“First children tend to be a choice parents make to fulfill their own lives and a second child tends to be a choice parents make to fulfill the life of their existing child.” – from book “One and Only” by Lauren Sandler.
Ever since I became pregnant with my baby, people have been advising me about how I should plan for another kid. I am getting free advice on how my son will end up becoming lonely, selfish blah blah. I even saw women advocating other women to have more children on some mummy forums. I am an only child and I am really happy that I don’t have a sibling. I got my parents’ undivided attention, still get their complete attention and love which people with siblings don’t always get (some do get).
My parents were able to give me everything that I ever asked for. If I asked my mom for one geometry box, she would get me four. If I asked my dad for a Rs. 100 dress, he would get me one that cost Rs.1000. This is the kind of environment where I was brought up. I have never heard the word “no” uttered in front of me. I owe it to the fact that my dad did not have to think about another child’s future before saying “yes” to me. There is nothing that my parents won’t do for me.
That was the reason why I decided I will be having an only child. I will make sure my kid gets everything that I got from my parents.
I already knew the advantages of being an only child, but then I stumbled upon this book. This is a great read and must be read by anyone who thinks their child needs a sibling and hence they should have multiple children. Children do not need siblings. Only children grow up to be better individuals. Only children like me, can stay at home alone without feeling bored or lonely. I have lived alone in an apartment for a year and I loved it! I can entertain myself, thanks to all the hobbies that I have and I owe these hobbies to lack of siblings.
I have added some quotes that I loved in this book below
Taken from book : “One and only” by Lauren Sandler
- We tend to succeed at significantly higher rates than people raised with siblings, whether it’s at school or in our professional endeavors.
- Solitary pursuits like reading train our focus and curiosity, and the verbally rich environment of life among adults accelerates our learning.
2. Only children are more social
- Generosity and sociability – Only children were more likely to be truthful. They show greater initiative, leadership abilities, and self-assuredness.
- Only children are especially hungry for connection, and thus are unusually attuned to the responsibility that comes with building lasting relationships.
3. Only children are NOT selfish
- Selfishness is natural between siblings, with competition sometimes exploding Lord-of-the-Flies style.
- Instead of operating in terms of that’s mine, as siblings tend to do, onlies learn from mothers and fathers how to develop mature and ethical behavior in relationships.
- Only children are actually more cooperative than siblings. Onlies score better in terms of their “personal adjustment.”
4. Only children are NOT lonely
- Only children are “more emotionally self-sufficient and better able to deal with aloneness than are persons with siblings, they should be better able to cope with any social isolation that comes with old age.
- One of the “gifts” of only childhood is being “a good companion for yourself.”
5. Only children do not lack a family
- Families with multiple kids often aren’t functional, because siblings are always being compared, the differences are always underscored, and often in a painful way.
- Only children, lacking siblings of their own, tend to build a chosen family.
6. Parents do NOT need more children for old age
- Eldercare tends to be mainly shouldered by one child. No matter how many siblings one might have, the nearest-residing daughter is most likely to do it all alone.
7. Only children are closer to their parents
- Single child family often functions excessively as an “individual, indivisible unit,” without the individuation necessary to foster one’s own selfhood.
- Siblings provide diversity and distraction in a family.
8. Only children get more attention from parents
- One of the resources related to achievement that becomes diluted with each subsequent birth is the number of words spoken to a child.
- Mothers interact with only children twice as much as last-born children.
- The more children we have, the more we speed up the earth’s destruction; the more time we spend parenting to the exclusion of all else, the more we close ourselves off to that reality.
I have seen siblings who are not even close to each other. E.g: one of my roommates used to speak to her sister once in 3 months and was not close to her at all. I have seen siblings who are jealous of each other and do not get along well. So just because someone has a sibling, it does not mean they will be friends forever.
I am not sure if kids who grew up with 0 or X number of kids grow up in a similar way. I have seen single super spoiled and bad mannered kid. I have seen single well behaved child. It depends on how they are raised, I think. In my family its my sister and me, and I ended up dreaming about having two girls myself because I loved how I grew up. 🙂
Anyway, bottom line, I think the idea of having a sibling so that the first kid will not be bored is so wrong. What, these parents cannot entertain their own kid?
And these ppl giving you free advice …GOD. I wish we had magic wands to shut them up. 🙂 🙂 I get so annoyed when somebody does that.
Yep it depends on the parents too. If parents do not have time for kids, then I guess it doesnt matter how many kids they have.
I agree with you completely. I am not sure why parents can’t play with their kid or bring play dates home for their kids to play. Also I am not sure after going to school, my son will even want someone to play at home. He would have spent the entire day with other kids at school.
I am seeing that people have started giving more and more free advice after I became pregnant 🙂 🙂
It is the decision you and your husband should make. But I want to point out a few things. You had parents who never said no. As a child, your home atmosphere was different. Your social contacts were different. I assume your mom was a home maker and she was at home when you came from school. You had lot of kids to play with around your neighborhood. But your kid’s atmosphere is different – socially and culturally. Both parents of your kid are working. Where will he be after school until the parents come home from work? Baby sitter or a latchkey kid? Nowadays kids in USA do not mingle with their neighborhood kids. Under those circumstances, a sibling will make the elder kid very happy while growing up. That too a sibling under the age difference of 3 years.
