Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: learningtofly on April 20, 2013, 10:41:16 PM

Title: They need to have a sibling
Post by: learningtofly on April 20, 2013, 10:41:16 PM
Is there a polite way to respond to this? DD is an only child and this is by choice for many reasons.  People do ask if we're going to have another child, and most are polite when I tell them DD is an only child. But there is a subset who feel the need to announce "well we're going to have another child because I had a sibling and my daughter/son needs a sibling."

Um, great? I'm not against people having siblings if that's what they mean.  It's just not in the cards for DD. Do I bean dip? Some say it defiantly like they need to defend their multi-child decision versus my only child decision.  On the plus side this comes up less the older I get.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Nemesis on April 20, 2013, 10:57:18 PM
Person: She needs to have a sibling
You: No she doesn't.
Person: Seriously. She'll be lonely.
You: what an interesting assumption.


Person: Well, *I* am going to have another child because my child needs a sibling
You: That's nice.


Person: I think it is selfish that you don't want to give your child a sibling.
You: What an interesting opinion.

Note: All responses must be said with the cold, dead voice, with absolutely no trace of emotion or defensiveness no matter how attacked you feel.

The trick is to be *very* coldly polite.

I did this to my uncle once. He went on and on about how my child needed a sibling and how I shouldn't wait to give her one. I did not think my fertility issues were up for discussion,so I waited until he was done and responded, "What a very interesting opinion" said in a most disinterested manner. He stammered and stopped. And never brought it up again.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: EllenS on April 20, 2013, 11:36:46 PM
I think there's a difference between the ones who say "we're going to have a sibling" versus, "your child needs a sibling".  I know what you mean about people being wierdly defensive over their parenting. 

I think if they are just talking about their choices and getting "defiant" as you describe, you can just congratulate them, like
"well, WE"RE going to have a sibling because my child needs one..."
"Hey, great! It sounds like you've really thought about that a lot."  And then beandip.  It's sort of declaring that there is no fight here.

For people who have the gall to tell you what you should do, I agree 100% with Nemesis.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Redsoil on April 20, 2013, 11:47:10 PM
"Isn't it great how all our choices are so different.  I love that we have such diversity in our definition of families."

or

"I guess we all do what works for us.  Everyone is different."

Good luck with it, from one who chose the "no kids" option.  :)
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: StarFaerie on April 20, 2013, 11:56:12 PM
I only have one child and I usually turn it back on them with:

Me: Really? Have you met my brother?
Them: No
Me: Well if you had, you'd know why I believe that having a sibling is not always the best thing. Bean dip?
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on April 21, 2013, 12:09:03 AM
DH and I are both only children. I don't think a child *needs* a sibling. Sometimes, a sibling is a blessing and nice to have. In some toxic families, having a sibling who is the golden child while you're the scapegoat makes life more miserable than it would be if you were an only child.

If anyone said anything to me about the number of children I do or don't have or plan to have, I would say "I disagree" and I'd beandip. And if they continued, then I'd say "my family planning is not your business." They're rude and out of line to bring it up in the first place. The beandip would be my polite way of getting out of the discussion. But if they persist in trying to badger me into talking about something very personal which is none of their business, I wouldn't feel the need to beandip. I would be firm.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Marbles on April 21, 2013, 12:13:14 AM
Well, my mom always said "I did it right the first time," but I don't think that's the best thing to say.

Since people often say this in front of only kids, it's good to not make being an only child sound like the second best option. "We're happy with our family." or "We like it this way".
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on April 21, 2013, 12:42:21 AM
Well, my mom always said "I did it right the first time," but I don't think that's the best thing to say.

Since people often say this in front of only kids, it's good to not make being an only child sound like the second best option. "We're happy with our family." or "We like it this way".

That's a very good point, because people do often say this in front of the children!
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: CakeEater on April 21, 2013, 02:57:51 AM
I'll go against the grain a bit and say that I think this just sounds like conversation. Friends with young children and I often talk about whether we're thinking of more kids and the reasons behind our various decisions. Unless it's said in a really condescending tone, I'd just assume it's information they're sharing and carry on with the conversation. Ask a question about their child and move off the topic if it makes you uncomfortable. I think sarcarsm or cold, flat answers wouldbe quite rude in these situations.

If by their tone, it's obvious that they're judging your decisions, a different response would be warranted, of course.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: that_one_girl on April 21, 2013, 07:49:15 AM
no one NEEDS a sibling.   What they NEED is proper socialization and training at a young age how to deal with interpersonal conflicts. Many people seem to think that having a sibling is the easiest way to get these childhood experiences.  I can assure you this is NOT necessarily the case.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Cami on April 21, 2013, 09:00:36 AM
My dd is an only child and we've heard it all. Many times. Many people unfortunately feel entitled to comment on parenting choices with which they don't approve and verbally consign you to hell for not conforming to their norms. They also have this bizarre omnipotent belief that you will actually get busy having another child as a result of their "wise" advice.

I learned to cut off these discussions at the first whiff of condemnation by telling them, "Yes, she's an only child and I'm not having any discussions about that non-negotiable reality."

People who were gearing themselves up to lecture us got ticked off and left us alone. I'm good with that.

Luckily, once I got past 40, the comments stopped.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: SiotehCat on April 21, 2013, 09:09:23 AM
My DS is an only child, but nobody has ever pushed me to have another. I have had people ask if I was planning on having another, but when I tell them that we will not be having anymore kids, they usually lay off. Some people ask me why, but they don't debate it with me.

If someone told me that my DS needed a sibling, I think I would laugh and probably try to say something like "What?!Why?" while I was laughing.


Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: *inviteseller on April 21, 2013, 10:09:55 AM
I have never understood the people who think a woman's uterus is up for discussion.  I was told I would never have children then surprise, I had my DD.  I was walking in the house with our newborn daughter, and my (now ex) MIL (who just had to be there) says well, there's nothing wrong with you so you can start having more  :o.  When people would tell me my DD would be spoiled, lonely, every horrible thing in the world that can happen, because she was an only child I would just give them a steady stare and say nothing.  When my SO and I found ourselves having a baby 11 years after my DD was born, people actually said "there is too big an age difference, they won't have a relationship, blahblahblah" in an attempt to convince me to try again for a sibling for younger DD.  I just ignore these twits.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Thipu1 on April 21, 2013, 10:10:30 AM
There's nothing wrong with being an only child.  I was one and grew up just fine, thank you.  Mr. Thipu has a sister but she's so much older that he was virtually an only child. 

Every family makes its own choices.  You've made yours and you're happy with it.  That's all that counts. 
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: mmswm on April 21, 2013, 10:53:13 AM
I have 3 kids, but I do understand a little bit about what your'e saying because I get judgmental comments about something else entirely regarding the fact that I even had children with my ex-husband (the bone disease two of the boys have is genetic).  I also think that once you've been attacked enough for your choices, it can become very difficult to separate normal conversational questions from those attacks.  I agree with the PP that advised to make sure that the people who ask these questions aren't just trying to make small talk and aren't actually judging you.  If, of course, they are actually judging you, then I totally agree with Nemesis's advise.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: kherbert05 on April 21, 2013, 11:32:42 AM
Spoiled kids are spoiled because the adults in their lives aren't doing their jobs. It has nothing to do with the number of siblings*. Wish them well if they want more kids. Keep in the back of your mind some people think - If I'm not doing what everyone else is doing I'm doing something wrong. That is why they want you to agree to them. They are to weak willed to be their own person - they need you to agree and follow the same path to validate them. You don't need to do that.


*I once said the above to a person giving my cousin a hard time for having only one child. Cousin's child was behaving beautifully. The person making comments about only children all being spoiled had 4 hellions running around unchecked causing all sorts of problems and the "parents" had no control. My cousin could barely keep it together - and burst out laughing was we walked away. Don't get me wrong there is a time and place for kids to act like hellions and run and scream (our farm for one). An evening wedding just isn't one of them.

Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: TootsNYC on April 21, 2013, 02:07:04 PM
End the conversation sooner, maybe?

Them: "Are you going to have another child?"
You: "I don't discuss my family planning with other people--it's sort of private."

then...depending how it goes:

Them: "But she needs a sibling!"
You: "As I said, I don't discuss my family planning. How's the bean dip?"

or

Them: "But I was just making conversation!"
You: "That's all right; I understand. I just don't have conversations about my family planning. Let's find another topic. How's the bean dip?"

