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A Mom Navigating Life

An Only Child Is The Way To Go — For Us

By: Donna Chaffins | Date: May 1, 2008 | Categories: Family and Health, Random Thoughts and Conversations

I heard or read somewhere recently that raising an only child was a challenge.  Well I have an only child and I never thought much about it being a challenge.  So this has got me thinking of the pros and cons of having an only child.  The two big cons I personally have with raising an only child is him being left alone if something happened to my husband and myself and not having someone to play with or entertain him. I experienced some guilt feelings around the time my son was two, like maybe I was depriving my son.  I got over that quickly!  I was thirty-eight when I had my son and he is five now, so you do the math, I don’t think having a sibling for my son is going to happen.  Of course, women are having children much later in life these days, and more power to them, but I can’t see that happening with me. 

First, the issue of him not having any immediate family if something were to happen to my husband and myself, because my son would be all alone.  Unfortunately, just because you have siblings does not guarantee a close bond.  I struggled with this one a lot and felt guilty about it for a while.  However, my son has a great personality and I truly believe he will make great friendships in his lifetime (like every parent that is my hope for him).  In addition, from personal experience a close best friend can be as important and more so than a family bond.    So if he doesn’t have a sibling to lean on, he will have a best friend. 

The second con is not having someone to play with all the time or to keep him entertained.    If he had a brother or sister, he would have someone to play (and fight) with.  He wouldn’t get lonely!  Okay now I’m feeling guilty again.  Shew, it passed!  So my husband and I have to give my son more time and attention, and granted sometimes we are busy and it gets difficult, but is giving our son more of our time and attention such a bad thing?  We don’t think so!   Now, it is not as if my son doesn’t entertain himself, because he does.  He has a great imagination and spends plenty of time in self-exploration.  He also has playmates that he plays with.  Therefore, I’m not so concerned with him not having a sibling to play with.

Neither of these cons are too bad in the grand scheme of things.  Because the pros outweigh the cons, for us.  One big pro is financial.  We are financially able to provide one child with what they need to live a full and interesting life.  Especially considering the economy now a days, not to mention the cost of college by the time my son reaches that age.  Another pro is that he gets all of our attention.  He doesn’t have to share time and attention with a sibling.  He will always feel special, and being the only child, he’ll never feel like he is competing for attention. 

I do think parents of only children have to work hard to teach their children to share.  It could be a big problem with only children being selfish.  Luckily, for us, our son has a very giving and tender heart.  He actually loves sharing with others.

I think whether by choice or circumstance, if you have one child, five, or more, it is what’s best for you and your family!  For my husband and me, one child is plenty!  I would love to hear your pros and cons to having an only child.  Hope to hear from you!  Enjoy Life!!!

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