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Criticism on having an only

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My little one is only 8 months old, but I've been getting pressured to 'make him a sibling' since before he was born.  I often find myself using the Pass the Bean Dip method to deal with this, because people are often really worried when I say I'm only planning on the one for now. Like I'm prohibiting him from having a full life if he's sibling-less. 


I am choosing (at least for now) to only have 1 child.  As much as it hurts me to hear this, I can only imagine how much more hurtful it would be to someone who is not able to have more children.

 

Anyone else in this boat?

post #2 of 13

Hi Cat13: The pressure will probably only get stronger as time goes on. Many people will tell you that you are being selfish, that your child needs a sibling. Lots of research has been done on only children; it reflects that children without siblings fare quite well and have as many siblings as their peers with brothers and sisters. Check out my related posts on my blog at Psychology Today magazine:  Susan Newman, Ph.D., author of The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide.

post #3 of 13

People do feel sorry for only kids.  It's not something that you can get away from.  The older your dc gets, the more people are going to hound you about having another one.  Then one day, they'll mostly give up and stop.  But you are years away from that lol.  As time goes on you will get used to the questions.  For me, it's like the vax issue.  I mostly just refuse to get into the "whys" of it because most people don't really care anyways.  They just want to be nosy and judgemental.  You'll figure out your own way of dealing with it. :)

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Newman View Post

Hi Cat13: The pressure will probably only get stronger as time goes on.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post

The older your dc gets, the more people are going to hound you about having another one.  Then one day, they'll mostly give up and stop. 

 

My experience was that after dd was 5 years old people kind of dropped the subject entirely.

 

People will act like you are messing your child up for not doing what they think is normal. If you chose to have 6 kids people would say annoying things to you as well. Of course what they say is not true nor is it any of their business how many children you have.

 

You could just say that you will not discuss your fertility with anyone but your partner or medical professional before changing the subject.

post #5 of 13

I believe the only way to avoid people's ridiculous comments about family size is to have exactly 1 boy and 1 girl, exactly 2.5 years apart in age. Anything that deviates from that...people have an opinion.

post #6 of 13

People ask me all the time when I'm having another - I respond that one is enough! I'm run ragged by my spirited DS, and as a single mom there is NO way I can afford another right now!!

post #7 of 13

I just keep saying NOPE firmly.  My dad even asked my sister if I had a bad child birth experience, which I didn't...but really, Dad?  I definitely have friends that ask me at least every other month "still only planning on one" - YES.  HELLO!    Also, people also like to point to how close my sister and I are and how I am depriving Z from having that.  I'm getting to the point where I get kind of angry (which is not my demeanor) and say "my sister and I are close because of family trauma we had to go through in our childhood so I don't think we're a good example."   Bah!  irked.gif  My DH and his brother barely speak and when my MIL brings up me having other children I really want to point to there relationship but I'm just not that mean.  yet.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

I believe the only way to avoid people's ridiculous comments about family size is to have exactly 1 boy and 1 girl, exactly 2.5 years apart in age. Anything that deviates from that...people have an opinion.

yeahthat.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

People ask me all the time when I'm having another - I respond that one is enough! I'm run ragged by my spirited DS, and as a single mom there is NO way I can afford another right now!!

SSM, my DD is also *very* spirited -- since the moment she was born!!-- and I love it but I'm with you, how would I keep up with 2 and have time to keep my sanity??  haha 

post #8 of 13

I can - most of the time - let the criticism and questioning about DD being an only child roll off without too much irritation.  However, both my aunt and my grandmother asked her, on 2 separate occasions: 'Wouldn't you be happier with a brother or sister to play with?'!  jaw2.gif I think that is a bit cruel. Fortunately my DD is still too young to understand this, but I'm hoping it stops.  Anyone else's DC directly approached?

post #9 of 13

I have never been asked about having another child.

 

My husband would say it's because most people would ask him instead, since he is much friendlier than I am. I don't know if guys really talk about stuff like that?

 

When I was dealing with infertility treatments and looking rather pregnant, even when I was not, or recovering from miscarriage, I had a few people ask if I was expecting. My answer was: "Why do you ask?" A few mumbles or blank stare later and I was on my way.

 

I think I would use the same answer now for the only child questions. Really, why does it matter to someone who works in the same building as me or shops at the same grocery store?

