57 answers

Benefits of Having an Only Child?

I'm looking for advice from anyone that has an only child. My husband is adamant about only having one child and giving him the best future possible. I am not completely sold on the idea of only having one child. I don't need more kids to be happy; we are very happy with our son. I'm worried he will be lonely when he gets older. What are the positives about having an only child? Do you see any negatives from not having more children? Thanks for your advice and help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I dont know what I would do without my siblings. I have a brother (8 years older then I) with whom I grew up with from birth. When I was 4 my mother married my other dad who had a boy and girl of his own. That is when my childhood began. They are my best friends and throughout everything in life, I always have them.

J.,
I too have a 20 month old child and have thought about making her my only child. However my husband is adamant about giving her a brother or a sister so she isn't lonely. I am an only child myself and actually quite enjoy it. My mom and I are like best friends because it is just the two of us. It may be different in my case since my parents divorced when I was 4 (I'm still close to my dad though). I selfishly enjoy being the center of her attention but I can understand those who think it's necessary to give their child a brother or sister. So I guess rather than giving you advice, I'm supporting the idea that either way can have its pros and cons.

I'm an only child and did not really have any problems with it until I got older. I never "missed" having siblings. My dad passed away 1 1/2 years ago and my mother is also an only child so I am her one and only support. It has been difficult trying to start my own family and also having plenty of time to devote to her. It would be nice to have another sibling to help with the responsibilities of aging parents. This experience has helped me decide to definitely try for 2.

More Answers

My husband was an only child and he said he wouldnt trade it for the world. He was never lonely because he had lots of friends. He said he thought it was nice not having siblings because he didnt have to share things, fight for things, etc. :-)
We thought our daughter would be an only child, but my son was born when she was 5. Up until that point, she was just fine with everything. We got to do alot for her that she probably wouldnt have had had she had more siblings.
I dont see anything wrong with having 1 child as long as you fill his life with love. I also think boys handle it better than girls. Boys tend to entertain themselves to begin with whereas girls seem to always the need for friends. Boys tend to make friends with other boys a little easier too.

1 mom found this helpful

As an only child, I can tell you I always (and still) wished I'd had at least one sibling. I've always envied sibling relationships. On the other side of the coin, over the years plenty of friends have said siblings are overrated and they would have preferred being an only child. Benefits: own room, don't have to share or beat anyone to anything, etc. Deficits: no one to play with unless parents arrange "play date", no one to bond with as the years go on, etc.

Having said all this, my true response to you would be this... You can probably find just as many people who are for OR against. It all depends on their situation (good relationship with sibling, likes to share, etc.) I would suggest that you don't seek too much information on this one from others. If you search your heart, you'll know what's right for you. Go with your gut. And if your gut is different from your husband's, then you need to have a serious conversation that starts with letting him know you want to make the right choice for your family, no matter what the outcome, but that talking about what is at the core of both your desires is necessary to make the right choice.

In summary, I would suggest not thinking too hard about this one. I've found all the components we need to make the really big decisions in life are already in us, we just have to have the courage to follow it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

If you force your desire for another child, be wary of ultimately alienating your husband. I would definitely put more stake in happy marriage over the possibility of a second child anyday.

Talk to your husband about it. Is he perhaps feeling the stress of one child and is afraid that another will break the bank? Are there any underlying reasons that he has not told you about? Did you have any difficulty, physical or relational, with your first pregnancy?

You used the word "adamant"...Before you worry about your son coping with being an only child, make sure that the matter is even up for debate with your husband.

I'm an only child and there are positives and negatives. In one sense you feel closer to your parents but in another you miss that support like if your parents had a fight. Many times a sibling may be the only one who can relate. Growing up I was really close to my cousins and friends, but it's not the same and others don't see it as the same. For me it was important to marry into a family where my spouse had siblings. As the child gets older, it is much more difficult when a parent dies, as they may feel the need to constantly be with the living parent, plus they can't talk to someone about that change who understands it in the same way they do. Of course there are positive and negatives to everything but being an only child, I always knew I wanted more than one kid. Everything is a personal decision so do what you think is right. Your husband may even feel differently in a few years.

I am an only child myself and although there are benefits involving the amount of time, energy and attention that parents can give an only child, I don't feel that these outweigh the cons to being an only child. It is very lonely as a child and as an adult to be an only. There is also a great deal of pressure to be the "perfect" child and also to have children (because you are the only one to make your parents grandparents) and the future issues of taking care of aging parents alone without any other sibs to count on. My husband is one of five and I love being a part of his large family, but it is not the same as having your own sibs. Of course I am obviously biased, but that is my opinion about it - for what it's worth. Hope it helps and good luck!!

I'm an only child and did not really have any problems with it until I got older. I never "missed" having siblings. My dad passed away 1 1/2 years ago and my mother is also an only child so I am her one and only support. It has been difficult trying to start my own family and also having plenty of time to devote to her. It would be nice to have another sibling to help with the responsibilities of aging parents. This experience has helped me decide to definitely try for 2.

Hi J.,

I am an only child. I think I begged for siblings for the first 8-10 years then I just gave up. It also became a guilt trip game that I had with my mom for fun. I will still tease her now that she is near 60 just to get her goat. "You know, my kids could still have cousins if you had a baby."

