can someone tell why i should have more than one child?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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let me preface. i want to have 4 children. i love being a mom and can think of nothing i would rather do.

i am one of 5 children. my sister is 2 yrs younger than me, and the other 3 are 6, 7, and 8 years younger (2 are step).

my parents were abusive and all that jazz. what they really succeeded in (especially my mom, as my parents finally divorced when i was 12), was purposefully causing dissent among the siblings. meaning, eliminating any source of a positive relationship within the family. my sister was favored and my mother let her abuse me while we were growing up. she thought it was funny (evidently her older brother used to pick on her, so *i* was getting mine). really messed up.

i've done a lot of growing and therapy and feel good w/who i am. no one else in my family has, and my sister moved up here to live in our 2 family house, and, obviously, it was a disaster. but i digress.

i feel selfish for wanting any more children. i mean how could i do "that" to Aidan. i honestly feel that the only benefit of having other children is for my own selfish desires. i feel like a horrific person for wishing that upon him.

aacckkkk, i think it has become painfully obvious that i could go for another round of therapy. but besides that, can someone explain to me how why Aidan would want siblings??

thanks so much,
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#2 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 11:20 AM
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You are not your parents, and you are parenting your child very differently than your parents parented you, I bet. So I highly doubt that you would have the same family dynamics between your kids that you had with your siblings.

I had a somewhat dysfunctional family growing up. Two younger sisters, one 19 months younger and one 6.5 years younger. We went through every combination and permutation of 2 against 1, not to mention some unfairnesses in parental treatment. But I think most siblings go through similar things. OTOH, we were each other's friends in all our moving around, and we share history that no one else does. The conflicts got a lot less frequent as we got older. Now we are all best friends: my sisters both live in NYC and see each other at least twice a week, and I talk to both of them almost every day. They love my son fiercely and we have become even closer because of him.

That said, you can't control what kind of kids you get, personality wise: maybe they'll get along, maybe they won't. Luck of the draw, really. But if they do get along mostly (there will always be times that they won't) what you're giving him in a sibling is a playmate, someone to watch out for now and have watch out for him when the sibling is older, an ally against the injustices of parents , someone to teach the value of sharing and cooperation day in and day out, someone to have history with, someone to give him nieces and nephews, someone to give his kids cousins, someone who will be his family when you and your dh are gone.

I am totally generalizing here, but I think most kids are better off with siblings than without - of all my friends who were onlies, most of them wished they had had siblings. My life would have been immeasurably poorer if I hadn't had my sisters.

I think the bottom line is that you need to make the decision that's best for your whole family in thinking about whether to have more kids. The odds are good, though, that even with the inevitable conflicts that come up between siblings, your kids would have good sibling relationships in the long run. And as a parent consciously trying to avoid the mistakes your parents made, you would do your best to help them with those relationships.

OK, I've babbled enough. Hope something I said was a little helpful!

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#3 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 11:29 AM
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a sibling is a gift that you give your child, not a tormentor.

Of course, all siblings will fight occasionally. However, as a non-abusive, loving mom, you will do your best to make sure that the arguments are kept to a dull roar. In a loving home where equal, and appropriate attention is paid to both/all of your children your kids will not turn on each other. They will most likely end up being best friends. They will be each others full time playmate, they can commisserate about how mean mom was for not letting them eat chocolate instead of dinner, they have someone else that understands the importance of Yu-Gi-Oh (or whatever that is, I have girls....)

I guess what I am saying is that you don't have to have a repeat of your homelife. You can, and will raise loving, caring, respectful siblings.

And someday, long after you are gone they can sit around talking about how mean you were for not letting them have chocolate instead of dinner, and how much they loved you.
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#4 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 11:50 AM
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Just want to speak up as an only who was/is perfectly content to be an only.

I really agree with the personality/ luck of the draw thing. For that reason, I wince a bit at "a gift you give a child". Maybe, but maybe not.

I've been thinking about this a LOT, and my conclusion is that there are positives and negatives to having more than one child, and ultimately you just need to do what feels right to YOU. Say you have a second child because you feel you owe it to your first child, and they don't get along. Like, really don't get along. How would you feel?

