Thoughts on being an only child...



  • sassyjae21
    sassyjae21 Posts: 1,217 Member
    You know, I just can't relate to those that say they weren't lonely as a child. I was an only child until I was 9. I was lonely! But losing my father at a young age might have contributed to that.

    Also, I grew up to be completely independent. I don't really think an individual needs to be an only child to learn how to do that.

    I'm sorry you lost a parent so young, that's terrible. Especially on children :(

    And I was extremely independent, and extremely introverted and I had siblings growing up.
  • UsedToBeHusky
    UsedToBeHusky Posts: 15,229 Member
    You know, I just can't relate to those that say they weren't lonely as a child. I was an only child until I was 9. I was lonely! But losing my father at a young age might have contributed to that.

    Also, I grew up to be completely independent. I don't really think an individual needs to be an only child to learn how to do that.

    I'm sorry you lost a parent so young, that's terrible. Especially on children :(

    And I was extremely independent, and extremely introverted and I had siblings growing up.

    Thanks. It did have a profound effect on me. I didn't really understand death at the time, and by the time I did, I was devastated.
  • spade117
    spade117 Posts: 2,510 Member
    I have four children. One of them wants to be an only child.
  • cosmiqrust
    cosmiqrust Posts: 214 Member
    try being an only child in a family that lost their firstborn. unpleasant to say the least. a little disturbing to think of how many photos and videos i was bombarded with from an early age, where my mom would plop my squirmy butt in front of the tv to say hi to my sister in her baby videos. we're both a bit neurotic to say the least. :sick: but apart from that, a lot of screaming fights and an ugly divorce, i had an ok childhood. probably would have been easier to handle with another small human dealing with the same things, but then i would have had to share my food.
  • Cardio4Cupcakes
    Cardio4Cupcakes Posts: 289 Member
    I'm an only child. I was kind of a loner and kept to myself, as I do now. I'm a little too independent though. I hate asking for things or help.
  • lilRicki
    lilRicki Posts: 4,555 Member
    I'm a full time step mom of an only child, and we aren't planning more. I'm also the baby of the family by a lot of years. I can say my son and I are both very selfish people. We don't know how to share, and we don't know how to handle situations that don't go our way. Also, if my son and are are lonely, we will be up your butt, but if we want alone time, lord help you when you disturb us.
    We are both spoiled rotten, when I was younger I didn't appreciate the things I had. Now in saying that, my child is very well behaved, doesn't have troubles doing things alone like going to the park by himself, he's way cheaper to deal with than 2 children, I can focus on his developmental disability better than if I had a toddler running around, and I'm hoping that we are creating a lasting relationship with each other. It's up to you OP, just remember that not every family is "leave it to Beaver", you can hope that the children will be BFFs but you never know. They might not even play with each other lol.
  • cdahl383
    cdahl383 Posts: 725 Member
    I'm an only child and I enjoyed my childhood growing up. It would have been neat to have some siblings I think looking back, but it's not something that bothers me or anything really. It will be tough when my parents get older and need care when I'm the only one to do it all for them. It was also a big adjustment for me when I got married just because I was used to doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, never having to check with anyone or having anyone else's needs put before mine before, etc. I wouldn't say I was spoiled growing up with toys or anything, but I did get all the attention since I was the only kid.

    If you're talking in the context of family planning, I would just focus on what you and your husband want in terms of kids and a family vs what the kid will react to being an only child or with siblings. The kids won't know any better, so in reality it doesn't matter. If you just want one kid there's nothing wrong with that. But once we had one we knew we wanted another one. We're still thinking of having one more so we'll have three kids. They're a lot of work but so much fun too at the same time.
  • Chain_Ring
    Chain_Ring Posts: 753 Member
    I would totally comment here but I got nothin'............

    Hi Trish :-)
  • Collier78
    Collier78 Posts: 811 Member
    I grew up with a brother that was four years younger than me. I still enjoy alone time and will often eat out or take in a movie alone even though I'm married with children of my own now. I don't think independence is fostered through the number of children you have, but how you parent them. I have three children of my own now; 13,7, and 16 months. They way my youngest's face lights up when her 13 year old sister and 7 year old brother come in is priceless. Do they argue? Sure. Do they not always get along? Absolutely, but they through the way we interact with them and the time we spend with them, they are forging bonds that will be stronger than any friendship they ever nurture. It can be a struggle to spend quality time, especially with the age gaps, but we make it work and we find ways to make it happen.

    I really think out of all of them my 16 month old lucked out. She crawled early, walked early, and is already identifying things and using single words. It won't be long now before she is talking in complete sentences. She has the focus of four other people in the house that already have advanced vocabularies compared to hers! We don't do baby talk, and we focus on making sure she gets brain exercise. There are advantages and disadvantages no matter the number of children you have, but it is a personal decision. :wink:
  • Forty6and2
    Forty6and2 Posts: 2,492 Member
    I have noticed that I am totally ok with doing things by myself like going to restaurants, movies, shopping, etc. It drives me nuts when I have friends who bug the crap out of me while I am busy because they can't bring themselves to do some activity alone. I also rarely get bored. I think that is because I got used to entertaining myself while growing up without siblings.