And remember that wonderful third-grader trick: rolling your eyes. OK, maybe you can't do it literally, but you can mentally do it. Just look at them, think "insert eye roll here," and silently walk away.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: bopper on April 22, 2013, 08:26:29 AM
Is there a polite way to respond to this? DD is an only child and this is by choice for many reasons.  People do ask if we're going to have another child, and most are polite when I tell them DD is an only child. But there is a subset who feel the need to announce "well we're going to have another child because I had a sibling and my daughter/son needs a sibling."

Um, great? I'm not against people having siblings if that's what they mean.  It's just not in the cards for DD. Do I bean dip? Some say it defiantly like they need to defend their multi-child decision versus my only child decision.  On the plus side this comes up less the older I get.

"Wonderful! Isn't it great how everybody gets to plan their own families?" :-D
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Bottlecaps on April 22, 2013, 10:21:50 AM
"Wonderful! Isn't it great how everybody gets to plan their own families?" :-D

Love it!

A child's social skills/tendency to be spoiled/entitlement mentality has absolutely nothing to do with the number of siblings they have. I have two siblings, but that's not the reason I'm not a spoiled brat. I'm not a spoiled brat because my grandparents raised me not to be one.

I know several people who are only children. They're all pretty well-adjusted and I only know one who is spoiled, and I highly, highly doubt that her being an only child had anything to do with that. That situation was more like her whole mother's side of the family are spoiled, entitlement-mentality people, and unfortunately, she kind of got that way too.

Another point - I don't see how people have the audacity to make these sorts of comments when they may not know the situation surrounding it. For some people, having one child is totally by choice. For some though, it's definitely not a choice. I know another only child, a cousin of mine, who is one because her mother had a rather complicated pregnancy with her, and they chose not to risk going through that again. Had it not been for that, perhaps she may have had some siblings. For someone who can't/won't have another child for medical reasons, a comment like that could be very, very upsetting.

Either way, by choice or not, your reproductive system and how you choose to use it, and how many times you choose to use it, is no one's business but your own. I think bopper's response would do pretty well to shut them down. :)
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 22, 2013, 11:53:25 AM
DS is an only child.  I had a difficult pregnancy so DH and I decided one healthy one was just fine.  He's a great kid.  Anyone who tried telling me I'd regret not giving him siblings was told "No, I'd regret endangering my health and perhaps leaving him without a mother."

By contrast, my physical therapist and his wife had their third child last year.  They have great kids.  He gets asked "Holy Deity, don't you have enough kids?!".  He gives them the Spock eyebrow raise followed by "How is it your business?".
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Ilovemygeek on April 22, 2013, 12:49:29 PM
We have two girls and people keep asking if we're going to "try" for a boy. No matter what you have, people seem to have something to say.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: mmswm on April 22, 2013, 12:57:15 PM
We have two girls and people keep asking if we're going to "try" for a boy. No matter what you have, people seem to have something to say.

I have three boys.  People are constantly asking me if I'm going to try for a girl.  Oh ehell no! Deity knew what he was doing when he gave me all boys.  I have an adolescent sister right now and I'm living with my parents and I swear there are days when I want to wring the child's neck for things that I know are just typical girl type behavior.  That's not to say that boys don't have their issues, but my temperament is far better suited to deal with the boy issues.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 22, 2013, 03:13:10 PM
Yeah, I think no matter what, sometimes nosy/thoughtless people are going to find something to comment on. One kid? You need more. Having a fourth kid? Way too many. Two boys? You need a girl. Two girls? You need a boy. Aren't you a little young, aren't you a little old, aren't they too far apart, aren't they too close together...  ::) Sometimes I don't think these comments come from any deep philosophy, they're just inane chatter that people have heard and are repeating, without thinking about the implications of what they're saying. A polite but cool brush-off is probably the best.

On the other hand, if someone is talking about their own choices, or seems really interested in why you chose to do this or that, you could hear them out and discuss if you felt comfortable with the topic. Or if not, you could say something like, "Oh, that's nice. Wow, the weather's been nice, huh?"

Some people feel more comfortable talking about intimate topics--my friend Amy, for example, knows all about the reproductive choices, medical problems, monetary issues, etc. with all members of her extended family, and has no problem sharing them with me in a matter-of-fact way. Then I'll tell her something that happened with one of my cousins, and she'll ask me all kinds of probing questions that I have no answer to, because we're much more private. If she ever came to a gathering of my extended family, she would probably come off as alternately nosy and oversharing in comparison, but that's just what's normal to her.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: thedudeabides on April 22, 2013, 03:16:43 PM
"Nope, she's good."
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: White Lotus on April 22, 2013, 05:52:41 PM
It is an modern and interesting assumption that children only appear when planned, and that, if planned, they invariably appear.  Mother Nature has something to do with it.  In fact, "That would be up to Mother Nature," would, I think, be my consistent response. 
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on April 22, 2013, 06:11:15 PM
What I don't understand is why some people are so dense about this.

I have a cousin, let's call her Loretta. She got pregnant easily and had kids young. We both have another cousin, let's call her Anna. She got married for the first time in her late 30s and, for the most part, only married him because she wanted kids.

I had a conversation with Loretta that went like this:

Loretta: "Anna has been married over a year now. She's nearly 40. Are they going to have kids or not?"

Me: "I don't know. It's not my business."

Loretta: "Well, does she want kids?"

Me: "Yes."

Loretta: "So, why haven't they had kids?"

Me: "Not everyone gets pregnant as soon as they want to."

Loretta: "So she hasn't been able to get pregnant?"

Me: "I don't know."


Then, Loretta emailed Anna on her own and although I didn't ask, Loretta told me that her exchange with Anna went like:

Loretta: "Are you expecting? When are you going to have kids?"

Anna: "When Deity blesses us."

Loretta wrote to me and said "Doesn't Anna know she shouldn't wait around for Deity?"

I said "What do you want Anna to do? They're dirt poor. IF they're unable to get pregnant, they don't have the money for fertility treatments."

I did remind Loretta that when I got married, she asked me every time she talked to me "Are you expecting yet?" And luckily, DH and I didn't want kids right away, instead of wanting them and having problems carrying to term, so I was only annoyed, not hurt. I told her she needed to back off and she could be causing pain. She didn't get it. I don't know why not.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Lexophile on April 25, 2013, 01:43:25 PM
I've only ever had one person push this with me.  When she said, "But your daughter needs a playmate!" I smiled sweetly and told her that she has plenty of playmates at school. I then abruptly changed the subject.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: TootsNYC on April 25, 2013, 02:57:57 PM
This reminds me of how my nephew handled the "Do you think it's going to be a boy or a girl?" question when his sister was expected.

That's a really stupid question, really, if you take it literally--how the heck would HE know? And he was smart enough to see if for what it was.

So he answered, "They won't tell me. I think it's going to be a giraffe." Very seriously.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: *inviteseller on April 25, 2013, 04:01:29 PM
This reminds me of how my nephew handled the "Do you think it's going to be a boy or a girl?" question when his sister was expected.

That's a really stupid question, really, if you take it literally--how the heck would HE know? And he was smart enough to see if for what it was.

So he answered, "They won't tell me. I think it's going to be a giraffe." Very seriously.

Oh I hate when the Nosy Nellie's decide they have to interrogate the children because you won't give them the answer to their intrusive  questions.  My poor older DD went through hell from being asked "wouldn't you love to have a brother or sister?" to, when I very surprisingly found myself pregnant when she was 10, oh, what do you want a brother or sister?  Honestly, it doesn't matter what she wanted...basic science tells you wishing for one or the other is not how the gender of the baby is decided.  And because she has my smart aleck streak she would tell the idiots who bothered her about being an only child " My cat is my brother."
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Calistoga on April 25, 2013, 04:18:43 PM
We've faced something similar to this! My in laws used to constantly fuss because our child was going to be "so much younger" than DH's brothers kids that our poor child wouldn't have any same aged cousins to play with.

It sounds like people are just trying to justify their own decisions to someone who hasn't made the same ones.

"Well our little Billy NEEDS a brother!"
"I'm sure he'll enjoy that."

"Well you simply must have another baby, poor little Billy needs a brother!"
"Billy does just fine."