And I don't think that you can ultimately determine whether your kids get along. You can certainly make it more likely or less likely, but there are factors beyond your control.
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#5 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 12:02 PM
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Parents have a LOT of influence in this area, and just as your parents facilitated dissent among your siblings, you can facilitate harmony and respect among the members of your own family. I know three large families -- one of eight siblings, and one of six, and one of four -- and they all cherish and enjoy each other greatly. It is a wonder to behold. Could they all coincidentally be genetically programmed to get along? Maybe. But I think it more likely that their home life had something to do with it.
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#6 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 12:27 PM
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Home life certainly has something to do with it; I'm just saying that homelife can't guarantee anything. My husband comes from a family of four, and I really think his mother did a good job, but he has a terrible relationship with his siblings, especially his sister -- he's the oldest, she's the one who ended his life as an only. (As he's said...)
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#7 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 01:22 PM
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There is no guarentee that siblings will get along, regardless of good parenting although that helps. It is quite possible that the kids may grow up with completely different likes and dislikes and even values (since values have a personal aspect to them) and end up with little in common. There is also the fact that siblings do not experience identicle parenting. Things change in our lives and parents change and grow and so to circumstances. All you can do is your best, and if you have more kids it's because you want to and not because you are "gifting" your other children with a sibling.
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#8 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 02:06 PM
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I like everything that Jane said and totally agree.

My dh is an only and likes it but, trust me he has sharing issues. I think he would share a lot better had he had a sibling.

My ds was so overjoyed when we told him he was going to be a big brother. He does so well we wish we would have given him a sibling sooner.

Having children is a very personal decision. I believe there are pros and cons to only children and sibling groups. You just have to decide what is best for you.
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#9 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 07:50 PM
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For us, it had a lot to do with our first child's personality. We were really torn on having another, but ds had a personality that definitely begged for a sibling. He has turned into such a kind and caring big brother and I think we have really mellowed as parents.

There is no magic number, it really depends on each individual family- for some that number can be 1.
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#10 of 16 Old 06-26-2003, 08:57 PM
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AmyD, thanks so much for your post! I have been thinking about this too, but hadn't really been able to sort out my thoughts enough yet to start a thread. DH and I would like to have two children, but am having a lot of the same questions as you. I am also wondering what affect spacing might have on how well siblings do. We would try to have our children at least two years apart, but am wondering if 5 years might be better. Guess we will have to wait and see what our first child is like, and go from there.

My personal experience is also that having siblings is not necessarily beneficial, though my negative experiences were more subtle than yours. I am 3rd of 4 sisters. Oldest was 2.5 years older, next 1.2 years older, youngest 2.5 years younger. Though I thought we got along pretty well when we were young, I now realize a lot of that was me being submissive. I guess a lot does have to do with personality. Harmony in the family was really important to me as a child, so I usually ended up in the role of peace maker. A lot of times this meant surpressing my own desires so everyone would get along. I feel like I never really got to explore who I was.

I also feel that I missed out on a lot of parental interaction, because there was always someone there a little bit older that I guess was more interesting for my parents to interact with. My mom says she didn't even realize I was speaking until I was saying whole sentences jumbled together: "mayihavesomemoremilkplease". Somehow I think if she wasn't preoccupied with two toddlers, maybe she would have noticed. Activities that I was interested in but my oldest sister wasn't, really weren't supported as well as stuff she was into.

I also wonder how much of my oldest sister's personality was shaped from having to share the parents with younger siblings before she maybe was ready. She is pretty bossy, is often verbally teasing in a mean way (something she seemed to learn from my dad), and is very competitive. At a very young age she knew how to use me for her own benefit. I got a pet rabbit that i don't really remember having any desire for because she wanted a rabbit, and told me to ask my dad for one, because he wouldn't say no to me.

Anyway, obviously I don't really relate to her at all anymore. And am pretty distant with my other sisters as well. My parents did divorce when I was in junior high, so maybe part of the problem was that we didn't really have a stable environment to work out a more mature interaction.

