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'Being an only child, I felt like a foreigner'

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

As someone from a huge family of many siblings, with just one child of my own, and the constant nagging that I need to give my son a sibling, it was with great interest that I read this article in The Guardian. 


Half of families in the UK have just one child now. The writer of the article, Sabine Durrant, writes about her own experiences as an only child and how it has shaped her as a mother of three. She says:





It will be interesting to see how many of these 3.7 million single children will have more than one child themselves. The people I know who have one child all came from big families. Behind the figures and the taxonomy of personality traits, lies a basic truth about human nature: we often want what we don't have.

Growing up, I had a sense that there was a parallel existence, just out of reach. The books I loved were run through with unruly gangs; books by Arthur Ransome, E Nesbit, Enid Blyton. Adults were absent from their pages or fleetingly present – peering around a bedroom door at the end of a day, oblivious to the torch and provisions hidden under the bed in readiness for departure. For a single child, used to living in the beam of attention, such mutual disregard seemed unimaginably exotic. Large families had adventures. The children discovered magical lands, caught robbers, sailed to France by mistake. They didn't sit with their mother watching Crossroads.


My father was an only child and he has stated more than once that he wanted so many children because he absolutely hated growing up without siblings. Our house was always loud and crazy, but my siblings are also my closest allies and confidants. I can't imagine life without them. 


You can read the full article here. It also touches on interesting things like birth order. 


Are you an only child or a big family? How has that affected your family-planning decisions?

post #2 of 5

I have 5 brothers and sisters. Though we cannot really have any more bio kids I hope to adopt within the next few years.

post #3 of 5

Compensation to our own children over what we as children were 'deprived of'' can be quite an insidious little beast that has absolutely nothing to do with what is really best for a family as a whole.


For the record, I'm pregnant with my second child but it wasn't planned that way...I was consdering stopping with DS#1.


I'm an only child, but that was the least of my problems growing up.  I grew up around a lot of turmoil and it has made me realize that most parents tend to have a kneejerk response to how they were raised in how they choose to raise their own kids and it is not a good thing.  


I've seen a pattern to what the most common parenting mistake made by parents from dysfunctional families; it's making parenting choices out of fear.    I would hate to think I brought my second child into the world out of fear, even though in theory siblings do enhance each other.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

I totally agree ... a lot of folks form dysfunctional upbringings swinging so opposite the other way (or at least attempting to) that they end up doing a lot of the same. Fear is never a good reason to do anything. Well said. 


(and good luck with sweet babe #2!)

post #5 of 5
I have one sibling as does DH. We are currently expecting baby #2 and aim to stop then. The majority of my exposure has been to families of two children. It's familiar and we think a good balance. I dont know what being an only child would have been like since my childhood was spent with my brother. Now we have children close in age and the cousins are thick as thieves. Outside of infertility, I wouldn't like to have an only simply because of how having a brother enriched my childhood. As opposed to making the opposite decisions from our parents, DH and I decided to go the same route since we saw the value in it.
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