FAO those who are an only child! UPDATED

OH and I were discussing age gaps the other day and he dropped the bombshell that he isn't even sure if he wants another baby. I was so shocked. He says it's not because of the hard work etc, but more that he gets to spend so little time with Beth already he can't imagine having to share his time/love with another child.

I always thought we'd have 2 and although I think the early days are going to be really hard I would like Beth to have a sibling when she gets older to play with, be close to. I am a twin so I can't imagine growing up without someone else. I always remember going downstairs really early with my sis and we'd just play or watch cartoons until my parents got up.

Anyway, OH (who has a sister he is very close to) reckons being an only child is fine and she wouldn't miss out but I'm not so sure. Those who are only children - how did you find it? I know it's a hard question as you've never known anything different, but do you feel you missed out not having a sibling? Would you rather have had one?



Wow - I can't believe how many people replied to this! Thanks so much. I actually got OH to read this thread and it has made him realise he does want another!
So looks like we are going to start TTC again early next year. Whoohoo!! Am so excited (and also terrified!!!)


[Modified by: Baby B on 19 July 2010 14:09:41 ]


  • Technically i'm not an only child but i was 16 when my parents had my sister so I grew up as an only child. Growing up I always wanted a brother or sister and as an adult I do feel I miss out on having a close sibling. Although I am very clos to my sister it's a different relationship to that that my oh has with his siblings who are 2 years apart either side of him.
    I am very close to my cousins though and 2 inparticular I suppose I sort of have a sisterly relationship with.

    Growing up I couldn't say whether it would have made things better/worse having a sibling but I do sometimes wish my sister was closer in age to me now I'm older so that we could share important parts of our lives such as having children better if that makes sence?

    Sorry if all that sounds a bit rambled teething baby = being up half the night & 1 very tired Mummy today lol
  • oh I do feel for you as my hubby is exactly the same!! My boy is coming up for 3 now, I'm also 35 and couldn't imagine another financially (statutory maternity pay was a killer for us!) so I don't think i'll be having any more either.
    My oldest best friend was an only child and she doesn't think she's missed out on anything, in fact the opposite as her parents could afford to buy her whatever she wanted!! We have also been close friends since we were 3 and we spent all day in holidays and weekends at each others houses so we were more like sisters.
    Plus my sister is 10year and my brother 12years older than me, so even tho I have siblings it didn't feel like it when I was little as they didn't want to play with me being so much older. However I am extremley close to my sister now.

    it hasn't really bothered me until recently when my boy now keeps asking why he doesn't have a brother or sister, and then he says he wants a sister - I really don't know what to say to him about it

    Do you have friends or family with lo's about the same age?? I have two very close friends with los the same age so we are all hoping they'll grow up to be close friends. my sister also has four kids and even tho they are bit older than ds he loves playing with them and I make sure we visit several times a week.
  • im not an only child but mum had me later in life and my sibling were in teens 20's so i felt like an only child i would have killed for someone to play with and felt left out sometimes when friends did things with siblings which s why i jave a large family (4) i only have 14mth age gap between first 2 x
    im sure that there will be people who enjoyed being an only child and wont agree with me (as always)
    also some people can only have 1 child for whatever reason so im not saying it shouldn happen just that i didnt like it.
  • Hi there,

    I am an only child, which was my parents' choice. They decided that they would only have the one, and I have never felt that I have missed out on having a sibling.

    I do have lots and lots of cousins though, and my parents always made sure that I went to things that involved other children such as playgroups and then things like brownies, gymnastics, dance and after school clubs as I got older. Friends were always very welcome at our house, whether that was arranged or unannounced, for tea etc and also to stay overnight.

    I think I had a great balance as my life was full of social contact and stimulation, and yet there were times of peace and quiet too.

    As you say, I have never known any different, so it may be that I would have been just as happy with a sibling! The friends that I have made as an adult are always really surprised when I say that I am an only child as I think they have in their minds an ieda that only children can be spoilt, selfish and demanding. I would hope that I am none of those things - wouldn't we all lol!

