For only children & parents of only childen. (kinda long).

TaraWaferDecember 12, 2001

I will be posting this on the Parents of Toddlers forum too, since I want to get all the responses that I can.

Okay, our DD is almost 2 1/2 years old. For most of her life, my DH and I have only wanted to have her. My mom would like us to have more kids. My dad says he's fine with us just having our DD. And we haven't really talked with DH's mom about it.

I don't want to start a debate. We really only want to have our DD. Although we are willing to be open about it. And maybe in 3 years or so adopt or try to get pregnant again. But having another child would be for our DD, not really us.

We are afraid that we aren't being fair to her by only having her. What if we were to die? She would have no sibling to go through it with. She would have no immediate family there. Are we depriving her of wonderful relationships (bickering and all) with siblings???

I am hoping to hear from only children and parents of only children. How do you feel about being an only child? Do you feel like you missed out? For the parents, why did you decide to only have one kid? Do you regret it? What did you do to make sure your only child was socialized and well-adjusted?

Please any advice, stories, thoughts, whatever would be greatly appreciated! I don't want to make a decision that would hurt our DD. We are just so happy with just the three of us. We want to keep it that way. Thanks in advance!!!

-Tara W

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Speaking not as a parent, but as an only child, please don't have a child just so the one you have will have a sibling. There are great advantages in being the only one. The only child can choose his/her friends. But the child is stuck with the sibling. It's not always a blessing to have others. Sometimes, not always, they just simply don't get along together. Even if you got pregnant now, they would not be playmates. There would be too much of a difference, especially if they were of different sexes.

If you want another child...that's wonderful. But have it for yourself, not just to provide a sibling. It would not be fair to either child.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 6:55AM
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My only comment is: It is up to you and DH. Your parents and parents-in-laws opinions really aren't relevant. You'll be raising the child, not them. :-)
And grandparents are almost always going to lean toward wanting another grandkid.
DH and I are going thru the same dilemma now, but we are not asking the opinion of other family. DH is leaning toward "NO" because recently, DD and I were both sick with a nasty stomach flu and DH had to nurse us both at the same time!!! He was overwhelmed. So this is a bad time to ask DH about having another baby but once the memory of that illness has faded, we'll make a decision.

And when we make the decision, it will also not be based on whether or not DD should need siblings or not. She has a very active social life with kids her age, without us having to give birth to give her a playmate.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 7:05AM
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>>>How do you feel about being an only child? I am not an only child, I have one older sister. But I grew up FEELING like an only child. I played alone, had nothing in common with my sister. To tell you the truth, we only see each other when we have to (holidays and such) because we are THAT different. I do not wish my sister away, but I have no memories of playing "with" her while I was growing up. I always played alone.

>>>Do you feel like you missed out? In some ways I wish my sister and I had been closer... I see other siblings, the way they can depend on each other and share ideas, stories, their lives, their kids, etc. But No, I don't feel jipped growing up as an "feeling like an only child". No big deal.

>>>For the parents, why did you decide to only have one kid? I have one daughter, 5 years old this coming Saturday. I never really wanted children to start with but at the age of 24, I got pregnant. Health problems made me not want kids, NOT because I didn't adore them! Too much risk involved, etc. Anyhoo I don't feel ANY need at all to provide my daughter with a sibling. I had my fallopian tubes burnt out two months ago after years of wondering why I was keeping myself fertile if I truly didn't want any more babies.

>>>Do you regret it? No way! There is nothing wrong with having an only child! Don't let anyone tell you there is. And do not let a MIL or other people influence you to go down that road again (pregnancy and childbirth) if you do not want to. Nothing is more annoying than being asked when you will do that again... some people see having babies as this easy, non-life changing thing; but for some of us ladies, it is extremely hard and life changing.

>>>What did you do to make sure your only child was socialized and well-adjusted? My kid is perhaps the most social of all butterflies. She is well adjusted because we do everything together. I take her out (she is mainly around adults so she understands very adult things... like our sense of humor, emotions, etc.) with me everywhere. I tell her everything, I don't make things cutesy or step around the truth with anything. She does have playmates at her daycare, which she attends while I'm at work; and my boyfriend has a daughter her age. So, she does get to be around other kids on a daily basis. We give away her old toys annually to Goodwill, her clothes that she outgrows... she goes with me to drop the stuff off and she knows that unfortunate children will receive her things. In this way, she learns to share and she learns that there are others not as lucky as she is.

Mirroring what others have said... please don't have a child just because it is a "gift" to your daughter! I do not consider my sister a gift to me! If anything she was just this brat who cried and complained and was a monster while I was growing up, living in the same house as me and my parents!

You mentioned death... if you and DH were to die... that is something we all deal with. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen in 50 years. Your DD would not be alone. She will have friends, other family, etc., just because you didn't "give her" a sibling doesn't mean she will be alone.

The sibling rivalry that goes on after parents' death is just terrible. When my 92 year old grandmother passed away this year, my dad and his sister (who haven't spoken in ages) fought and bickered and took each other to court over grandma's assets. Do they need each other? Nope, my dad has my mom, and my aunt has her two daughters, living in separate states for the past 20 years.

If YOU want to keep it just the three of you... then DO IT. There is nothing wrong with the happiness you already have! Tell everyone so! Having an "only" can be a GREAT joy. Just ask me. As the years pass, I'm very happy that I did not feel the need to have another baby (altho health reasons helped in making the ultimate decision).

When I had my surgery my daughter was there in the hospital with me. I showed her the two tiny cuts. I explained to her what mommy had done, and why. I told her that I didn't want to grow any more babies. She said, "because I'm your angel?"... and she smiled. She goes around telling people now that she will be mommy's one-and-only 'angel'.