I never felt deprived because I was close with my parents and my cousins. I also had a lot of friends. I learned to entertain myself, became an independent thinker and feel that I am quite well adjusted. (Although that could probably go up for debate. :) I did have a hard time when I went to college simply because I never had to share a room. I always knew where things were and my room was always neat. I didn't have a problem sharing. I just had problems with my roommates not putting things where I thought they should be. Things were messy with the added bodies and that was hard for me. I needed to learn to be more flexible.

Now that I am in my 30's, the only fear I have is of my parents dying because I will be all that is left. I will be the only one to have to do all the planning. That scares me! I have a husband with a big family and I have 3 kids of my own so I will have a support system. I had more than one child because I always wanted to have a large family.

What I am trying to say is that it all depends on how you raise your child. He doesn't have to be spoiled (stereotype)! My parents were able to help me with college where my husband, who is 1 of 5, had to go it on his own. Whatever you decide to do, he will be just fine.

C.

As an only child myself, I was a little thrown off by how many people responded back with the "2-child minimum" type response. Unless someone was an only child, it seems a bit odd to me that they can know that having a sibling would be better (or not). I have one child now and would like to expand my family, but not because I am worried about my son being an only child, because it is something that both my husband and I agree on. In a society where children are wearing more expensive clothes than their parents and the word "no" doesn't seem to mean much--it is hard for me to believe that these "spoiled" children are all "onlys". Quite the contrary, I see many of my friends using material items to appease their several children to all get along. Now if by spoiling people are talking about attention and love--well than I find no fault in that.

For parents to look at their children and decide they may have turned out differently if they had a sibling--that is just silly. I know many people who are insecure, lonely and shy and have many siblings. The same could be said that I know similar people who do not have siblings. Children become who they are, yes, based on environment, but also based on their own personality and abilities. I found being an only growing up made me more sociable and outgoing and yet some of my best friends (with similar personalities) had brothers and sisters. Go figure! As an adult now, I do strongly agree with the writers that worry about the burden of helping your parents out yourself. But, as another writer wrote in, sometimes in bigger families (such as what my parents were raised in) only one person does all the work with the aging parents, and the siblings harbor lots of resentment from that.

Maybe you and your husband could wait another year and see if he feels differently. Maybe as your son gets older your husband may have a change of opinion. But, for now, I would respect the fact that your husband and you can be honest about this issue and keep on loving your little guy like you are doing. With a parents love and support--a child will never feel too lonely. Every new child is a new responsibility and whatever works best for each individual household will be best for the child.

I only had one child. I also owned a daycare so he had plenty of friends. Now he is almost twenty and has plenty of his own friends. I can afford college, a car for him, and we travel often. One child is great. I wouldn't do it any other way if I went back in time. Just remember to keep him active with friends, cousins, and have sleep overs on the weekends. EAch time we traveled we took a friend of his. WE did weekend trips up north to camp, and even took a friend on a cruise with us. We always made sure he had a buddy with him. We also did just family stuff but you can bring balance if you work at it. Good luck, I love having one child. It can work and your child doesn't need to feel lonely. Don't even think that way, just do something about it throughout his childhood.

I'm not an only child and have 3 boys. But one of the things that really made me want at least two was this. As their father and I grow older they will have many decisions to make on our behalf. Thats hard on one child regardless if they are 60 or 16. My mom has had to deal with this for the past 10 years or so as my grandmother has had more and more health issues and dementia. Many times she has mentioned she had someone to at least share in these decisions - as they feel right to her but wonders how a sibling would feel about it. Often the rolls reverse and the parents become the ones being cared for by the children. I know I love having someone to share the responsiblity of caring for and making the best decisions for a loved one. It's a relief to me to know also that when my parents need us there are 3 of us that they can count on and turn to.

We struggled with this decision for a long time and had many people try to give us advise. It finally came down to what was right for our family. We decided to stay with just having one, but I am not judgemental of those that choose to have more. I find it is not always the same in return, but just have to remember what feels right for our family. I also believe that it is not a child's total responsiblity to take care of their aging parents and we will try to set it up so that he doesn't have it all weighing on him when he grows up. I wish you luck in your own personal decision.

My daughter gets lonely. Shes talked about her friends that have sibs, and wants to have some one to play with all the time too. She's not wanting to play alone right now, and though we do play a lot I have house work to do as well. Were hopeing to have another child. I like the thought of my kids having each other when her father and I pass. Good luck in finding whats right for you & your family.
A. H

Hi J.,
I have a sister who is my best friend. I can't imagine not sharing all the trials and tribulations of growing up without her. I wish I had more siblings. I was in the same boat as you. I had my son and really debated as to whether to have another child due to my age. We decided to go for it and now we also have a dtr. MY children are 3 years apart and my dtr was the best gift I could give my son. SHe has taught him so much like patience, sharing, how to be a role model, and unconditional love, even when someone takes your favorite toy. It absolutely melts my heart to watch them play together, fall asleep together, and experience life together. My only regret is that I am too old to have another child. Good luck with your decision, I know it's a hard one..
L.

I have 2 kids, but I wanted to give my 2 cents. IMO with any decision in a family the person that is adamant with a NO wins! You truely would not want to bring a child into this world knowing his father was not 100% for it.

There are very successful loving people that are only children. The problem you'll need to look out for it not spoiling him with material possesions.

