slayerette and mindscape, just want to say that I'm another only child and I can honestly say that I have never felt the lack of siblings, and that I really valued the time and input that my mum & dad were able to give me.

squeaver Mon 01-Sep-08 21:35:37

My dd is 3.8 and is an only. I do make a big effort to have friends over, arrange things with them. IME, people like it because they don't have to think about it themselves!

A lot of my friends have dcs the same age as my dd and then one younger. And they quite often look enviously at me and my dd - especially when they're breaking up major sibling rows!

Yes I worry about her being lonely and about her "missing out" on something. But she's surrounded by love from me and dh. And I'm sure your ds is the same. Please don't beat yourself up over this.

specialmagiclady Mon 01-Sep-08 21:39:45

I fought like hell with my two brothers throughout our childhood. And in fact, we had a family weekend recently; my mum said she thought it was the first time we'd all got together and there wasn't a cross word. We're 38, 36 and 34 years old, FFS. We have JUST started to get on!

emma1977 Mon 01-Sep-08 21:52:16

I'm a one and only too.

There were a lot of times during childhood and beyond that I wished that I had a sibling. However, I feel that overall I gained a lot more because I was and only child than I missed out on. I now have a very close relationship with my parents, especially with my mum, which very few of my friends who are from larger families have.

Heifer Mon 01-Sep-08 22:15:40

One of the things I realised recently is that DD doesn't have anyone to be silly with that often.

So I made a real effort to be the silly one, instigating water fights etc and she loved it. I find myself doing things I do not enjoy but if I don't do it with her, no one will...

DH is great with her but more serious and often treats her like a mini adult (which she actually loves) but I think it is important to act like a child also (she is only 4.5) and about to start school.

Holidays were an another issue. I used to watch large families play cricket etc together on the beach and wonder, as lets be honest it just isn't the same with 3. BUT this year we went camping, and she really joined in with other children and families (they asked so I didn't feel bad) and we even joined in also so all had a great time..

I am trying to find a balance, but the bottom line is that we are a family of 3 and very likely to stay that way, so lets enjoy it.

threestars Mon 01-Sep-08 22:27:37

I'd also like to say that even if you had decided to have another child, you may not necessarily have been able to. Deciding to have a child is such a long way away from actually having one and problems conceiving/miscarriages are very common so who knows what would have happened had you decided to go for it?

Also, fwiw, my sister and I are 2.5 yrs apart and fought terribly until I was about 18 (oh, my poor mum!). Her children are 3 yrs apart and wind each other up and are best kept in seperate rooms. Mine are almost 4 yrs apart, so it will take a very long time before their play interests/abilities are compatible.

I find it alot easier to meet MY friends (not such a nervous build-up and effort from a quite shy person) whose DC are generally not exactly the same age/gender as DS, but that doesn't bother him - they'll have toys he'll want to play with!

And at play places, i think children can make friends alot easier than grownups. Your son sounds perfectly socialised and lovely, and looking back on his childhood may even cherish how much attention he got from his mum.

mindscape Tue 02-Sep-08 08:21:24

Thanks for all of your lovely responses he generally seems okay, but I do detect at times that he gets bored and perhaps a little lonely.
I do make the effort to arrange playdates and I know he benefits from this I just feel so sad that when he gets home from school there isn,t anyone for him except me and his dad.
I have become quite desperate about it we live in a fairly quiet street and I have only recently seen a couple or so boys riding up and down on their bikes, I am thinking of sending him out to them but I know I will have to introduce him as at first he can shy away a bit.
Funnily enough he starts a new school today and he has met his classmates just once but he is perfectly chilled about going and seeing them again.
He has always been okay at school with regards to friends.

slayerette Tue 02-Sep-08 08:26:40

If it's any comfort, I'm one of six. But I remember quite clearly being bored as a child at times. Remember unless you have twins, siblings are going to be apart in age anyway and as threestars says, won't necessarily enjoy playing together as much as we parents of onlies think they might! Heifer's right about the silliness; that's a must I think. I always remember that episode of Friends where Rachel teaches Ross's son lots of practical jokes because she says that he doesn't have brothers or sisters to do those things with but they're still an important part of childhood. I've taught ds the shadow game even though it drives me mad!