Don't argue, don't justify...just don't engage.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: NyaChan on April 25, 2013, 04:25:21 PM
"Jr. DESERVES a sibling!"
"You are absolutely right - can he have your youngest?  I'm sure he'd fit right into our family."
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Calistoga on April 25, 2013, 04:26:31 PM
"Jr. DESERVES a sibling!"
"You are absolutely right - can he have your youngest?  I'm sure he'd fit right into our family."

Or on the flip side
"Why...did he do something wrong?"
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Lady Snowdon on April 25, 2013, 05:32:42 PM
We've faced something similar to this! My in laws used to constantly fuss because our child was going to be "so much younger" than DH's brothers kids that our poor child wouldn't have any same aged cousins to play with.

It sounds like people are just trying to justify their own decisions to someone who hasn't made the same ones.

"Well our little Billy NEEDS a brother!"
"I'm sure he'll enjoy that."

"Well you simply must have another baby, poor little Billy needs a brother!"
"Billy does just fine."

Don't argue, don't justify...just don't engage.

DH and I have gotten this, and it annoys the heck out of me.  My nieces are not going to be deprived because they don't have same aged cousins (ie the kids I don't have) to play with.  If I do have kids, they will similarly not be deprived.  My sister in law has tried to bring this up a couple of times, and I mostly shut her down with, "I didn't have same aged cousins growing up, and I turned out fine!".  I'm also an only child, the first grandchild on my mom's side and the only grandchild on my dad's side.  I didn't *need* siblings or cousins in order to develop properly - I played with kids from daycare, school and the neighborhood!
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Calistoga on April 25, 2013, 05:40:03 PM
We've faced something similar to this! My in laws used to constantly fuss because our child was going to be "so much younger" than DH's brothers kids that our poor child wouldn't have any same aged cousins to play with.

It sounds like people are just trying to justify their own decisions to someone who hasn't made the same ones.

"Well our little Billy NEEDS a brother!"
"I'm sure he'll enjoy that."

"Well you simply must have another baby, poor little Billy needs a brother!"
"Billy does just fine."

Don't argue, don't justify...just don't engage.

DH and I have gotten this, and it annoys the heck out of me.  My nieces are not going to be deprived because they don't have same aged cousins (ie the kids I don't have) to play with.  If I do have kids, they will similarly not be deprived.  My sister in law has tried to bring this up a couple of times, and I mostly shut her down with, "I didn't have same aged cousins growing up, and I turned out fine!".  I'm also an only child, the first grandchild on my mom's side and the only grandchild on my dad's side.  I didn't *need* siblings or cousins in order to develop properly - I played with kids from daycare, school and the neighborhood!

Same. My mom was 30 when she had me, and she didn't want to have kids younger than me when I was already a real hand full. The only cousins I had were 3-4 years older than me and lived 12 hours away... I saw them once a year, we played for a while...then we out grew each other and just did our own thing. I just had...you know...friends.

I always chalk this up to the locale...around here it's really common for families to live within a few miles of each other. I think all of DH's family is within an hour or two.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: earthgirl on April 26, 2013, 08:55:30 AM
While I tend to keep my thoughts about my reproductive system pretty close to the chest, DH has no such compunction, and speaks freely about the fact that DS will probably be an only child.  We are both open to the fact that our minds may change, but as of now, we have no plans for another kid.

I have been amazed at how many people think it's their business to tell us what they think about only children.  I actually had one of DH's friend seek me out at a New Year's party to tell me that I was setting my (as yet not even conceived) child up for failure in life if I did not provide him with at least 1 sibling. 

Now that DS is here (4 months old), SIL has decided that, since we have said there will probably be no siblings, she has to start having children immediately so that her children can be close in age to DS. I feel like that's silly, and I really do not want to be in any way, shape, or form, even remotely responsible for SIL possibly having children earlier than she's ready to just because she thinks it's important for her kids to have a cousin close in age (obviously I have no control over what she does, and if she wants children now, that's fine, but don't tell me it's because of how old my baby is in comparison!).
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: MrTango on April 26, 2013, 09:10:55 AM
End the conversation sooner, maybe?

Them: "Are you going to have another child?"
You: "I don't discuss my family planning with other people--it's sort of private."

then...depending how it goes:

Them: "But she needs a sibling!"
You: "As I said, I don't discuss my family planning. How's the bean dip?"

I use something similar when people ask me whether LadyTango and I are planning on having children:

"That's a topic reserved for LadyTango, me, and our physicians."  (If it's the first time a person brings it up, I'll supply the bean dip.  If not, or if I'm feeling particularly annoyed by the intrusiveness of the question, I just let the silence hang there.)
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: *inviteseller on April 26, 2013, 09:29:02 AM
While I tend to keep my thoughts about my reproductive system pretty close to the chest, DH has no such compunction, and speaks freely about the fact that DS will probably be an only child.  We are both open to the fact that our minds may change, but as of now, we have no plans for another kid.

I have been amazed at how many people think it's their business to tell us what they think about only children.  I actually had one of DH's friend seek me out at a New Year's party to tell me that I was setting my (as yet not even conceived) child up for failure in life if I did not provide him with at least 1 sibling. 

Now that DS is here (4 months old), SIL has decided that, since we have said there will probably be no siblings, she has to start having children immediately so that her children can be close in age to DS. I feel like that's silly, and I really do not want to be in any way, shape, or form, even remotely responsible for SIL possibly having children earlier than she's ready to just because she thinks it's important for her kids to have a cousin close in age (obviously I have no control over what she does, and if she wants children now, that's fine, but don't tell me it's because of how old my baby is in comparison!).

So the reason to have a baby is to give your child a playmate?  Not computing!  Just because they are cousins, that doesn't make it an automatic BFF playmate confidant.  They may not get along or  they may be as different as night and day.  I don't understand why people assume blood relations automatically mean they will be close.  I love my cousins because they are family, but there is some I would not even want to be in the same room with because they are obnoxious (and they may feel that way about me).  I am lucky that, even though there is 6 years between us, I am super close with my sister but I have friends that don't even speak to their siblings but once or twice a year.  I would never question anyone's family planning choices and I preferred people staying out of my uterus.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: mmswm on April 26, 2013, 09:57:32 AM
We've faced something similar to this! My in laws used to constantly fuss because our child was going to be "so much younger" than DH's brothers kids that our poor child wouldn't have any same aged cousins to play with.

It sounds like people are just trying to justify their own decisions to someone who hasn't made the same ones.

"Well our little Billy NEEDS a brother!"
"I'm sure he'll enjoy that."

"Well you simply must have another baby, poor little Billy needs a brother!"
"Billy does just fine."

Don't argue, don't justify...just don't engage.

DH and I have gotten this, and it annoys the heck out of me.  My nieces are not going to be deprived because they don't have same aged cousins (ie the kids I don't have) to play with.  If I do have kids, they will similarly not be deprived.  My sister in law has tried to bring this up a couple of times, and I mostly shut her down with, "I didn't have same aged cousins growing up, and I turned out fine!".  I'm also an only child, the first grandchild on my mom's side and the only grandchild on my dad's side.  I didn't *need* siblings or cousins in order to develop properly - I played with kids from daycare, school and the neighborhood!

Same. My mom was 30 when she had me, and she didn't want to have kids younger than me when I was already a real hand full. The only cousins I had were 3-4 years older than me and lived 12 hours away... I saw them once a year, we played for a while...then we out grew each other and just did our own thing. I just had...you know...friends.

I always chalk this up to the locale...around here it's really common for families to live within a few miles of each other. I think all of DH's family is within an hour or two.

3 of my parents 4 adult children have kids of our own (there are still two of my siblings who are minors).  My older sister's daughter is 20. My sons are 13, 11, and 10 (with everybody within 6 weeks of their next birthdays).  The sister born right after me has two boys who are 4 and 2.  The only other adult sister has no kids yet, and no plans to have them any time soon, so the youngest cousins will likely be approaching 10ish before that sister has any kids.  My other siblings are actually only 10 and 11 themselves, so no kids for them for hopefully at least a decade!
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: YummyMummy66 on April 26, 2013, 10:02:58 AM
I think I might reply, "Why?" and if they keep making statements, keep saying, "why?".   

