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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!

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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.

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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.

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