- darkeyedgirl

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 8:50AM
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My DH is an only child and I am from a large family (I am #2 of 5 children). We have one DD (7 mos. old) and plan to have at least one more child. This is not because DH feels that he missed out on anything or that he feels his parents did it "wrong" by not having more children. He is glad that he got so much of their attention and that, although they never made large salaries, they were never in need because they only had as many children as they could afford.

DH enjoys the fact that he married into my large family. He loves all his sibling-in-laws and the hub-bub that comes with a large family when we get together. He likes the balance that comes from the quiet visits with his parents, and the boisterous times with my family.

DH's parents are getting up in years and we do feel some pressure about the fact that it will be solely our responsibility to help care for them; help them out around their house, or eventually maybe to place them in a nursing home. However, even if DH had siblings, there would be no guarantee that they'd be willing and able to help with their parents' care anyway.

My siblings and I happen to get along and have good relationships (some closer than others) but there was never any guarantee of that either. I know many people who are not close with their siblings at all - no big family feud or anything, just no close relationship either.

If you want more children because you feel that you have the love, time, and financial ability to raise them, then I believe that's the only reason to even consider it. Everything else is too uncertain to count on!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 11:04AM
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I was an only child and DD was practically an only child. (Her brother was born when she turned 10). As a child, I didn't miss having brothers and sisters terribly, but my parents made good efforts for me to have contact with my cousins and we always had kids over our house to play. Same with my DD - we made efforts to have sleepovers with friends, or take a friend along on vacations, etc.

However, as an adult, I greatly miss having the support of a sibling. As my parents get older, I realize that the burden of caring for them may one day fall on my shoulders alone and I find this frightening and somewhat overwhelming. I have for the most part lost contact with my cousins (they're on the East coast, we're on the West and we really only exchange Christmas cards with them) and feel like I am missing something by not having a sibling. I also feel that while I had lots of friends growing up, I also gradually lost contact with them and don't have anyone to share my childhood memories with.

On the other hand, there were advantages to being an only child - I had a lot of attention from my parents and I was probably more mature than other kids my age. I did well in school and have been fairly successful in life. My DD is also a bright student and we have had time to do things like expose her to the arts, take her to Europe, give her music and taekwondo lessons, etc. Now that we have DS, she has to share our time with her brother, but since the age gap is so big, I think she is impacted a little less than if she were a toddler.

Your decision does not have to be black and white right now. If you don't want children now, definitely don't have them. There is always time to add more children to your family if there ever comes a time when you and DH really do want more. You don't have to make your final decision right away.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 11:49AM
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Thank you for your responses so far. I guess I should add that if DH and I had another baby, that it wouldn't be just as a sibling. I mean that we wouldn't ACTUALLY just get pregnant and have another kid for DD. We feel that would be the only reason to have another, but wouldn't really do it for that reason. Does that make more sense? I hope so.

Okay, continue responding! I love to read about everyone's feelings. And please ask any questions if what I wrote above still isn't maming much sense.


-Tara W

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 12:53PM
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We have an only daughter who is 20. I've never regretted having only one--not for a second. There are, of course advantages both ways, but we've never felt as if we had to have another child just to please the relatives (who naturally would have liked us to).

Only children have so many advantages. Because they associate with a larger portion of adults, they're often learn language earlier and are much more mature. They tend to be very bright, responsible and often are over-achievers in school. You don't have to count pennies at Christmas to make sure everyone gets the 'same'. Hey, in general, you can often afford to give and do more with only one. Travel is much easier when you only have one child to look after. We've found over the years that 3 adults to 1 child is about the right ratio at amusement parks--LOL (we don't all like the same rides, DD loves them all, so we'd often take my sister along!)

You do have to make more of an effort to teach 'onlys' to share but it can be done if you want to. Although, there is no getting around the fact that they become very accustomed to being the center of their univers (it's harder to teach them to share 'time' than things--when she was little, dd didn't understand me paying attention to my nephew when I used to babysit). You have to provide lots of opportunities to play with other children. You probably want to be sure to involve your family in activities that will put you among other families and children. We joined a puppy-raising 4-H club (a little different from most clubs because the entire families were involved in all meetings, activities, etc.--we raised several puppies that were later trained as Seeing Eye Dogs).

DD isn't here at the moment, but I can tell you how she feels--she LOVES being an 'only'. She's mature, a hard-worker (works fulltime, goes to college fulltime, over the years she's been involved in many, many volunteer programs). She's said many times how much she appreciates the benefits of being the only child in our home.

If having only one child feels right for you, that's the only thing that matters. Under no circumstances would I have a second child just to please the relatives or to provide a 'plaything' for my daughter. Keep in mind that while your daughter may think another child would be fun, she's thinking about one her age that she can play with. If you were to get pregnant in 3 years, your daughter would be 6 or so when the baby was born--they're not going to be spending that much time playing together, no matter what. Even if you were to get pregnant tomorrow, there would be a 3+ year gap--that's a lot at that age. I'm not saying you should or shouldn't have more children, just that you should be sure that whatever decision you reach, you should make it for the right reasons.

Good luck. Onlys are a lot of fun and one day, you'll find you have a wonderful, delightful grown-up person who's as much a friend as a daughter.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 4:46PM
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I have an only child. A few years ago, I read a wonderful book by Ellie McGrath titled, "My One and Only": The Special Experience of an Only Child. The book has thoughts and feelings from "only children" of all backgrounds. This book eased some of my "hangups" about having an "only".

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 7:23PM
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You have to want a child because you yearn to love and nurture that child, NOT for the role the child will play in the family dynamics. So please don't feel pressured into having another child simply to provide a sibling to your daughter. It wouldn't be fair to the new child to have been brought into this world by parents who didn't "really" want her/him except as a sibling for their current child.

