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"only child syndrome" a bunch of crap

3986 Views 124 Replies 58 Participants Last post by  eyelovegoddess
Okay, after getting another disapproving look from someone when I mentioned we weren't having any more children, I decided to do some research and see what the big deal is. Well, I'm sure a lot of you already have done the same, but I found that not only have *numerous* studies found that none of the stereotypes about only children are true. i.e. they are not selfish, lonely, maladjusted, etc. But, in addition they have many benefits that children with siblings do not have. They found that only children tended to have higher self-esteem, were higher achievers and held more "prestigious" jobs. This was apparently due to the fact that their parents had more time, energy and resources to invest in them.

So, I just thought I'd mention this, as it certainly alleviated any lingering doubts I had. Not that I see anything wrong with having multiple children, btw.

Take Care.
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Thank You!!!

I worry about the only child thing a lot (DS is 3.5). The other day at Gymboree, DS took a class he hadn't been in before and I didn't know any of the moms. After class, we were milling around and I was chatting with a mom about her son. She said, "the other ladies and I were talking about our kids and their your son an only child?"
I felt like saying, "Why do you ask...are horns growing out of his head?"

I just don't think people understand how sensitive an issue this can be. I can't have more children b/c of a medical condition. But it really doesn't matter why you have an only one likes to be told their child is going to be a manipulative, selfish and generally, not well adjusted just b/c they don't have siblings.

Sorry, I've gone off on quite a rant

thanks again for posting the positive info.
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I've been hearing more about this lately, too. A local (Seattle) children's paper had a big article featured on the cover a month or two ago about how being an only child isn't considered to be what it once was.

Personally, I never had the image in my mind of multiple children running around. Quite the opposite, actually... I always just kind of pictured one that I could give all of myself to (in a healthy, parenting sort of way, I mean).

I would however like to belong to a close-knit community, like an intentional community or co-housing situation, so that there are other close children to get to know and have somewhat of a loose-family situation with.
Thanks for posting this! My DD is 17 mos. old and since forever we've been planning on a one child family. But it seems like at least once a week I get some comment about how DD is ready for a little brother or sister. Honestly, I don't go around making comments about other people's family size. Why do they feel compelled to comment about mine?

And even if I were planning on another, it wouldn't be for another couple of years anyway! Jeez!
There is an excellent book on this subject called Maybe One by Bill McKibben. The truth is only children fare the same or better in nearly every area. I think people like to believe in "only child syndrome" because it makes them feel better about the downsides of siblings.
Thank you for posting this!

We are an only family BY CHOICE. We have had some other threads here about onlies -- but it seems there were a lot of folks who were posting there that were "onlies... for now at least.... maybe... let's see". Well of course many parents with kids under two have only one child... but I want to engage in a discussion of parents who have one and KNOW (for whatever reason) it will stay as one.

I see SOOOOO many clear benefits to one child and so many hardships that would come with more than one.
... and one more thing (look out I am on a roll!)

I have noticed that 98% of the threads and posts I read here where a mama is losing her temper, having sleep problems, having discipline issues, crying out for help, etc are all about sibling rivalry, a new baby making the first child insanely jealous, or a pregnant mama losing her mind with a child who needs her time and energy.

Frankly all of those threads are like birth control for me -- they scare the hell out of me and make me thankful for my family of three. I read them and think, even though it all passes eventually and the growing family adjusts -- I don't want to go through all that. No thank you!

Originally Posted by earthcore
Honestly, I don't go around making comments about other people's family size. Why do they feel compelled to comment about mine?

I know just what you mean!

My 10 yr old dd is an only, by choice. Besides other reasons for an only, I knew that having another child would probably financially force me to work more than I really want. I'd rather work less and have the time with my child, than have two children and not have the time for them because I have to work to pay for their needs.
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It's so good to here a discussion about this. My DS is 16 months and I am already getting questions about "when are you having another one" I mean come on already I've barely recoverd from the first one yet. We have definatly decieded to only have one, for many different reasons - financial, emotional health, population concerns, etc. Every family is different, and everyones choices should be respected. I don't go around spouting my views to someone who has six kids and I don't appreciate being pressured or made to feel bad about my own decisions. Anyway it's good to here from you all - sometimes I feel like such the minority.
I was informed recently by my oh-so-sweet SIL that onlies are self-centered, selfish, mean, etc. And all her only-friends are TOTALLY like that, so it must be true!

I had SUCH a hard time not saying "Um, aren't pretty much ALL your friends like that? You sure are."

But I refrained.

Honestly, most of my friends growing up were onlies, and the only conclusion I came to is... you can't come to conclusions based on one's sibling status! Sheesh!