    People used to say really insensitive things to me and to my parents even when I was very little. I remember a friend of my mum's saying "Oh isn't it a shame that mammy and daddy didn't have any more children" and " are you lonely?" which, lets face it, aren't things that adults should say to children. But (and my parents don't feel the need to justify their decision!) we have always been a very happy, close and loving family. My mum used to say to me "I couldn't beat perfection, and you are perfect" which is so sweet I think. I don't think I was unduly spoilt with material things as an only child - there were always children (only children and those with siblings) who had more toys, nicer clothes, went on more holidays than me. But I was certainly spoilt in terms of love and support.

    The nice thing for my parents is that they both agreed that they would have only one child. I am in a similar situation to you in that my DH wants another child (or even two - he is pushing it!)) and I am happy with just having DS (2 and a half years old). I don't know where we will end up!
  • i wasn't an only child, but my brother ans sister (twins) are 8 yrs older than me, so in some repects i was alone as a child. tbh i hated it, may have been tho because i could see them doing stuff together that i couldn't etc, and perhpas if they ahdn't been about at all then i couldn't miss what i didn't know, iyswim? personally i couldn't imagine only having one child, and currently expecting no2 (ds will be 20-21months when this oen arrives) mainly because i want ds to ahve that bond or buddiness that i didn't get (well nto until we were all older, like when i was 18 and could go out with them etc...up til then i was onlyreally any good for baby sitting their broods lol), plus OH only had 18months between him and his brother and they're incredibly close, which makes me a little sad that i don't have that, mind u that could just be my family in general as even my brother and sister (the twins) barely speak, and my mum doesn'ttalk to my sister etc, so might not have anything to do with siblings or lack of but more just how our family appears to operate.
    sorry i can't offer any advice, obviously its soemthing that only u and ur OH can work out, but i really hope u can come to a decision thats best for all of u xx
  • Hi. I'm an only child and I always wanted a sibling. But my dad brought me up alone, and as he obviously had to work I spent a lot of time on my own. I never felt I missed out on the material things particularly, although we weren't made of money. My dad did a fantastic job bringing me up, and I know he loved me so much. But I am definitely not spoilt and I don't like being the centre of attention. What I will say is I guess to a degree I was lonely, because of our circumstances. Now as an adult, not being to close to other members of the family, I could have done with a sibling's support. We now have the discussion of OH who has a sister, not wanting more than one child. I would like a brother or sister for our lo. I think I may have more confidence if I had had a sibling. I would like lo to have the bond you can only get from a sibling, and the support if anything was to happen to us. Sorry I've rambled, it's a sore subject in our household. :roll: Hope you can come to an agreement. xx
  • I come from a large family, and always wanted at least 3 children of my own (which we have lol!).

    One of my best friends is an only child, and doesn't know her dad. She has always been sad she didn't have siblings - and was determined she would have more than 1 child. She always says she is v envious of me having such a big family around me - her upbringing was a bit like Saffy from Ab-Fab lol!

    Another of my friends mother was an only child, and hated it so much that she risked her life having 2 more children after she nearly died during her first pregnancy.

    Having said that, I would never think badly of people only wanting 1 child - only children are not necessarily lonely or spoilt - and I have heard of plenty of people who wish they were only children, because they never had enough attention as children. Only children tend to be high - achievers in life because they have had so much individual parental attention, so there are advantages to being a singleton.

  • I'm an only child. Luckily, when I was growing up, I had lots of friends so was never short of play mates. Whenever we went on holiday, I always made a friend (we had holidays abroad every year because they only had me) occasionally, I wished I'd had a sibling.

    Now, however, I really wish I had a brother or sister. Dh is one if three and he tells me tales from his childhood involving his brother and sister that sound so much fun! Having other people to get excited about Christmas/birthday parties with, having compnay in long journeys, hoildays in campsites, telling each other stories at night and having someone to sick up for you at school. I'm always jealous when he says things like 'i'm going to phone my brother' or 'my sister wants us to go for lunch'

    I had a good childhood, it's only on reflection I see what I missed. I'd also add, that I don't deal with arguements well which I think is to do with being an only one and not really having arguements with anyone! I've lost a lot if friends simply because I don't know how to say sorry, approach issues, know what's acceptable to argue about (and what's not) I also struggle to see others points of views.

    We're expecting our second in Feb, all being well, and I know Ds and baby might not get on in the future. But at least they will have a link to their past when we're gone and hopefully will be close.

