Am I spoiling my child by only having one?

Valerie - posted on 02/27/2011 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I always thought I would like to have several children. Now that we have one, I think we cannot agree on a number 2. Needless to say, I don't think either of us thougth it would be such hard work. I find I am torn yet, leaning twards having number 2 asap. Will my child grow up to be a spoiled brat if we just have one? Does anyone really know the benifit of having one child vs more that one? What are your thoughts?

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Erika - posted on 03/07/2011

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Just to ease your mind a bit as far as being alone when parents are at an end...try not to worry, I am an only child and although I may be "alone" as the child, I have my spouse so I am not alone and when my mother goes (my father has passed) no one will dispute my decisions. I've heard many a tale where siblings disagree on "what's right" and cause plenty on unnecessary heartache. My mother and I talked, she made her wishes known and that is that. No "but mom told ME" or "what's yours, mine, ours?" just done. and I take some comfort in that. Best wishes, Erika

Laura - posted on 03/02/2011

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The number of children one chooses to have is entirely up to that woman and her partner! If you only want one, great! If you wish to hve more, that's great, too! No one should ever feel bad for the size of their family...

Only children are no different in their needs from parents than kids with siblings! "Spoiled brats", if you define that as being children with no self-control, are undiciplined, and exhibit poor social and behavioral skills, can happen in any size family. "Spoil" your child with Love and create structure for them through rules and expectations and you won't have to worry about an only being a "brat". Remember, it's about using good parenting skills and tools that prevent "spoiled brat" syndrome! : )

As for benefits of having one child versus multiple children, that is up to each family to decide. I can say that some of the concerns cited against having only one child have been debunked in recent years, especially the argument that only children are less socialized than kids with siblings. A study came out last year from Ohio State University that showed onlies as being just as well socialized as peers with siblings, especially once the child starts school. By the time onlies reach high school, they were indistinguishable from their peers with siblings on matters of socialization. Prior to starting school, onlies were only slightly behind their peers in social skills such as sharing. The study recommended a simple "fix" to this: Provide young "only" children with opportunities to meet and play with other children! Classes, programs through libraries or parks departments, sports leagues, scouts, etc are all examples of social opportunities. We used many of these opportunities with our daughter, who is now 12 and LOVES going to our local Boys & Girls Club to "socialize" with her friends. So do what is right for your family and don't worry about what others say--onlies can be happy, healthy and well socialized without the "spoiled brat" part! Good luck to you!

Wanda - posted on 03/02/2011

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There is nothing wrong with only having one child. I am an only child and I have an only child. Being spoiled has nothing to do with how many children you have. As long as you love them and teach them to be resposible, honest adults, they will be fine. So will you. I think having just one child was awesome for me. My son will turn 25 this year and we are very close. He's not a "mommas boy" by any means. He's very independent and responsible. A really good guy. I'm proud of him. As parents, you make your family any size you want it to be. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Your family is what matters most.

Teresa - posted on 11/03/2011

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Whether you have one or many, you raise a spoiled brat. My son asked me tonight what a"brat" was and I told him someone that whines about something that he didn't get. You teach your child to whine and be a brat.

Hil - posted on 06/10/2011

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Oh, about spoiling them. Yes, my son has just about everything he wants BUT he has to "work" for it by doing well in school, being respectful, cleaning his room, and making sure all of his responsibilities are taken care of. So I do not consider him to be spoiled. Also, I know MANY parents that have more than one kid and their kids have a harder time sharing with others. My son has NEVER been greedy or selfish with his toys and I think that is the case for two reasons 1. we have always encouraged him to share with us and others and 2. he knows that even though others are playing with his toys while they're there when they leave they are all his again and he can do what he wants with them. If anything, I have had a harder time keeping my kid from giving away his things when other kids want them than not sharing...like I said before: no regrets here! :)

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Kathy - posted on 10/23/2011

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I am an only child and am NOT a spoiled brat. I will say my parents, especially my dad, were very overprotective though. I did get more than some of my friends with lots of siblings got but only because my parents could afford to do more since it was just me. But I certainly didn't get everything I asked for and couldn't do everything I wanted to do. Nothing irritates me more than when someone assumes that an only child is spoiled. There's a big difference between being able to do more for your child than doing everything the child wants.