That said, I still TOTALLY want two, for my own very selfish reasons. (And I have a sibling - but aren't only onlies selfish?!
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I have a question:
Are any of you an only child?
I'm not an only child. I have two brothers, one is 3 1/2 years younger and one is 20 years younger (same parents!). My youngest bro essentially grew up an only, since my other bro and I were already out of the house. It was really cool to notice the difference in my parents, they were so much more relaxed and laid back with the youngest, totally different then when we were growing up, although I'm sure having kids in your mid 40's changes that as well. My youngest bro is so awesome - no "hang-ups" onlies are said to have, he is really outgoing, confident, generous and loving.
Both dh and I have siblings. Six year old dd is an only child by choice.
I've watched children we know with siblings and my dd seems more independant and happier about a lot of things.
I think there are a lot more advantages than disadvantages to our family of three.
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My dh has a brother and a sister, I have two brothers. Dd will be an only by choice.
I get along well with both brothers.
DH has nothing to do with either sibling. We had to do everything when his dad was sick with cancer, had a heart attack and so on and so forth.

The only disadvantage sometimes I think dd may have is she is not used to being beaten up, picked on and so on, in other words she does not know how to be a bully. The kids in her pre-k class (she goes a few hours 3 x a week) that seem to have "behavior problems or issues" all have siblings. Dd had been looking out for a younger classmate and reported something to the teacher and me and later I did have the teacher point out to me that she thinks maybe "since dd doesn't have any brothers or sisters she is not used to seeing rough play and both x and y have brothers and are used to it" umm, yeah that's right and I don't allow it and do encourage MY dd to stand up for herself and others. That said, dd is very well liked though she can be rather quiet and shy, all the teachers from other grades, to administration to music to the speech teacher love her to death.
And for the record we all love her teacher and she watches the kids closely on the days dd is attending there is only 8 kids on two days and 10 one day mostly all boys with a few girls sprinkled in makes for an interesting mix.

I love going on her field trips, helping out in the classrooms and not worrying about favoritism. I have YET to find a family that the parents have not shown blatant favoritism to one child where the others have not picked up on it; sorry just a pet peeve of mine.
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I have a 3.5MO boy, and boy, ley me tell you. He's the only baby I ever want. He's delightful, sweet, bright, and very easy going. I know that if I ever had another baby, that would take so much away from him. Trips to the zoo, and museums, and the park. Going to the movies, going out to eat, on vacation, etc.

And, when the time comes, getting him a car and sending him to college will also be a much easier financial situation. I always pictured myself with two children, but in the last few months of pregnancy, I just sort of knew. I would never go through what I went through again. I had a terrible pregnancy. Horrible.

I am happy with just the three of us. I have two brothers. I'm the oldest. I always wished that I was an only.. I'm choosing to have an only for pretty selfish reasons. I just ask myself this question:

When this boy is dressing himself, brushing his own teeth, going to the bathroom in the toilet of his own will.. When he's walking and talking and pretty independant.. Do I ever want to go through it all again?

The answer is no. I'm happy with my one baby.. and I feel like I'd be cheating him if I took myself away from him.
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I am an only child, and I am not maladjusted or anything else. Unfortunately my parents had a messy divorce when I was 12 so that created a ton of other problems for me, but my being an only child was not the problem. Do what you feel is right for your family!!
I'm not an only child and I am an only child, at the same time.

I have two half sisters and two step brothers. My two half sisters have the same father (but a diff father than me) and are 11 and 15 years older than me. I lived with them only for a short time when I was really young. My parents divorced when I was 5 or 6, and then my dad remarried shortly after that. I then had step-brothers; one is my age and one is 6 years older.

Anyway... I lived with my mom most of the time, just her and I, and was intensely lonely. She worked a lot and always came home late. I had to take care of myself, much of the house, and essentially "grow up too fast". I saw my dad, step-mom & step-brothers every Weds & every other weekend, so I had a taste of sibling life too. I don't know what I would have done if I had to live like that all the time either, haha. The point is, it's all how you handle it. I don't agree with the way my parents raised me, period.
I don't think being an only child or having siblings really has anything to do with it.

It's a personal choice, and people have no right to be up in other people's business like that.
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I'm an only child, and you know what sucks about being and only child? When people find out you are an only, roll their eyes and say stupid crap to you like "Oh, so you were really spoiled huh?" or "I guess your parents were afraid they would have another one like you."
I think it was worse for my mom, she had a dalcon shield after me, and had to have a radical hysterectomy so she couldn't have anymore. But who wants to say that to someone at a cocktail party who makes a stupid only child comment to them?

On the other hand, now as an adult I find it difficult being an only child. I have no one to share memories with. I worry about the sole responsibility of caring for my parents as they age. My mom is mentally ill, and I did not have a great childhood, it's hard not having anyone who remembers things the way I do, or who can commiserate with me.
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i find it so funny that those of you who have one child get looks and rude comments about your "only child" yet if you have more then two children the comments and looks are non stop because you have a "huge" family!!! why doesnt everyone just mind their own buisness!!! Its all how your raise them anyway. an only child could be selfish an spoiled if allowed to be but that doesnt mean that they wouldnt be that same way if they had a sibling. its how the parents raised them. i have 3 and my children all have their selfish, braty moments, which i try and correct........but non of it has to do with the fact that they have siblings.

i guess we all have to deal with judgemental people who feel the need to comment on our family size........ugh!!
We are not planning on more children either. My dh was an only and is the most generous, kind, loving person I know. Much more than me, and I have a sibling

My brother and I rarely see each other or talk. We get along ok, but did not get along as children.
I do not want more children for many reasons, but the most being that I feel so complete right now.
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