The Pros and Cons of Being an Only Child?

  1. Hi,

    Any thoughts on this matter?

    My son is 3 1/2 years old (product of the miracle of IVF). I want to so badly have a second- But can't afford another IVF round. Lately, my son has even been asking me for a brother! So adoption is always on my mind (when we can afford to- IF we will ever be able to afford to.)

    Many of my family and friends say that I am SO LUCKY to at least have my son. It's true- But I feel that maybe it would be unfair to my son to grow up without a sibling. Plus, I just love children!

    Are their any only children on this board? If so, has it been a positive experience? Did you yearn for a sibling growing up? Have you missed out on anything or has it been great for you?

    I can see the pros as being able to afford so much more for our small family- Go on more vacations, have more money for all the extras. In addition, my son gets ALL of our attetion (and believe me he LOVES all that attention.

    Con's? Well, I grew up with a brother & a sister. It's nice to have those relationships- especially now that we're older.

    Sorry to ramble- your thoughts are appreciated

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    Joined: Jun '02; Posts: 406; Likes: 57


  3. by   rnor
    I was an only child until I was 16. First of all my father was military, so we moved all the time. Never had sibblings to ease the pain of a new place, etc. think it would of brother was born when I was 16, and I left home at 17, so you can imagine how close we are, (not at all). Naturally, I'm the one who has to see about my parents now that they are older...but there are pros and cons, I guess. I just hated it growing up.
    I'm an only child, as is my son.

    I think you hit the nail on the head Julie. There are pros and cons to both situations. You need to figure out what works best for your family. Hubby and I don't want anymore, and our son has verbally expressed that he has absolutely no desire for a sibling. He gets all of our time and attention. Sometimes, I feel as if I don't have enough time for him, I couldn't imagine any more.

    Off the top of my head...

    Pros: I enjoy "alone time" and am able to entertain myself, I don't have to rely on other people for my amusement; I know that I was (and still am) the sole recipient of my mom's attention; we're really close: I think not having other kids in the house all of the time made me a little more mature than other kids my age, etc.

    Cons: no readily available playmates; and while I don't recall ever wanting a sibling, I often wonder what it will be like when my mom is gone. That's really the only family I have that I truly like. And, I guess, if I ever needed a kidney I'd be screwed

    Good luck to you in whatever you decide!

  5. by   deespoohbear
    I am not an only child, but brother-in-law is. He married a woman who came from a family of 7 kids. Kind of major culture shock for him. His wife's family has always been tight-knit and together a lot. "John" had a hard time with this at first, but now he is better. He says that he doesn't mind being an only child. He did mention though that sense his parents are elderly now, and required a lot of attention it is difficult. He has sole responsibilty for his parents (who both are in a nursing home now). No one to share the responsibilities of older parent with him. He has to attend to everything-healthcare POA, finances, and whatever other issues come up. He said that is the down side to be an only child.

    I think a child can grow up and be self centered and jealous whether they are the only child, or if they are one of ten. It matters on how the parents raise the child or children. Having only one child does able you to give your son tons of attention and he doesn't have to compete with other siblings for time with Mom & Dad. Being a child in a sibling group means that you usually have playmates available 24/7. Also means you have to share your parents. I love my oldest child just as much as my youngest child. If you are one of a sibling group, you should have someone to help out with your parents when they are older besides yourself.

    I guess you just have to do what you feel is right for you and your family. Best wishes.
  6. by   Aussienurse2
    As long as you all love each other does it really matter how many of you there is?
  7. by   dianacs
    I am a parent of an only by choice, so I have given this issue a lot of thought. The thing is, unfortunately society does not see only children as REGULAR CHILDREN. Our society tends to unfairly portray onlies as spoiled, lonely, misfit freaks. I believe that siblings do not make or break a family. It's just another version of a family. Now, if mom and dad constantly relay to their child, whether openly or subconsciously, that Junior is somehow "missing out" because he doesn't have a sibling, then you've got a problem.

    As for taking care of mom and dad in old age, there's lots of examples where just one of the kids in a large family ends up shouldering the load anyway. I think that a lot of this would be alleviated if mom and dad take responsibility for planning for their old age ahead of time, including the possibility of needing caretaking. And lots of seniors, contrary to popular belief, stay very independent up until the end (but that's another issue)....

    ...getting off my only child soapbox now...could go on and on and on...just want to reiterate that having an only child is NOT a lesser option, no matter what other people might think. Having an only child is definitely just fine.
  8. by   mintyRN
    I am an only and I don't feel like my childhood suffered any. I remember asking my parents for a brother or sister, but my mom was diabetic and was fortunate to have me. So instead I had a flock of pets! I was able to play by myself for hours and I enjoyed talking to and being around adults as much as other children. I wasn't spoiled, but I lacked for nothing. I had a very close relationship with my parents. My mom died when I was 18 and I thought I might die along with her. A sibling might have made things easier then. I have two children, would like to have more, but don't have the finances or energy. Now that I am doing peds I enjoy the babies and little ones as much as I can.
  9. by   MollyJ
    I am not an only but I have an only.

    I'm a little sad, because I think he'd be a dandy big brother but it is as it is.

    I put my son in a lot of situations with other children so he can learn sharing and negotiation skills (ie scouting) but he really is a pretty good only and enjoys his own company.

    I try to give him what he needs but not make him the center of the universe so that he can learn some self-reliance. He doesn't get it all.

    I have seen situations where people had more children than they could parent or attend to and that's not too nice to watch either. Those children often grow up lonely and resentful, too.

    If life gives you lemons, make lemondade.
  10. by   Cindy_A
    As an only child also, I don't think growing up as an only child was so bad. I was lucky to live in a neighborhood where there were other kids to play with, so I didn't miss out on having playmates. Like Heather, I can easily entertain myself, and I never feel lonely. The only thing I regret is not having children who can help me in my old age. Maybe my 2 nephews will feel sorry for their "old Aunt Cindy"! That is, If I outlive my hubby!
    I was talking with my mom about this subject today, and she brought up an interesting point, that I think I'm in agreement with.

    She feels that children adapt well to any situation. Whether they're growing up with 10 siblings, or as an only child, it's all they know, and it seems perfectly normal to them.

    But the parents are the tortured ones. They tend to wrap up their entire life's worth and all of their hopes and dreams in that one child. That also leaves alot of empty space when that one child that has been the world to that parent leaves.

    So, I guess she's saying that the biggest downside of having an only child is being their parent.

    Whatcha think about that?

  12. by   LasVegasRN
    Your Mom brings up a good point, Heather. Since I have no social life to speak of, my life tends to circle around Emma. Sometimes I've wondered if I'm enough for her. I'd hate to become that older woman that when her only child leaves she is completely alone and can't function because her life thrived on that child.

    ~ sigh ~
    Perhaps, when our only children leave us (Brian will be 8 next month, how old is Emma?) we could get some kind of 2 for 1 deal on psychiatric treatment?

    :chuckle Heather
  14. by   LasVegasRN
    You gotta deal, Heather. Emma is 6 years old.

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