    I don't know if that helps, just wanted to say my part! image
  • I am not an only child but my older brother and sister are 6 & 8 years older and I have a younger brother 11 years younger. I hated it when he came along because I was no longer the baby and probably because he was born on my birthday. I am now close to my siblings but growing up I wasn't, I did have lots of cousins and friends and didnt feel lonely at all.
  • I am an only child and when I was younger I wouldnt have changed it for the world.
    I wasnt spoiled but I never went without, we were always busy doing different activities/going to different places (which my mum does admit now that had they had more children they wouldnt have been able to afford to give me the many experiences I had when I was younger) .
    Also, I grew up with lots of cousins who lived in the next street so we were always in each other's houses and playing etc so it felt like having siblings (or how I imagine it would be) but having the benefit of when I wanted to do things on my own I could.

    However, now that I'm older with my own child and am not as close to my cousins I do miss that I dont have a sibling to share things with and support (whilst I have some fab friends I dont think it could compensate a sibling relationship).
    It has made me realise that I dont want my LO to be an only child and will definately try for another when he's about 3years old.

    On the other side of the coin - My hubby is the eldest of 3 and hated it. He was always blamed for things, relied upon to look after his brother & sister in certain situations and they all have a strained relationship with each other now, which I find really sad. He said that being one of 3 sometimes made it more argumentative because 2 could gang up on 1 in an argument! I know that could be down to how they were raised etc but it def puts me off having more than 2.
  • i think most peoples replies really say that if baby is well socialised it doesnt matter. my hubby is an only child and i wind his mum up by saying that's the reason for most of his annoying behaviours! he just doent communicate with me!!! but he never had a bro / sis to talk to, so just isnt used to chitchat. his parents were older paremts too, and very sensible and not mumsie.
  • There's an article about only children in this week's Time Magazine. It's an interesting read! It basically says that all the stereotypes of only children (spoilt, selfish, antisocial etc) are total nonsense and that there are plenty of benefits to having only one child which can balance out (or even outweigh) the lack of siblings.

    As you might have guessed, we are currently debating whether to have another baby. The article helped reassure me that we wouldn't be doing the wrong thing if we only had the one.

  • Hi Baby B,

    I am an only child and cannot recall ever having particularly wanted a sibling; I am close to my mum and had a good friend from the age of 4 who spent a lot of time at our house but I appreciate it is not the same.

    I was not spoilt as such, but it is true that I had more than would have been feasible with one or more other children.

    My hubby is eldest of three, and not close to either sibling despite there being less than two years between him and the youngest.

    Grace is almost ten months (tomorrow!) and we do not intend to have any more children. After a lot thinking about whether to return to work or not, I shall be going back to work three days a week from September and Grace will be attending the nursery of a prep school near to my office. Part of the reason I decided to return to work is so that we can pay for her education if we wish to; we would like her to go to the same school as I did if possible and there is no way we could afford this without my salary as well. We would not be able to do so for any more than one child either.

    I hope that doesn't sound selfish image

    Best wishes for the ongoing conversation with your hubby x

  • i was an only child until i was 8 and i was VERY lonely, my mum didn't want another child after a traumatic labour with me but i was forever asking for a brother or sister and she eventually gave in...i hated her when she was born :lol: now we get on great (when i'm giving her money :lol: ) altho she's a stroppy teenager now at times hehe x
  • I think the point about cousins is key. I grew up miles from any of my cousins (most of whom are lots older than me) but I did have two siblings instead. We fought like cat and dog from time to time, but I love them both dearly and wouldn't want my life to be without them. Blood relations are the ones who are forced on you in ways that friends often aren't, thereby forcing you to learn to share things like Christmas and parental attention. Children who grow up in a larger extended family, even if they don't have immediate siblings, will have a type of socialisation that children brought up as onlies with just adult influences in their lives won't. Not necessarily a better type of socialisation, just a different and perhaps rather more common one.

