Perks of having an only? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 07-25-2006, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm an only child myself, and it looks like DS (almost 1 yo) will be an only child, too. I'm trying to find the positive in this. Can anyone help? If you have (or are) an only child, what are the advantages?

I'll start:
I feel like I developed a unique and strong relationship with my parents, especially once they divorced. For my son, I know things will be better financially if he's our only kid.

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#2 of 10 Old 07-25-2006, 06:14 PM
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I often wished I was an only child as a kid!
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#3 of 10 Old 07-25-2006, 10:04 PM
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I just recently decided DD will not be an only but after frequently an "onlies" board for a couple years I know some positives.

You won't feel torn between the kids' activities and denying your child opportunities because you're too busy with another child's activities.

You will be less stressed out with not having to juggle your attention between two or more.

No sibling rivalry!

DD 8 and DS 4 ribbonorange.gif

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#4 of 10 Old 07-25-2006, 11:29 PM
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I'll be really interested in what others have to say about this because dh and I are really going back and forth about having another one.

I'm an only child and I have to agree that one benefit is having a very close relationship with your parents. Travelling is easier and cheaper. Life is less stressful/hectic because you're just dealing with one child's needs/emotions/activities. You're making less of a footprint on the planet by only having one child (absolutely no offense intended to those who have more than one - it's completely every individual's right to have as many children as they choose!)

You might try reading "Maybe One" by Bill McKibben. He presents a lot of information about the benefits of being/having an only child. Apparently there is research that shows that onlies are at least as well adjusted socially as those with siblings and that onlies may be at a slight advantage intellectually. There's also some very disturbing information about mothers preferences for one child over another that has really put a damper on my urge to have more.

I could go on and on about the drawbacks of being/having an only too - but that's not what you asked for - so there you go! These are the things I think about when I'm trying to remind myself that I'm very happy with just one.
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#5 of 10 Old 07-26-2006, 05:34 PM
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Glad you posted this question. DD is 12 months, and dh and I have seriously started asking ourselves whether we should just let her be our only. My family thinks that's blasphemy to say, especially since I have many childbearing years ahead of me, but I just had a really hard pregnancy (hyperemesis) and a difficult birth and dh and I think it's worth considering.

DH is an only and I was an only until I was 11. I was lonely sometimes, but I think that was just my personality. I think not having siblings around made me more creative and introspective. Smarter too. I was always reading and inventing things. I enjoyed visits from cousins and friends, but I also enjoyed it when they eventually went home

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#6 of 10 Old 07-27-2006, 07:11 AM
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I think financially it can be a huge plus. If you want to do things like private school and fund your child's college (and maybe pay for other things too, like set up a trust fund or what have you), that'll be a lot easier with one child. As others have said, you won't have to worry about sibling rivalry or conflicting schedules or anything of the sort.

I think it really comes down to your temperament. I know plenty of onlies who grew up swearing they'd never do that to their own kid, and others who enjoyed it so much they planned on only one themselves. Go with what feels right to you.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), Douglas (11/12), & Psalm (09/14; in Heaven)
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#7 of 10 Old 07-30-2006, 07:05 AM
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This is an intriguing topic to me, as DH has stated in the past that he would like to have just one child. Until recently, I've leaned more toward the idea that 2 would be better. I grew up closely with one sister who is 22 months younger than me and I have to say that it was wonderful to have someone to play with all the time. However, I feel pretty confident that I could give my child that same benefit by being proactive about making play-dates w/ other children, in groups as well as one-on-one. I think if you have a good circuit of friends w/ children who are close to your child's age, and you utilize that group, you can reap all the above-mentioned benefits AND have a well-adjusted child that can enjoy playing with others. The idea of being more financially stable w/ just one is REALLY appealing to me.
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#8 of 10 Old 07-31-2006, 01:27 PM
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I hope that my input is okay here. I do not intend to offend anyone but I am the oldest of 6 children and wouldn't change it for the world. Sure, my parents couldn't afford to take us places and buy us fancy things but we didn't grow up feeling ripped off. Yeah, I had to pay my way through college but, to tell you the truth. I think that it means that much more to me. All 6 of us had paper routes when we were younger. We used that money to splurge on ourselves. It was a great sense of accomplishment. Four years ago at the age of 22 my father passed away unexpectedly. The youngest in my family was 12 years. I do not believe that we would have been able to cope with his death if we didn't have eachother. I know that my mom wouldn't be doing as well as she is if she didn't have us. I also know that when my mother does pass away, no matter when it happens, we will feel lucky to have eachother. So, for those of you on the fine line of deciding whether or not to have more than one child, know that the material things in life come and go but we will always have our family.

