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Having only 1 child..pro's and con's?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hello Ladies,
Is anyone out here only having 1 child? We have always only wanted 1 child and when we tell people they think we are doing the wrong thing? Anyone going thru the same thing wanting 1 child and feeling pressured to have 2? Are we going to damage our daughter because she is an only child? :
post #2 of 32
My daughter wishes she was an only child a lot of the time, which is ironic because I had #2 in large part so that she wouldn't be the only. I don't think there's anything wrong with it at all, as long as there are other kids in your daughter's life.
post #3 of 32
I think its' ridiculous if anyone is telling you you'll "damage" her. There are/have been countless perfectly healthy, functional only children in the world, and countless children who have been "damaged" by their siblings. It's not how many you have, it's how you treat them.

That said, I have definitely decided that I want another one someday. The deciding factor for me was that in the last couple years, my sister and I have been relying on each other more and more as we struggle with certain challenges with my parents. I have a lot of issues with my dad and she has a lot of issues with my mom, and we are both so grateful for each other. Someday I'm going to be a huge pain in my son's and I don't want him to have to deal with me alone.
post #4 of 32
Originally Posted by guerrillamama
Someday I'm going to be a huge pain in my son's and I don't want him to have to deal with me alone.

I think it's your choice and no one should tell you that it's "damaging". How absurd!

I've always been partial to siblings though - even though me and my brother don't always get along and really aren't that close, I can't imagine not having him around.

One of my childhood friends was an only child and I just remember her always complaining about it. I'm sure that's not the case for every only child, it just always sticks in my head. I don't know any other onlies (weird, huh?)

There is totally something to be said for just having one though. Sometimes it's really hard to give each child the attention that s/he desires. Having one means that ability to have a really close, bonded connection with your one little best friend
post #5 of 32
I'm an only and never wanted siblings - trust me, my parents asked more than once. I had a very happy childhood. I have friends with onlies. I don't think any of these children have been damaged, spoiled or are ill-socialized and they range from 2 to 22, so there's a decent sampling.

Of course, I am one of two cousins with any kids at all and I now have 4... but that's a whole other discussion.
post #6 of 32
I'm moving this to Parenting Issues where you will probably get more responses. If you want to find a tribe of other moms of onlies, feel free to start a thread or PM me to move this thread back.
post #7 of 32
Actually, I think there is already a tribe of moms of onlies....

found it, here it is:
post #8 of 32
I have one child and have had 4 miscarriages so I go back and forth about trying again. I worry that ds will have to bury his parents alone. I worry he'll die young and we'll be childless parents. I worry I won't be a grandparent. If I do have another, I worry we'll have another bout of unemployment and we aren't out of debt from the last time. We have no hope of getting out of debt until ds starts school full-time and I get some sort of job.
post #9 of 32
Also interested in this debate. I'm taking the next few years to decide before we opt for permanent birth control. On one side, I have a brother whom I am very close to, and I really wish that for my baby. Her half sisters are so much older, I doubt that they will be close, yk? On the other hand, DH has already had 2 kids, so with my one, we're still at zero population growth. Would it be environmentally responsible to have another child? Still kind of on a high from my unmedicated birth (ok not entirely unmedicated, I took some tylenol) and would like to experience that again in a home birth setting where I'm not trying to fight the urge to push while the doctor gets there (she didn't). But what if I had twins!!! One newborn is enough for me, thanks! And how do mom's handle a new baby and an older child? To repeat, one at a time is a lot of work! And the financial aspects, as well.
But to have gone through my dad's death without my brother? We have a cousin who is an only child. He's glommed onto my brother and I, and we are almost as close as siblings. Kaia probably won't have any cousins, as my brother isn't planning on kids. Keep the replies coming!
post #10 of 32
Michelle, in answer to your ZPG quesiton -- I know this is an extremely controversial topic on MDC but personally I believe that ZPG is beside the point. As decadent first-worlders, most Americans who are above the poverty level are technically being "environmentally responsible" by having any children at all, since our children are pretty much guaranteed to use exponentially more resources than most people in the rest of the world. So I can't really make any excuses for myself in that regard. What I can do, and plan to do, is try to raise my child to be a responsible, compassionate, critical-thinking, authority-questioning activist who will help change this system of wastefulness and unequal distribution. [/SOAPBOX]
post #11 of 32
Beana, i know where you are commin' from. i have 1 lil' girl. i am single and my mom is giving me a hard time about not finding a guy to have more babies with . i know that eventhough it would be a disservice to the human race for me to stop with one(i'm not really that concieted)i am very happy with it being just me and my lil girl.
even if i did end up with another guy(unimaginable!!)i still would opt not to have any more kids. chelsea will have lots of cousins and other kids to teach her how to socialize, share, and all the other things you learn from sibs. i do have a sis and am greatful for her (we love our mom but need eachother to keep sane cuz of her) we weren't even close until we both became moms. i figure she will have a friend or two when she is that age to take the place of a sib.
on the other side though when i was younger i always wished i had an older bro to stick up for me....but i'm over that now .
post #12 of 32
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post #14 of 32
I read an opinion in the paper that the best solution to the social security problem would be for everyone to have more children. Just a thought for those who wonder if large families are socially responsible.
post #15 of 32
Well, as an only child, I can tell you I thought it was wonderful growing up without having to share my parents' attention and my things with a sibling. And the most valuable thing I think I learned from it was how to happily spend time alone. I don't generally need to be entertained to be comfortable (though that's as much part of my personality as my childhood environment, I'm sure).