Hi J. ~ I was an only child until I was seven...I'm now 28 and I can still remember how much I hated it! Even though my sisters are quite a bit younger than me (and we certainly had our fair share of moments growing up), I wouldn't trade them for anything in this world...we consider each other close friends now, not just sisters. I know everyone has different opinions, but I guess I feel that you can raise a GREAT family with more than one child without handing them everything...if money (material things, schooling etc) is the only concern then I'd say the best things in life are the ones you work for, hard work never hurt anyone and you usually learn a thing or two along the way :) Hopefully that didn't sound too harsh. I know choosing the right number of children is a very personal thing, hopefully you and your hubby can come to a mutual decision ~ good luck :)

Hi J.:

My sisters are 15 and 17 years older and were both married and out of the house by 19 - so for all intents and purposes, I was an only child growing up. I LOVED not having to share my room, toys, clothes and parents attention! I had lots of friends growing up and a bunch of nieces and nephews to play with that were as close to brothers and sisters as you can get. What was great for me was at the end of the day, they went home and I got my 'stuff' back. I am very independent, focused and social and have suffered no ill effects from not having siblings to grow up with. What I honestly believe I missed out on is learning how to fight. Siblings fight and torture each other and I may have developed a thicker skin had I had a slightly older or younger sibling to compete, fight, share etc with.

If it makes you feel any better, my husband and I have one child and she will be an only. Our parenting skills are such that we feel dividing our time between two will rob each of them whereas one will get the best of both of us instead of 1/2 or 1/3 of a stressed out us. Does that make sense? Do what is best for your family. If you need reassurance, I can give it to you because I'm so happy with our choice of having an only. Do I worry about it at times? Sure! But I also know that having another child is no guarantee that the two will be best friends or even like each other. Nothing in life is guaranteed. I also worry about growing older and her being stuck with taking care of two old people all by herself. But I've decided to give my worries over to God and live in the present. What happens happens. Who knows what the future will bring but our little girl will have love, support, discipline, college paid for, opportunities, a loving extended family and a good church. As for what she chooses to do with it, we can only do everything we can and hope for the best.

Best of luck to you J.!

I attended a talk by a nationally-respected doctor, Dr. Radnor, whom I believe is now deceased. He said the best thing you can do for your child is to give him siblings. If you can't afford to pay for his college, he'll find a way, but siblings will teach him how to get along in the world. My dad and his mother were only children and they both had a hard time dealing with difficult things in their lives. They expected to always be happy and, clearly, in their minds, they were owed that. We have a stepgrandson who came into our family as a preschooler with the same issues and, at 18, he's still very self-focused and always blames someone else when he messes up. The lessons learned from living with siblings far outweigh any advantages an only child might have. Besides, I've never met one who wasn't lonely. G. B.

J.,
Our little 2 and 1/2 year old girl is an only child. We thought about having another one but this year I'll be 48 and my husband will be 57. We have decided it best with my full time schedule to enjoy our blessing. I thought about the lonely factor too but then I was reminded of the large number of cousins and second cousins she has currently and the ones to come. She is very social and I don't believe she is missing not having a sibling. We have taken her to playcenters at the mall and to the children's nursery and toddler rooms since she was a baby. She just started a "Mini
Motions" dance class last year and the recital is coming up in June. She is active and loves it. Right now, we're just trying to keep up with her! Make the best decision for the both of you and don't be pressured by society and others in your decision making. Once you make that decision walk in peace. Don't look back on what you should've or could've done. Enjoy your life as a family. A perfect family is not a couple with two or three or four children. A perfect family is a happy couple who live in peace with themselves and others.

Best,
Dina

Hi J.,

I have an only child too. He is 5 years old now. I go back and forth all the time on wether or not it is the right thing to do to have another one. So far he is very happy and has all of our undivided attention. He is our world. I too worry about the future. Will he be lonely etc... but I look at him now and he is just fine. I am getting older 36 and need to decide very soon what to do. I know I haven't given any advice but I just wanted you to know you are not alone in your concern.
Good Luck!
D.

Every situation is different and whether you have 1 child or 5, it is all in how you raise them and the time you spend with them. My husband and I are both only children. We have 2 children, when we see them fight we just look at eachother is disbelief. Although they are 4 years apart they seem to be able to pick a fight about things as little as what game to play first. I never had that growing up. I also don't remember being lonely very often, occassionally, but my daughter feels that way because there are no other girls in the neighborhood her age. I had friends on our block and at school. Two of my best friends and I met in 2nd grade, and we have never stopped talking. One of them swears we are closer than her and her sister. My husband grew up in the country and was so involved in athletics, he didn't have time to be lonely. When it comes to money that you can provide, that too doesn't matter. My husband's family could help him out, and mine couldn't. When I went to college, I didn't have any problems adjusting, my mom did, but I was fine, I went and made friends and was happy. When it comes to our parents needing help at the end of their lives or during illness, I have friends that have multiple siblings, and my friend is the one handling all of the dr. appts, planning, errands, she is doing it alone. All she is feeling right now is resentment that her siblings won't help.So there are no guarentees, either way that you decide. My husband and I loved being only children. We had two only because we had felt that maybe we had missed out on something, looking back we realize that our lives were (and are)very complete. Any issue that you can think of are going to have both benefits and negatives, however, I think you should do what is in the best interest of your family. Do you have the time to commit to another child, do you have the money to support another child, and do you both want another child? All things to consider before making any decisions, and you definitely have plenty of time.