And if they do not stop, just thank you for your opinion, but we are just fine with one child.  And if they keep at it, "You know what Sue?  It really is none of your business to tell me what to do with my family?  How would you like it if I did the same to you?"  (Sue for any name that you might be speaking to or who asks these questions).
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on April 26, 2013, 10:17:13 AM
Iím starting to think Iíve lucky that I havenít gotten the "start now so theyíre close to cousins". With the exception of a 9m.o. "surprise" (though very wanted after sis having given up hope of a second), my nieces and nephews are all over the age of 6. Their three mothers are doneóand have taken measures to be sure of that. I do have two younger sisters, but they have no plans to start having kids for quite some time (18 mos apart, both in college). If I continue waiting, maybe theyíll be close in age, but if not, the one, possibly two children I would have will be smack in the middle of the two groups.

I know it was painful for my aforementioned surprised sister to get this question all the time. They truly wanted a sibling for their now 8 y.o. daughter, but it didnít happen until a mostly unrelated surgery kick surprisingly kickstarted her ability to conceive again. And it really was worst from family, because they thought our older sister, who has PCOS had no problem accidentally conceiving three times, so clearly there couldnít be wrong with other sister.

Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: TootsNYC on April 26, 2013, 11:37:06 AM


Now that DS is here (4 months old), SIL has decided that, since we have said there will probably be no siblings, she has to start having children immediately so that her children can be close in age to DS. I feel like that's silly, and I really do not want to be in any way, shape, or form, even remotely responsible for SIL possibly having children earlier than she's ready to just because she thinks it's important for her kids to have a cousin close in age (obviously I have no control over what she does, and if she wants children now, that's fine, but don't tell me it's because of how old my baby is in comparison!).

So the reason to have a baby is to give your child a playmate?  Not computing!  Just because they are cousins, that doesn't make it an automatic BFF playmate confidant.  They may not get along or  they may be as different as night and day.  I don't understand why people assume blood relations automatically mean they will be close.  I love my cousins because they are family, but there is some I would not even want to be in the same room with because they are obnoxious (and they may feel that way about me).  I am lucky that, even though there is 6 years between us, I am super close with my sister but I have friends that don't even speak to their siblings but once or twice a year.  I would never question anyone's family planning choices and I preferred people staying out of my uterus.

Also, like, maybe earthgirl will be too busy to set up very many play dates with the cousin! That's a heck of an assumption.

And it's assigning a really big responsibility

It reminds me a bit of my ILs buying a "country home" and saying, "the kids can swim in the pool." I flat-out told them, "Do not buy this house under the assumption that we will be spending very much time there. We will visit at most two weekends--that's all we'll be able to do. We have busy lives, and our Saturdays are full of stuff like birthday parties, family outings, chores, etc. So don't put the responsibility on us, we refuse to take it."

They bought it anyway, and indeed, we were only free to go up about twice a year. A couple of years ago, my FIL said something wistfully about "we'd thought maybe the kids would spend more time," and implying that their main purpose for buying the place hadn't been realized so it had been wasted effort and money. And I said, gently, "You do remember that I told you we wouldn't be able to come up very often, right?"

So I'd be really annoyed if SIL was assuming that I'd be arranging my life to create playdates for the cousins. I guess the kids would have someone their age at family gatherings, which might make them less boring. Or *more* annoying, if they end up not getting along.

Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: that_one_girl on April 26, 2013, 01:42:03 PM
I was told recently by my SIL that I should start having children so her kids can have a baby cousin to play with.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: NyaChan on April 26, 2013, 01:50:12 PM
Yeah, that'll be 500K per child - will that be lump sum or or do we need to set up a monthly plan?
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: RooRoo on April 26, 2013, 03:17:09 PM
OT:

When I read
Quote
absolutely no trace of emotion or defensiveness no matter how attacked you feel,
my talent for "predictive reading" saw the bolded, and said, "mackerel." I doubted myself, went back and re-read it, and got it right. But - -

Henceforth, to me, the coldish, emotionless face one uses in these situations shall be known as "the Dead Mackerel Face!"
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on April 26, 2013, 03:40:17 PM
I actually had one of DH's friend seek me out at a New Year's party to tell me that I was setting my (as yet not even conceived) child up for failure in life if I did not provide him with at least 1 sibling.

"failure"? Really? Cuz only children aren't successful? Failure in what? Academics? There are plenty of only children at M.I.T. Social? There are plenty of only children in sororities and fraternities. Salary? Fun? Life? What failures?

I agree with the PPs that SIL shouldn't be banking on the fact that you'll let your kids spend a ton of time with hers.

My cousin and I are both only children and we're less than a year apart in age. Our mothers were very close and forced us to spend tons of time together as children. But my mother was an extremely strict disciplinarian. My aunt was the opposite. My cousin had no boundaries and was a very mean, unhappy, destructive, almost sociopathic child. I hated him and all the time I had to spend with him. And now as adults, while we can be civil to each other, we are not close at all.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: magician5 on April 26, 2013, 05:32:28 PM
Aaaargh! They're trying to "sell" you on their point of view, don't think you can win when you try to "sell" them on yours ... not impolite of you, but futile.

May I suggest "It's not in the cards for us." If pressed, lie. OK, call it a 'white lie': "Medically, it's not in the cards for us ... I really am uncomfortable talking about it." and refuse to carry the topic any farther.

If you're one of those who insist on only telling the truth, then tell the truth: "I'm not comfortable talking about it." And if that risks offending, so be it.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: kherbert05 on April 26, 2013, 06:14:56 PM
If the purpose of having me was to provide a playmate for my cousin C - nine months older I was a miserable failure for 16 years.

16 years of me
Trying to drown her
Slamming her head into concrete pool deck
washing her mouth out with soap
Threatening to tell people with both knew embarrassing things
me showing her up in school

16 years of her
trying to drive my head through a concrete deck
her trying to drown me
her calling me all sorts of names (the reason for me washing her mouth out)
Throwing me down the stairs
Her threatening to tell people we had in common all sorts of embarrassing things.
Her getting me punished because she took my little sister out on the roof (at least they didn't jump off and try to fly)
her showing me up socially (She went to my Prom - I didn't go to my Prom We went to different HS)

Then we had a knock down drag out fight when I was about 16 and she was 17 over my SAT scores and her going to my Prom - decided the whole thing was stupid, went down told the family to stop comparing us, went to a movie and have been best friends ever since.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Kiwichick on April 27, 2013, 02:44:39 AM
What does hating your cousin have to do with people being told their child needs a sibling?

My ex was an only child.  He's one of the most friendly, gregarious people I know, there's no way being an only child stunted him socially.  Although he'd occasionally be a bit wistful about all my siblings, then he'd remember how one of my sisters and I have nothing but bad things to say to and about each other.  There's no guarantee siblings will like each other let alone be willing playmates.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: NyaChan on April 27, 2013, 09:44:52 AM
What does hating your cousin have to do with people being told their child needs a sibling?

My ex was an only child.  He's one of the most friendly, gregarious people I know, there's no way being an only child stunted him socially.  Although he'd occasionally be a bit wistful about all my siblings, then he'd remember how one of my sisters and I have nothing but bad things to say to and about each other.  There's no guarantee siblings will like each other let alone be willing playmates.

She's offering her own experiences to show that being born close in age together does not mean that kids will become playmates for one another - and others in the thread have posted that they have been told they need to provide cousins for their nieces and nephews to play with.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 29, 2013, 01:24:13 PM
My friend Amy has fond memories of playing with her same-aged cousins and kids of her parents' friends. Which is great when that works out. But it seems weird to me to purposefully try to manufacture that situation, straight from conception. I remember being at her house shortly after she was married, and another married friend of hers was there, and Amy said, "It would be great if we had kids around the same time, so they could play together!"

But it wasn't so much, "it would be great if the stars aligned and this happened," it was more like, "are you interested in coordinating such a thing." I guess asking is better than assuming or demanding, but the concept of "coordination" had never occurred to me before and I was kind of like,  :o. The other woman handled it very tactfully (basically NO) and then bean-dipped.

Plus, yeah, there's absolutely no guarantee that the kids (siblings, cousins, friends' kids) will actually get along. For contrary children like me, knowing that I was "supposed" to get along with someone would actually nudge me in the opposite direction.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on April 29, 2013, 01:35:52 PM
I remember when I first got pregnant with my first child, my then best friend also happened to get pregnant at the same time and our due dates were a few days apart. A relative of hers asked us "Did you plan this?!!"

I was shocked that she was serious. My friend and I were close, but I could not imagine that she and I and our husbands would be at dinner one night and say "Ok, look at the calendar, find when both women are going to ovulate around the same time and let's all get busy during that week without contraception."

