Perspective on growing up as an only child?

Emily - posted on 08/22/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Does anyone in this group have perspective on what it was like to grow up as an only child? I am a new mom with a 1-month-old son, and my husband and I disagree on whether or not to have more children. He comes from a large family and wants no more children; I have one sibling who I am very close to and sometimes I feel that I would like to have one more child within the next couple of years. I'm just wondering about the pros and cons of being an only child; it would be interesting to hear it from the "child's" point of view.

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Candy - posted on 06/19/2012

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"Does anyone ever look at it this way? Why would you have another child solely for the purpose of providing your first born a playmate? I would think it would be pretty mean to the second human being to know that the only reason you brought him/her was so that the first one wasn't alone. I don't want to have any more children. I love my little girl and when I had her all I can think of was her and her being with us. I don't want to have another if the only reason for doing so would be to provide a playmate for my little girl so she won't be alone. I want that child to feel as wanted as my first and right now I cannot say that...so I am content to raise her without siblings."

Good point. Why bring a child in the world just to keep the first from being "lonely?" Good grief, no wonder so many people with siblings complain about feeling neglected and having low self esteem due to favoritism. This explains it. They were brought into the world to keep the first child from being "lonely."

Candy - posted on 06/19/2012

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"My husband and I both are only children and thankful for it. That special bond some have spoken of, with their siblings, well I have it with my parents. I was never lonely and never missed not having a sibling. I'm actually on vacation right now with my mom and dad. I feel that I have a strong sense of security because of the relationship I have with my parents, and that has given me the abillity to be a strong minded and independent woman. I've always been able to make friends easy and adapted well to all situations. Being an only child, we were able to travel a lot, and we did, all over the world. Some say that made me spoiled, but it was quite the opposite, I was well cultured at an early age and always had a great appreciation for what I had and to be an American because I got to see with my own eyes how lucky we are as Americans. I'm 32 and my family still travels twice a year with my mom and dad. I wouldn't trade anything for the special closeness I have with my parents and for my bestfriend my mother. I want to have those same experiences with my son that I had with my parente and be able to give him the same oppurtunities my parents gave me. They would not, and I would not be able to do that if we had another child. I thank the Lord everyday for the truely blessed life he has provided for me."

I LOVE this post! Thank you. Well said. As a fellow only child, I feel the same way.

Lora - posted on 09/14/2010

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I am an only child myself and absolutely HATED in, even now in adulthood. For years I wished I had a sibling, a brother OR sister, didn't even matter. Just to share that bond with. I know just because you have a sibling doesn't always mean that you're close, even as adults, as my partner has a brother and a sister and even though she gets along with both of them, they don't speak to each other, so there's lots of tension in her family. That's hard for me to understand, being an only child. On the other hand, I lost my dad last year when I was just 38, and going through that whole process, alone, was terribly difficult. It's difficult in ANY situation, but when you don't have any siblings to help you make arrangements, go through things, greet extended family, etc....it's difficult. My parents divorced when I was 19, so my mom was not involved in the process, and my dad only had one sibling himself, so he didn't have a very large family anyway. Now I just have my mom. I think about the day when she's gone, and basically MY family will consist of only me. Who will I reminisce with? Now I am faced with that future for my son, who is almost 10 and an only child. He lost his father when he was only 3 from Leukemia, and although I am in a committed relationship for 5 years now, my son's only true living relatives are myself and my mother. Someday he will face what I did last year and I can't help but feel guilty that he will have to deal with that all alone. Growing up an only child is one thing, but living beyond your parents after they're gone is another. Having close friends is great, and even being close to cousins and other family members is great too, and I have those close relationships, but let me tell you that is not the same as siblings, at least not from my perspective. Not when dealing with burying your parents and dealing with life after they're gone. That's just my opinion. If I could give my son a sibling I probably would, but I am going about to turn 40, and time is not on my side, and things just don't appear to be in the cards for me to have another child. Just consider all options. Especially since neither you or your husband are only children yourselves. :) Best of luck.

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Candy - posted on 06/19/2012

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"My husband is/was an only child and he loved it. It's one of the big reasons our daughter will continue to be an only child. He never once wanted a sibling. He's not spoiled, awkward, introverted, or any of those stereotypes that get pinned onto only children. Even now, as an adult (late-twenties), he doesn't feel like he's missing out on anything at all by not having a sibling."

I LOVE your post. And I love being an only child as well.

Candy - posted on 06/19/2012

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"I am an only child and ill tell you right now its not fun. Sure you get all the attention, all the presents at christmas, all the love and support; but there is no one to play with, noone to get into trouble with. I think it is important for kids to have another sibling to learn to fight, love, play nice, and to have some company. "



Well, I'm an only child and it was FUN for me. Loved being an only. I wouldn't change it for the world. I had PLENTY of people (my exact age) to play with. A sibling would be younger (maybe even a huge age gap) and possibly even a different sex. I was at school most of the day. I also played with the neighborhood kids, my cousins on weekends, and even my parents and I played card games.