There are some negatives. If a crisis were to arise such as if the parents became elderly and needed care, there would be only the one child to bear all responsibility. My sister and I are currently dealing with pur elderly mother, and we are so grateful that we have each other because we take turns doing things and we have one another to lean on for support. The positives about having one child is that child gets all the attention, there is more money for material things and for college, and chances are that child will inherit everything. If your child has some cousins, they can step in the role of siblings and be there if he were to need them. I've seen that before. I've worked in probate and seen siblings fight over assets which can be grueling, not to mention sad. The sibling relationship is the longest relationship one has in life and it can be the most difficult as well as the most enjoyable. You can choose your spouses and friends, but you never choose your siblings. So, is it good or is it bad to have siblings? That depends on who you ask, really. There are pros and cons to both. And you need to decide what is best for your family. I believe it is how you raise your kids that counts. Never play favorites and love them for the individuals that they are. Another view point, which I hate to bring up and please don't feel offended because I'm not trying to be mean, but suppose something terrible happened and you lost your child? A family friend of ours suddenly lost her son to influenza when he was in his late teens. She always said how blessed she was that she had another son who got married and gave her some grandchildren. Her second son was born by accident. Originally, she and her husband only planned on having one child. The second son was the only light in her life after her first son's death. Something to think about.

MC

During the year my grandparents passed (nine months apart), I don't know how many times I heard my mother say she didn't know what she would have done without her brother. Siblings just aren't when you are a kid, they help shoulder the load and the blessings when you are adults as well.

Does "the best future possible" mean monetary givings? If so, your child is better off with a sibling than material items. THis is just my opionion, but I see two kids as a minumum requirement. People learn many things from their sibling-play with others, working together, sharing, just to name a few.

Hi J.,

I am a mom of a 6 year old next week. He is the highlight of our lives. We only have him and for various reasons we think we have decided not to have another one. We are completely happy with just him but feel like we should have another one for him. We struggled with uncertainty of having another child for a few years. We thought he would have better chances in life from us only having him. I feel much different now as I feared I would and here he is turning 6 already. I now feel like I waited too long for the age gap. I wish we would have given him a sibling a couple of years ago like we "almost" decided to do. He is a great kid and is happy, but he is missing something. He is missing that bond and security of a sibling. He is lonely when we do things and we almost always need to find a friend to take or have over. It's not the same. I wanted to give him everything I could and the one thing he really needs I can't buy. Only you can decided what to do, but if I could turn back the clock, my son would would have a little brother or sister that he would be enjoying as we speak. That would be the greatest gift I could have given him. Good luck.

Jen S

do your child a favor and have at least one more!
I am a only child and it is a very lonely life sometimes.... (alot) I have been very blessed with great friends but it's not the same. Family vacations were mostly boring,mom and dad are not as much fun as having someone your age. I use to be able to take a friend but it's still not the same. I had to raise a only child becouse I coud'nt have another and I have talked to her about being a only child and she is now 23 and says she wishes she had a sibling. Also I am taking of of my Mother now that my dad is gone. It is one of the HARDEST things I have ever had to do. I dont have anyone to help me. Yes I have friend to help but no one to take her for a week and give me a break. I was also very blessed with material things growing up becouse of being a only child. Still I would give anything to have a sister or brother. Really thing about it.
If you can have another, Give your child a partner in crime!(so to speak)

I am in a similar situation, but reversed...I have a beautiful 17 1/2 mos old dtr. I love her more than anything in the world. I alway thought I wanted 2 children, but now after having her I feel I would be taking away from our relationship by having another child. My husband on the other hand tells me I am being selfish by not having another child. He says, and others I have talked to, that only children are selfish, self-centered, and attention starved. I told him it is all in how the child is raised. I believe if you involve your child in playgroups and teach them from an early age to share and so on, that only child syndrome could be broken. I am still torn with the situation myself one having another child, let me know what you come to...Good luck with your decision making...it will be a huge one!

Well I am an only child (soon to be 28). I LOVED being an only child. I did not have everything handed to me like most people think. I have a wonderful relationship with my parents and would not change that for the world. My parents could not have any more children after me and I was a 'miracle' child basically to them.
I have a TON of cousins and things so I was only alone when it was the evening. My mom made sure that I had plenty of play time with different friends and family so that I did not grow up to be the 'typical' spoiled child. Now, I am spoiled but I DO NOT expect my parents to still do everything for me. My husband and I are expecting our 1st child in a few days and we are THRILLED> I really think though, that you and your husband need to talk through the pros and cons of have only 1 child and then make that decision together.
Hope you make the right choice!

I believe if you can have more, you should!! Children are the BEST gift ever and having a sibling for your son will not only teach him many things about life, but he will have a bond with his sibling that no one else can understand! I have always heard "you can see an only child a mile away". I actually believe it's true too!

My biggest thing I think about is what happens when you and your husband are old and may possibly need to be cared for or to make tough decisions. I know no one likes to think like that, but it is reality and to have all that responsibility just on your son, that will be really hard. If he had sibling(s) to help share in the decisions and lean on, and depend on, get advice from. Plus, when your son is old enough and is married and has kids of his own, his kids won't have any cousins.

Anyway I know it is a lot to think of, you have to do what is right for your family. Just think about it all. Don't think about money or space or stress, just think about your son and what is best for him. Really that is what it comes to...what is best for him. Personally I think that being an only child, is not the best.....for any child!