It just blew my mind that that was something that anyone would think we would do.

I thought that was just one person's odd question. It never occurred to me that other people might purposely do that.

It just seems like a lot of pressure. What if one miscarries? What if one gets pregnant more easily? It's like a race and competition, but with human lives and human bodies. It just has the potential to be so painful when it doesn't all go "according to plan."
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: daen on April 30, 2013, 08:34:52 AM
I remember when I first got pregnant with my first child, my then best friend also happened to get pregnant at the same time and our due dates were a few days apart. A relative of hers asked us "Did you plan this?!!"

<snip>

Two stories:
1) Two guys who were best friends in college, got married within a month of each other, and announced that they and their spouses were pregnant within a week of each other.  They and their spouses were together with a mutual friend, who commented on this and said "Do you guys do everything together?" There was a milisecond's silence as everyone realized the multiple meanings of that question. Then, there was much laughter.

2) I know of a set of identical twins who married sisters. There was a year's gap between the weddings, due to the ages of the sisters, but the first two children for each couple arrived much at the same time (a month apart for the first, six weeks for the second). I sometimes wonder how much genetics has to do with that, and how much it has to do with the amount of time they spend together.

In neither event, insofar as I can tell, was there planning. And I cannot picture anyone asking that question in all seriousness. 
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: peach2play on April 30, 2013, 11:47:16 AM
Why do you need my choices to validate your own?
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Calistoga on April 30, 2013, 12:02:18 PM
I wanted to be pregnant in winter and deliver in spring, because Mississippi is hot and horrible in the summer.

My due date is in September, so I'll be 6-7-8 months in June, July, and August.

Planning is hard. And this isn't even synchronized with someone else.

The only thing that matters is when you want to have kids. When other people drop calf shouldn't come in to play.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: lilfox on April 30, 2013, 02:18:06 PM
We have one DD, and it's very possible she'll be an only.  While we still hope to have another, we're fine with a single child.  Imagine how "spoiled" she's going to be if we don't have to wait for a younger sib to be old enough to do whatever activities she wants to do!   ;D

Even so, I've gotten a few questions and comments about having another, and do I hope it's a boy this time, or we need a boy to balance things out...  Only from people who don't know we've been trying unsuccessfully for a few years, so whatever - they're obviously not close enough to know that kind of personal information, so their opinions really have no impact on me.  I consider it just the generic stuff near-strangers say to make conversation.  But then again I've never had anyone close to me try to push a birthing agenda on me so I don't know what I would say to that!

FWIW, I wanted a summer baby - DD was born in November.  I thought 2-3 years' gap between sibs was "optimal," and at this point it would be at least 4 years and counting.  I didn't want to be almost 40 years old with a newborn... ha ha  :P
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: earthgirl on May 03, 2013, 08:56:45 AM
While I tend to keep my thoughts about my reproductive system pretty close to the chest, DH has no such compunction, and speaks freely about the fact that DS will probably be an only child.  We are both open to the fact that our minds may change, but as of now, we have no plans for another kid.

I have been amazed at how many people think it's their business to tell us what they think about only children.  I actually had one of DH's friend seek me out at a New Year's party to tell me that I was setting my (as yet not even conceived) child up for failure in life if I did not provide him with at least 1 sibling. 

Now that DS is here (4 months old), SIL has decided that, since we have said there will probably be no siblings, she has to start having children immediately so that her children can be close in age to DS. I feel like that's silly, and I really do not want to be in any way, shape, or form, even remotely responsible for SIL possibly having children earlier than she's ready to just because she thinks it's important for her kids to have a cousin close in age (obviously I have no control over what she does, and if she wants children now, that's fine, but don't tell me it's because of how old my baby is in comparison!).

So the reason to have a baby is to give your child a playmate?  Not computing!  Just because they are cousins, that doesn't make it an automatic BFF playmate confidant.  They may not get along or  they may be as different as night and day.  I don't understand why people assume blood relations automatically mean they will be close.

Exactly!  What I find especially funny about this is that DH and SIL each have a cousin who is of the same gender, and born within 1 month of them, so pretty much exactly the same age...and while they were forced to play together as children, they can't stand each other now as adults. 
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: *inviteseller on May 03, 2013, 09:30:07 AM
We have one DD, and it's very possible she'll be an only.  While we still hope to have another, we're fine with a single child.  Imagine how "spoiled" she's going to be if we don't have to wait for a younger sib to be old enough to do whatever activities she wants to do!   ;D

Even so, I've gotten a few questions and comments about having another, and do I hope it's a boy this time, or we need a boy to balance things out...  Only from people who don't know we've been trying unsuccessfully for a few years, so whatever - they're obviously not close enough to know that kind of personal information, so their opinions really have no impact on me.  I consider it just the generic stuff near-strangers say to make conversation.  But then again I've never had anyone close to me try to push a birthing agenda on me so I don't know what I would say to that!

FWIW, I wanted a summer baby - DD was born in November.  I thought 2-3 years' gap between sibs was "optimal," and at this point it would be at least 4 years and counting.  I didn't want to be almost 40 years old with a newborn... ha ha  :P

I had my first, who was quite a surprise after being told we would not be able to have kids, when I was 29.  We were fine with an only child, but my exLDH's family was not.  It got to the point I thought his mother was going to march us off to the bedroom and demand we reproduce RIGHT NOW!  I am glad we only had one as we split up when she was 16 months and being a single parent of one was difficult enough.  So 6 years go by and I meet the love of my life and we are going along happily with my DD and his DD and DS for 4 years, then BAM, at 40, I became a mom again.  Then the comments started about how there was too big an age difference (11 years and 4 days to be exact) and it is a shame my kids are still like only children ???,   and I just wanted to scream and say  Can my uterus ever do anything to please you busybodies???!!!!
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: daen on May 03, 2013, 09:57:48 AM
<snip>
 I just wanted to scream and say  Can my uterus ever do anything to please you busybodies???!!!!

Sadly, no. With some people, the best you can get is "almost perfect, but not quite."
http://www.halley.cc/regina/stuff/poem.ss.Almost_Perfect.html (http://www.halley.cc/regina/stuff/poem.ss.Almost_Perfect.html)
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: LadyClaire on May 03, 2013, 09:59:03 AM
My best friend and my husband's best friend (whom he was been friends with since 2nd grade) are getting married.

DH's best friend thinks it would be the best thing ever if we all have kids around the same time. He is actually hoping one of us will have a boy, and the other will have a girl, and then they can grow up together and get married and have kids and make us officially "family".

I told him it's a nice thought, but the odds of us having kids around the same time, that are opposite gendered, and who will fall in love and get married are very slim indeed.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on May 03, 2013, 10:14:13 AM
We have one DD, and it's very possible she'll be an only.  While we still hope to have another, we're fine with a single child.  Imagine how "spoiled" she's going to be if we don't have to wait for a younger sib to be old enough to do whatever activities she wants to do!   ;D

Even so, I've gotten a few questions and comments about having another, and do I hope it's a boy this time, or we need a boy to balance things out...  Only from people who don't know we've been trying unsuccessfully for a few years, so whatever - they're obviously not close enough to know that kind of personal information, so their opinions really have no impact on me.  I consider it just the generic stuff near-strangers say to make conversation.  But then again I've never had anyone close to me try to push a birthing agenda on me so I don't know what I would say to that!

FWIW, I wanted a summer baby - DD was born in November.  I thought 2-3 years' gap between sibs was "optimal," and at this point it would be at least 4 years and counting.  I didn't want to be almost 40 years old with a newborn... ha ha  :P

I had my first, who was quite a surprise after being told we would not be able to have kids, when I was 29.  We were fine with an only child, but my exLDH's family was not.  It got to the point I thought his mother was going to march us off to the bedroom and demand we reproduce RIGHT NOW!  I am glad we only had one as we split up when she was 16 months and being a single parent of one was difficult enough.  So 6 years go by and I meet the love of my life and we are going along happily with my DD and his DD and DS for 4 years, then BAM, at 40, I became a mom again.  Then the comments started about how there was too big an age difference (11 years and 4 days to be exact) and it is a shame my kids are still like only children ???,   and I just wanted to scream and say  Can my uterus ever do anything to please you busybodies???!!!!

