Single / Multiple Children

?? - posted on 04/12/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I am #4 of 6 kids and my partner is an only child. Him and I go back and forth on this subject all the time because I would like for our son to have siblings and he's happy with him being a single child. If we don't have any more children - I will be happy with him being a single child too - I would just like to try for another child because I would like my son to experience the bond that you get from having a sibling.

With my partner I see some qualities in his personality that you can tell he got from being a single child. And he says sometimes that he sees some qualities in my personality that you can tell I got from having lots of siblings. There are some qualities that are bad and there are some qualities that are good from both aspects. (Although we both notice the bad qualities more than the good.)

Obviously individual dynamics are a huge factor in this discussion and not all single children are selfish but independant while all children with siblings are aggressive but passionate. Or any other qualities or flaws that any person can have - I'm just using those as examples because they generally are the more mentioned examples that people point out in these discussions.

Do you think that a single child is more inclined to be selfish than a child that was raised with 2-3 siblings and having to share everything, everyday, all the time?

Do you think a child with 2-3 siblings is more inclined to be pushy and stubborn because they have to 'fight for attention' amongst themselves and their siblings?

Do you think being a single child or a child with multiple siblings makes much of a difference in how they develop their social behavior? Or is it ALL in the parenting?

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Cassie - posted on 04/12/2010

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I think that for the most part whether or not a child is well-adjusted as an only child or one with siblings has to do with parenting.

Overall, I prefer for my children to have siblings. I think that a single child can be completely socially adjusted, unselfish and not self-centered but I think children benefit from having siblings. Children who grow up with siblings are thrown into social situations from the get-go, both with one another and with their siblings friends. They are able to learn to share, that they are not the only children out there, and problem solving strategies (not that single children do not learn/know these things) simply through being with each other. The parents have to make an effort to teach their children how to get along, follow the rules, share, etc but they don't have to make a specific, conscientious to socialize their children.

I think it almost all comes down to parenting whether you have 1 child or 10. An only child can be completely self-centered, selfish and socially awkward but so can a child who has 3 siblings. It is our job as parents to raise our child/children to be caring, loving, selfless individuals who can stand up for what they believe and help those around them whenever possible whether we decide to only have one child or multiple.

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Esther - posted on 04/14/2010

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I think it's mostly parenting and the child's individual personality. My son is an only child and will remain an only child bar some crazy act of nature. Lucas has been in daycare since he was 12 weeks old and on some level the kids in his class (who have all been together since about that age) are his siblings. Sharing has never been an issue, even though he's only 2. He never eats alone and never has either. When he gets a cracker he will break off a piece for his dad and I. That I think is just who he is. I don't think that's parenting or the result of "conditioning" in daycare. It's just part of his make-up. I think I am maybe more motivated to line up play dates for Lucas than I would be if he had a sibling. I think as long as I do that, and (once he's older) encourage friendships, I'm not worried that he'll grow up to be some kind of anti-social loner. I'm just content with one child. My family feels complete. I feel like I have won the lottery with the one kid I was blessed with. I got more than I deserve and I'm just counting my blessings.

?? - posted on 04/14/2010

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Besides.......think about it. The parents getting elderly won't become a burden on one kid, we can share them around when they are old and infirm!!


It's interesting that you say that because in my family - my mom is the second oldest of 4 children. Her oldest sister passed away almost 5 years ago, her brother lives 8 hours west, her sister lives 8 hours east and she lives in the same town as my grandparents - who are both in failing condition. She is the only one who is taking care of my grandparents. My grandma lives in hospital so she's 'taken care of' by the staff there, but mom has to make sure that Poppa keeps everything in order so that she can stay there. And then she is constantly checking in on Poppa too. Sure my aunt and uncle call Poppa and come to visit once a year, or every other year, but everything Poppa and Nanny do now, relies on my mom. So even with multiple children... the responsibility of helping their parents lies solely on my mom.

Amie - posted on 04/14/2010

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I agree with Cassie's entire post. =) She said exactly what I wanted too. It has everything to do with the parenting and not so much to do with whether it's a single or multiple child household.

I grew up with 3 siblings, there's 2 of us, then 10 years later there's 2 more. My husband grew up with only an older sister. I actually know very few only children. In fact I can only think of one at the moment, my cousins little girl.

My parents raised us to share, help each other, be there for each other and we all are still to this day. My youngest two siblings are still teenagers but they come stay with us whenever they get a chance. They love babysitting the kids and just being here. My oldest brother rents our basement and is here every day but for all intents and purposes lives with his g/f now. The kids love their Uncle Joey and always freak out when he walks through the door.