    If Peter had any cousins, or was likely to have them nearby, I might be less keen on providing him with siblings. As it is, I have known practically since he was born that he needs at least one sibling (two for preference, but my husband still needs to be convinced). We live 3,000 miles from his second cousins (who are a little older than he is) and would still be about 2 hours drive minimum from any first cousins that my sister-in-law might provide, not that she or either of my siblings are anywhere near ready to start families. So we are about four months from ttc no. 2 and I cannot wait! I am hopelessly broody again, not helped by just finding out that two friends are pregnant and due in the new year! image
  • Hubby is an only child so I am responding on his behalf (with his permission!)
    I mentioned in another thread that the reason he is an only child is because once he was born his parents realised that it wasn't for them.
    He had the best of everything, was always away on holidays, scouts, army cadets..
    Because of the way his family is, he never grew up around cousins but always had to work that bit harder to make friends. He is a fantastic friend as a result and everybody loves him but he really wanted a sibling growing up and it saddens him when he sees my relationship with my siblings (4 in total but on different sides!)

    I have an enormous family and he loves it. He is so keen for us to start trying for another so that T can have a brother or sister and we can have the family that he always wanted as a child

    So there's a man's point of view for you hun!!

  • im not an only child but the youngest with an 11 year age gap and i always wanted a brother or sister closer in age to me as it felt like i was an only child its only since i got married and had children that im closer to my older half brothers and half sister which has made me go the other way with my children i have 2 girls with a 17 month gap and plan on the next baby when youngest is at pre school then another quite quickly as i dont want them to be lonely also my oh is the youngest and has a 10 year age gap between him and his brother so he also felt like an only child and agrees with me if we have another then we will have another after that close in age as he was lonely too as a child.

    [Modified by: 2girlywhirlys on July 14, 2010 02:26 AM]

  • I'm one of 4 and although we didn't always get on I wouldn't have chcnged it for the world. My Dad got made redundant when we were young so for a while there wasn't any money around and we never went away very far from home. But having each other to always play with and look out for each other was great. Now we are older we (tend) to get on better and always have support from someone who completely understands your views and just how you are.

    I have always wanted 4 children, my OH wants 3 (he is one of three), but as I'm getter on and money will be tight I think we'll see after two.

    A close friend of mine is an only child and although she always wanted siblings as she always had friends around and a couple of children living next door she didn't mind being an only child.

  • I am an only child, not through my parents choice though, through me being a bit of a miracle with them having low fertility. It didnt bother me growing up that I was an only child although I apparently asked my mum for a sister once, but I had a lot of friends so dont feel I missed out on playing with other children.

    I think being an only child has made me more independent and when I was younger I wanted to spend time with adults a lot and get involved with their conversations. I always enjoyed playing games on my own as well.

    The part of my life I feel being an only child has affected me the most is since I have become an adult and left home, my mum focuses all her attention on me and can be quite stifling and jealous a lot of the time. I now wish I had a sibling for her to share her attention on. That may be more of a reflection on my mum's personality than on being an only child though.
  • Hiya Baby B. I'm an only child and at times, it did suck that I had no one to play with when I was younger but at the same time, I soon forgot about it. I had my mum and dads undivided attention and love and I'm not spoilt or materialistic because my parents still said no and taught me the value of money - not teaching that makes a child spoilt IMO.

    I had very close friendships with my friends at school and Because I had to make new friends myself when we went on holiday, I was a confident and outgoing child (Maybe a little too much sometimes haha) and I also learned how to appreciate my own company and not seek companionship all the time.

    What I will say though is that I don't like arguments either as I'm not used to them...I will stand up for myself though but I'd rather avoid it. I found it extremely hard to share my room with oh at first because I'd never been used to that permanent invasion of privacy and that really took time to change.

    The relationship I have with my mum, was at times, suffocating. As I was an only child, and all the attention was on me I feel a bit like all her eggs are in one basket and I need to fulfil certain things for her..for example, get married, spend every Xmas, have a family ect as I dream of when ds is older and being involved in him growing up, I think this can be magnified tenfold on only children and at points, I did feel stifled.

    Now though, we still have a great relationship and I honeslty still feel instantly better when she gives me a hug and love spending time with her..something which my oh doesn't experience and my mil said she never felt it with her mum...and she was the youngest of six.

    I would like another child but for selfish reasons really. I would love a little girl and Although I love my ds completley, I do feel a little jealous that oh gets to do male bonding with him and I can't do that sort of thing with him. Like kicking a ball or teaching to ride his bike. But if we never do have another, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it x
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