Hope I helped!!
S. :):)

As a mom with a 17 mo, I appreciate your dillemna. I am an only child myself and although I remember having a brief phase where I really wanted a sibling, I feel that I really benefited from being an only - only does NOT mean lonely. In fact, my parents went out of their way to provide me with social experiences and I had plenty of friends. In addition, I have the benefit of a special relationship with my parents and had the opportunity to do lots of things that would have been impossible with siblings (travel around the globe, debt-free college experience, free time with mom and dad, etc.) Equally, while I have been fortunate, I do not believe I have been spoiled and continue to have a strong work ethic and an empathetic soul that has led me to a successful professional career.

I know a lot of people talk about how siblings provide a natural "best friend" but many of my friends who are not singletons have taken years (say 20 years!) to really warm up to a sibling and some never develop a strong bond or relationship. Additionally, judging from the experience of friends and extended family, having multiple children does NOT guarantee that the workload will be split when the time comes to care for you, the aging parents, and in some ways can create a whole new set of family hostilities. Having fewer children is not selfish as some have described and it is certainly not denying your child some necessary part of growing up. It will mean that you need to put a little more work into making sure your child is well-balanced, but whose child (singleton or otherwise) doesn't need that?

Ultimately, you (and your partner) need to decide what is best for YOUR family. My husband and I are still deciding what we will do, but I know that if we choose to be a one-child household, our child will grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted member of society!

My son, who is 16, is an only child (I do have two older step-children, so I suppose that technically my son has siblings. However, they are so much older than he is that they never lived with us. They were both adults and my son was a toddler when my husband and I got married). The plus side of being an only child is that you don't have the conflict that comes with living with siblings. You have all the attention of your parents. Your life is quieter, more simple. My mother used to worry that my son would not learn to share and care about others, that he would be spoiled, and that he would not learn to deal with conflict. I suppose that the conflict part is right. He has turned out to be a most gentle soul, one who doesn't enjoy competition. However, he is very caring and open. He has an incredible sense of fair play and looks out for others. He doesn't seem lonely at all. Quite the opposite. He makes friends easily and fits into a group well. I once asked my son if he ever wished he had a brother or sister and he said no, that he was happy with the way our family is. That was good to hear.

Hi J.,
I won't go into much detail for you but being an only child myself. I made sure I wouldn't have only one!!! It is a very special bond having a sibling, a friendship you cannot get anywhere else, I see that with my two daughters!! Good Luck to you!!

My first suggestion is that you talk, not only with parents of only children, but with only children themselves. I think their point of view is really what you're seeking here. Having said that, I'll offer this: We have just raised an only son who is now 23 years old. It was the easiest, least stressful, most joyful child raising experience you can imagine. He is now a very happy, successful, interesting, educated young man with with delightful girlfriend, and what looks like a very bright future. As a child of about 6 or 7 he said he wanted to have a little sister. My husband was determined that one perfect child was ideal. Although that wasn
't my plan, that is the way it went. Most of our son's elementary school friends were also only children (private school, older and educated parents). As a high schooler he seemed to collect a family-type group of friends around him, but he also LOVED being alone, and having his life be uninterrupted, except when he wanted it otherwise. He continues to have a broad social circle of friends. I have noticed, however, that few only children (that I have known) go on to have just one child. They often seem to want to create a bigger family for themselves.

If you are looking to convince your husband that another child would be best, check out Dr. Leman's book on birth order. He believes that it is better psychologically for a child to have a sibling. Good luck and God Bless!

I dont know what I would do without my siblings. I have a brother (8 years older then I) with whom I grew up with from birth. When I was 4 my mother married my other dad who had a boy and girl of his own. That is when my childhood began. They are my best friends and throughout everything in life, I always have them.

Well, I am an only child of divorced parents. My husband and I were not going to have any children. By God's design, we did. We have a 4 year old girl. I do not plan on having more children. I love spending all my time with just her. Getting back to the only child thing, yeah there are times when you get lonely. I always had cousins nearby to help with that part. You learn to entertain yourself. My entertainment is music. I love the radio, always have, always will. You also learn to do things for yourself. You do not have a sibling's shoulder to cry on, so you get over it. My memories of my mom's with stepdad were playing games, going bowling, going to movies. We had plenty of family time together and that I think is the most important part. The memories of my dad's were hanging out with hime at the barn. The more children (in my opinion) you have, the less time you have as a unit. There is always someone needing a nap, or someone who needs to be driven here or there... If I "survived" coming from divorced parents than chances are your child will "survive" too! I am a successful dairy manager. I went to MSU for that purpose. The older I get, the more I realize that I have mental toughness. That is important too!! My husband and I tell our daughter up front that she will not have siblings. She accepts that decision. We try to get her involved in activities so that she can build her friend base.

Personally I feel a child misses out by not having a sibling. I have one sister (wish I had more siblings) and wouldn't know what to do without her! As you get older, sometimes your siblings are the only ones you can depend on. Now that my sister and I are both starting families, it is wonderful for our kids to have their cousins to play with. Sure if you have only one child you have more money to buy them things, but in the long run kids don't appreciate those things like they will having a sister or brother to grow up with. I have 2 boys, 3 and 9 mos, and sure they fight over toys and stuff, but it is so very precious to see them laying with each other and giving kisses and laughing and playing together. I feel I have given the best give I could have given to my children-one another.
Good luck with your decision, and talk to as many moms you can before you decide what to do. hopefully you and your husband can come to a mutual agreement.