The part I bolded reminds me of a book I once read called Birth Order (http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Order-Book-Why-You/dp/0800734068/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367593872&sr=1-1&keywords=birth+order). The author talks about how one's birth order often affects their personality, but that kids born many years after another sibling are a lot more like a first/only child than a younger sibling.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: daen on May 03, 2013, 10:49:44 AM
The part I bolded reminds me of a book I once read called Birth Order (http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Order-Book-Why-You/dp/0800734068/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367593872&sr=1-1&keywords=birth+order). The author talks about how one's birth order often affects their personality, but that kids born many years after another sibling are a lot more like a first/only child than a younger sibling.

My husband and a few of my friends will vouch for much-older siblings acting more like additional parents than siblings, or at least not having the same immediacy in the rel@tionship because older sib moves out of the house relatively early in the younger sib's life.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: *inviteseller on May 03, 2013, 10:55:42 AM
The part I bolded reminds me of a book I once read called Birth Order (http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Order-Book-Why-You/dp/0800734068/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367593872&sr=1-1&keywords=birth+order). The author talks about how one's birth order often affects their personality, but that kids born many years after another sibling are a lot more like a first/only child than a younger sibling.

My husband and a few of my friends will vouch for much-older siblings acting more like additional parents than siblings, or at least not having the same immediacy in the rel@tionship because older sib moves out of the house relatively early in the younger sib's life.

My siblings are older than me and due to my mom dying when I was young, they did take a pseudo parent role to back my dad up.  With my 2, they are true sisters..older one does not act as the parent, in fact they plot against me  :o.  But it is tough with the big difference as they are at such extremely different phases of life, but the older does make sure to take time to be with her sister and have sisterly fun together.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: mmswm on May 03, 2013, 12:05:01 PM
The part I bolded reminds me of a book I once read called Birth Order (http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Order-Book-Why-You/dp/0800734068/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367593872&sr=1-1&keywords=birth+order). The author talks about how one's birth order often affects their personality, but that kids born many years after another sibling are a lot more like a first/only child than a younger sibling.

My husband and a few of my friends will vouch for much-older siblings acting more like additional parents than siblings, or at least not having the same immediacy in the rel@tionship because older sib moves out of the house relatively early in the younger sib's life.

My siblings are older than me and due to my mom dying when I was young, they did take a pseudo parent role to back my dad up.  With my 2, they are true sisters..older one does not act as the parent, in fact they plot against me  :o.  But it is tough with the big difference as they are at such extremely different phases of life, but the older does make sure to take time to be with her sister and have sisterly fun together.

My siblings and I are 41, 37, 36, 23, 11, and 10.  We tend to group ourselves into three phases.  Phase 1 is the older three (I'm a part of that group), phase two is the 23 year old and phase three is the two little ones. Those of us in phase one tend to be additional parent-type figures to phase three.  Phase 2 is too old for that sort of relationship with phase one and too young for that sort of relationship with phase 3.  My mother's 10 year old and my 10 year old have more of a brother/twin relationship. When my little one was a baby I spent a lot of time with my parents. My parents got custody of my brother a few months after my little one got home from the NICU.  They spent their baby and toddlerhood together before I moved.  Now that I'm back, they're back to their same routines.  My older two kids are more like cousins to the younger two siblings instead of the technical aunt/uncle and nephew relationship.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on May 03, 2013, 02:14:28 PM
I can certainly see how that happens. Iím 6&7 years older than my younger siblings, and due to circumstances of our childhoods I was in more of a parental role than a sisterly one, then I moved out at 16, and went across the country for college at 18. Now that we are all adults, weíre slowly trying to build more sisterly relationships, but it is slow going. They will probably always be closer to each other than me, because of the age difference between us.

Likewise, although I have an older half-sibling, we were never raised together, so Iím much more 'oldest-child'.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: magicdomino on May 03, 2013, 04:04:06 PM
I wanted to be pregnant in winter and deliver in spring, because Mississippi is hot and horrible in the summer.

My due date is in September, so I'll be 6-7-8 months in June, July, and August.


Yeah, my mother hated being pregnant during the summer, and tried to plan accordingly.  All four of us were born during August and September.   :D
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: lilblu on May 04, 2013, 12:50:07 AM
May I say something even if it will probably make some people upset?

I didn't read through all the responses here, but I'm going to assume nobody has posted anything similar to what I'm about to say. I just wanted to put this out there to give a little perspective because this is a touchy subject for me.

I do agree it's wrong for other people to comment on another person's parenting choices (like when they're going to have another child). But I have to say that as an only child myself, I would ask the parents of an only child when they're going to have another child in order to help out another only child. Some only children may love being an only child and it may work out for them in life. But I think it friggin sucks! For the rest of my life I will always be upset with my parents for not giving me a sibling. You have no idea how horrible it is (for me) being an only child. I think it's actually way worse now that I'm an adult. The older I get, the more upset I get about it.

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

And again, I just had to say that to give a little perspective. Sometimes people wonder when you're going to have another child because they're concerned about a child being an only child. This wasn't meant to start a heated debate, I just wanted to give my view (a different perspective) on the subject because this entire thread is basically about being an only child and I am an only child. I don't think there's many of us out there. I think there was only two or three of us in my entire graduating class - 160 or so.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: lilihob on May 04, 2013, 04:01:01 AM
I am an only child, I am fine with it. My parents are both from large 6+ families, and accordingly, often did without( attention, timewise, financially).
Now they are getting older, with my health, I do worry, BUT, I see a lot of people with awful siblings, so this mythical sibling may have been no help.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: wolfie on May 04, 2013, 09:10:21 AM
May I say something even if it will probably make some people upset?

I didn't read through all the responses here, but I'm going to assume nobody has posted anything similar to what I'm about to say. I just wanted to put this out there to give a little perspective because this is a touchy subject for me.

I do agree it's wrong for other people to comment on another person's parenting choices (like when they're going to have another child). But I have to say that as an only child myself, I would ask the parents of an only child when they're going to have another child in order to help out another only child. Some only children may love being an only child and it may work out for them in life. But I think it friggin sucks! For the rest of my life I will always be upset with my parents for not giving me a sibling. You have no idea how horrible it is (for me) being an only child. I think it's actually way worse now that I'm an adult. The older I get, the more upset I get about it.

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

And again, I just had to say that to give a little perspective. Sometimes people wonder when you're going to have another child because they're concerned about a child being an only child. This wasn't meant to start a heated debate, I just wanted to give my view (a different perspective) on the subject because this entire thread is basically about being an only child and I am an only child. I don't think there's many of us out there. I think there was only two or three of us in my entire graduating class - 160 or so.

What do you think having a sibling would have made your life better? A built in best friend? Me and my older sister fought like cats and dogs growing up and the only reason we are still talking is because my parents are still alive. I am pretty sure that once they die she will not bother contact me again.  Someone to help out with caring for your parents? My older sister is in Texas, my younger sister is in Germany - I live in NY and my parents are in NJ - caretaking will fall to me because I am the logical choice and while my younger sister will probably want to help, logistically there isn't much she can do from across an ocean.

Having a sibling is no guarantee of anything - I know lots of only children who are happy and successful adults.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: RooRoo on May 04, 2013, 09:44:04 AM
Quote
being an only child is equivalent to child abuse.

Now that's "an interesting assumption."  >:(  If you were abused, it had nothing to do with the absence of a sibling.

I used to wish I was an only child, because my older sister beat me up and did other hurtful things throughout our childhood. She and I discovered, in our late 20s, that it was due to a dynamic set up by our mother (without knowing it). We've been friends and real sisters to each other ever since.

If either of us had been the only child, the dynamic would still have existed, and we still would have suffered the effects. Emphasis on "suffered." And we would be without a good friend to talk to who understands the situation from the inside!
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 04, 2013, 10:00:42 AM
May I say something even if it will probably make some people upset?

I didn't read through all the responses here, but I'm going to assume nobody has posted anything similar to what I'm about to say. I just wanted to put this out there to give a little perspective because this is a touchy subject for me.

I do agree it's wrong for other people to comment on another person's parenting choices (like when they're going to have another child). But I have to say that as an only child myself, I would ask the parents of an only child when they're going to have another child in order to help out another only child. Some only children may love being an only child and it may work out for them in life. But I think it friggin sucks! For the rest of my life I will always be upset with my parents for not giving me a sibling. You have no idea how horrible it is (for me) being an only child. I think it's actually way worse now that I'm an adult. The older I get, the more upset I get about it.

