"Mama, I Want a Sibling!"

Updated on November 22, 2011
P.B. asks from Greenville, SC
22 answers

Hello Ladies, tonight he really got me. My 5 and 1/2 son is feeling lonely, i am sure. His father and I are divorced and live very far from each other. His dad comes visit a couple of times a year and we go once year, plus we video-chat at least once a week, when not twice. Also we take holidays all together, so it's not like he completely lacks his father figure, although, obviously, it could be better if the family were united (not going to happen). Lately my son has been touching the subject of having a sibling, especially after making friends with another boy who has a younger brother - we see this family on a regular basis and my son loves their company (so do I, even if I am always the spare one....oh well).So tonight, at bedtime, he holds my hand and, with big, sweet eyes he goes:"Mamma, can I have a sibling?". I go:"Sweetie, you have a cousin" (really didn't know what to say there) and he says:"It's not the same...I would like to have brothers and sisters". Well, my heart broke, ladies. I am 37 yo, I live for him, I work and run around in circles ,you know exactly how it is when you are a single parent, I don't have the time to date and even so there's no-one who could barely meet my standards since I am perfectly happy by myself with no man to handle! So I guess i need to reconsider things for his sake, uh. What do you all think? Is it really better FOR HIM if I re-create a family environment (with chance of another baby if my eggs don't get too old) and let another man in my life? Just the idea of it makes me cringe. I will NEVER settle "'cause it's time" or such, but should I be more open minded about giving my son what he's dreaming of? Allowing in the house a man who is not his father has always felt weird for me, like he didn't belong. Was it better for you, remarried mamas, to add another child and another "daddy" to your first family?Thank you in advance.

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So What Happened?

Ladies,it is not about "pleasing" my child or letting him have his "playmate", it's a little deeper than that. I still consider siblings (and family in general) a huge value in this society where isolation and the lack of real emotional support are driving more and more people to desperation. My concern is for the future of my child when I won't be around, I was just thinking that having some family would make anyone feel like they belong and give that sense of identity. Another baby would fit in a bigger, more meaningful idea of family and would never be treated by the surrogate of something missing. Thank you all (especially to the mamas who "got" me)for your input.

Featured Answers


answers from Detroit on

If it happens, it happens. Whats meant to be will be, I wouldnt stress over it. He clearly has lots of love from both of you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think it is always sad for little ones who don't have a sibling. They do miss out on so much. I was not an only child but my siblings were much older than me so it was like I was. I would have preferred to have someone closer to my age that was mine, my brother or my sister.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from New York on

and I'd like a million dollars, but its not about to happen any time soon.

Good luck to you and yours.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

There were a few kids in my son's preschool class who begged to have younger brothers/sisters.
And then it happened - and baby's are absolute attention magnets.
Older kids suddenly get little or no lap time with Mom anymore.
Sometimes the honeymoon lasted until the baby was crawling and all of a sudden big brother/sister had to keep all their toys away from the baby (or share them).
Right about then they were asking if the baby could be sent back.
My son is older now (loves being an only child) and has a few friends who have many siblings.
They are always asking to come over to our house because they'll do ANYTHING to get away even for a little while from their brothers/sisters.
There are a lot of great things about being an only child.
You don't have to share Mom/toys/room/car with anyone else.
Parents never have to miss your game/recital/open house because they have to go to your siblings.
You can take what classes/sports/extra curricular activities you want because the parents didn't run out of money stretching it between multiple kids.
Kids get over wanting a sibling fairly quickly.
The only reason for having another child is because you want to raise another one - NOT for your older child.
(My Mom did that and my little sister's been a pain in everyone's behind for close to 50 years now. I so WISH I was an only child!)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

You don't reconsider dating if you're not ready or having another child if you're not ready just because your 5-year-old wants a baby brother. These are not decisions that your child can make for you, nor should they be based on a child's whim.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have three kids, and a husband, and my kids have been obsessed with having ANOTHER baby.... my daughter (turned 3 today) is obsessed with having a sister... my boys want a new baby...

it's not happening. My husband is getting the big "V" next month...

just saying...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am not divorced/remairried. But I was touched by your post. You sound fantastic. I think it is so fabulous that you put your child first. I think many women (and men) fear lonliness and rush into relationships that ultimately hurt their children. And I've heard it said second marriages have a higher failure rate because people often fail to learn to do better, and are often complicated by the stepfamily situation.

However, it is because of your focus on him, that I think you would probably be successful in marriage and expanding your family. You aren't desperate for a man and you aren't eager to find a new daddy. Instead you want to make the best life you can for your child. You would be coming to it from a great place and in the right frame of mind ot make good decisions.

Clearly, if you don't want to be married or a parent again, then you shouldn't. But it can enrich your life and your son's. I think you should be open to it, as you sound like you are very smart when it comes to what your child needs.

