Having only 1 child..pro's and con's? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-18-2005, 02:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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? :
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:15 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:20 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-18-2005, 11:02 AM
 
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Quote:
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.
:LOL :LOL :LOL

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

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Old 03-19-2005, 10:08 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-19-2005, 12:57 PM
 
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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.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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Old 03-19-2005, 01:01 PM
 
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Actually, I think there is already a tribe of moms of onlies....

found it, here it is:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ad.php?t=77798
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Old 03-19-2005, 02:43 PM
 
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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.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 03-19-2005, 03:21 PM
 
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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!
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Old 03-19-2005, 03:28 PM
 
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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]
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Old 03-19-2005, 03:47 PM
 
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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 .
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Old 03-19-2005, 03:53 PM
 
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Subscribing...

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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Old 03-19-2005, 04:09 PM
 
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.

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Old 03-19-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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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.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 03-19-2005, 06:44 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:29 AM
 
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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.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 03-21-2005, 04:28 AM
 
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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.... :
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Old 03-21-2005, 10:45 AM
 
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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.

:energ y
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:40 PM
 
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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.

Stephanie, mom to 3 big girls ('94, '99 & '02) and to my little guy (12/30/09) intact & CD'ed!
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:58 PM
 
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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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Old 03-21-2005, 03:05 PM
 
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I have some only child friends who are wonderful to be around and some who are a little messed up. In other words, just like my other friends who grew up with siblings! Have the number thats right for you. If you have two and they are the same sex, you will be pressured to keep trying until you have the opposite sex. If you have 3 or 4 kids, some will tell you that you have too many! SHEESH!!!! There will sadly always be some busybody judging you, so its our hard work as parents to ignore them and stick to whats right for us. Sorry you are being pressured, its so juvenile, isn't it?
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Old 03-21-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KiwiZ
I have some only child friends who are wonderful to be around and some who are a little messed up. In other words, just like my other friends who grew up with siblings! Have the number thats right for you.
Well said!

I'm one of seven siblings who is choosing to have only one child myself. Honestly, like most families, mine has it's issues--some real whoppers. However, while some of my parenting has most definitely been reactionary to the type of parenting I was given, having more than one child is simply not my preferance. Nor is it DH's preferance. One feels right to us. When DS arrived, we felt a very complete family and that hasn't changed. I'm in awe of those who so easily make the leap from one to two or more. That impulse just hasn't taken me and frankly, sometimes I'm surprised by how much I DON'T feel that I would like another child seeing as my inner yearning if you will, to have that one and only was so strong I nearly lost myself in the process.

Indeed, there are those who have forced their (unwanted, unaskedfor) opinions up me (my mother included). There is SO MUCH SOCIETAL PRESSURE about this issue and I've said this before: of all the "uncommon" choices DH and I have made as parents, the decision to have one child only is the one that gets people talking the most. Nevermind that I'm nursing a four year old, that I never let him cry it out, that we're not sending him to school, but WHOAH! You're not going to make him a big brother? What you say? The horror!

That said, I definitely am concerned at times, worry at times about how DS's life will be shaped being an only child. But then again, I see my good friends with 2 and 3 kids be concerned and worry about their kids as well; in relation to having siblings. The list goes on for both parties. Best we can do is make decisions based on our own feelings as a family and then, support each other. The unwanted advice is bothersome, but as all advice goes, it can be taken into consideration, and used or discarded accordingly. I choose not to give advice to others about the size of their familes. I'm surprised when people think it's an ok thing to do alas...

I smile, I nod... And at the end of the day, I do what's right for me, and my family.

The best to you!
Em

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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Old 03-21-2005, 11:35 PM
 
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Hi there.

We just have our little buns, and go back and forth on having more. I really like our family of three though and I worry more about having to have Buns share us than her not having a sibling. I have a brother, who I love dearly but don't see that often even though we live fairly close, we don't have anything in common and went almost 1 1/2 w/out talking because of some issues. I really WANTED to be an ONLY child when we were pre-teen/teenagers because he was horrible and caused some major problems in the family, that only recently have been somewhat better.

All the onlies I know are super smart, sweet and well adjusted. It is all the ones that had siblings that are screwed up :LOL

DH has a sister that lives in another country and she is NO HELP EVER. When she does come to visit she expects us to drive her everywhere, stay with us and is useless in helping with DH's Mother. When we visit her, she wants us to do things for her as well....anyway, I wish DH was an only child :
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:59 PM
 
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I think there are definitely positives abt having one. In my head I would love bunches of kids, but I can barely, and sometimes not at all, handle two. I think pouring your selves into one child would raise raise an awesome human being. My big reason for wanting more than oneis so that when dh andI are gone, they are not alone. However, having another child does not guarantee that siblingswill like each other or even be there for each other as adults. I think you just have to do what feels right for you. Everyone always encourages you to have more kids. They just want to play with your baby

xoxoxoxo, Michelle

, mama to DS(7/)22/02) DS (8/14/04) , and an angel (3/10/10)nursing a broken heart...loving my boys.
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:09 PM
 
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My main point about onlies is not that the kids are spoiled or self-centered or anything like that at all. It's that the parents of onlies seem to agonize over every blessed little thing;
are we signed up for the right stuff?
should we choose private school?
should we choose their friends?
should we do summer camp???

I relaxed a lot after my second child was born. There wasn't time to agonize and second guess myself. I made the best choices I could and ran with them. My first child benefitted enormously from a mom that was no longer focused on her every breath. My kids are having a great childhood.
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom
My main point about onlies is not that the kids are spoiled or self-centered or anything like that at all. It's that the parents of onlies seem to agonize over every blessed little thing;
are we signed up for the right stuff?
should we choose private school?
should we choose their friends?
should we do summer camp???