As far as being an only child.....I hated it. I always wanted a brother or sister and still wish I did now - and I'm 57 now. I think it would be great to have someone to really confide in. I see how close my 2 kids are. They're 32 and 35 now. Sure they fight and argue but there is a bond there that you can't find with anyone else.

Everyone has to do what's right for them. Don't let anyone "guilt" you in to having another child if you only want 1.

Hil - posted on 06/10/2011

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Personally, I only have one. This is a choice my husband and I made after many nights of talking about our different experiences (I am an only child & he is one of 5)...We came to the conclusion that not only was my life easier but I had many more opportunities, one on one time with my Mom, and over all was more satisfied with my upbringing. When my son was younger he mentioned a few times that he would enjoy having a sibling but, when I explained to him that if he had a sibling he would have to share his Mommy & Daddy and he quickly changed his mind! He's now 7 and I have no regrets. He has plenty of friends and since he is the only one he has everything he needs and a lot of what he wants even though we are in no way wealthy! I realize in that when you have more than one you can prioritize, alternate, and save for what they need and want but I love being able to go all out for christmas and birthdays because I can spend as much as I want on him without anyone being jealous or upset! For us, I know this was the right decision! Good luck!

Talisha - posted on 04/15/2011

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I too have an only child and people often try to encourage me to have more children so that my son won't be an only child. I truly think that it is ok to have only one child so that child will not want for anything because lets face it, raising kids is very expensive. Many say that only children grow up to be selfish and very closed, but I say that its all in how you raise your child and what you teach them.

Kimberly - posted on 04/13/2011

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Being spoiled is an attitude, not a state of being! You can have a child who is selfish/spoiled in a HUGE family. Being an only really has nothing to do with that. I HATE the spoiled only child scenario that society still forces on us.

Gail - posted on 04/12/2011

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Your child will only be a "spoiled brat" if you let him/her become that way. My only child is now a WONDERFUL mother of 2 and doesn't seem to be "damaged". Sure, we spoiled her...because we could afford to do so since we weren't divinding our time and money between her and other siblings. We would have liked to have more, but there were complications. Because she was an only child it did not mean that she got a TV in her room, a cell phone, designer clothes, the best of everything...HARDLY! Wal-mart clothing, thrift store clothing and furniture, and lots more contact with adults than a child would have with siblings. If I had to do it over again and raise her on only I wouldn't change much...but I would have faound more ways for her to socialize with other kids and not as much with adults. That is where she had the problems...learning what is and is not acceptable behaviour with her peers and relating to them. Definitely more play dates long before kindergarten. It didn't help that we were newcomers to where we lived when she was born, but we were also in a rural area. At age 2 1/2 we moved to another state and had to find new friends all over again...and there weren't many except for the in-home day care across the street. Scouts and other activities helped after she was in school, but it took her much longer to fit in than those with siblings. On the other hand, we were able to nurture her in so many things, attend all her games, plays, and other activities, and work in her classroom regularly because she was an "only". I was her scout leader and was very careful to never try anything out on her that we were going to do in the troop...simply so she could be on a level footing with all the other kids. And it was always pretty easy to have her take along a friend on camping trips and other activities because she was only 1 kid and the 2nd wouldn't break our pocketbooks. With 2 kids bringing along friends that would have been paying for 4 kids if they brought friends to things. Good luck on whatever route you take.

Sinclairbrooks - posted on 04/08/2011

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I have one child. It was planned that way & that is what we want. He is not spoiled, he is very well mannered, shares well, plays by himself well, is very social, etc... I think it depends on how you raise him, not how many siblings he has. If you give him everything he wants and dote on him every waking moment & make him feel like he is the best in the world at everything, then yes, you will have a spoiled child.