My son was an only child for eight years til we had more, and my 11-year-old nephew is an only child. Frankly, there are positives and negatives to both situations. But the most prominent one is that siblings FIGHT ENDLESSLY, and it doesn't alway subside even when they grow up. Look around and you probably have several friends who aren't even talking to certain members of their family.

It's fine to plan for the future and make sure your daughter will have friends, extended family, confidence, education, etc should you or your husband die. But a sibling is not a necessary part of that equation, and should not be brought into the world for that purpose. In fact, a sibling can make such a time as parental death even worse--as the old saying goes, where there's a will, there's a war.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 9:26PM
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Again I appreciate the responses. But I still feel like everyone thinks if we are going to have another child it would ONLY be to provide a playmate for DD. Maybe you all don't mean it that way, but too many people are saying it.

We would not have another child JUST for that reason. We would have to want another child. I was only saying that, that is how we feel... which is why we are not having any more children now. We don't want to have another just for DD. We want to want to have another child to actually do it.

So please don't misunderstand me. We won't be having another just for DD. I hope this finally clarifies. :)

-Tara W

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 10:52PM
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The grass is always greener... maybe....

Siblings force 'getting along' or at least learning how to share space, even with people who might be difficult at times. Sure there are siblings to endure life tests with, but sometimes that isn't very helpful. Children who have siblings often spend time wondering and day dreaming about being only children.

Sometimes sibling relationships are wonderful, and there is a lot of mutual growth and compassion... Sometimes they are more trying for any number of different reasons. Sometimes people find their siblings intolerable for most of their lives.

having a sibling or a few can take the pressure off, if there is only one child and parents (or a parent); but mostly people with siblings and people without siblings spend some amount of reflective time pondering 'what if..'

P.S. It's not always the case that having siblings is ideal, or 'best' for a child. It's not always the case that being an only child is 'best.' Whatever path has to take into account everyone's needs and balance them as best as humanly possible. One day you all might start talking enthusiastically about adoption or something and the answer will feel clear to everyone as the decision sort of makes itself. One day, that might not happen as there just isn't clarity. You, and the other members of your immediate family will have to trust your collective instincts that you all can know or feel what route is best.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 12:43AM
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I am and only child and I love it, always have. If anything happened to my parents I would have lived with my grandparents or her brother. Actually I also am and only grandchild and great grandchild on that side of the family. I have always entertained myself quite well and I also had no children living really close to play with unless I had sleep overs. I also have 2 friends that are only children and they both would have it no other way.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 12:55PM
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Do what you want not what others want. I was the only girl of 4 children. 2 brothers 18 and 13 yrs older and another one 3 yrs younger. Felt like an only in many ways since most attention went to the others My younger brother is Downs. My parents decided to have another after me "so they wouldn't raise me alone" Well, I love my little brother dearly, but that is in reality another burden for us all. He has enriched our lives greatly, but he does require special attention. So, my parents made a conscious choice to have another in their advanced years. In your case, if you are happy with your only, keep it that way. I have only one DD and it will stay that way. I can't have more so the choice was made for me.I swore I would never have only one as I thought everyone deserved siblings and one child should not bear the care of the parents in old age. Hey, I have 3 brothers but who would know when it comes to taking care of my mom.
I sometimes wonder how I would do justice to another child when working full time etc. I think only children have many advantages and disadvantages. What happens depends on what you make of it. My doctor put it to me best when I worried about it. She told me I had perfection so how could I hope to improve on it with another anyway!
She was right. My DD is 5 and very social, we have family in the same town and friends with kids. You'll be great with one so don't feel pressured to have more.
Have I rambled and raved enough?
:) MaryF

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 5:40PM
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My husband likes to say that the bible says be fruitful and multiply, not divide!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 4:09PM
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I am an only,essentially. I have three older half siblings, but they are 15-20 yrs older than me. Their children could be my siblings.
I had a very different, but amazing childhood. I think I did yearn for another sibling, but mostly because I was so alienated from my own siblings. My Dad and I had a terrific relationship, and I loved not having to share him. We did travel a lot- I'd been to Jamaica and Alaska on cruise ships before I turned 12. We had lots of really special, memorable experiences that i know would have been significantly different if there were more children growing up with me.
Yes, sometimes it's lonely growing up without a sibling. and another thing, sometimes you end up a little unprepared for the fighting and making up that comes later in life. since I had no one to fight with (you know, tooth and nail, screaming and yelling) I find that now I'm not as.. comfortable with it as my friends, who grew up hating and loving their siblings in 2 hrs flat.

If having another baby isn't part of the plan right now, I say forget about it. I know I've had to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted to raise an 'only'.. for me, the answer was no. however, if your heart isn't in going through pregnancy, infancy etc all over again, just be content with the wonderful little person you already have.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 6:11PM
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I'm not an only child (youngest of four), nor a parent of an only child (we have three). Just wanted to add that having more than one child ensures you will often be pulled in several directions at once (everybody always wants attention at the same time, and it's just not always possible). I'm happy with our decision to have three children, yet there are times I think what a joy it would be to devote all my time and energy to just one very special child. Weigh the pros and cons, and do what's right for your family. I think those people who think having an only child is a bad thing are a very small, and growing smaller, minority.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 6:12PM
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Tara, those who have continued to say that you should not have another child just to provide your DD with a sibling probably have not read through all the posts. They are probably just responding to your original post.

That said, I for one cannot imagine my life without my brother. We fought like crazy when we were kids, but are very, very close now and my parents are very proud of the relationship we have.

We have a 6yr old boy who has been asking for a sibling for the last 3 years. I am expecting now. I always wanted two children, only the time was not right. But the fact that my DS really wants a sibling makes it even better. He is loving this baby everyday without knowing if it is a boy or a girl... hugs and kisses my belly everyday. Even asked Santa to bring his brother or sister early for Christmas. I know that really did not help you any... but thought I'd tell you how wonderful it can be.