And I got into plenty of trouble with my friends and cousins.



I had company from my friends and cousins, and I learned to fight, love, play nice and have company with cousins and friends. My parents were nice company as well. I'm flexible and well adjusted. I don't discriminate.

Anna - posted on 09/19/2011

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I am an only child, and my husband and I have one 8 yr. old son. My parents had me late in life, after 21 years of marriage, so there probably wasn't an option of having any more children. I had a wonderful childhood, always had plenty of friends, usually at all times having one REALLY close friend. I see that as a product of being an only child I am very independent, a bit of a leader, and very driven. I see those characteristics in my son, and he's only 8. There are plenty of reasons to have only one child or to have multiple children. It has to be the right fit for the family. My parents did not spoil me, for example, I did not have my own car until I was in college, sophomore year. I learned a great work ethic, and appreciate everything.

Aimee Blain - posted on 09/13/2011

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My husband and I both are only children and thankful for it. That special bond some have spoken of, with their siblings, well I have it with my parents. I was never lonely and never missed not having a sibling. I'm actually on vacation right now with my mom and dad. I feel that I have a strong sense of security because of the relationship I have with my parents, and that has given me the abillity to be a strong minded and independent woman. I've always been able to make friends easy and adapted well to all situations. Being an only child, we were able to travel a lot, and we did, all over the world. Some say that made me spoiled, but it was quite the opposite, I was well cultured at an early age and always had a great appreciation for what I had and to be an American because I got to see with my own eyes how lucky we are as Americans. I'm 32 and my family still travels twice a year with my mom and dad. I wouldn't trade anything for the special closeness I have with my parents and for my bestfriend my mother. I want to have those same experiences with my son that I had with my parente and be able to give him the same oppurtunities my parents gave me. They would not, and I would not be able to do that if we had another child. I thank the Lord everyday for the truely blessed life he has provided for me.

Patricia - posted on 09/19/2010

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Does anyone ever look at it this way? Why would you have another child solely for the purpose of providing your first born a playmate? I would think it would be pretty mean to the second human being to know that the only reason you brought him/her was so that the first one wasn't alone. I don't want to have any more children. I love my little girl and when I had her all I can think of was her and her being with us. I don't want to have another if the only reason for doing so would be to provide a playmate for my little girl so she won't be alone. I want that child to feel as wanted as my first and right now I cannot say that...so I am content to raise her without siblings.

Stephanie - posted on 09/01/2010

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I come from a family with 4 children my husband only had one sibling. Not only did i have 3 brothers but 3 live in cousins and an adopted brother living with us. My daughter will probably be an only child however she has 3 girl cousins very close to her age that she can bond with.

Jane - posted on 09/01/2010

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Well I am an only child and I have only one child. I didn't really miss having a sibling when I was younger. Of course I didn't know the difference, being an only child was all that I knew and also I had a couple close friends that were also an only child. But not that I'm older, I really wish I had a brother or sister. If for nothing else, it would be nice to have someone to lean on for support as my parents get older. And just the thought of both of them being gone (which hopefully will be a very long time from now) and me being 'alone' does sadden me. Only a brother or sister would know how I felt. I always wanted a brother or sister for my son, but it just hasn't worked out that way. He is 3 and one day it would be nice to adopt a child so that he could have a brother or sister. Anyway, hope that gives you a little differnt perspective. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Emily - posted on 08/31/2010

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Wow, there have been a lot of great responses to my post...thanks to everyone for sharing your point of view! I'm glad to hear that many of you have no regrets about being/raising an only child. I can't imagine life without my sister; she is truly my best friend, but I too know many people who have indifferent or bad relationships with siblings. My husband and I will probably continue to discuss this issue, but for now I'll focus all my love and attention on my beautiful son:)

Patty - posted on 08/30/2010

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I grew up, an only child. theres pros and cons. My daughter is also growing up an only child. Where to I begin?? my situation is so different than others. Im used to my own company, even now. Wish I would have had a brother or sister, thinking back. My life was hard also because my mom and dad divorced when I was 4.

Evangelina - posted on 08/30/2010

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I'm an only child and don't think I've lost out in any way. I was really close to my cousins growing up, which I think made all the difference. Sure, there were times when I wish there was someone else I could share my toys with, or just much around, but there's much to be said for learning to be happy being by yourself. My husband and I have just one (and we plan on staying that way) and we make sure that our son gets plenty of time with other kids especially around his age group, for instance through playschool and playdates. Being an only child also forces that child to be braver and go out to make more friends, so it's not all bad.
And it's also helpful to remember that there are challenges with two or more children as well, as well as the upsides of course.
To me, there's no right or wrong answer to this. You just have to be realistic and aware of the possible consequences.