Wanda - posted on 04/02/2011

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There's nothing wrong w/ your child being an only child. My son's the only child & i've found that it's been hard work for me in raising him b/c of the fact not only does he have ADHD but he's also Autistic (PDD). I've found that it's much easier for me to donate my time and attention to him than if there were another child. But I do enjoy spoiling him b/c I'm his mom I'm suppose to spoil him every now and then. Life can't always be about rules, rules, rules, and more rules. Every now and then it's good to just let your hair down and have fun! So there's nothing wrong w/just having one child. Do what's best for you, suge.

Angela - posted on 03/23/2011

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This topic is always on my mind. To have more or not. That is the question. I am the oldest of 6 and growing up I did not like having such a big family. But now as an adult I love each of them so much and if I ever have a need there are so many people I can call. I always thougth I would have 2 children, really close together. But I had severe complications and could not have another right away, even now there would be risks. I keep thinking I better hurry up or they will be too far apart in age. And time keeps going by and he keeps getting older. He recently started school and I went back to work. Now if I were to have another I would be starting all over. And I don't know if I want to do that. But I do want my son to have a sibling. As I have been unable to make this decision, I have come to realize that my indecision is a decision by default. Now I just need to accept it and let what I had always imagined my life would be like go. Good luck to you.

Angela - posted on 03/23/2011

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This topic is always on my mind. To have more or not. That is the question. I am the oldest of 6 and growing up I did not like having such a big family. But now as an adult I love each of them so much and if I ever have a need there are so many people I can call. I always thougth I would have 2 children, really close together. But I had severe complications and could not have another right away, even now there would be risks. I keep thinking I better hurry up or they will be too far apart in age. And time keeps going by and he keeps getting older. He recently started school and I went back to work. Now if I were to have another I would be starting all over. And I don't know if I want to do that. But I do want my son to have a sibling. As I have been unable to make this decision, I have come to realize that my indecision is a decision by default. Now I just need to accept it and let what I had always imagined my life would be like go. Good luck to you.

Becky - posted on 03/13/2011

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Absolutely not. We had one child because of my post-partum depression. And the only thing he was spoiled with was love and I would like to think we would have loved any child that much. You don't have to give them extra things to make up for being an only child, nor do you need to let anyone make you feel guilty for having only one. We all have our limits and people need to stay out of it. Our son is a wonderful adult now. He has always been respectful, ambitious, kind and a loving person. He has graduated with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and plans to work on his master's starting this summer. He had a track scholarship for the first two years of college and then has worked during the rest of the time. He bought his own car with money he saved though we did help keep it going while he was in school (gas and insurance). One or twelve children does not matter..how you treat them, each other,and the rest of the world is what will influence the kind of person they will grow up to be. Practice tolerance, family values and know they will do what they see you do. That is what really makes a difference, not how many siblings they have.

Khaliah - posted on 03/11/2011

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I must say that I have read everyone's point of view up to this point and I am pleased with what everyone had to say. I, too am a mother to an "Only Child" and while I have always dreamed of two children with the white picket fence and all, I have to understand the times and trends of today. Mainly, the cost of living! Well quite frankly it is astounding. Back when I was born, in the early 80"s the income of the dad was enough to sustain a family of 4-5, but now we have been conditioned to have both men and women alike obtain a higher education and go out and work which is fine, but it leads to more expenses, such as child career, gas, car notes, etc.
When I met my husband over 6 years ago he told me there was a possibilty that he could not have children-according to a doctor. At first I was concerned, but then I believed that if I put trust in God to build a life with someone I loved that everything would fall into place. Just at a year in our marriage we unexpectly found out we were pregnant and so then our lives were changed forever for the better. We love our son and he has a lot more than we had. He is very verbally, gets a lot of attention and actually enjoys having alone time. It is sometimes more of me being concerned with whether or not he is happy or if he needs a sibling to be more balanced.
As a student and now part time employee as well as a business owner of Arbonne Skincare Care, I find myself very tired and not wanting to play and give him what he needs immediatley when I arrive home. So at times I wish that there was a sibling for him to play and share with.
On the other side of that he has been in daycare since he was very young and has had children around his entire life. I will say that socially he does ok with somethings better than other times just like any children with a sibling or not. I have found that he listens better and is calmer than most in the class room and that he encourages the children with positvie words because we, mom and dad, encurage him at home. If I knew that I could be home completely, I would consider having another child, but at the rate we are going one child is all that we can handle. Plus our goal is to leave an inheritance to his children'c child which is something his father and I have to build from scratch because that was not given to us.
My plan is to not feel quilty about him being and only child and just enjoy this young life. Yes, my husband and I both had siblings and that was great, but we could put a twist on things and work with our one child. Every situation is different and in our case one child may be the best option rather than trying to compare or family structure to the next. I plan to get him a pup at some point..he is allergy to dustmites and possibly cats....does anyone have any suggestions on a nice, small, house dog that we could consider getting from him???!!!
-Mother to an "Only"