I would guess parenting styles have a lot to do with how much siblings benefit from each other. I certainly would never have a child as a gift for another child. I would be more thinking about that if I want a certain number of children, will I really have the resources to ensure they each have the interaction they need.
But I still don't really know what that means. :

It is great to hear other parents experiences with this.
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#11 of 16 Old 06-27-2003, 04:51 AM
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It is quite possible that the kids may grow up with completely different likes and dislikes and even values (since values have a personal aspect to them) and end up with little in common

Just because people have different values, likes and dislikes doesn't mean they can't get along. I have different likes and dislikes than my brothers and sisters, and we get along very nicely. I get along with LOTS of people who have different values, likes and dislikes than I do.

I think in a loving home, where children are taught to respect, caring, kindness snd how to work out their difficulties, they will get along. Yes, there will be fights, but for the most part, they will get along.

Part of life is learning how to get along with those who are different from you What better way to start than in the family?

I do see my brothers and sisters as a gift. I am so thankful for each of them. We are all very different and like different things. But, yet whem we get together, we have a great time. IMO, blood really does run thicker than water.

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#12 of 16 Old 06-27-2003, 03:32 PM
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I have a brother who is 2.5 years younger than me. We have had our share of knock down drag out fights, we have different interests, I was bossy, he had a temper. That being said I love my brother deeply and cannot imagine my life without him. As teens although we fought alot, he was my person I could talk to. When him and his GF started having sex it was I he could turn to and got them Birth control. He taught me how to work through conflicts and still love one another, a great marriage skill. My mom told me that she questioned whether she should have just had one because of all the fighting, and I told her no way. Having a sibling has taught me many valuable life lessons that I don't think I would have learned any other way. That said as I approach the arrival of my second I read "Siblings Without Rivalry" and it is awesome. It will help you work through some of your own issues surrounding your childhood and give you better tools for raising siblings
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#13 of 16 Old 06-27-2003, 05:03 PM
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I am an only child and because if that I was adamant that we have at least two children. There is good and bad to either side but from my experience I think my life would have been much richer with siblings. I was very close to my cousins growing up and had many close friends I knew from kindergarten on but that in no way compares to having a sibling. My husband is the youngest of three children and having siblings hasn't made his life perfect but there is a dynamic present in a home with multiple children that just can't be duplicated when there is only one child. You can draw from your own experiences to make sure that mistakes aren't repeated and while you can't guarantee that your children will be best friends you can certainly facilitate it. Having gotten all the attention as a child I can honestly say that is not necessarially a good thing. No matter what you decide parenting is still a balancing act.
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#14 of 16 Old 06-27-2003, 06:04 PM
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Ultimately, I think you should do what you think is right. There are pros and cons either way. I'm an only child and I wish I had siblings, as much for NOW (caring for aging parents, commiserating on silly family matters) as for growing up. I agree with mom3, having all the attention is not necessarily a good thing. I've managed to learn how to share and be unselfish most of the time, but I still assume that everyone is looking at, thinking about, or talking about me, because my parents were so very attentive. I think I'd be a more balanced person now if I hadn't always been the star of the show.

That said, it's a lot easier, resource- and lifestyle-wise, to support an only child, and of course an only child can have cousins and friends and neighbors and classmates to play with and share with. So, as I said, ultimately, I think you should do what you think is right.

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#15 of 16 Old 06-28-2003, 05:49 PM
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I agree that "Siblings Without Rivalry" is an EXCELLENT read!!

I really think that when it comes down to it the harmony in a family is directly related to the parenting rather than the number of children.
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#16 of 16 Old 06-29-2003, 12:44 PM
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Why have more than one child????

YOur relationship with your sibs is the longest relationship you will have in your life time. They are there from the beginning, until the end. They are our first best firends, our greatest rivals. They tend to know us best and love us regardless.

I consider each of my children each others greatest gift from us.

Sure they fight, and pick and yell and scream and fuss... But ( as my son put it) " I can pick on, tease and torture my sisters, thats what big brothers do, but god help ANYONE else who trys to do the same"


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