Marcy - posted on 08/30/2010

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I think this is a really tough question. I have a younger brother who I am very close with. He travels with our family and is a great Uncle. We only became close when we were adults. My hubby is one of 4 boys and isn't close with any of his brothers. On the flip side my best friend has a sister who could honestly drop off the face of the earth and she would be okay with it. To me, just because you have a sibling doesn't mean you are going to be close to them. There are plenty of people that have other relatives and friends who are like brothers and sisters to them. My son is an only child and our decision to only have one was made based on the financial impact and our ability to travel. I think "men" in general may be more okay with not having a sibling than we are. There was an interesting article a while back that I read that talked about how men have friends based on hobbies and jobs and women have friends for life. Perhaps this spills over in to the whole only child debate as well. Just my thoughts....

Dawn - posted on 08/29/2010

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My husband is an only, but had an uncle only 4 years older, so essentially they grewup like brothers since they lived so close to one another. My husband always liked being an only and often wondered the dynamic between sibling (especially boys) that caused them to fight worse than friends or stangers would. I have a sister who is 4.5 years younger than me...we got along great in the beginning, then had some years of fighting, then became "friends" in adulthood. I will say that there is alot of issues that we have carried into adulthood from our childhood...I think that no matter how hard a parent may try to make things even....there is often a child that comes out feeling left out and underloved at times, and suffers emotionally from it. Obviously this isn't the case in every household, but I think it happens more often than people care to admit, and of course there are times this happens with only child households...but thats my opinion. I want to give my child all of my love, energy, time, affection and money!! And as another poster stated, onlies are becoming more acceptable these days!!

Lyndsay - posted on 08/25/2010

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I come from a family of four children, and I've always wished I was an only child. I'm really close with my two younger sisters, who are twins and two years younger than I, but they are on the level of "friends" for me and I think I would've been equally happy if they truly were just my friends. Conversely, I know a lot of families where the children are not close at all. It is a wonderful thing to be close to your siblings, but just because you are siblings doesn't mean you will be close.

Jordan - posted on 08/24/2010

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I am an only child and ill tell you right now its not fun. Sure you get all the attention, all the presents at christmas, all the love and support; but there is no one to play with, noone to get into trouble with. I think it is important for kids to have another sibling to learn to fight, love, play nice, and to have some company. I am sure there are many only chrildren that are fine being by themselves but i remember as a child begging for an older brother for christmas for like 6 years in a row. I made my mother cry a lot over it.. (i feel bad now, but then i had no idea what i was saying)

Angela - posted on 08/24/2010

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Both my husband and I come from families of four. He is the youngest of his and I am the oldest of mine. We only have one child a daughter who is four. She goes to Kindergarten and asked me if she could have a sister as "boys are yucky", I told her it doesn't quite work like that. I also explained by the time the baby is old enough to play with she will be at school and have friends of her own.We also swap babysitting with a friend with a two year old and while they get on really well, my daughter comes home and says she is warn out from playing with a two year old. My hope for her is to find friends, good friends and she has started to learn the skills at Kindergarten. It doesn't matter how many siblings you have it doesn't that you will all like each other.

[deleted account]

My husband is/was an only child and he loved it. It's one of the big reasons our daughter will continue to be an only child. He never once wanted a sibling. He's not spoiled, awkward, introverted, or any of those stereotypes that get pinned onto only children. Even now, as an adult (late-twenties), he doesn't feel like he's missing out on anything at all by not having a sibling.

[deleted account]

My son was an only child until he was nearly 16 years old. It was not by choice. When he was 15, the summer just after his freshman year, I asked him if he was OK with being an only child. He was. He only regretted it during rainstorms when couldn't visit with friends. A few months later I got pregnant and didn't miscarry (as was usual). He was OK with that, too! He knew that with the age difference his home life with "the baby" would be very different than the experience of his friends whose age difference with their siblings was only a year or two.

If you like, I can contact him with any specific question you may have.

Laura - posted on 08/22/2010

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My husband, too, is from a very large family (youngest of 7) while I have one sibling. We have one child who is now 12. While she asked for a baby brother or sister when she was 4 or 5, once she started school she met other kids who had siblings. A few sleep overs later (she was in 1st grade) she announced that she no longer wanted siblings! She discovered that siblings, whether older or younger, could get into your things; they had to share mom and dad for attention; and siblings could fight with you. It was harder to find quiet alone time, especially if you shared a room. As we were discussing adoption at the time, her pronouncements about siblings gave us pause. As a family we decided that 3 was just right number for us. Having one child is becoming a more popular option for families now.

After all of that, the most important point of view is that between you and your husband. Have you asked him what his reasons are for not wanting more children? Have you shared with him your reasons for wanting one more? You both are new parents so take your time with this decision and be assured that if you both choose to stick with just one child that that is perfectly okay! Hope this helps!

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