I'll add that a lots of kids need a great Mom. I think the ideal is a Mom and a Dad who are happy together, but I don't think badly of a single woman who adopts or chooses to have a child of her own. Lots would disagree with me, but the are a lot of terrible married parents.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Don't have another child, or think you have to, just because the child you have now thinks they want a sibling. You should have another baby because YOU want another baby, and that's not always in the cards. You should date if you feel like dating, and get interested in another man as a romantic partner when it feels right for YOU, not just because you think your son needs more of a daddy in his life. You can validate his feelings but don't let him call the shots.

I've had to deal with this with my 4 year old daughter. Because of my age (will be 40 next year!) and past medical issues, me getting pregnant would be a really bad idea. And we are fine with that. But DD sees babies everywhere, has friends with baby siblings, and asks me when we are going to have another baby too. Sorry, not going to happen. I figure I can explain it better when she's older. And I'm married, so it has nothing to do with being a single parent or her feeling lonely - she has 100 friends that she plays with at school every day.

Thing is, if your son is now 5.5, and you got pregnant TODAY, he would be 6 when the baby is actually born. Then you are dealing with a 6 year age gap and by the time the baby is old enough to actually be a play mate, there's such a age difference that it may not matter. Also, sometimes siblings don't end up best friends. Sometimes they grow up to really resent each other, or just aren't that close as we think they will be. There's what they think having a baby sibling would be like, and then there is reality. Let your son know that right now, he is perfect enough for you.

I know my daughter would be an awesome big sister, and she's at an age right now where mentally, I think it could be doable - but medically, and just in general, it's really not the best for everyone. We don't get everything in life that we want, and you need to do what is best FOR YOU. Sure DD would love a baby brother or sister - but then again, she would also love a pony. That's not going to happen either.

"Don't let kids be in the driver's seat - they make lousy drivers."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Actually, I find this question a tough one because I've been where you are. I also was a single mom and my daughter wanted nothing more than to have a brother or sister. I was not able to have any more children so she never got what she wanted; truth be told, I probably would not have had any more if I could have. I do remember, though, when she was growing up she would really hurt my feelings because she didn't consider the two of us a "family." As far as she was concerned, a family had a mom, dad, and more than one child. She just considered us two people. So, I am sad for her that she never got the "family" she wanted, but I don't ever second-guess my decision not to have more children. Also, FYI I didn't marry my current husband until I was well into my 40's so more children would not have happened anyway!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

my daughter, 5yo, had the same question. She asked why she didn;t have a baby brother or siser like the other kids, I said they cost money (i didn't want to say because i wasnt with her dad, b/c in the past she J. asks for M. to be back with him) so then she said
"well how much did you have to pay daddy to have him help make M."
lol....i think she claimed i paid for sex...lol I explained they cost money to keep, and she said she'd help
As for your answer I would say its a bad idea to start a family J. to fulfill your sons needs, but if you feel thats right for you both then maybe think of it

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Right now, to him a sibling translates as a playmate available 24/7. Great fun, right? He has no idea of things like jealousy; sharing you and your time; or the fact that this new sibling would start out as a helpless, utterly demanding infant whom your son would quickly realize is No. Fun. At. All. For YEARS. See: Jealousy. As he gets older, it is very likely he will say in a few years, "I'm glad you don't have other kids." Because as he grows he will realize that siblings are not all fun and playtime -- he will see his friends fight with siblings and will be jealous when he goes to a friend's house for playdates and has their siblings getting in between them.

Please don't let his sweet but also very naive and childish image of a sibling influence you. If you had a man in your life or if you do find one eventually, it has to be about your relationship with that man first and foremost -- The man you marry the next time around may not want kids, may have kids of his own and be "done" or may not be able to father children. Will you then say, sorry, I love you, but it's all about providing a sibling?

And remember -- many siblings have nothing in common; have personalities and values that clash; and otherwise are not close friends.

Please do not "reconsider things for (your son's) sake" as you put it. You may get posts saying things like "all kids deserve a sibling" but I don't believe that for a second. Each child must be wanted for his or her own sake, not provided as a playmate or lifetime friend for another child. And it is not necessariily better for your son for you to freeze your eggs or take other extraordinary (not to mention expensive, emotionally draining and time consuming) steps to create a sibling. Put yourself and your son before any imaginary siblings for him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted a sibiling too. It's the only time in my life I really have ever wanted one! I started to school, and back then there were few only children, and I wanted one because everyone else had one! Keep seeing your friends and encourage playdates and plenty of social opportunities. Tell him the truth -that you would need to fall in love and marry someone to have another baby, and that's not happening right now. Whatever you do -DO NOT feel like you need to get pregnant, get together with some guy or anything else to provide a sibling! Believe me -he'll either get over it or get used to it! The only reason anyone should have a baby is because THEY really want a baby. Just think -if you and your ex were still married and for some reason couldn't have any more children or afford to adopt -then it would be the same thing. He'll be fine.