Still, it has to be something the three of you want.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 6:24PM
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I am so glad you posted this. I am in the same boat and reading through this has made me feel less guilty about not wanting another child.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 11:17AM
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I am an only child and I hate it. There are many things I hated about it. I have always wished for siblings. I felt left out at school when friends would talk about arguing with siblings or when they would complain about their sister wearing their clothes. I always wished for those problems. Christmas morning was always so boring at my house. My parents would get up and watch me open my presents. After that we would go to my grandparents' house or my cousin's house and the festivities were always bustling there. I do have those memories of all of the activity and excitment, but I have no memories of it at my house. My parents both came from big families so I did have the big Christmas with extended family. However, all of my grandparents died or were in assisted living centers when I was in high school and all of the individual families began celebrating at their own homes. We celebrated at home with just the 3 of us. As I got older I began to worry about something happening to my parents and being left alone. Yes, I am close to my cousins but it is not the same. After graduating from college I worked on the cancer floor of a children's hospital. I would see all of the family gather around to be with the cancer patient and his/her parents. The family members gathering were siblings of the parents, not usually cousins. The cousins came to visit and sent cards and gifts, but the siblings were there to share everything. I saw lots of people leaning on their siblings, but rarely on their cousins. I now have a family of my own (husband and children)and do not worry about being left alone if something should happen to my parents. Because my husband has siblings I have nieces and nephews and my children have cousins. Now I worry about being the only one to care for and make decisions for my mother in her old age.

Now that I am married to someone with siblings and have children that have siblings I see even more that I missed out on. I know siblings can cause problems. My husband has had times where they haven't spoken and times that we have been totally disgusted by their behavior, but it is still an experience in life that I would like to have and never will. When I see my children playing together and loving each other It makes me see even more of what I missed out on.

Anyway, I'm not saying you should or shouldn't have an only. I'm just sharing my feelings as an only. Good luck in what ever you decide.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 2:55PM
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I am not an only child, but I feel compelled to answer this post. I am one of 3 kids - I am the oldest and only girl - I have 2 brothers. My parents had us all 18 months apart. I have a brother a year younger than me and a year younger than him. As a child I always wanted a sister but never had one. And yet, now that I'm older I don't feel like I've missed anything by not having one. My brothers' are my life. When we go to family functions or strange places we bond together. Because we're so close in age we have an unspeakable closeness that has made our relationship special since we were babies. Sure, we fought as children, but as we grew older we became inseparable. Even now, with my youngest brother in college, and my other brother 10 hrs away we speak on the phone at least 3-4 times a week.

I just had a daughter 6 weeks ago and I have similar concerns as you. I don't know how my parents raised us all as well as they did. My DD exhausts me and I think daily about whether or not I will ever have another child. I always pictured myself with a big family - 5 kids or so and that makes me feel a little lost. My DH is one of two kids. He has a sister about 4 years younger than him. Both of us are close to our families and talk about how hard it would be to never have a sibling. He wants to have two kids but not until DD is in grade school or so. When I think about whether or not I'll have another child I don't put the relationship I have with my brothers in the same equation. I don't know what my life would have been like as an only child - I don't think it would have been better or worse - only different.

Having kids is a harder decision to make than I ever thought it would be. Besides the obvious financial strain and emotional, physical exhaustion - kids are a wonderful addition to one's family. And as morbid as this is, I sometimes wonder: what if I never have any more kids and I lose DD - I would have no children. That thought tears my heart open.

I wish you the best of luck in your decision. I don't think there is anything wrong with having only one child and I don't necessarily think it's better to have several children. It's a personal decision and there is no right or wrong. Like I mentioned above, I don't feel like I missed out by never having a sister. It's a relationship that I fill with close girlfriends. If you don't have any more children your DD will never be alone. She will have friends and boyfriends that will fill any possible void that lack of siblings could bring.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 6:31PM
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I live many miles from my siblings (one's currently in Kuwait). I don't speak to them often. My relationship with one of them is sort of strained and distant (I got tired of trying to create a relationship all by myself). But I get a tremendous amount of strength from knowing they're there. That they shared the same stories and childhood experiences.

I remember when I moved to NYC, I desperately missed my siblings. I had friends, but friends can decide you're too weird or too grumpy one day, and decide not to know you. They can drift away, and never come back. I have absolutely no friend that I've had as long as I've had my siblings as friends. I have only one friend who's as close as a sibling.

I am permanently connected to them. Even if I only call once a year--I am always connected to them. Even though in a sense we have drifted away from one another, I always feel connected to them. I will always care what happens to them. (one of my great sadnesses is that w/ my strained sibling, I fear that should my parents die, we could live our entire remaining lives never speaking to one another, or even sending Christmas cards).

It helps that my mom & dad raised tolerant, affectionate adults. If I don't speak to my brother for months and months, when I call (or he calls), we just start talking then--no recriminations. Ditto my sister. So that connection isn't damaged by unrealistic expectations.

Also, if disasters do strike, there is SOMEWHERE I can turn. My sister has called and asked for a loan. Ditto my brother. I've called for advice. I could call friends, etc., but the right to ask from them is smaller, I feel.

I like the idea of siblings. It's true there's no guarantee that siblings will be close when grown (look at me and my big brother, who can't be bothered). But then there's no guarantee that friendships will last, either (look at me and my one friend, the others having drifted away).

All of life's a crap shoot. I vote for stacking the deck. If you have a sibling, you have created at least once chance for a lifelong relationship.