We've always been a close family, close enough that we can tell each to to piss off and not take it to heart. LOL! I still remember my brother tossing me into a wall when I was 16.. we used to fight a lot. On the flip side of that though if anyone else ever tried to lay a hand on me he was the first to come running. If any of us are ever in need, we are there. When my sister was in a car accident last summer my in laws watched the kids and I drove an hour and a half to see her in the hospital. I stayed the night and came home the next morning. It's just what's done in our family.. family is everything.

Even our friends have been welcomed into the fold. I have friends that call our mom mom.. just as my siblings do. Our family was a very open loving home, where you could be yourself and not be worried about it. No matter who you were.

Our household is much the same, though Ryan is a little more uptight than my dad was. He's also dealing with our oldest actually growing up into a young woman so it's turning his hair grey. LMAO! He's so nervous about it and I understand but sometimes you just need to trust that you are/have raised them right.

With our kids positive personalities I don't doubt that we are. They still have their own things that are just theirs but they also don't mind sharing if one of their siblings asks. They do fight but it's nothing earth shattering. They generally yell at each other and then go off to get some alone time. They are positive influences in many of their friends lives and can walk away from problem children without batting an eye.

Jodi - posted on 04/13/2010

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I was one of 5 children, and my best friend at school was an only child. It made for an interesting combination at the time. I had 4 younger brothers (yeah, I know, I could have at least had a sister!!!), and at the time I hated it, and would have loved to pack up and swap with my friend because my oldest brother and I didn't get along. And the funny thing is, she would have killed to live at my house where there was always much more going on!!!



As I've gotten older (and older, and older, but we won't go into that), I've appreciated being part of a larger family. My oldest brother and I still don't get along (totally different personalities), but all of my brothers are there for me.



Besides.......think about it. The parents getting elderly won't become a burden on one kid, we can share them around when they are old and infirm!!

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Sharon: you've done research on how to raise an only child? Can you point me in the right direction......I have a sneaking suspicion that we're not going to be having another child either and would love some guidance?!

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My husband & his brother HATE each other. It used to get physical when they were younger.



My siblings and I get along better now as adults than as kids.



I am perfectly content with 1 child and have researched how to raise an only child. I am not about to go have another kid (or adopt) for the sole sake of giving my son a sibling. Quite frankly, I have no maternal urge or desire for more kids. Perhaps that might change down the road and if so, hubby & I will adopt an older child through the foster care system. But for now, my son is an only child and I can raise him to be a productive member of society in a loving, caring, unspoiled, unselfish manner.

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On the flip side of that Lindsay......I have 2 younger brothers and sinceI was a young teenager I can remember never getting along! My mom is sooo upset with our behaviour because she only remembers us being super close, best of friends etc. when we were all little. To this day we see each other often and we're civil with each other but we're by no means CLOSE with one and other! I am super close with my sister-in-law but I probably would rather if my brother wasn't around for most of the visits!



I'm not arguing what said, I'm actually a jealous of your relationship with ur brothers......just wanted to give you the other side!

Lindsay - posted on 04/13/2010

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I think whether a child has sibling(s) or not just merely one factor in loads of others that impact the person they become in life. I honestly could not imagine my life without my brothers in it. I'm sure we pestered, fought and agrued enough as kids to send my parents to a padded room. But now, as adults, we are so very close. And I'm so glad that I have them in my life. I'd do anything and everything in my power for them and I'm pretty sure it's mutual. I've always wanted more than one child and I'm glad that Madeline and Cooper have each other. They are partners in crime. They argue and fight but they love each other. When they are away from each other, they miss each other. And usually if one gets sent to time-out, the other is off pouting until it's over. They are each other's best friend at times and the nemesis at others. But I truly feel that they will always be there for each other. And I hope I'm correct.



Families come in all different shapes and sizes. How boring would it be if they were all a cookie cutter image of each other? Sometimes it's a choice, and sometimes it's not. All we can do is what we feel is best for each of our circumstances. Only time will tell if we are successful! =)

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I think that it can go either way..... a child that was raised with 2-3 siblings and having to share everything has JUST as much, if not more of a chance of becoming selfish! If they hated sharing or resented having nothing to call their own wouldn't it make sense that it could cause them to be just as selfish as a child that is used to having everything his own?!!



This is a very good debate Jo! My beau and I are trying to decide whether or not we want to have another child! Roxanne is 19 months now and I'm blessed......she really is such a good kid and I'm so grateful because being a first time new mom she definitely makes my job easy! She LOVES to share.....she doesn't get to do it all the time and she's used to playing on her own a lot so she WELCOMES the interaction.....she's not agressive AT ALL! I don't think I've even had to discipline her so far.....honestly!