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

And again, I just had to say that to give a little perspective. Sometimes people wonder when you're going to have another child because they're concerned about a child being an only child. This wasn't meant to start a heated debate, I just wanted to give my view (a different perspective) on the subject because this entire thread is basically about being an only child and I am an only child. I don't think there's many of us out there. I think there was only two or three of us in my entire graduating class - 160 or so.

You're deliberately being rude?
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: LadyClaire on May 04, 2013, 10:04:05 AM
Wow. Only having one child is the same as child abuse? That is really over the top and yes, an extremely inflammatory thing to say.

Parents don't owe their children a sibling. They owe their kids a good upbringing, but a sibling does not have to be a part of that. Some people can only have one child. Some can't afford a second child. Some might only feel like they can give one child a good life, and bringing a second child into their lives would create a burden on the family.

I know several only children who are perfectly happy with their status as such. A few of them are actually happy to have been only children, because they have seen a lot of bad relationships between siblings.

My husband is the youngest of five children. I think he actually only really likes one of his siblings, and she lives across the country.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Dragonflymom on May 04, 2013, 10:40:25 AM
May I say something even if it will probably make some people upset?

I didn't read through all the responses here, but I'm going to assume nobody has posted anything similar to what I'm about to say. I just wanted to put this out there to give a little perspective because this is a touchy subject for me.

I do agree it's wrong for other people to comment on another person's parenting choices (like when they're going to have another child). But I have to say that as an only child myself, I would ask the parents of an only child when they're going to have another child in order to help out another only child. Some only children may love being an only child and it may work out for them in life. But I think it friggin sucks! For the rest of my life I will always be upset with my parents for not giving me a sibling. You have no idea how horrible it is (for me) being an only child. I think it's actually way worse now that I'm an adult. The older I get, the more upset I get about it.

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

And again, I just had to say that to give a little perspective. Sometimes people wonder when you're going to have another child because they're concerned about a child being an only child. This wasn't meant to start a heated debate, I just wanted to give my view (a different perspective) on the subject because this entire thread is basically about being an only child and I am an only child. I don't think there's many of us out there. I think there was only two or three of us in my entire graduating class - 160 or so.

Wow nice to know I'm abusing my child - strangely she seems perfectly happy being an only child, which is a darned good thing because my pregnancy with her almost killed both of us.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Perfect Circle on May 04, 2013, 10:42:18 AM
Liblu, that is incredibly offensive.

I only have one child. I nearly died having her and any consequent pregnancy would be incredibly risky. I also never wanted more than one child so I'm absolutely fine with it.

I am not abusing my child. Not in any shape, form or way.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Ticia on May 04, 2013, 10:46:56 AM

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

This is so very far from appropriate. The size of someone's family is only their business. To compare being an only child with being abused is completely over the top, and is insulting to your parents and the many parents here on this forum who have made the decision to only have one child, or were unable to have more than one child.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Lady Snowdon on May 04, 2013, 10:56:57 AM

Parents don't owe their children a sibling. They owe their kids a good upbringing, but a sibling does not have to be a part of that. Some people can only have one child. Some can't afford a second child. Some might only feel like they can give one child a good life, and bringing a second child into their lives would create a burden on the family.

I know several only children who are perfectly happy with their status as such. A few of them are actually happy to have been only children, because they have seen a lot of bad relationships between siblings.


I agree with this!  Siblings are not required for parents to give their kid(s) a good upbringing; although many people do say that they're glad to have siblings and feel that having siblings enhanced their lives.

I'm an only child, and perfectly happy to be an only child.  I'm naturally very private and introverted, so I think being an only child was probably the happiest way for me to grow up. 
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: citadelle on May 04, 2013, 12:15:12 PM
My children are ages 9 and 19. They both were effectively only children, in terms of growing up as the only child in the household. While I think the youngest may have benefitted from having someone else of her age range in the home, the oldest was fine with it. So much of this depends on the personality of the child, that blanket statements and assertions either way are inappropriate at best.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Minmom3 on May 04, 2013, 01:13:35 PM
May I say something even if it will probably make some people upset?

I didn't read through all the responses here, but I'm going to assume nobody has posted anything similar to what I'm about to say. I just wanted to put this out there to give a little perspective because this is a touchy subject for me.

I do agree it's wrong for other people to comment on another person's parenting choices (like when they're going to have another child). But I have to say that as an only child myself, I would ask the parents of an only child when they're going to have another child in order to help out another only child. Some only children may love being an only child and it may work out for them in life. But I think it friggin sucks! For the rest of my life I will always be upset with my parents for not giving me a sibling. You have no idea how horrible it is (for me) being an only child. I think it's actually way worse now that I'm an adult. The older I get, the more upset I get about it.

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

And again, I just had to say that to give a little perspective. Sometimes people wonder when you're going to have another child because they're concerned about a child being an only child. This wasn't meant to start a heated debate, I just wanted to give my view (a different perspective) on the subject because this entire thread is basically about being an only child and I am an only child. I don't think there's many of us out there. I think there was only two or three of us in my entire graduating class - 160 or so.

Blue - that's you.  That's not everybody, as you have acknowledged.  I was an only.  My mother was an only.  While I do wish Mom had had more than me, it's not because I wanted a sibling for my entertainment and pleasure.  No, no, no!  No, I wanted a sibling to give my Mother somebody else to beat on....  Also, to maybe give her perspective on just how NOT bad I actually was.  Which is a pretty wretched reason to want other children in my life!   But, being an only meant that IF we could afford to do something, we did it.  There was only Mom and me, so from that aspect of things, I was a spoiled kid, even though we had very little money.  I had plenty of friends to play with, so I didn't suffer from a lack of siblings to play with.  Heck, because we were so poor, most of my friends had much nicer stuff to play with, so if there had been more children besides me in our family, what little money we had would have been that much more thinly stretched.   Maybe where YOU lived it was not common to have singleton children, but where I grew up - San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, it was not rare at all.  It was more rare for my mother to be divorced and never remarried than it was for me to be an only. 

I also want to note that you said your graduating class was 160 people.  That sounds like you grew up in a very small town (like my MIL in Nebraska in the 1940's).  My mother's gradating class in Oakland in the 1940's was over 1000 people - I've seen her graduation group picture - it's huge.  My graduating class in Los Angeles was 1200 people.  Maybe you should think about how some of your suffering and aloneness was because you were in a small town, rather than a large metropolitan area - and possibly stop laying the blame on your parents for never having more than one child.

One final point to make - just because you have siblings born in to your family doesn't mean you have them all your life.  Sometimes siblings die.  I know people this has happened to.  Sometimes there are huge family fights that cause permanent severance between sibs.  This is the status in my husbands family.  There was an enormous blowout that took 6+ months to finish reverberating, and the final result is 3 of the 6 sibs no longer speak to the other 3 sibs AT ALL.  Granted, not all large families are that dysfunctional, but separations happen in many families.  People move to other countries, or the other side of the nation.  I recommend that you stop focusing on being a 'lonely only' and work a harder on making friends you have some commonality with NOW.  Find a hobby group, or a hiking/sports group, or an artisic or craft oriented group - join up.  Volunteer somewhere that matters to YOU.  Talk to people - just make SURE you aren't whining about being an only child. 

Forgot one - And please, if you're going ignore etiquette and tell people to have more children, MAKE GOOD AND SURE you don't ever say that to people who are trying to have children, and can't...  Not everybody can afford fertility treatment or adoption - neither of which are cheap.  And since a lot of people don't TALK about their efforts to enlarge their family, be prepared for a LOT of fall out when you firmly put your foot in your mouth, and hit a sore spot with them.  Don't be surprised if they lash out at you because - you just caused them pain to promote your POV and you ignored etiquette.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: magicdomino on May 04, 2013, 01:50:30 PM
Having a second child solely to provide a companion for the first is a lot like having children to support you in your old age.  Odds are your children will provide some support, if only in picking out a nice nursing home.  But they will likely move far away.  They may not have the money, time or energy to support you as much as you need or want.  They may not be the nurturing type.  They may be totally selfish.  They may have severe mental or physical problems that will require you to still be supporting them in your old age.  It's a roll of the dice what you will get.