I know my kids get a huge amount of emotional sustenance from their relationship with one another--and they're only nearly-4 and 7. I gained a lot from having 3 other kids to know really, really well, and to love. (buying gifts at Christmastime is one of my favorite memories)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 1:04PM
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I have 2 sisters and we are all 2 years apart. I loved having sisters and never thought about how much of a benefit is was to me until recently. My niece, 11, is in school and she goes through lonely periods in school. She is switching friends constantly and I can tell how important having friends is to her. Whereas my sisters and I never had that pressure because when all else failed we had each other. My niece was the only grandchild for 4 years. She is a very bright, outgoing and articulate child. Her people skills are impeccable. She enjoyed being the only child for the time that she was and she is now enjoying the 7 yr age differnce between her and her sister. My son, 7, is an only child and although he is very involved in outside activities (football/basketball) he has been bugging me to have more children for years. I told him he would have to split everything in half and he said that does not matter. Last Saturday, I got him a dog. I think he will leave me alone for a while now. LOL But, what does help is that we raise our kids together (that gives the entire family 3 kids all 3/4 years apart. They all get along wonderfully and love each others company despite the age differences. We try to keep them in the same school. This is the first year that my son and niece have been in different schools since he started. My niece was accepted in a performance art school that I am now trying to get my son in (my 4 year old niece starts school next year and we want them all to be together). But, they both catch the bus and get dropped off at my parents house. We also do a lot of family activities (movies, dinner, park) together, attend the kids extracurricular activities (whether it's local or not), vacation together and alternate keeping each other's kids a lot on the weekends. But it is rather easy considering my parents, both of my sisters and myself all live within 10 minutes of each other and see each other almost daily. We have noticed that each of our kids are quite capable of playing alone or in a group very well.

In all honesty, I had hoped to have at least 3 kids by now. But this year my son played boys and girls club football and for the first time I was glad I had one. One of the moms of a player on our team had 3 boys that played football and a lot of their practices and games where the same days but different locations. She had to miss a lot of the oldest childs games because he could ride with another player and take care of himself. But I know it had to be tiring for her. Our team alone practiced Mon/Wed/Fri from 6-8 and played every Saturday. Not saying that it is not possible but that was one point on the board for only child. :-) Another point is I paid $600 per month in daycare fees when my son was Pre-K. I can't image that multiplied by anything but one.

I still hope to have one more before I decide its time to close down shop. But if I do not, I am satisfied and very happy with the one I have.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 5:19PM
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My 12 yr old is very lonely. Children should not grow up alone in an adult world. No amount of parental love brings the only child true joy on holidays such as Chrismas when there's no one to sneek a peek with, wake up early with, or open presents with.Add to that relatives being far away. There are(too) MANY things the only child experiences alone:Holidays, Birthdays,the exciting last day of school,Summer vacation, the first day of school, etc.etc.Besides being Mom,I am also the sibling-playing games, riding bikes, etc.There's no one in your immediate family to interact with besides adults.Friends come & go, & FORGET it if you aren't super outgoing, smart , or popular. I have tried,tried tried, & it is not happening.Friends aren't here now & certainly won't be there 30 years from now either, sharing your childhood memories.Can you tell that it was not a choice in my case!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2001 at 12:39PM
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I am pregnant with baby #2 and was very concerned about having another one. My DS and I went through so much I going to be able to love this one the same? So, the problem was the oppposite for me. I waited until I knew I wanted a baby, for the baby..not for my DH, not for my mother, not for my DS, but for me...otherwise, it just wouldn't be fair to the baby. I think if you let other's opinions influence your decision you will end up resenting the child every time something goes wrong.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2001 at 6:20PM
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I'm an only child, and while growing up, I didn't mind at all. I was never lonely, and I always enjoyed reading and playing quietly with dolls, etc. My parents always took me everywhere, so I learned very early to interact with adults, and I think I matured more quickly because of it.

In fact, my mom wanted another child, but my dad didn't -- and she always tried to get me to ask for a sibling, but I never did. :)

Looking back, I had some rocky teenage years with my parents, and I wished I had had an older sister or brother to "pave the way." It seemed that if my parents had had someone else to pay attention to, then they wouldn't have worried so much about what I was doing. But my parents grew up in another, much stricter culture, so I chalk up some of that to normal teenage stuff plus cultural issues.

I think how your child adjusts to being an only child will depend on her personality, but I also think her personality will be shaped by her circumstances a bit. To this day, I go crazy if I don't have enough personal space, and after a day or two of having too many relatives in the house during holidays, I *have* to get away. I had problems sharing a bathroom in college, after having my own while growing up.

Now, I don't regret being an only child, but I do sometimes wonder what a sibling relationship would have been like. My DH lost his only sister to cancer, so we sometimes feel a twinge that our kids won't have any aunts or uncles or first cousins. (We don't have kids yet.)

That being said, my best friend has decided that she and her DH will only have one child (their DD is 20 months) because three of her closest friends are only children (including me), and we turned out so *normal*!

One last thing that I want to add -- I'm now 28, and my relationship with my parents is closer than most, I think. I feel somewhat responsible for them as they get older, and I can't even imagine what one of them will do if something happens to the other. I don't have any idea if this would be different if I had siblings, but sometimes it feels difficult to bear this worry alone.

Good luck to you! Whatever choice you make, I'm sure your family will be very happy. :)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2001 at 8:39PM
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i agree with Becca - being an only child helped me learn how to do things myself, like play, read, etc. I do have five older step-siblings but never played with them, as most were older and had children by the time my parents married. My mom wanted another child but my parents got divorced before it happened. I think that experience has made my mom and I very close, because we went through it together. We are like best friends, and when we're together we laugh like crazy. I could never imagine having to share that with a sibling! While I never necessarily didn't enjoy being an only child, this makes me want to have more than one child so my kids can have siblings. And I don't neccessarily agree that siblings will DEFINITELY fight all the time. I don't think your child will NOT be a playmate to the new baby that you might have; in fact, your child may be very protective of the new baby if you have one. My nephew will be six in May and is extremely overprotective of his 2-year-old sister. He usually gets along well with his 4-year-old brother, too. So you never know. Just as my husband and I are deciding when we want to get pregnant, I guess you just have to listen to what your body/heart/mind say (and not your inlaws) and decide for yourself. It's like mom always said: "When/if it's right, you'll know!"