I believe that only you, your husband, and God should being involved in the decision making regarding how many children you have or don't have. However, has your husband ever considered that for his son to have a sibling could be part of his "best future possible"? I have to admit, I came from a large family, as did my husband. And we are expecting #4. We love big families. I think it would be lonely to be an only child. My oldest son, 6 yrs., tells me frequently that he never wants to be alone. He loves having his 4-yr.-old sister around to play with, even if it may be a "love/hate" relationship. And I've also noticed that my younger children seem to have advanced more quickly (than their older sibling did at their ages) in their motor and speech development, for example, because of having an older sibling around, I believe. I feel like I'm rambling a bit. Hope this helps!

I dont know yet about any benefits of having only one child my son is only going to be 13 months. But I am the middle child of 3 and my usband is the oldest of 3 and both of us hated our siblings.

I was middle of 3 girls and got treated the worst and my husband had two sisters and was treated like a slave. So both of us are simply happy with just one. Dont know if that helps or not. My oldest sister has two boys and they fightall the time despite her best efforts at getting along so who knows!

Hi J. - I have an only child - my son is 17 now. I know this was the right decision for us, and I wouldn't do things differently. I have never wanted more than one child. That being said, I do sometimes have feelings of guilt for not having more. I think that's my issue though, and maybe has to do with the area we live in. (We're in Hudsonville, where large families are the norm. I don't even know anyone else with an only child.) My son is very adult-oriented; he interacts well with adults and enjoys their company. He does have trouble sometimes gauging how his comments might affect others, so I have always tried to use as many teachable moments as possible to point out that aspect. ("How would you feel if someone said that to you?") Those incidents have been minor though, and overall he's a great kid - unconventional, quirky, great sense of humor, a joy to be around. I've asked him before how he feels about being an 'only,' and he has no doubts about it - he prefers it this way. I did worry at one point about his being lonely - but I decided that having another child only for the benefit of the first child is really not fair to that second child. I think a child should be wanted for its own sake, not for the benefit it can offer to another child. So, those are my thoughts! I hope they are helpful.

Hi J.! You're asking a good question...one I wish I'd asked more advice on. We did intend to have more, or adopt, but several things happened that we did not. And I really wish our son wasn't an only. I see a lot of maturity development things that would at least be farther along if he had siblings.
It is much harder for him to adjust to people. He is social but it's just harder to be flexible...what he would have learned from Sibs. I think my husband feels similar to your husband in being able to better invest in one...he's never quite said. But things we can give him don't compare, in my thinking, to the value of good relationships. But then, I would say that, I'm a woman!
My conclusion is, and my husband has counseled others the same, only is not best.
A positive is that they are better able to communicate with adults. I'm not convinced that is worth the trade off.
Which ever way you decide, being in agreement with your husband and without regrets will be the best for your son. A calm appeal to your husband and quietly waiting will serve you well.
We enjoyed the book "Birth Order" by Kevin Lehmnan. Lots of insight.
Lots of peace to you as you and your husband navigate this!
M.

One major negative I can point out is that if something were to ever happen to you and your husband, your child will not have someone to talk to who feels the same emotions. My husband lost both of his parents, and as an only child would never wish that situation on a child. Although he had a lot of other relatives, no one could really relate to the situation at hand. We have now had our first child, and plans are in the works for #2!

My best friend (for 40 years) is an only child. Her mom had her and one stillborn and then was not able to have any more after that. She always had the cutest cloths, the doting daddy, went to college and all that good stuff. Over the years she has always said, when I am complaining about one sibling or another, that she wishes she had at least one sibling. She said this after both of her parents suffered from cancer, she lived far away and it was difficult to go back and forth. Not that she didn't want to, but she said then that a sibling would be nice to share the stress. I have 3 children. They are grown now, but the friendship I see between them is wonderful and I know they will have that forever. Good luck with your decision, it's a tough one.

Hi J.,
I actually have a similar dilema... not because my husband only wants one...but because I don't know if I want more! I had a difficult pregnancy and delivery to start ... and the thought of going through infancy with a toddler around just about does me in! I'm not a young mom by any means.

However, I was an only child for 12 years. I have one sister. I can not tell you how excited I was when my sister was born. We have a very unique relationship and are very close. I know this is largely due to the age difference. There were never any rivalries between us, never any fighting, never any problems other then me trying to mother her a bit! LOL

I WAS a lonely child growing up. I didn't have a lot of friends, both my parents worked and I wasn't involved in a lot of extra activities.... basically due to lack of time for my parents to get me there.

Now... my sister... she was 8 when I moved away to college. I attended a community college for 2 years and then went away. So..she had a great deal of time as an 'only child' as well. And really, most would consider us both only children due to the age difference. However, when she was growing up she had the added benefit of an 'extra' adult in the house... me. She WAS involved in LOTS of extra activities... had LOTS of friends and was never a lonely child.

My husband and I have talked about this and have decided we don't need to decide right NOW if we want more kids. MY concerns are as follows: I do NOT want my daughter to be lonely. I don't want her to go through what I did. I'm also concerned though if we have another one I will not be able to give each child ALL they need ... not in terms of monetary things...but time ... attention. I have had many moments with one where I've felt overwhelmed...I don't know how I would handle it with two. But then I start to think 'am I being selfish?'

Anyway, the things I have concluded so far are ... my husband and I are not my parents. I do not work and thankfully I am lucky that I do not have to work. I CAN be home with our children as long as I want to be.

There are benefits to having only one child. You can devote ALL your time and attention to that one child. You never feel like someone is getting jipped. There are also advantages to having more then one child.