It's the same thing with siblings.  Most likely, you will get along as adults, if not as children.  But you may not be best friends, so to speak, and in rare cases, if nature or nurture aren't favorable, you may be enemies. 
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Van down by the river on May 04, 2013, 02:04:18 PM
I'm not an only child. I have several siblings. I was also a victim of pretty horrible child abuse. To compare being an only child to child abuse is so dead wrong I'm not sure where to start. I love my brothers, but I endured plenty of abuse at their hands as well. I'm sure I abused them plenty as well. Honestly the only difference I've ever seen w an only child vs a multiple child home, is sometimes they come out a bit entitled. I've also known multiple siblings to come out that way, but I notice it more in only children. Especially in relationships. None of it is abusive or damming, it's just is.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Allyson on May 04, 2013, 02:58:18 PM
Also, saying something to a parent because you had a bad experience as an only isn't just rude, it's not very helpful. Does anyone really think someone's going to be like, oh, well, we decided for whatever reason only to have one child...but this random person really hated being an only/knew someone who hated it/loved being a sibling, so we're going to change our minds based on that!

Sure, there are people who hated being an only kid, people who hated having younger/older siblings, people who wanted more siblings. Nobody's experience is universal and regardless of what choices are made, the kid might hate it. It hardly means everyone feels that way.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: thedudeabides on May 04, 2013, 03:40:10 PM
May I say something even if it will probably make some people upset?

I didn't read through all the responses here, but I'm going to assume nobody has posted anything similar to what I'm about to say. I just wanted to put this out there to give a little perspective because this is a touchy subject for me.

I do agree it's wrong for other people to comment on another person's parenting choices (like when they're going to have another child). But I have to say that as an only child myself, I would ask the parents of an only child when they're going to have another child in order to help out another only child. Some only children may love being an only child and it may work out for them in life. But I think it friggin sucks! For the rest of my life I will always be upset with my parents for not giving me a sibling. You have no idea how horrible it is (for me) being an only child. I think it's actually way worse now that I'm an adult. The older I get, the more upset I get about it.

So I would totally comment about how an only child needs a sibling. I don't care if it's considered poor etiquette because to me, being an only child is equivalent to child abuse. In fact, I would have preferred my parents to have beat me (or worse) than to be an only child. Yes, I actually felt that way as a teenager and still feel that way. I'm sorry if this upsets some people, but unless you're an only child, you don't have the right to be upset because there is no way you can possibly understand.

And again, I just had to say that to give a little perspective. Sometimes people wonder when you're going to have another child because they're concerned about a child being an only child. This wasn't meant to start a heated debate, I just wanted to give my view (a different perspective) on the subject because this entire thread is basically about being an only child and I am an only child. I don't think there's many of us out there. I think there was only two or three of us in my entire graduating class - 160 or so.

I'm impressed with how asinine and offensive this is.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Wordgeek on May 04, 2013, 05:15:51 PM
Yes, lilblu's post was inappropriate and offensive.  The matter has been dealt with, so please drop it. Carry on with the rest of the discussion.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Lynn2000 on May 06, 2013, 10:03:24 AM
I'm an only child. When I was a kid I really liked it, especially because all my friends were complaining about their siblings all the time. As an adult I kind of dislike it--I wish I had someone to help me with my parents as they get older. But, as others have pointed out, that's an idealized scenario--my hypothetical siblings could easily live far away, have their own health issues, or just plain be jerks.

Personally, I can't really imagine what it's like to have a sibling. And I've not met many people with close-age siblings, who can imagine what it's like to be an only child, especially growing up. If they dislike their siblings, they sometimes idealize being an only child; if they like them, they often pity only children, and imagine their childhoods were terribly lonely. (And some people of course just admit they can't imagine it at all--don't want to generalize.)

I don't really want to have any kids; but if I did have one, I would try really, really hard to have a second, because I wouldn't want to have an only child--I see too many disadvantages to it. So if someone I was close to had one child, and they were interested in my own personal experiences being an only child, I would be happy to talk to them about it. I hope I would do so in a polite and not pushy way, and not assume my experience was universal. But ultimately I would be discouraging of having only children.

I've seen so many strange things happen in families that I've come to believe it's folly to plan on XYZ happening decades from now--I mean, my grandma had five kids, but only one of them really helps her out on a regular basis, and that's not even the one who lives the closest. (Part of the reason being the way Grandma herself raised them/behaves.) So if she ever thought, "Hey, five kids! People to provide for me in my old age!" she must be disappointed.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Garden Goblin on May 08, 2013, 02:16:12 PM
I wish I'd been an only child.  Imagine - nobody stealing my clothes, nobody blaming me for leaving stuff out, nobody breaking my toys, nobody poking and prodding until I got mad and hit back and thus got in trouble, nobody stealing my ID to go out drinking and getting a speeding ticket and not knowing where the insurance card was creating a problem I spent two years trying to clear up, letting their friends read my diary, expecting me to leave work to drive an hour to their location with a gas can, leaving me to pay our mother's electrical bill after they stole $700 out of said mother's bank account, having temper tantrums because I wouldn't let them borrow my car, expecting me to give them rides everywhere without any consideration for my schedule, getting me in trouble with the school because they turned in one of my old papers for their assignment, etc...

And then having to deal with the approximately 10 billion folks who don't understand why you are irritated with any of the above because 'they are faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamily'.

Fortunately I didn't have to give the above mentioned sibling the cut direct, she did it to me.  She spent three days bragging and generally being obnoxious about what a great chess player she was and how she was going to teach my son and nephew (son of my other sibling) everything about chess.  Then I beat her in 4 moves.  She hasn't spoken to me since.  Alas, my heart, it bleeds.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Calistoga on May 08, 2013, 02:19:20 PM
I think it's fair to say that whether you have 1 kid or 7, your kids are always going to wish you had done something different. So it's kind of pointless to argue with parents based on your own personal experiences. Parents need to make the decisions that they feel are best for them, their children, and their family as a whole.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: wolfie on May 08, 2013, 02:25:31 PM
getting me in trouble with the school because they turned in one of my old papers for their assignment, etc...

Why did that get you in trouble?
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Twik on May 08, 2013, 02:35:56 PM
I'm an only daughter, with a brother 3.5 years younger than me. I know it's not quite like being an only child, but not all siblings (particularly when they're different genders/ages) can be your best buddies. I'm closer to my brother as an adult than I was as a child. Don't get me wrong, I love him a lot and I'm glad I've got him, but I don't think my life would have been night-and-day different if I had been an only child.

I think Calistoga is pretty correct here:

Quote
I think it's fair to say that whether you have 1 kid or 7, your kids are always going to wish you had done something different.


It's the "grass is always greener" syndrome. Single kids wish they had built-in playmates, kids in big families wish they weren't always in a crowd.

In any event, even if I were convinced having more than one child is beneficial, I would hopefully also know that it is not my place to lecture random strangers about their lives.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Garden Goblin on May 08, 2013, 04:07:01 PM
getting me in trouble with the school because they turned in one of my old papers for their assignment, etc...

Why did that get you in trouble?

I was still going to the same school and the default assumption was I had given her the paper for that precise purpose.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: wolfie on May 08, 2013, 04:08:40 PM
getting me in trouble with the school because they turned in one of my old papers for their assignment, etc...

Why did that get you in trouble?

I was still going to the same school and the default assumption was I had given her the paper for that precise purpose.

But they came down harder on her for actually handing it in, right? I am just boggled that they would get upset with the person who was plagiarized.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Garden Goblin on May 08, 2013, 04:13:08 PM
getting me in trouble with the school because they turned in one of my old papers for their assignment, etc...

Why did that get you in trouble?

I was still going to the same school and the default assumption was I had given her the paper for that precise purpose.

But they came down harder on her for actually handing it in, right? I am just boggled that they would get upset with the person who was plagiarized.

Because I, the innocent party, got out of being punished, it wasn't considered 'fair' to punish her.

Yeah...that desire to bang your head against a desk?  That was my reaction too.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on May 08, 2013, 05:33:04 PM
stealing my ID to go out drinking and getting a speeding ticket

If it makes you feel less alone, one of my cousins did it to his older brother, my other cousin. And the innocent/older one had to deal with the mess on his record too while the younger one got off scot-free.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: KB on May 11, 2013, 07:01:53 PM
This (http://notalwaysrelated.com/the-power-of-one/26183) is an interesting response if someone asks the question about being an only child.
Title: Re: They need to have a sibling
Post by: Danika on May 11, 2013, 07:48:41 PM
This (http://notalwaysrelated.com/the-power-of-one/26183) is an interesting response if someone asks the question about being an only child.

Awesome!!!!