Signe - posted on 03/11/2011

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I'm an only child and my husband says I'm a spoiled brat. Just kidding. As long as you discipline your kid, they will not turn into a tiny terror. Just as there are only kids who are very well mannered, there are also kids with siblings who are atrocious.

Amanda - posted on 03/11/2011

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I dont believe for a minute that an only child is a lonely child!!!!!!! That's SO OLD FASHIONED thinking!! My child is an only and as I sit here and type this, she's running from room to room using what she calls her "magination" and making up stories. When she has playdates, she interacts with those kids as if she had millions of siblings at home. I agree with Tara in that's ALL in how you raise them.

Tara - posted on 03/11/2011

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We were "one and done". You can have 10 kids and have them all be spoiled brats. It's all in how you raise them. And this is also something else to think about, would you be having child number two for the right reasons? Having child number two just so child number one is not a "brat" is not fair to child number two.

Rachel - posted on 03/11/2011

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I am an only child who is married to the youngest of four and we have an only child. She is 17 and a Senior in HS now, and for all that we have been able to give her she has learned to respect what she gets and understand why we cannot give certain things. We have found that by talking situations out With her she can make better choices. Yes, she does get her way alot of the time; however she is Not spoiled by any means. All in all she and I and her and her dad as well as the three of us together have an Absolutely wonderful relationship. As for being lonely, she gets to pick and choose her own brothers and sisters from the people she is growing up with much like I did, and mine are still a huge part of my life to this day.

Mom - posted on 03/10/2011

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I have two, I have always believed, an only child is a lonely child, I could be wrong, but things to consider as you ponder on the decision to have another, people value that most that they don't have. another child would give the child a scene of being needed by another, having some one with the same blood line to share thing with, most of all if is going to happen, "don't fight the feeling" and there is always room for one more. why deny this loving child the opportunity to love a sibling. we as adults, always want to control our lives, and to an extent that is okay, but what is wrong with letting life happen.

Kendall - posted on 03/09/2011

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The belief that an only child will grow up to be spoiled is based off of a case study conduct in 1865(maybe wrong about the date) that proved to be incorrect and have a large amount of biases.
I have had similar feelings also the worried that my son will be spoiled. But after sometime I have discovered it is up to me as a parent to make sure he isn't spoiled. I have also read research the says only child are better off in life when they reach adulthood. Check the times.com and look up the article entitled Only Child(again not positive on the name) but it is a wonderful and helpful article

Sally - posted on 03/08/2011

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There are huge benefits to having one. There is no real evidence to suggest an only will be spoiled. There is some research that suggests onlies may be smarter and more socially adapt then children with more siblings. Having an only is wonderful in my opinion. Our time is her time. We can provide a private school, something that would be hard to do if we had to do for more than one. Since there are no other children in the house, she has very adult language skills. Because she has never had to compete for attention, she shares and plays well. In contrast to popular belief, studies show onlies share & empathize better as kindergarteners than their peers with siblings. The lack of sibling rivalry creates a much more positive environment for the child. I think only children have more self control, are calmer and act out less than those with siblings. I do things because I have only one that I wouldn't do if I had more. There is a certain flexibility in having one, there isn't soccer & ballet. One teacher conference vs 2 or 3.
There are times it would be great for her to have a playmate. And I suppose later in life, it might be nice for her to have a sibling. But I think in the long run onlies do just fine. Better even. Spoiled not at all.

