Friday 5 August 2011

Raising an Only Child

I come from a family of two children, there is my sister and me (well I do have a half brother and a late half sister but they were adults on the other side of the world when we were born). My husband has a sister. I don't see her often, but I love my sister and my world would be a much poorer place if it wasn't for her.

By the time I reached my thirties I had grown used to the idea that I might never have children, the main cause being poor relationship choices and some unspecified gynaecological problems, and some miscarriages. When we got married, Corey and I were realistic, we hoped there might be children in our future, but were prepared that there might not be.

What I wasn't prepared for was only having one. This is probably incredibly erroneous, but my view of a "normal" family is two parents and two children. They don't have to be opposite genders (the parents that is) but the nuclear family to me is four. Now this is purely my own prejudice obviously, I am not saying anything outside this is not the norm.

I worry about Joseph not having siblings. I know its not the be all and end all, but I worry he will have no playmate at home. I worry that he will be over indulged. I worry about getting older and that Joseph will have no one to share the burden of ageing parents with. I worry he will be lonely. I worry he will have no one to share his childhood memories with. And I haven't got my head around it at all.

I think I'd be less worried if he lived in the same country as his cousins, but he's not going to grow up with them at all, and that makes me sad too. His life is so much different than the one I grew up with, and the one my husband grew up with too, our lives were full of extended family.

And yet, there are advantages to having an only child, and I wonder if there are advantages being an only child. Are you an only child? Have you made (or had it made for you) the decision to only have one child? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. My father was an only child and he is miserable as sin and acts like a selfish kid to boot. Had he had a sibling I think he would have been a completely different person... for the better. I have one sister like you - 8 years apart but still relatively close. I, like my father, sense I would have been a brat had I not had someone else in the family who shared the attention I received. My son Joseph (funny parallels :) ) also shows the same traits as me and my father. He's 5 and I had the same worries about him growing up alone and I'm happy to say I'm in the process of providing him with a sibling now and I think he needs it... by god he does!

  2. Hello! I have six children which is of course "too many" to lots of people. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to EVERY sort of family. You seem like relatively regular sorts of people, so likely Joseph will not be overindulged. It IS possible, you know, to overindulge six but I find it too hard to get 'round to. :)

  3. Joesph has a mummy who plays with glitter and glue, he will never be an only child xxxxxxx

  4. I tried to comment on this post ages ago but couldnt get it to save so am trying again! I am an only child, something which I hope is not obvious in terms of whether I am spoilt or not! I think through my childhood and into early adulthood I forged strong friendships which are incredibly important to me and a lot of which are really strong today. I had lots of opportunities I may not have had with siblings and feel that generally in childhood did not miss out.
    However now as an adult and with an ill step mum I understand the emotional burden that concerns you, but now I have a husband, and I have that strong network of friends. I may not speak to them all regularly, but I when I do I can talk to them as I think I see other people talking to their siblings, and better than some! Joseph will uinderstand and be greatful for your decision, and as he is flooded with love he will also flood others with love, and forge friendships easily and deeply. x

  5. Thank you, that's very reassuring, thank you for sharing that.