We just had our second daughter, though, in large part because I now miss the closeness of a sibling relationship. There have been many times as an adult when I wished I had a brother/sister to help deal with my mom, or to give me some other source of family connection. I didn't want my DD1 to feel that way, too, years from now.

But I think it's entirely reasonable to choose to have only one child. Do what's in your heart.
post #16 of 32
We have one dd and do not plan to have more.
We decided not to have another child for a variety of reasons. The concise answer is that we felt one was all we could handle emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially.

There are pros and cons to having an only and pros and cons to having multiple kids in a family. Every family has to do what is right for them. It is no one else's business. You absolutely will not damage your child by not providing a sibling.

I'm not going to have another baby to fix my dd's life or try to create a failsafe for her. I'm not going to have another baby to fix social security. The only reason I would bring another child into our family is if I thought I had more to give that child... if we were wanting the child for their own sake not what they can do for us in our old age, for my dd, or society.
I'm going to sound terrible to some people and say my dd will just have to deal with life as it comes. There are billions of people- many of them therapists- in the world. If the biggest thing my dd has to trouble her is no sibling I don't think that is so bad.
post #17 of 32
My dh grew up an only child (well, from the age of four when his much older brother died in a car accident). He wasn't "damaged" by being an only - but I think he wishes he hadn't been. He is very well-adjusted, not selfish or self centered at all, remains close to his childhood buddies. But he feels a great weight of being solely responsible for his now elderly mom (who is 80 and lives 2 1/2 hours from us). I can tell he is a bit sad that he doesn't have the relationship I have with my siblings. At holidays when we are dying laughing at old childhood stuff, when our kids are playing with them, stuff like that.

Like some other previous posters who grew up only children but chose to have more than one child themselves, my dh has always said "as many as you want!" when we discussed number of children. When we had two, it was him and dd1 who pushed me for #3... I thought it was sweet that even though the first two can push each other's buttons, she wanted "more babies in our family".

I do agree that people can come up with pros and cons to either choice. I just come down on the pro-sibling side so that is my bias.... :
post #18 of 32
Onlyzombiecat I agree with what you said.

We have one lovely little dd though we talked about "maybe having two" since we have had her I don't want anymore. Neither does dh. I don't think that is going to change.

I don't live close to my two brothers; but I am "close" with them talk weekly, email and all. When I was younger there was a time I equipped myself with a pocket knife; that is how vicious some of our siblings fights were. I was the oldest but he quickly outgrew me and had a very, very nasty temper and there was sometimes an hour or two overlap by the time we got home from school and my mom got home. There were times I actually had to make a run to my room and lock the door.

My husband's brother and sister are basically useless. They don't bother with dh or my dd (one lives an hour away) and whenever his parents had health problems (they are much older than mine) guess who was there at the hospital, in the surgery waiting room, mowing the lawn, taking care of things.
Me and dh.
So sometimes it is irritating that the sun rises and sets on the other two, when my dh is the one they call whenever something is needed (not often lately). They are getting older though.........
When the inlaws talk about "uncle so and so" she just looks blankly at them as she is almost 4 and has met him maybe 3 times, why we refer to him as Uncle I have no idea, I don't. I don't even mention dh's sister. She is a royal witch though she has two kids and lives a long way away. I don't even tell dd she has cousins (long story) because in my eyes she does not.

Thank goodness my family though a few hours away pick up a lot of the "slack" where others are lacking; especially in the aunt and uncle department.
post #19 of 32
I have more than 1 but I am an only child. I've always loved being an only child & have never wished for a sibling. I have a few girlfriends who are like sisters to me. Some siblings are close but some aren't so giving your child a sibling won't always give them someone to be close with in their family. I don't think that you need to be a blood relative to have a close, sibling-like relationship with another person.

Actually one of my best friends is an only child, as well as my father, MIL & FIL. I've never heard a complaint out of any of them. If anything, I find that my friend & I are much closer to our parents than our other friends & I'd definately say my in laws & father were as well.

So I don't feel damaged, lost or like my mother failed me by not having another child. The only downside was in high school, since my mother wasn't distracted by other children, she kept a close eye on my "activities" LOL

I'd think that any number of children has its good & bad points. I don't think anyone can pick & say that a certain number of children is right or wrong for everyone.
post #20 of 32
I agree that there's really no perfect answer to this question. We're debating the same thing right now. DD is only 6 months, but we've always wanted our kids to be close in age. My bro and I are 6 yrs apart and IMHO that's just too big an age gap. We had almost nothing in common & still don't. Anyway, it took us 5 yrs TTC to have DD so we're feeling that we really need to decide in the next 6 months or so if we want another child. I have a feeling we'll end up trying for a year or so and if it happens it happens. If not, we'll be happy with our only or adopt a slightly older child a few years down the line.

Also wanted to echo the sentiment that just cause you have siblings doesn't mean you'll be close to them or they'll be any help. My brother is pretty much useless when it comes to major life events. My hubby and friends got me through our father's death MUCH more than my brother did. DH is one of 3 and also doesn't feel very close to his siblings. In the end, there are lots of people your child can develop relationships with who will love and support them through the good and bad times.
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