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 11:43AM
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I missed this post when it was originally "live"...thank you for asking. I am losing sleep at night right now over this topic! I am assured by the many posts here though, that an only child is NOT the end of the world.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2002 at 2:07PM
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I have not taken the time to read everyone's responses to your post. I will just tell you my thoughts and if it is a repeat- so be it.

I am an only child.

I have never never regretted it.

You asked about when you die how will it be for your daughter to go through it alone. She won't be alone. She will have friends and hopefully she'll have her own family (with the will of God you won't die until your old and she's on her own). Further, having seen my mother, my father and inlaws going through belongings, fighting over heirlooms etc.. I'm glad I'm an only child. I won't have to fight with anyone, I won't be rushed by anyone, I'll be able to do what I need to do as I can do it.

My parents worked hard to make sure I had friends my own age and knew how to interact with others. My mother took me to a playgroup when I was little and when I was older, she made sure my friends where welcome in her home. She joined me in blue birds when I was little and even became a leader when it looked like the group was going to disband due to no leader. This gave me a chance to have friends and learn those skills. I have several friends I have had from age 6. (I'm well into my 30's now).

I think you can do some internet searches and find out many important and respected people are only children. I believe that only children interact well (and better than children with siblings do) with all ages of people and more so with adults. I believe they tend to have a higher vocabulary and the list goes on.

Someone else posted a note about going to school the first day of school is lonely and so on- really when it comes down to it, we all have to live our own lives, including our kids. I always walked to school with my friends. Having a sister wouldn't have made that any better. I would have still had to walk into my classroom alone (we were always sepated in school- per our parents!). I would still have had to play piano alone and go on stage alone for recitals and contests. A sister could not have made that go away or the nerves any less (nor could a brother).

I think it can only be positive to have on child and make that decision to only have one.

I had my own room, I had my own bathroom. I had luxeries I would never have had if my parents had more than me. I was able to go to Europe in high school with some friends and Mexico on a school tour. If I had had siblings, we could not have afforded those things for me. My parents were able to help me through college and thus I graduated with no loans, what a blessing that was!

The only time I wanted a sibling was in high school. I wanted a brother to bring home the cute guys and introduce them to me. Ha. As if that would have happened. But, I didn't seem to have a problem getting dates- so it really was a mute point.

You will do what is best for your family and that is something only you can decide. I certainly don't think you put the burden on your child to decide if you should have another child. I think that children can't look at the big picture and don't understand all the ramifications. That is why we are the parents and they are the kids!

Your original post sounded like you would have a child only to make your duaghter happy or for your daughter. I think that this is silly and I'm glad you clarified this later. I think this is unfair and horrible- I only had you so your sister would have someone to play with. (As if your DD couldn't find her own playmates... ) or I only had another baby for you... and so on goes the negative conotations in this.

Having said all of that- I'm an only child and am working on number three for me! I am thinking five or six is a good number, but my husband says three is it. And ultimately I really wanted ten. Darn.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 11:22PM
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I know this is a very old thread, but I'm adding to it anyway. :)

I am an only child. My parents wanted more, but after 2 miscarriages they gave up. I hated being an only. There was a time when I begged them to adopt so I wouldn't be so alone. But, I know that having a sibling might not have been the wonderful thing I thought it was. I also know that being an only child might not be so bad if one has a lot of kids around from an early age - there just weren't very many kids for me to socialize with till I started school.

Now that I'm older, I sometimes wish I had a sibling so I wouldn't be the only one helping my mom (with my DH's help) to take care of her house, herself, etc. But there's no guarantee a sibling would even be around to help.

My DH has a sister, so I have two nephews and a niece. That's nice.

When I decided to have kids, I knew from the outset I'd have to have at least two. My mom was an only, I'm an only, my cousin is an only. I had to break the pattern. :) I'm so glad I did. I had two, and I'm happy with two. They're 2 1/2 years apart, a boy and a girl, and adore each other. If they were farther apart, things would be different. DH and his sister are 5 years apart, and they never were very close. They love each other, but never had that intimate bond that my two are developing. I envy their relationship sometimes, and it's a beauty to watch.

Any more than two, though, would compromise our finances and my attention. And if you're happy with one, by all means, stick to your guns. Just do her a favor and make sure she has a lot of opportunities for socialization with other kids her age.

And I agree with what others have said. If you're thinking about having another baby to keep your DD company, you'd be better off getting her a big friendly dog. :)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 2:30AM
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What a well-thought-out response from someone who's been there. Do you feel that the 'only' status is what you regret? Or do you think that your parents didn't offer you enough opportunities to socialize?

We are parents of an only at the moment, due to various reasons, mainly age and health. We truly envisioned having a houseful, but circumstances changed. But she has a best friend that is like her sister, goes to a good school where she has made a lot of friends, and we look for every opportunity to socialize with those friends. She's in dance/etc, and we do extracurricular activities with her friends from dance, also.

Can't convince DH of the pet that she and I so dearly want, but maybe the 'only' argument will help me win the pet battle with DH!! LOL

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 7:39AM
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I was an only child for the first 10 years of my life before my only sibling came along. I've always felt and acted like an only child. He and I are not at all close, have nothing in common, and only see each other at holidays, even to this day. He has been zero help or support to me when family tragedy has struck. I honestly think that many "onlies" have that 'the grass is greener' outlook on siblings when the truth of the matter is that one can have an entire houseful of sibs and never be close to any of them throughout their life.