    This describes me as well and I'm the 4th child out of 5.

    Sounds like me and I have a brother and 7 step-siblings. I'm actually an extroverted person but I can't stand hanging out with people who constantly party or go to clubs. I'd rather sit at home and binge watch my favorite Netflix series.
  • sho3girl
    sho3girl Posts: 10,799 Member
    I was an only child until I was 7 ..

    I was the first granddaughter on my Fathers side and the first grandchild on my Mothers so I had a lot of attention and adult interaction from an early age. I found it difficult to make new friends and have been incredibly private and didn't share ( well I didn't have to).

    My sister and I grew up almost a generation apart - it was me who used to help her with her homework - itself a massive task as she didn't want to be indoors learning French.

    We grew up together but apart due to the age gap.
  • links_slayer
    links_slayer Posts: 1,151 Member
    my wife is married to an only child. the grass is always greener....
  • icck
    icck Posts: 197 Member
    I have siblings, but was raised an only child and saw them every few years at most. I don't really have much to do with them now as an adult either, they're more distant family members, so I may as well be an only child. I've always liked being alone, to be honest, so it's never bothered me. I'm happy being social and around a lot of people, but I'm just as happy with my own company.

    My partner grew up with siblings, though - he was the youngest for a long time. He can tell horror stories about being picked on by them and still has an iffy relationship with the eldest sibling, yet he's utterly convinced having another child will make our daughter a better person in later life. Me, I don't see being an only child as a negative at all.
  • _lyndseybrooke_
    _lyndseybrooke_ Posts: 2,561 Member
    My 11-year-old niece is an only child. She's in an awkward stage and doesn't have good social skills. She spends most of her days sitting in front of a computer playing games instead of playing with friends. She got bullied in school really bad for a few years, but that seemed to taper off once my parents put her in tae kwon do and boosted her confidence up a bit. Still, it makes me sad to think about how she's living - she seems lonely and she has a really hard time making friends.

    HOWEVER, this isn't all because she doesn't have siblings. This is all because of how she was raised. My parents and her mother let the computer raise her while they sleep on the couch all day. They hardly ever take her out to do anything; they never pushed her to make friends; they don't take her to classmates' birthday parties or arrange play dates.

    I plan on having two kids. I had a sister (8 years older than me) and a step-brother (6 years older than me), but since there was such an age gap, I don't think I got the benefit of having siblings. My husband has 4 siblings and I think it's good for kids to have brothers and sisters to play with, talk to, learn from, etc.

    There's nothing wrong with having only one child, as long as the parents know that they'll have to work a little harder to make sure the kid is properly socialized and is equipped with the proper skills to survive the hell that they call school.
  • hookilau
    hookilau Posts: 3,134 Member
    Here's a completely different take on it. Back when I was teaching graduate students I would occasionally have an only "child," over 21 years old mind you, who still didn't know how to act as an independent adult because their parents had spent too much time and effort protecting them from the rigors of life. For example, sometimes these people had never held a job because their parents were able to support them fully and felt the most important thing for them to do was do well in their studies. You are not doing someone a favor if they get to be 21 years old without ever having had a job. No employer is going to be excited to hire them no matter how high their GPA.

    Being an only child is not necessarily a problem as long as the parents don't handicap the child by convincing it that it is too precious or unable to handle the rigors of life out in the rough and tumble world of society. Of course, this can happen to multiple children, too.

    Yep! My parents were like that. The had my older sister & younger brother convinced that their only responsibility in their young lives were to get good grades & do as they were told. They did not allow them to work until they were through with school. (college)

    Both of their futures were mapped out for them. Both are unable to care for themselves without subsidies from my parents. At the ages of 47 & 34 years old, I'd say that's a bit much.

    My sister is saddled with school loans she *still* cannot pay & as a CPA, still can't earn a living. My brother went to a private school that my stepfather paid for (ie: no loans to pay back) but also has a degree in Computer Technology that he has *never* used & now can't really because his skill set is so outdated by today's standards.

    I, on the other hand, the middle child issue :mad: I never did anything they said, always had my own mind & forged my own path. I've been working since I was 16 (because they would not give me any $$ as punishment for my independent nature).

    They felt that if they supported me in any way other than to put a roof over my head & feed me, it was 'rewarding' me for my insolence. I've had to work for everything I have & for that I'm grateful :drinker:

    It's cultural though, we are of Indian decent & Indian children *MUST* be obedient, or get lix...I chose trial by fire & lix was my life :laugh:
  • cindiva65
    cindiva65 Posts: 335 Member
    Im an only child. Growing up I guess I never really thought much about it since that was all I ever knew. I think it would be nice to have siblings especially as my parents are aging and having health issues. When something happens it all falls on my shoulders.