 

Since our families know about the last miscarriage, I don't see them bringing it up. But they are all kinda live and let live people anyway.

post #10 of 13

We have one child and LOVE it!  He gets a lot of quality time from my husband and I ,and we get a lot of free time as well.  We make sure that he has plenty of play dates with children his age, so he gets alone time (which he loves) and social time (which he loves).  He is very  happy, well adjusted and advanced in so many ways and I'm sure it has to do with the quality time with spend with him. So, my response to "that" question is one filled with genuine enthusiasm for how amazing it is to have only one child!   Seriously, my friends with many children are very envious!!!  

post #11 of 13

Hi!  I'm new here, so hope it's ok to be joining the conversation.

 

Gotta say I was/am completely unprepared for the criticism we would receive for our one child choice.  We decided to have one, and only one, child years ago.  And I though we had been pretty open with friends and family about our decision.  To be fair no-one I actually consider a friend has criticized, but parents are acting shocked and appalled whenever it comes up now that I am pregnant.  I find the criticisms especially amusing/hypocritical when they come from my husband's family since he is an only child!  His mom has taken to pointing out what a great relationship I have with my siblings, and how jealous she is of that.  My line so far has been to explain that we are probably only as close as we are since our mom died when we were young, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  Next time I'm tempted to make an unkind stab about how a sibling doesn't guarantee a friend, since she doesn't get along with her siblings at all.  Maybe it's just the preggo-hormones, but if she gets on my nerves too much more, I'm going to have to drop the V-bomb.

 

My husband went ahead and got the vasectomy a few weeks ago, since that worked best with his schedule, and they take a while to take affect anyway.  I'm well into my 'due date window' - my midwifes encourage clients to think of it as a window rather than an exact date.  We are planning a home water birth with a midwife.  I am totally surprised to have gotten way more criticism/questioning/concern over the one-child choice than the home birth choice (even from people who don't know we've already gotten the vasectomy).  We didn't think anything of it when we mentioned it in passing to my parents (like: What are you doing today? Well, I'm picking B up from work, we're going out for lunch if you want to join us, then I'm taking him to his vasectomy, then we are running errands and going to a movie, then we have a work party...), but the reaction was so over-the-top we decided to wait a while to tell his parents, and soften the blow as much as possible by loudly voicing our one child decision as much as possible first. 

 

Even my midwife, who I had asked for a surgeon recommendation, went so far as to say it's 'highly unusual' for a couple to be interested in vasectomy so soon, though she was quite cute and professional about it (she's mormon and has 12 kids so I think there's a bit of a cultural gap).

 

Craziness!

post #12 of 13

I just joined the group. I've commented in the past on the old thread.  I have a daughter, 14.5, so we've done the only thing for quite a while now!  LOL   My daughter did briefly want a sibling, and she did have family members who directly asked her if she wanted one.  Fortunately by the time she was 4 or 5, she had friends with siblings.  She came to me one day with shock and horror and told me - 'Mom, siblings fight!  And they get into each other's stuff!'  The look on her face was priceless. lol.gif

 

From that moment on any family that brought it up got an emphatic No, I don't want a sibling!  With an implied, what are you thinking, hell no! expression. 

 

She is lucky to have two close friends who are onlies as well.  Well one is practically an only, as her older brother is 18 years older and moved out at 18.   She has a couple of acquaintances who are also onlies, so she doesn't feel unusual even though her dad and I are from large families (5 kids).  She is a mature and thoughtful girl, and has watched her parents deal with sibling issues and aging parent issues, both good and bad.  She's aware that being an only comes with some advantages and some missed experiences.  She is a lovely, thoughtful, caring and generous friend so the comments about onlies being spoiled brats or lacking social skills have stopped long ago. 

 

I don't feel criticized anymore about having an only.  I don't know if it is because she is older and so far seems to be turning out okay, or if we are just obviously too old to fix it now, or if it is just becoming more common as family sizes shrink.  I do know that any unusual decision is criticized less if you feel confident about your decision.  We homeschool which also draws comments.  As I became more confident in our choices, the questions either came less often or they just didn't register with me as important anymore.  

post #13 of 13

I kind of 'solved' the problem by (when I was ready) talking about our miscarriages and later making the connection that that was why we decided to shut down the factory and just continue with an only child. Now I am proud to say I have an only child and I've shared funny articles on FB (like THIS one... hilarious) and umm... NO ONE makes comments anymore. It's nice.

 

I have had one lady at work who said 'time for another' and I said 'well we tried and it didn't work out so....' and we both just moved the conversation elsewhere. I hope in the grand scheme of things being open about why we have an only child will increase awareness and maybe it has prevented some other Mom from hearing comments. I do try to take stuff with a grain of salt, because I know most of the time people are just genuinely curious, but it's still annoying! :)

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