Now, through circumstances beyond our control, I am the parent of an only child. Yes, there are times when she asks for a brother or sister....the same way kids ask for a puppy. But all in all I don't feel that she's missing out on anything being an only. On the contrary, she gets our undivided attention and is able to experience things that families with 2 or more kids often can't do, such as traveling to exotic places that would be way too expensive for a family of 5. Yes, I've thought of her future, of things she may have to deal with when DH and I grow old. But, as I said, I've found out the hard way that having a sib doesn't mean having a friend. Or a helper. Or a confidante. It just means there is someone out there with the same mother and father that shows up every year for Christmas.

And, one more thing (sorry I'm rambling)....this decision belongs to you and your husband. Not your parents, your in laws, and absolutely not your child...they'll be the first to tell you to send little brother or sister back to the hospital when the newness has worn off. *grin*

    Bookmark   August 22, 2002 at 10:41PM
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I really can't comment on having or being and only child. I came from a large family and enjoyed it very much, but thats all I knew.
Now I married an only of an only.
My DH is very well rounded in all aspects of life. However he does have problems sharing his feelings and communicating. Except with his mother.
I try not to hold any hostile feelings about their special bond and so far I have succeeded.
The one and only time I ever address her decision was when I was about to announce to her that I was expecting baby number 2.
Her response to the news was and I quote..."what do you want to go and do that for??"
She just assumed that I was going to raise my DD as an only.
Plus she really didn't bond with my DS-as if to punish him for being born.
I always wanted a large family, but after #2 was born, we realized that finacially, we really couldn't afford a third.
Now if my budget is ever to change, and we could swing it, I would definately have more.
I also think it helps that I have one of each. If #2 had been another girl, I would have gone on to have a third.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 1:13PM
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I think you have already answered your question, and it is a good decision. You will be great parents to your only child, and she will benefit from your happiness and love. I believe in "life-long friendships" and my children have several friends who are only children. They are wonderful people, and very devoted to their friends. Your daughter can be the same way. Don't worry and fret. Best of luck to you. -- Marie

    Bookmark   October 2, 2002 at 2:04PM
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I am an only child. Also my mom is an only child and my dad's brothers had no children while I was growing up. So I had no cousins as well as no brothers and sisters. Do I feel like I missed out on anything? Hell, no. I didn't like other children much even when I was one. My husband, on the other hand, is one of five children, so when he and his immediate family get together it's like 20 people with all his siblings, their spouses and kids. I'm much more comfortable around my little family - mom, dad and me - but just because it's what I'm used to.
I don't think you can possibly say one type of family is better than any other, as long as you have love and support for all the family members. Whatever people there are in your life, you love them, but I don't think your child would ever worry about brothers and sisters that never existed. I certainly don't.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 2:35PM
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I'm the parent of an only child, not by design but by circumstance. She's 17 and says she's happy to be an "only," and shows every sign of being well-adjusted, self-confident, etc. She has an army of really good friends -- many more than I had at her age. Also a handful of cousins who are near her age.

The only thing that sometimes makes me sad is that she will never utter the words "my sister" or "my brother" ... words which I (as the eldest of 2 sisters and 2 brothers) have as part of my everyday vocabulary.

But... bottom line: families come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. Love is what counts.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 9:54PM
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Everyone is going to have different ideas on what a perfect family is for them. But I agree that there are two major questions you have to ask yourself before deciding to have more children 1 - Do I want to have this child because I'm ready to nurture, love and adore AND RAISE another child; and 2 - Can we reasonably afford adding to our family. This is your decision and nobody else. ONE POINT TO CONSIDER - If you decide to have an only child, it might not be a good idea to permanently fix things to not have any more. My sister had a girl and a boy. The girl was killed in a car accident. A few years after the accident, she desperately wanted another child - preferably another girl. Because she had her tubes tied, she could not have any more. Sometimes circumstances change and though you may not want any more now - you may some day down the road.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 3:31PM
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I just thought that I would chime in here.

I am the oldest of 8 children. My parents had three children, split up, and had children with other people. I never see my mother and half brother from her third marriage. However, the woman that my dad married became my mother. She had a daughter six months younger than my brother and then they had three more. My youngest brother is almost 18 years younger than myself and just over 1 year older than my oldest son.

I simply cannot imagine my life without my brothers and sisters. Sure, there were a lot of problems with our family. You try having a step-mom only 12 years older than you. But, if I have a problem I can pick up the phone and get unconditional support and love from my siblings. They don't always agree with you but they do support you.

My DH is the youngest of four children. They are 12,11, & 6 years older than he is so he essentially is an only child. When we got married, I let him know that I wanted 6 kids and he only wanted 3. We were unable to have anymore children after our 2nd child was born due to my helath problems. We have 2 wonderful sons (14 & 11)who are so close that it makes me grateful that we were able to have them. We lost a daughter due to a miscarriage when our youngest was 6. I miss her enormously. Does that make sense?

This decision would have to be yours and yours alone. You have to decide if you really want to have another child in your life. Don't wait until you can afford it or it may never happen. Sure, my family went without tons of "things" but we did have a lot of love and a closeness that none of my friends have because of their individual situations.

God bless you and let your decision be right for your family.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2004 at 12:34PM
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I have an only child. A dear friend of mine has four. One day, when the older three children were gone, she was left alone with the youngest who is very close in age to my DS. She said it was the hardest parenting she's ever done! Normally, the other children are around to play with and entertain the youngest. But that day, she was left with the full responsibility herself and couldn't get anything done! I deal with that everyday.