Oh -and my husband has plenty of issues he's had to deal with because his mother thought she needed to marry a guy to give him a "father figure." He couldn't STAND him. The guy wasn't some horrible abuser or anything, but he wasn't the greatest either -and it was evident to my husband from day one that his mom wasn't truly in love with the man. They would have been far better off if she had remained single instead of trying to give him a father figure.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

No - you do not have a baby to please a child. He's 5.5. He wants to play. He'll be in school and have friends. Do not feel guilty about this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I understand what your saying. And as a single mom of a single child I worry about him being alone later in life too.

HOWEVER, I'm the oldest of four and NOT close AT ALL to my siblings. So even if you have another baby (or several) there is no way of knowing whether the reality will live up to his (or your!) dreams.

It may be very selfish of me, but sometimes I think I have it easier than "coupled" people with more than one kid-- in our family we only have to consider and try to meet the wants and needs of two people! I can't imagine juggling another kid and a man too....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your son is a child, not an adult. He does not get to make these decisions for you. He wants a playmate, a buddy. He is 5 1/2. A sibling would be a playmate or buddy anytime soon, if ever. That is a big age difference. Not only that, we all know siblings aren't just buddies. We all know sometimes siblings don't ever form tight bonds. I never did. What will happen when the kid cries, hits and bites him, steals his toys, takes the attention away, follows him around, annoys him? Not so idealistic anymore. remember, YOU have to raise the child, provide for the child, teach the child, be responsible. Do NOT let your son, make this decision for you. That is a bad, BAD idea. You should not do this, because of your son's whims. He doesn't actually know what his own needs are.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Oh wow, no, no, no. He is five years old and has NO idea what it means to create and be responsible for another human being! The only time to bring a baby into the world is when the mother (and ideally the father/partner) REALLY want it.
Get him busy with friends, sports, activities, whatever. "Only" children can grow up happy and healthy and loved just fine. This an adult decision, not something you decide based on the ever changing whims of a child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't think it has to do with being divorced. My son age 5 has been asking for a sibling for quite awhile now. In his head he is thinking he would have a constant playmate that would always be interested in playing what he wants to play.
The truth, of course, is that a baby would not only not play but suck more of mommy and daddy's attention away from him. Then he or she would get older and fight with him over everything/generally annoy him.
This is a case where kids don't really know what's best for them. You make the best decision for you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tallahassee on

Don't feel bad about this. My 5 year old daughter keeps asking for a sister or brother (depends on the day). She recently asked me if she could have a sister for Christmas. It made me giggle so much when I told her that wasn't going to be possible and she asked me to put it on her Christmas list anyway.

I'm an only child and I also remember wanting a sibling around this age. I think it's completely normal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I have a 6.5 year old boy...who so wants another sibling. It is most likely not going to happen - age. We had him later in life and then add on another 6.5 years. There are lots of good books about only children. I like "Parenting and Only Child - The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only" by Susan Newman, PH.D. I try to keep him busy with activities and friends though I also try not to over schedule him. I was 2 of 4 and have no real relationship with my siblings - older sister and two younger brothers. They do as they all live in the same area and my folks still live nearby so they do get together for holidays, birthdays, etc. The last time I went to a holiday with them. My eldest sister and her family did not talk to my youngest brother. It was so uncomfortable. We are all so different and in different stages of life. Date when you are ready to date and don't think of allowing another man in your life...think of it as sharing your life with a man that you would love and respect. Best of luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Try to think about it like he asked for a puppy. You would say - 'but I will have to feed it, take care of it, play with it etc'. You would be right, you would not feel guilty and maybe you would get him a gold fish. Just get him a goldfish. It's really sweet and probably guilt inducing but having a baby because a five year old wants one? Not going to happen in my life for my 5 year old.

Now - if you want another child because you want another child - go for it. I cannot even imagine taking care of my son as a single but if you can and you really want a second - you can make it happen.


answers from Chicago on

If you are happy with your family of two, don't change it just to appease your son. You should explain to him that families come in all different sizes, and reinforce the many attributes of being an only child. He has all of your time and attention, he'll be able to do so many more activities and outings, a baby would tie you down to the house, you wouldn't be able to travel for a long time etc... etc...etc...



answers from Washington DC on

I love all the comments! So I divorced my daughters dad when she was 5 and the request for a sibling lessened over time. Play dates and sports allowed her to interact with others her age and she was able to entertain herself when need be. Now I have an 18 y/o, 3 & 2 y/o and boy is it different. I waited for the right time in my life, never mind the biological clock. In addition if you really wanted to expand your family adoption is always an option-this way he really would have a play mate instantly.

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