However, if one parent is not 100% on board...then you could have problems. I know of situations in which one parent wasn't totally on board but once the child was born they turned around 180 degrees. I also know situations where one parent wasn't totally on board ... and never really participated fully in parenting that child.

You and your husband need to be in agreement on what you want and why you want it. Regardless of your decision, if your boy has lots of love, attention, and opportunities provided to him ... he will be just fine.

J.,

You have gotten some great advice and seen the arguments for both sides of this issue. It is one that many people have very strong opinions. Here's my two cents. I would suggest that you sit down and really talk to your husband about your feelings and listen to his. My husband and I have wrestled with this issue and my doctor gave me a great book. It is called " Parenting an Only Child, The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only" by Susan Newman. This book lays out many of the arguments and looks at each one and give the positives and negatives to both sides. She gives you the information and lets the reader make their own informed decision as to whether they want or do not want more children.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Babysit for a couple of children that are close to your son's age. Watch them at different times of the day and maybe even overnight if their parents are comfortable. After the initial novelty wears off see how your family adjusts to having more than one child in the house. See how you feel after the other children have left. This idea does double duty, you give your friends a chance to get out and be adults and you can get the same in return. =)

2. You might want to try becoming foster parents for young children. You can choose what age you would like to foster and how many children at a time. If you find that your family does not adjust well, then you can stop and no harm is done and there are no lasting consequences.

In the end you need to do what works for your family. My husband and I have had numerous talks about this same issue and I find my maternal instinct really kicks up in the spring. =) However, we have found that one child works for us.

When my son was younger we put him in a really good daycare so he could learn social skills. He is now in kindergarten and has made a lot of friends which he plays with every day. He has even said he will marry his best friend. =)

This summer he will be in the school's summer latchkey program so he can continue to see and play with these same friends. I think that there are different responsibilities to having an only child, but there are also a lot of benefits. It is a very personal decision.

Good luck, I hope you are able to find a balance that works for all three of you.

both of my parents are only childs....I have NO COUSINS, NO AUNTS, NO UNCLES....I think this is so sad b/c my kids have a great relationship with their uncles and aunts, and it makes me sad, that I missed out on that. Also, since my mom is an only child, all the care of my grandmother, who is 85, lies with her. There are no siblings to help her, so she had to build onto grandma's house, so she wouldn't be lonley, takes her to all her doctor's appointment, and has no one to help. Also, she was very lonley growing up, there was no one to play with, and as a result, grandma somothered her. She shot out of the house at 19 and moved to California to get away. She just didn't have a sibling to vent with, or bond with, or share with. Also, parents tend to get more laid back with each child. (we have 3, so I can attest to this) I had my first born on a schedule, with perfect outfits, and read every book on parenting there was! By the third kid you have so much more confidence in your parenting, and you don't listen to all the books and well-meaning in-laws, you just go with your heart. It is really a growing process to have a second child. I would never say just have one, b/c the second kid is usually a gem, and way more laid back. Our second kid was sooooo easy to parent, b/c I was way more laid back and relaxed, as a result he is a great bouncer for our more high strung first born. well, I will quit blabbing, I just wanted to let you know the negatives :0) I don't really see too many positives, but ultimetly you have to decide with your hubby what works for you...just something to think about. G. :))

My husband was an only child and on the positive side was very close and loyal to his parents. He was there for them in them end, while they were both ill. Unfortunately, the negative side of that is that when you are older and need help from your kids, the only child has the total burden of that - with no siblings to share it..that can be very hard. My husband also talks often about missing a sibling connection. I think at least two kids would be better.

Hi J.,
I am a mother of two boys and two more on the way. I would like to share a little story with you. My husband and I had left our children with grandma and grandpa for the weekend and went to Duluth for a getaway. We were eating our breakfast downstair of the hotel people watching. At the same time we laid eyes on a mother and a father. The father was reading the news paper chatting with his wife. Then we noticed there son who you could tell was an only child. He had his head on the table with a bored look on his face just waiting for his mom and dad to say, "lets go". I'm going to guess he was 7. My husband and I were thinking the same thing. I glad we have two. They are 2 years apart and are the best of friend. They play together everyday. They fight plenty, but love each other unconditionly. If one is not lisening and I say,"o.k you are just going to stay home if you don't get your jacket on" the other crys dont leave my brother! My husband never used to be a "kid kind of guy" but has done a turn around. He is even wondering if we are done having kids after the twins are born. We now realize family is more important than money. Yes you could buy your child more if they were the only one, but a sibbling is worth more than money. I hope you were not offended by anything I said.

I'm not the only child, I have a brother and I personally wish that I had more siblings. Also I have one son and would like for him to have a brother or a sister (trying but so far not succeeding). I thought that maybe having another one would take away from the attention that he needs when he is young so I compromised and decided that when he is of school age he should be old enough to deal with having the competition. I can't imagine having kids to close together, its hectic with just the one. I don't think having one child is bad, but I think it would get mighty lonely for the only child. Some of the others made good points about having to take care of elderly parents, and also the parents dying and the only child is left with know one. These are the things that I also thought of and decided I can't stand the thought of doing that to our precious son. Another thing that I thought of was losing your only child. My sister was killed when she was 16 and I couldn't imagine what my mom would have done without us being there to help her cope. Well anyway I think the more the marrier. I wish I could handle having 5 or six but I think I might stop at two(if I am lucky enough to get pregnant again).