Just because you had a happy childhood as a single child, that may not be repeated. Time, Place, Culture, and Society are different for your kid.
You have a valid point SG which I did not think about earlier. My mom was a home maker and that must have helped me a lot. Not sure how different my son’s situation will be with both parents working.
But I feel once he has spent the entire day with other kids at school, he will be more interested in spending the time at home with parents or even alone peacefully. The other thing is kids in the earlier generation used to play outside with friends. These days I don’t see that happening even in India. Everyone is glued to TV or video games these days, so not sure.
I think its an individual decision..nothing can be absolutely good or bad…its good that you turned out well after all that pampering..otherwise today i see totally spoiled brats where parents nevr say no.
I believe the secons child makes fist one to feel differently..responsible, caring and sharing.
In my family, all my siblings have single child only except me,m..both of my children have come out very well in all respect of life, whereas in my sibling’s, two out of three are self centred..
As for providing…I dont think giving too much to children is any better than bringing them up with a restraint…
So much can be said about this, but after all the discussion, its very personal choice:)
Yeah I guess it all depends on how the parents bring up their children. I have seen spoiled brats too who don’t even listen to their parents. I think in case of single children, parents need to spend more time with their children and teach them good from bad.
On that old age thing, generally, children are intent to pass on the responsibility over the other sibling claiming that the other siblings have received more from the parents over the years, so why should they take care of the parents? So more children for taking care of parents during old age is not a good argument.
Yeah totally agree with you on that.
BTW, having a sibling is a lot of fun while growing up. You can play, fight, share, conspire, etc… all these are memorable moments.
Hmm having never experienced that, can’t really agree or disagree on that 😀
I’m not so sure about those broad statements relating only children and achievement, responsibility or social skills because most of the research in birth order is correlational. It’s hard to do randomised controlled trials on something like this and therefore it can only be taken with a grain of salt.
In the end, whether you are an only child, one of two kids or one of 10, the kind of person you turn out to be depends on your genes, the way parents parent you as well as your experiences with the world. It sounds like you were a fortunate child but I have seen kids who have in fact become spoilt or oppositional when parents give them everything. It’s because in the real world, the fact is, you cannot be told ‘yes’ all the time.
There are a lot of benefits to having siblings too.
In the end, whether parents want one or more kids is entirely up to them but I wouldn’t say having an only child is ‘better’ or worse than having more than one. Each to their own.
P.S. Congrats on having a kid — didn’t even know you were pregnant 🙂
I guess it all depends on the parenting and genes like you said. If parents do not have time for kids, it doesn’t matter how many children they have. I have seen kids who are never corrected by their parents when they do something wrong. Such kids end up becoming brats. Even though my parents gave me everything, they have always reprimanded me when required. They never let me get away when I did something wrong, just because I was the only child.
Thanks Sanch 🙂
I am an only child too and I get where you are coming from. I agree with you till an extent but I do admit I always wanted a sibling. I always wanted someone to grow up with, to fight with, to share with and just be best of friends with. I have forged many relations as an only child, I have fantastic friends and my cousins are more like siblings but still I wish I had a brother or a sister. But then again I have seen families where siblings hardly get along. The number of kids that a parent wants to have is their decision and theirs alone.
I also think that how kids grow up depends on the environment. People have assumed that I would have sharing problem as I never had anyone to share with only to later realize they were wrong. But I have also seen families where a single child is pampered way too and the kid is stubborn and very has no habit of sharing or dont understand the word ‘NO’.
So people assuming that single child cant share, are lonely, are brats is wrong, it depends on how parents raise their kids and the environment created around them.
I think I have also craved for a sibling when I was really young. But later on, my mom was my best friend. We would do activities together like reading, stitching etc. She would even play with me when needed. So I, then, realized that I actually did not want a sibling. If I did have a sibling, my mom would not have that much time to spend with me. Her time spent with me would have been cut short. 🙂
I agree with you. I think irrespective of the number of kids, environment where they grow up matters a lot.
Hmmm…this should be decided between you and your husband. But as SG says, if you are also working, it is better to have a sibling for your son, so that they can be together while staying at home, waiting for you. Yes, even in my house all of us siblings are not close, but still, my sister and brother are always there at to discuss my problem, when needed. We can do it with our parents for some period. In our old age, we need siblings, I feel.
Take the decision on your own. Just note down the points…this is not an advice, AK. Take care.
Yeah my mom was a home maker so I never felt alone at home. Not sure if it will be different for my son, since both his parents are working.
But since he will be spending his whole day at school with other kids, I am not sure if he will want kids at home as well. Also these days, I see that kids hardly play outside and are always glued to TV or video games. So I am not really sure.
One more thought. Please do not leave your kid with the baby sitter a lot of hours. Leave him with the baby sitter only when it is absolutely necessary (like when both of you are at work). Both of you may use the “flex hours”. One can go to office early and the other can go late so that the time spent with the baby sitter is less. May be one of you might get permission for working from home.
Why I am saying this? When we were living in Salt Lake City, an Indian couple left their 2 year old baby with the baby sitter all the time. The result: The baby started calling the baby sitter “mommy” and would cry when she is about to go home.
Hmm that makes lot of sense SG. Thanks for sharing that story about the Indian couple.