Author Topic: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?  (Read 10731 times)

Krolik

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Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« on: June 11, 2015, 09:36:28 AM »
I wanted to ask those of you who grew up as only child whether you wished or sometimes still wish that you had sibling(s)?

I have an older brother with whom I am very close but my husband grew up as an only child and later in life (around 15 years old) found out he had a step sister. In adult life they are not close and have very little contact. He told me he was happy growing up as an only child.

My husband and I have a 4 year old daughter and she will probably be an only child.
My husband doesn't want more children. I had hard time accepting it at the beginning but I am o.k. now.

We don't have any family here. But we go to Europe every year where everybody lives so she can spend time with her grandparents and rest of the family.

Our daughter seems to be very happy as an only child but sometimes I wonder if she may feel 'lonely' because she doesn't have brother/sister?

If you are an only child please share your experience. I am very curious on your perspective.

Thank you ;-)

PS. Sorry for any grammar mistakes but I am not a native speaker.

Kris

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 09:39:42 AM »
I am an onlly child, and I was perfectly happy.  I think sometimes people romanticize the sibling relationship.  I knnow a lot of people who like their sibling and are friends with them in adulthood.  T I know just as many who have either a no relationship or a very negative relationship with their adult siblings. 

Meggslynn

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 09:53:54 AM »
Sorry I am not an only BUT, I was the youngest of three girls. In my childhood from my the moment I turned 10 I wished I was only child, my sisters were evil, lol. I can honestly say my childhood from the moment we were in our preteens and teens was very hard. The day both of them moved out was the happiest day of my childhood, for real.

Granted we all get along now .....

I have a son that is 3. We keep going back and forth on another. We have realized we shouldn't let the factor of giving our son a sibling much weight in our decision at all. It has to be what as parents and as a couple would make us happy. I know, that I have a lot left to give as a mother and whether that will given to a second child as well or all to my son I don't know.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 09:56:06 AM »
My husband is an only child, and he is glad he doesn't have siblings at this point.

He thought it might have been nice as a child to have had a sibling when his parents moved him to the middle of nowhere, but he had lots of friends for the most part during his childhood, and after seeing all the mean things that siblings can do to each other, he ended up pretty happy to not have to deal with that drama.

I would think as long as your child is socialized and has friends/extended family children to play with whenever she wants, and you're not spoiling her rotten, being an only child is a distinct advantage.


I have a sibling, and we were not very close at all after I got up into double digits in age. We were too different in personalities to get along well after childhood. And my situation seemed to be more common than having really close sibling relationships into adulthood (just my experience).


sheepstache

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 10:13:49 AM »
As an adult, I've sort of regretted being an only child. It would be nice having someone who's family and the same generation, even if we weren't close. My parents aren't super close to their families, so I didn't have any close cousin relationships (that's me too, though, I could have reached out more had I been inclined). Plus there's more pressure to keep up the relationship with the parents. If they need help in their old age, there's no one else. And when they divorced, regular obligations doubled, e.g., holidays that I would have liked to partly share with friends or SOs turned into splitting the time between parents, who lived on different ends of the country, because I was the only family they had.  And neither of them remembers the marriage at all fondly due to how it fell apart at the end or communicates with or talks about the other person any more, so it's like this family I could swear I grew up in only exists in my head and if I had a sibling I might have someone else I could talk about it with. I don't recall regretting not having siblings growing up at the time and there were a ton of advantages. But looking back on it I can see that I got some pretty intense scrutiny and over-protectiveness that would have been a little more bearable if it were split with a sibling. (And to the extent that you ignore the pressure it's not necessarily good for your personality, ha ha, like, fuck up as much as you want, what are they gonna do, pick a new favorite?) Plus there was a lot of pressure to be a generalist because as an only child you kind of need to fulfill all the needs, whereas those with siblings seem to have had an easier time "specializing," like, the bookish one vs. the athletic one, though I know that can also be limiting.

All right, good session, Doctor, see you next week.

I'm playing devil's advocate here, though, because, so far from regretting it as a child, I was definitely aware of the advantages of, basically, being treated like another adult. You mature quickly and are used to being spoken to with respect and receive a lot of practical knowledge and advanced ideas parents wouldn't normally discuss with you if they were regularly having to break up screaming matches over who's stealing whose toys.

partgypsy

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 10:19:50 AM »
There are pros and cons to having more than 1 child. Everyone is going to weigh those pros and cons differently.

I wouldn't let the desire of your child for a sibling, determine whether you have another one; that's not their decision to make. I've noticed many only children go through a phase of asking for a brother or sister, because they see friends with siblings and so think this is the normal and desirable thing to have. Being the adults you have to decide what number of children is right for your family.

astvilla

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2015, 10:24:24 AM »
I'm an only child and I don't mind being an only child.  Would my life have been better if I had siblings?  Maybe, maybe not, too hard to tell. 

A distinct advantage at least is I don't have to argue with anyone about inheritance ;).  There are some threads here describing nasty siblings fighting, lying, and cheating.  My parents have also gotten into feuds with their siblings as well.  Some sibling relationships turn out well, others turn out bad. 

Sometimes I do wish I had siblings only because of the stigma, glares I get when people ask and I get asked a bit often.  Maybe people can tell if I'm an only child?  Immediately a lot of stereotypes start forming in their head and it's like an instant shot down before you get any chance to demonstrate yourself.  Maybe it's my overall personality (I wouldn't say I'm spoiled like some describe, I mean I'm being proactive by saving for retirement and trying to dictate my future) or presence that adds to the only child label but it can be frustrating at times.  Because I'm pretty ignorant to how others perceive me, I don't dwell on it a lot.  I can't tell if they ask if I'm an only child because they suspect I'm an only child or they are just curious.  Looking back I can't even imagine why they would ask?  It doesn't help socially to be an only child from my experience.