I feel there's A LOT of things that factor into how they develop their social behaviour but......PARENTING has A LOT to do with it and it's at the top of the list for me!

ME - posted on 04/13/2010

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This is an interesting question, and one that my partner and I went round and round on too...I have 3 sisters and a brother, and most of us get along great! We didnt' always as children, but we will be adults and have the close adult bond and relationship far longer! I felt like it was very important for Miles to have a sibling, Trav didn't (he's an only child)...In the end, I think you can have an only child turn out perfectly...just as you can have the middle child of 5 turn out to be a genious (my sister)...it's about genetics, and the environment provided by the parents and family...not about a single factor in a child's life!

Lisamarie - posted on 04/13/2010

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I think it definetely depends on the parenting. In my experiences as a child 9 out of 10 of the only children I knew grewing up were from single parent backgrounds and 8 out of 10 of them we bullies, half of them were spoilt and a few were pretty good friends.

I have 4 siblings and my hubby has 2. I have always wanted 4 children and my hubby wanted 2 so we settled on 3. We have a 3 year old and a 8 month old and after we had my 8 month old.

When I was growing up I loved being on my own because my brothers and sister annoyed the hell out of me! Now I've moved out I'm kind of jealous of the relationship the three still at home have with eachother. My hubby's sister and brother live quite far away so my hubby is like an only child most of the time!

I think it's nice to have someone else to grow up with and someone to complain about your parents to! =)

Rosie - posted on 04/12/2010

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i think it is in the parenting. however, i couldn't imagine my life without my brother and sister. being alone would drive me batty. my husband has a much younger sister, so for 10 years of his life he was an only child. he only wanted 1 kid, i had to practically beg for another (i already had 1 before we married). chad isn't a brat who doesn't share, in fact he's completely the opposite. i remember we worked together first for a couple of years, and he would always bring his sister into work to pick up a couple things, or get his paycheck. he was 16 at the time, and most 16 year old boys wouldn't want to be caught dead with their 6 year old sisters. yet there he was driving her around, opening doors for her, and buying her things when he went through the checkout.

whitney (chads sister) because she is younger, and the "baby" i feel gets treated a lot differently than chad ever did, and obviously they have the same parents. i think her birthorder, and maybe even her gender, plays a role. she's alot more selfish, and unwilling to work for things.

my brother (the baby) still lives at home and he's 25. that would be unheard of if it were me or my sister. however, he works, he helps out around the house, and he is a very good kid, but somehow he can't cut the apron strings.

i even see myself doing it with lucas. as much as i can't stand it, i feel i let lucas get away with some things cause he's my baby. i'm horrible-but he's so cute!

so birth order and parenting play a huge role in my mind. not how many siblings you have or don't have.

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I think it is more in the parenting than not. And I also think you have to take into consideration the birth order as well. Although that is not an exact science either.

Personally, I want more than one child. My sister is my best friend and I couldn't imagine life without her. My husband feels the same about his sister and brother. I feel like I gained a sister and brother when we got married. In fact, my brother in law ALWAYS calls me "sister" when he sees me. "Hey sister!" I love having people that "get me" and will love me no matter what. My husband's dad has 11 brothers and sisters and they are the closest, most loving family I've ever known. They would literally do anything for one of the others.

However, I believe, single children can find that in cousins or close friendships. I also have a friend I'd consider my sister.

So whatever you are comfortable with is fine. I don't think you'll mess up your kid/s by only having one or choosing to have 8.

Jenny - posted on 04/12/2010

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All I know is any children I had over two would have been promptly eaten in the wild. Two is a perfect fit for our family.

Sharon - posted on 04/12/2010

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I think that if you both see the negatives in either situation you can work to fix those single or multiple kids.

What I think of.... after you two are gone who will your child have to lean on? For some families, extended family IS family. Seen daily, loved daily etc. That is not how our family is. We love our extended family but its obvious our kids are not as close to them as they are to us and each other.

If my husband & I were to die tomorrow, they would have each other.

La - posted on 04/12/2010

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I am an only child and I learned to share and get along with others because I was always playing with other kids even before I was in school. I never had a problem sharing...maybe it was my personality or maybe it was the was I was raised. When I was a teenager I enjoyed activities that were more independant (running, biking, swimming, etc), but I was also involved in a lot of social activities as well. As I get older I prefer having company as opposed to having quiet time. Overall, I don't feel that being an only child made me selfish, isolated, or spoiled.

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