I relaxed a lot after my second child was born. There wasn't time to agonize My kids are having a great childhood.
I think this is an unfair generalization of Parents of Onlies. The above statement could apply to ANY family size.

To the OP, there is a popular book Parenting an Only Child by Susan Newman which debunks the myths and stereotypes of Only
Children.http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books



I have an Only by *Choice* and I don't worry about raising a spoiled child, it's all about parenting styles
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Old 03-23-2005, 06:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom
I relaxed a lot after my second child was born. I made the best choices I could and ran with them. My first child benefitted enormously from a mom that was no longer focused on her every breath.
I understand what you are saying. I think when my dd1 was an only (she was four when dd2 was born - though I must admit that we always knew we'd have at least two kids), I overthought every single thing! It was exhausting! Which preschool to choose was a full time job for the better part of a year! The amount of research, calls, visits, open houses, preschool information nights, notes (oh the notes - I could have written a book!), multiple deposits as my first choice registered after my second choice, on and on... When in reality, 3/4 of the MANY schools I considered would have been great.

When I had an only, I overscheduled her - there is so much and it is all fun and I want her to try everything to see what she likes and be comfortable in a variety of situations. Now I have three and am much more reasonable in my options for what each can do. Dd1 is in elementary and takes piano once a week - every now and then she takes a six week art class downtown. Dd2 in in pre-K and a ballet/tap class. Dd3 is in a music class. That is it - well, other than two weeks of swim lessons each summer - when the other classes/schools are not happening.

I am also MUCH more mellow, as philomom said about herself. It is nice not to stress about stuff. I think I am better now about giving the appropriate amount of focus on decisions, as well as less "taking it personally" when dd misbehaves or fails - I think I am just more reasonable and down to earth.

Some moms may be able to be mellow with their first baby/kid, but for me it was a HUGE change when dd2 and 3 came along. If I get any more mellow, not sure what I'll do! :LOL
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:13 PM
 
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It seems like there are two main schools of thought against only children;

1. that the child will be damaged by incorrect parenting (spoiling, smothering, etc.)
2. that the child will be emotionally and mentally deprived because of the lack of a sibling

I wholeheartedly disagree with both. My husband and my best friend are both only children, generous, loving, responsible, normal, healthy adults. Who don't want siblings, and were happy to be only children.

First, there are many, many children who are spoiled and smothered who have siblings. Some parents pick favorites even amongst several children who they dote upon. Some parents overschedule all of their children, regardless of how many there are. Most "spoiling" comes from giving in to bad behavior, like responding to tantrums with bribery (candy, toys, etc). A good parent is going to be a good parent regardless of how many children they want- in fact, a parent is going to be the best parent they can be when they are happy with the size of their family. It's a really bad idea to have a second child you don't want because you're afraid you're going to do a bad job with the first. A better idea would be to speak to other parents, read books, or talk with a pediatrician or even a counselor if you feel your child is becoming a selfish or spoiled child. The most spoiled child I know is my sister. She is so spoiled, in fact, that she cannot even carry on an adult conversation at age 18- if someone offends her, she immediately begins crying or otehrwise drawing attention upon herself until the offender apologizes, and she refuses to forgive them anyways. Obviously she's not an only, I was four when she was born.

The second theory, that a child will be undoubtedly deprived of a playmate, best friend, and partner in parental caregiving later on in life, is also completely untrue. Of all the people you know, how many would say their sibling is their best friend? I know many people with siblings, and I cannot think of one who would say this, including myself. My sister is a friend, but not a best one, not even a great one. She has hurt me in ways that, had she not been related to me, I would have cut her out of my life long ago. Yes, we played as children. I also played with my friends, as did she. We also fought a lot, but no more than usual.

I have nannyed for a family with two little girls aged two years apart. Friends? Barely. In over a year of being with them every day, I could count on one hand the hours they spent playing happily together. Their personalities clashed terribly. They were always happier when alone. So there are no guarantees a second child will be a playmate for the first. Not to mention the possibility, however unlikey or difficult it is to imagine, that a second child could be handicapped mentally or physically to the point that play would be impossible. Not to mention even if they did get along, there is no guarantee the second sibling could get sick or have an accident and die, leaving a huge impact on the first.

As far as taking care of elderly parents, we would be lucky enough if ONE of our children took care of us, as in this society it is much more common to be locked away in a home. My grandmother has SIX children, yet once she became too mentally incompetent to live on her own (they decided), she was sent to live in a very nice home. Some of the siblings help take care of her. Some do nothing. My sister did nothing to help me care for our other grandmother these past three weeks when Nanna had a very difficult time recovering from surgery. And Nanna has a living daughter, who did nothing. Myself and one other granddaughter, out of a medium sized family, were the only ones to do anything helpful. So I would seriously reconsider that as a reason to bring another life into the world.

Sorry to write a novel. In my belief, there is only one reason to bring a child into the world, whether it's your first, second, or 9th-

Because you and your husband want to raise another child.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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Old 03-24-2005, 04:13 PM
 
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I'd say my brother is in a 3 way tie with my mom and my husband for my "best friend". We've had our times when we haven't been so close, like when he first went away to college plus he could not stand my boyfriend at the time, (good sense on his part. I got badly burned in that relationship) but for the most part, we've always been close.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:35 PM
 
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I'm an only. My DH is an only. I think we're just fine. :LOL Due to our own experiences, (both of us losing a parent at rather young ages) we will have another child. That is more down to us feeling up for another one and fitting our family though. Having an only fits you and your family... that is what's best for you. It's great that you recognize this. It's easy to do what your told, it's far hard to chose your own path.
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