I am not an only child and I am pregnant with my second, so apparently Im not just having one. BUT I thought I would give you some positives of having just one/negatives of more:

First, social skills. Being from a huge family I had built-in friends and I didn't have to learn how to make friends and am still not that good at it. I always thought that if I was an only child I would have been more comfortable with this.

Second, attention/self-esteem. Being one of 5 (10 if you count step siblings) and one of 60 grandchildren (my dad has 13 siblings), I basically feel as if I am dispensible. I think my grandparents barely know me. Granted this does not necessarily have to happen, especially with just 2 or 3, but I do think your attention is a rare commodity that your son will always have enough of.

Third, resources. Hand me downs never hurt anyone, but not having money for girl scout camp or softball or college certainly changed what might have otherwise been my experiences. It's not about spoiling, it's about providing.

Fourth, quality of life. Taking one child to the museum (out to eat, a movie, vacation) will be much easier than three. They can even invite a friend! I wonder if my parents would have taken us to disneyland if they had to buy 1 kid ticket instead of 5. It really is a different lifestyle for you all. Related to this, I always had to watch my younger siblings which I still resent.

Last, I think you have to respect your husband's choice so you may as well be positive about it and enjoy every last second of your son :)

As you know having children is a handfull. When you have a only child they are lonely and need somoene to play with and will turn out to a brat when they get older not always

Hi J.~
I am an only child...I do have 4 stepbrothers but I only ever actually lived with one in high school. I don't think being an only child is so bad. I have always wished for a sibling, even as I get older but I really think it is part of who I am and part of my personality. I think my parents did a great job raising me...even after they divorced when I was 8. I can't say I wasn't spoiled, what only child isn't? But my mother was very adamant that I did not become a spoiled brat, and taught me to be responsible and not to "expect" anything from anyone. I don't want to sound arrogant but I think I have turned out pretty well. I am well adjusted, have never had any problems making friends, in fact most of my close friends I have been friends with for most of my life. I have a college degree, a healthy marriage, and am extremely close to my family.

The downside for me has been I am not good with conflict...probably because I never had anyone to fight with growing up! My husband wanted to just have one but I really didn't want my son to be an only child, so we are settling with two. In a nutshell, I truly believe there is nothing wrong with having or being an only child. It is true you will have much more time/energy/finances to spend with only one child and that is not a bad thing. Good luck with your decision!
~Ruby

The biggest gift you can ever give your child is a sibling!! Nothing will ever top it!!

J.,

I am an only child (although I'm now 31). I loved being and only (spoiled) child! As long your son has plenty of friends and maybe cousins to play with I see nothing wrong with it.

I have one son, and plan on having one or two more. However, I worry financially about college and making sure all of our kids have many opportunities to learn and grow as a person.

Kudos to you if you know you only want one child. I assure you, he will grow up just as happy and healthy as a child with siblings.

If fact, since I'm married I've gained two sisters. I really enjoy them and I appreciate them. Your son could gain siblings by marriage! Later on down the road of course :)

Best of Luck!
K.

Hi J.,
Well as an only child myself, we tend to get bored easy. lol
Seriously, I remember sometimes wishing I had a sibling, that feeling would vanish anfter I watched and listened to my friends fight with theirs.
An only child I think has more imagination, more freedom, less stress. By the time I hit my teens I was glad I was an only child.
Now I have two boys, thats jus how it worked out. I had decided on one God said two. I'm lucky though, they are 15 months apart and get along. Most of the time.
Enjoy your baby, they grow really super fast.
God Bless,
W.

Hi I just wanted to say that I agree with some of the Moms that an only child can be lonely, but they can also grow up to be go getters. My husband is an only child, his Mom lost five before him. He always wanted a sibling and now that she is in her 70's he is the only one to make decisions for her. We had to take her car away, now we are faced with the decision of whether or not to put her in assisted living. He has to take her to all the appointments, shopping and do everything else alone. I try to help as much as possible but it's hard with our little ones. He has said I wish I had brothers and sisters that could help out with this it's so hard to do alone. I came from a family of 8 and we have wonderful large Christmas parties and lots of cousins for my kids to play with. I think it's okay to only have one child and that you can give them the best of everything but I also think that siblings would be the best thing you could give them in the long run :) But it is up to you and your husband , I just thought I'd share my experience...

Sounds like you and I are pretty much in the same boat. My husband also only wants one child and I'm perfectly happy with our daughter but I wouldn't mind having more children - at times I think it would be beneficial to her to have a brother or sister, others I think things are perfect just the way they are. I've thought about this very subject long and hard for a long time. While there may be benefits to having more than one child - there are just as many for just having one. My husband was an only child while I am the oldest of five, so we have different perspectives on the issue. Our daughter is now 3 and is very well socialized. She goes to daycare, is involved in the preschool program at church, and is very creative, intelligent and imaginitive. I think that if you're happy with your family just being the three of you ~ then stick with that. If not, then talk it over with your husband. Either way it turns out, as long as your little boy has a loving family (whether it be big or small) he will turn out just fine! God bless and best of luck!

J.,
I too have a 20 month old child and have thought about making her my only child. However my husband is adamant about giving her a brother or a sister so she isn't lonely. I am an only child myself and actually quite enjoy it. My mom and I are like best friends because it is just the two of us. It may be different in my case since my parents divorced when I was 4 (I'm still close to my dad though). I selfishly enjoy being the center of her attention but I can understand those who think it's necessary to give their child a brother or sister. So I guess rather than giving you advice, I'm supporting the idea that either way can have its pros and cons.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.