slayerette Tue 02-Sep-08 08:28:26

Does your school do after-school clubs? My ds has to be in after-school care several days a week so by the time I pick him up he has had time to run around playing with his mates and letting off a bit of steam. He's quite pleased to come home by then and settle down to tell us about his day.

filthymindedvixen Tue 02-Sep-08 08:36:28

certain joys of childhood...like, constantly beating each other up, snarling at each other, sniping, pummelling, etc etc grin

FioFio Tue 02-Sep-08 08:36:42

Message withdrawn

GooseyLoosey Tue 02-Sep-08 08:42:48

I was in exactly the position of your ds and was fairly shy until I was an adult.

However, during my childhood from about 8 onwards, I formed a series of very strong friendships and they were wonderful and we did everything together.

Looking back on my childhood, I missed out on nothing. Yes, it did not have playdates in and I was not exposed to lots of children at a young age but I have always been good at close and enduring relationships.

I also like my own company and was always very happy in my own world and resented adults attempting to lure me out to do what they believed was good for me.

I have 2 children and given the amount of time they spend sniping at each other, there are times when I remember my own argument free childhood with great fondness.

Miggsie Tue 02-Sep-08 08:43:48

We were on an outing with friends last week...they have 2 boys.
The older boy (4) pointed to his younger brother and said "is there any way we can get rid of him?" to which his mum said "no darling, he's your younger brother" at which the little boy sighed heavily and said "oh!"

So having a sibling is no guarantee of instant happiness!

As long as there are lots of friends...

I have just one DD and she has a very close friend that she sees every day. The friend has an older brother but her mum always considered her "lonely" until she met my DD.

I often wonder if DD misses out being an only but there is no guaranteee a sibling will make them happy. My friend has 4 kids and two of them really dislike each other and its fights all the time. At that point I am thankful for just the one.

MrsTittleMouse Tue 02-Sep-08 08:56:26

I think it's easy to romanticise the sibling relationship. My FIL was an only and I know that he does - sadly his children don't get on and he really struggles to deal with it.
Conversely, I'm expecting DB2 with what people would classify as the "perfect" age gap (2 years) and I find myself looking at our lives now and thinking that there's something very special and somehow "pure" about having just the three of us!

lingle Tue 02-Sep-08 09:18:22

Sounds as though you are shyer than him. If he could cope with it, consider signing him up for something like scouts where they go on overnight trips. It would give him that intimacy. But don't get stressed if it isn't for him.

For you, perhaps you could sign up for some "behind the scenes" helpers roles at school. The confident people will notice and appreciate your contribution and will start to think of you more when they arrange social things. You communicate well in writing. Could you, for instance, run an ink cartridge recycling scheme in school? This would require you to communicate with all parents in writing (which you're good at) but not to have to talk to them too much.

If there is anyone you can confide in, that will help. If you come accross as awkward, that can alienate people, but if you confess to being shy, people sympathise much more.

AMumInScotland Tue 02-Sep-08 09:34:35

Is there any particular reason these feeling have recently started to surface, or is it more of a slow realisation that this is it, and it's not going to change? If you are sad about not having more children, then I'd say the first thing to do is to come to terms with your own feelings about this, before you get too fretful over what you think DS is feeling. Even when it's your own deliberate choice to stop at one, you sometimes still have "what if" feelings which you have to work through. And that's even trickier if the reasons you chose to stop at one are complicated - finances, relationships, fertility problems, whatever.

Now that DS is older, if you think he does miss having a group of children to be part of, you could think about getting him involved in something where he'd be part of "something bigger", where he'd be mixing regularly with a group of children. That could be beavers/cubs, a team sport, a music or drama group - whatever is available in your area and he finds interesting. That way he will get the "teamwork" aspect of being round others around his age, and get used to dealing with different personalities etc.

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