This first friend's house is pretty together. But I have another friend who has four boys, and their home is just chaos. I think it really depends upon the parents. In fact, I think what's best for the children ALWAYS depends upon the parents. Just like some people shouldn't have ANY children. If you WANT more and can manage them well, THAT would be best for her. If you don't want more and are doing a fine job of socializing her, then THAT would be best for her. There is so much more to life than biology.

I have a very unique situation in that my son is adopted, and an only child for me. But his bio-parents have 3 other boys. So my son will be raised as an only child, but have 3 brothers when he grows up!

Good luck with whatever you decide. I commend you for putting such serious thought into!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2004 at 11:21AM
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I am an only child and while I wished for a sibling from time to time, it was a good experience. I had lots of friends and today I have wonderful friends that have better relationships with me than they do with their own sibs. I think if you can take another child on vacations or go with other families that is the time when I wished the hardest for a sib. It got boring. My friend with an only always opted to bring a friend to vacations or outings where it might be more fun for the child. BTW, my mother was an only and wanted more than one, ironically, she couldn't have more!

I have a thought for you on adoption. Please don't adopt the next baby if you can biologically have one. It's unfair to the adoptee. Daily they see the biological unit and don't see themselves as a part of the family. I work with kids who have some special emotional needs. Some are adoptees. Please don't add to their issues. Adoption is a wonderful way to make a family, but not if you can do it biologically. I'm sure you never looked at it from this perspective, but believe me, I'm a parent of an adoptee.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2004 at 5:17AM
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I have an only child & I think about this allot. We tried for a little while for another but it didn't happen & we since stopped b/c life has been chaotic BUT if it's the ONLY reason for baby #2 then it's not a good one. If it's one of several then you have to weigh them. My problem is that while I might want a child my daughter has been a handful at age 3. Terrible twos delayed I guess b/c the twos were delightful. I'm 39 so we don't have allot of time to waste so I feel pressured.

My Mom, Dad & mother in law were all only children & it's as if my husband were sinc ehus brother are useless & have disappeared. The positive side is that you are able to be there for your child for everything & possibly give more to the 1 than if you had more. I am able to do so much for my child now & be involved in so many things with her but I'm not sure I'd be able to do that with more kids. Also I find smaller families often are more close knit - will you child have cousins she'll likely be close to? The negative is that it's true the child doesn't have a playmate (but often siblings aren't close as kids anyway) & then at the time of death or illness of the parent that 1 child has to do it all alone. I saw my Mom do it with her parents, my husband with his Mother & I see it with my Dad now. It's hard work caring for an elederly parent alone but a sibling is never a guarantee they'll be helpful either & it's often common that 1 child does everything anyway. Good luck with your decision. It's a hard one ot make.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 11:06PM
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I'm a 28 year old only child (not a parent yet, so I can't speak from that perspective).Here is an inside perspective of the good and bad of being an "only". One thing I will concede, is that a child with atleast one sibling probably does develop better socially. I've always felt rather "socially awkward" around peers w/few exceptions,and tend to relate better to older people. I don't see it as a negative, but just the way it is. I was never the "bratty" type, I suppose because I was taught good manners. However, I do NEED privacy. I never had any desire to live in a college dorm for instance. I just couldn't handle someone always being present/no personal space, sharing a bathroom, etc. I have not married yet, I suppose a husband would be the exception, though even then I'm sure I'll need alteast some time/space to myself. At the same time, I also lack the concept of "divided attention", so I dont do well in groups, tend to only go out with one friend at a time, and usually have few friends. I suppose I get a bit obsessed in romantic relationships, and even in platonic friendships,can't understand why I'm not someone's "best friend." I have gotten better handling this with age, as I realize that most ppl don't want to feel suffocated. So, I guess I'm one extreme or the other, I either want total alone time, or I want your undivided attention (as I always give my attention undivided). There is also the issue of caring for aging parents one day alone (mine are divorced yet...), though siblings don't always guarantee help with these things. So, those are the biggest quirks/negatives, but otherwise, I feel it's a good thing and wouldn't want it any other way. Being that my parents are working class ppl, I know I have a ton more materially/financially then I would if I had siblings, however i'm sure not as much as "kids" from wealthier homes have. I also received a ton more attention growing up, and was quite overprotected, which when I was a child felt was a negative, but now I see it's bc my parents love me so much, and if anything happened to me, they have no other children. Well, I hope this provided some perspective, good luck regardless of your desicion.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 2:25AM
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I only had one child and today, I regret it. She is almost 18 years old and she would have liked a brother or sister. She has said she is lonely as an only child. When she goes off to college next year, I will be alone and would give anything to have another at home that needs me. I only had a brother but would have given anything to have a sister now in my old age. Someone to talk too and be close with. Mothers are close to their daughters and in a way that a son isn't. She talks to me about things that she would never talk to her dad about. I've told her, when she marries someday and I hope she does, make sure you have a few children. They can be a comfort to you in your age.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Sorry, I haven't read all of the other responses. And I'm NOT an only child, and I have 3 children, and another one born stillborn. I just had to say that despite the expense and feeling overwhelmed sometimes, I am SOOOO glad that we had more than one child. I would have had more, had I not been 36 when my last one arrived. I just feel like a sibling is the best gift that you can give a child. I encourage my children to be close. I want them to have each other. If hubby and me were to die in a car crash, I would want my children to have each other. When my children are grown, I want them to have each other in their lives. I don't think it's something that comes naturally. However, in our family, my kids know what gifts they are to us and to each other and kindness is pretty much mandatory. They generally LIKE to be together and we talk lots about how they'll have each other and each other's families when there grown. You can love another child as much as you do your first. You love them differently, because they mean different things to you. I've never heard anyone say they wished they hadn't had so many children, only that they had more. JMHO

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:03AM
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