    My son is also an only child and was pretty spoiled I must say especially by his father. But he grew up to be a great guy (hes 23 now).

    So like anything else it has its pros and cons.
  • BobcatGirl110
    BobcatGirl110 Posts: 364 Member
    I am on only child. We tend to be very confident, independent, bright, and mature. I never once cared about being an only as a child and only now do ever even think about what it would be like to have a sister in particular....only because at 46 years old I see others having "girls days" (frankly nights, weekends, and vacations) with their sisters and I do kinda wish I had that but I wouldn't trade it for whatever drama can happen with sibs. Only kids aren't necessarily "spoiled" unless you had lots of money to shower on a kid...but we do know often how we were "catered" to. We got meals we liked and christmases were all about us no matter how many or few gifts were received or how much $ was spent. I do see many onlys as mature because I have noticed many times that we often have no idea (and/or interest) in people our own age...we do well with older people because what's what we grew up with. I have two daughters and I'm grateful they will have each other....naturally I was very much considering only having one (as that is what I'm "used" to and "comfortable" with) but I'm so incredibly happy they will always have each other. Don't have a second child just because you are worried about a kid being an only.....that's never the reason to have another baby. Onlys are perfectly fine and there is no need to shy away from considering just one.
  • toadg53
    toadg53 Posts: 302 Member
    My dad was an only child. He and my mom went on to have 5 of us. I never knew what that meant and always wondered when we would meet the "other" grandkids (duh!!) But I always knew growing up, that it was awesome having gramma/grampa with us for every holiday and they did splurge on us at Christmas. And I know I got spoiled before school started, getting to spend a week alone with them, and they bought me all kinds of things, clothes, etc., for school. I don't even recall how old I was before I realized ... OH ... there ARE no other aunt/uncles./grandkids.

    But when my dad got ill and we kids were helping him and mom a LOT before he passed, one day he said "What would we have done without our kids" ... I knew that he was definitely glad they'd had more than just one child.

    I'm sure he had plenty of "perks" growing up as a single child, just like we had plenty growing up being the only grandkids too. But I have wonderful memories growing up with my brothers and sister. Even though we are spread over 11 years, and I'm the youngest. And we still continue to create great memories and continue to grow closer all the time. And as our mom is probably in her final months right now, I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have my sister and brothers to bounce things off of, and to lean on ... especially when I am the caregiver.
  • tuffytuffy1
    tuffytuffy1 Posts: 920 Member
    My son is an only child, 9 years old, and at times he has wished he had a playmate at home. But for the most part, he is extremely content. He has tons of friends in our neighborhood, in his various sports, and sees them all the time. We just took a friend of his on a weekend getaway for them to play in a baseball tournament, they had a blast. My husband and I love that we can focus all of our attention on our extremely talented and gifted son, he is the love of our lives and we like it that way. He also sees his friends with siblings fighting and getting in trouble with their parents, and I think that has something to do with him being content as the only kid in the house. Our son is a gifted athlete and my husband and I can attend every single practice and game. Our son sees his sports friends at games and practices where neither parent is there to cheer on their child because they have other children they need to shuttle to various activities. We also have the opportunity to send him to amazing camps in the summer that we simply could not afford if we had other children. Finally, we can also take wonderful vacations due to the savings of having to pay for just 3 airline tickets instead of 4, 5, 6, or more, which would just be cost prohibitive.

    To the OP, it is such a personal decision to make. And to the people saying that siblings insure that you are taken care of when you pass away/become gravely ill, I know many, many families, including my own, where that just isn't true. The families I know involve one of the siblings basically doing all of the caretaking.
  • AusAshMommy
    AusAshMommy Posts: 845 Member
    I'm the oldest of Four
    My husband is an Only child who grew up with his cousins living right down the street from him
    We have two kids

    Honestly being the oldest of four I felt more pressure to be "Perfect" - get good grades, do well in all aspects of my life - however once I was done with college that went out the window and I did what I wanted

    Hubby was raised by a single Mom who had him when she was a teenager, however he sometimes shows signs of what we call "only child syndrome" meaning he definitely has ideas of what he wants and how he wants things to go, gets very frustrated when he doesn't get them the way he wants them - then there's the level of extremism he shows with things - there's no such thing as compromise, it's either A or B not some grey in between and that's frustrating to the level of tiring. He has zero respect for material goods, doesn't take care of his things and totally lets them fall to the wayside and get damaged - I am guessing this is because if something broke or got damaged when he was a kid his mom just replaced it vs. having him deal with said broken/damaged item. The plus side of being raised by a single Mom is that he's very respectful to women and has been a great father to our two because he's wanted to give them what he didn't have.

    When I had our son I knew I wanted to give him a sibling, there was NEVER a question about that - the debate came after our daughter was born on whether or not we'd have a third - we decided against it and took steps necessary to ensure baby #3 would never happen.

    It varies person to person honestly how they handle being an only child.