Married to DH 7 years and have three fantastic kiddos! DS 6, DD 4, and DS 2 ...... lo and behold another is on the way!

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#9 of 10 Old 07-31-2006, 01:46 PM
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I am an only. It wasn't a financial decision--I think the myth of the spoiled only is just that. Some kids are "spoiled" (by which I mean that they have their material needs over-provided for) and some are not regardless of whether or not they have siblings. My family was low income. When I think of the financial benefits of having an only child myself (which is my plan, but who knows...) they are mostly that I could continue to work part time and pursue my other interests and have a child. Life could be a bit more flexible and slow paced. I am not a high-energy person. I think the personality of the parents has to figure into what feels right when it comes to family planning.

I think the advantages of being an only are kind of academic in that there is just one you and one of your DS--all the advantages he has are unique to his situation. But, that said, I think the positives are not being compared to another child, having more quiet time to think, and no sibling rivalry (I think this is huge--most of my friends with siblings still carry these scars 30 years later even if they are still close to their siblings). I don't think it is better to have siblings and I don't think it is better to be an only--there are lots of ways to be and be happy and healthy.
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#10 of 10 Old 08-03-2006, 05:38 PM
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I think I can actually give you TWO perspectives!

DH & I are both only children. We are two types:

I was a "planned" only child. My mother and father were both the middle of 3 children and thought is was the worst thing in the world a parent could do to a child (their words, not mine : ). Though they divorced when I was 3, they had never intended to get pg again. Both remarried and did not have children with their 2nds.

DH was an only by "default". He was to be the first of at least 2. However, after he was born, my ILs endured 2 m/c and then my MIL had an emergency hysterctomy due to uncontrolled bleeding after the 2nd m/c. My FIL was considered "too old" to adopt at the time (almost 40! can you believe it! ), so ILs just "resigned" themselves to one.

We are very different, but similar. My mother was a single mom most of my life (her 2nd marriage didn't last any longer than the 1st ) I grew up with modest lifestyle ~ as in my parents weren't rich and didn't have a lot of money to throw around. Though I was well taken care of and a bit spoiled in that when there is only one child, even a little bit of money goes pretty far. DH was doted upon. Given a car at 16, designer clothing, expensive gifts. However, we are both well grounded. Our parents instilled values in us (though DH wouldn't buy generic food at the grocery store till we were married! )

I think the things that are advantages are the same things that are disadvantages about being "onlies". Like, since we were onlies, we received a lot of one on one attention ~ but it also meant that we received a lot of attention, we couldn't get away with anything, no one to blame stuff on. We never had to share, but we never had to learn to share. There was no sibling rivalry, but there was no comradery. As an adult I am the only one who will make any decisions for my parents (both are now single), which makes things very unilateral ~ but is a large weight to carry. You can expand the list on forever...

I think "bad" onlies come from poor parenting, not from being an only. I know plenty of "youngest" or "oldest" or "middles" that are snobs, spoiled, self-centered, or any of the list of things that can become labels for onlies. Like how people assume that homeschoolers have no social skills. It depends on how you expose them to the world. DH & I were both very active in church & sports, our parents made sure that we could take care of ourselves, and I don't really think that either of our parents were particularly "doting".

HTH! No matter what, I think that you are being VERY wise to consider what having another child will do to your family. I had 4 m/c before DS. We were trying to decide whether we were going to even try anymore when we found out we were pregnant w/DD!

Just out of curiosity ~ is it just the "bad" pregnancy that is making you think that you don't want to have any more children? We would like to have more children ~ we just don't want to get pg again (not only did I have 4 m/c, but had a very difficult pg & traumatic birth w/DD). You might consider adoption or foster parenting to expand your family...
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