Amanda - posted on 03/07/2011

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I find that people's definition of spoiling varies. I'm not having another child because I'm not able to. That said, I don't think I would have another if I WAS able to. I grew up in a large family and there are times I resented the fact that I didn't have enough one on one time with mom and dad. My husband travels ALOT.. he's only home 55-60 days a year. That's another factor as well. Yes, we are able to do more things as a family financially that maybe we wouldn't if we had more kids, but I don't consider that spoiling. It's all about doing what's right for you mom!!!

Stacy - posted on 03/03/2011

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I feel that, by having only one child, I am giving her more opportunities than I had growing up. I had older and younger siblings and because of that I wasn't able to do everything I wanted to do (i.e. dance classes, gymnastics, things of that nature.) And as a parent, I want more for my child than what I had. I know for a fact that we wouldn't be able to afford her the ability to experience those things if we had another.

Gabrielle - posted on 03/03/2011

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I'm one of 8 children. I have only one child because it happened that way. I wanted more, but it didn't work out that way. I'm very happy that it didn't, but if I'd succeeded in having more, I have no doubt I'd be very happy that I had.

Having said that, I do think that only children are more spoiled in the sense that they don't understand what it means to share the attention of their parents. That affects a whole lot of things in life. In no way does this outweigh the benefits of being an only child.

There are other aspects of having an only child that are more worrisome and, in my opinion, more worthy of consideration if you have a choice of having more. There is the loneliness aspect. There is no getting around it, no matter how many cousins you have or how often you have friends over, only children are alone with their parents in the end. But even that is not what worries me most. It's when I think of my child having no one to share the burden when I become one, and having no one to share the memories when I am gone. No one to lean on when she has to bury me.

Sorry. I'm getting morbid, and I'll stop now. I could go on, but I won't.

Molly - posted on 03/02/2011

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I do not believe that the only child is always spoiled,i believe its all about the discipline and you raise him or her.I wanted to have 3kids and i had my first and am okay for now and when i honestly think about it,i can only afford none right be it emotionally ,financially,physically etc... The benefits i think are that its easier to plan for one than let me 3.
But at the end and when the time comes you will know if you want children.Enjoy

Anne - posted on 03/02/2011

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i have two brothers - no offense but being the middle child plus being a girl did not make it easy for me, don't get me wrong, i had a great childhood but i do have to admit that i do love my brothers more now that we are all somewhat "grown up" (omg thats soooo old, well i still feel having the perfect age to go to disney world)...I think our son will be an only child, i really do not see another possibilty right now, and it is not even the financial side, my husband has to travel a lot and when i say a lot i mean he is (if he is at home) only for weekends nowadays it is getting worse as there are many weekends when he is not, that means most of the time i am single mom, i am finishing my studies right now, and i really seriously want to work (i mean what else did i study for). i just don't see organizing a second child...although we live in a big city it is sooo difficult to find a good kindergarden for your child, spots are less than limited...it sucks, don't misunderstand I don't mind stay at home moms, everyone has to decide him/herself...i really admire moms who can be single with more than one child and working and not going nuts...
Julie what kind of book did you reag (title, author...)

Valerie - posted on 03/01/2011

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Thanks for your thoughts ladies. Julie- I think I may need to read that book. Maybe it could help me have a different light too. I personally come from a big family so really, I guess I just don't know any other way.

Anne- now that's some insight! You are so right. :-)

JULIE - posted on 03/01/2011

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There is no such thing as only children being spoilt brats who are pitied upon as being lonely. Only children often have more opportunites in life (a little bit more financial freedom from Mum and Dad). I read a book on raising only children a year ago and it presented it in a much different light from what I thought. But at the end of the day, do what is right for you.

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