If I have kids I wouldn't want a child to go through being an only child like I did.  At least 1 sibling, no more than 2.  I think even a bad sibling, at the least a blood relative, someone you can count on to me is pretty important.  I mean if my parents pass away, I will be the only one left.

One plus side though I think is that I'm a bit ahead of the game in terms of retiring compared to peers because I'm an only child.  I hold a lot of conversations with my parents and get along with them very well.  It's part of the reason why that although I look like a high schooler, I enjoy conversing with older people much more and on more "grown up" topics.  So I'm ahead of the game in terms of managing finances and taking control.  However it sort of makes it hard to socialize as older people don't want to hang out with "kids" and "kids" don't want to talk about politics, world events, etc.  In terms of socializing, being an only child perhaps hurt me, whether that was because of being an only child, genetics, upbringing, environment, I can't pinpoint.

I can echo sheepstache's comment, except I don't ignore pressure (not much in my life really) and don't throw up my hands lol. Though my parents haven't divorced...yet. I never grew up regretting I didn't have siblings until I am now older that I can look back.  Though I don't beat myself over how I don't have siblings, it would've been a plus.  There are pluses and minuses.  How you raise the child though I think matters more and holds more influence.

Side note: if you look at Aushin's thread on throwing his sister out, I guess that's a potential disadvantage of having siblings.  More important for you though I think is keeping up a healthy marriage/relationship and raising the kids well.  There are too many things that can go wrong you can't paralyze yourself into debating on having one kid or not.  Sometimes you gotta let it go and just enjoy it. 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 10:31:30 AM by astvilla »

sheepstache

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2015, 10:34:08 AM »
Immediately a lot of stereotypes start forming in their head

Ha ha, yeah, I remember in high school another kid's parent observing, kind of snootily, of me and a project partner that she was surprised we were working together so well because, as only children, we must be used to getting our own way all the time. We looked at her like she was crazy because it was, like, no, we work well on a team because we're used to being able to present our ideas and listen to other people's in a respectful environment rather than just trying to win by being the one screaming the loudest.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2015, 10:49:29 AM »
My older brother is mentally ill. His mental illness manifested fully as a young adult, and I was a teenager. 100% of the family attention and resources turned toward him for a few years, because he had some very serious problems. As a teenaged girl, I could have probably used a little more guidance and support - but instead, I walked around on tiptoes and avoided asking my parents for help because I didn't want to cause more stress/problems.

Nothing horribly bad happened, but I did end up being independent and distant, emotionally, from my family. It's like at some point, I just put up a wall and chose my own path, which led me farther and farther away from them.

Siblings don't always cure loneliness - sometimes they're the cause of it.

Jane

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 10:59:26 AM »
My husband likes being an only child and it is a large reason we are comfortable with the idea of having only one child.

We have talked about it at length. He enjoyed the attention as a child, and his parents were able to do a lot of things for him that they may not have been able to otherwise. He is far from spoiled, but they were able to give time, attention, and money to things that that would have needed to be split otherwise. As an adult, he and his parents very much have a "what's mine is yours" attitude, whereas that feeling doesn't exist in my family because my parents always want to make sure things are "fair". And I agree that the stereotypes are ridiculous and I think completely the opposite of true. My husband is great at sharing because he never had to share!  He loves sharing. I'm the one huffing when things aren't equal or fair. He gets along with everybody too.

My brother is a great guy and I like him, but we don't have much of a close relationship which also colors my opinion on the matter.

mm1970

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2015, 11:16:20 AM »
I've got 8 siblings and I have to say, we aren't terribly close.  I mean, we like each other NOW, but during my parents' divorce, we took sides.  So there was at least a decade of not speaking.  My husband didn't even meet my oldest sister for a decade after we married.

My husband and his sister are fairly close, but really, we live on opposite coast from our families.

We considered having only one child, but ended up with a surprise baby 6 years younger than the first.  They get along (at 9 and almost-3), but who knows how they will end up.

Your family is what you make of it.  I know only children whose "family" are friends, and they are way closer than my family is.

MustachianPhD

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2015, 11:18:03 AM »
I'm an only child, and it didn't bother me at all when I was a child. As an adult though, now taking care of an aging parent, I really wish I had a sibling. All of the caring falls on you, as an only child. All of the worry, the financial strain and the time required to care for the parent, (at the same time has having  young children at home), falls squarely on your shoulders. It would be nice to have a sibling to help share in that.

There is nothing to inherit, so that wouldn't be an issue for me even if there was a sibling.

sheepstache

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 11:24:18 AM »
Oh, one more downside is that I never get to have any biological nieces or nephews. And OP, you might consider if you want grandkids. Not that more kids are a guarantee any of them will reproduce, but watching your family line end because the one kid you had doesn't have kids might bother you.

theknitcycle

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 11:29:23 AM »
I never minded growing up as an only child.  There are things that might have been nice about it, and things that were nice about being an only.  Mostly it seems like whatever you grow up with becomes your own personal "normal."

I worry now because my parents are a financial train wreck, and when that process reaches its inevitable conclusion it will be 100% on my shoulders to sort through the rubble -- but your daughter won't have that particular issue...

Argyle

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 11:31:40 AM »
It would be great to have a close supportive sibling relationship like you sometimes see.  It would be awful to have a contentious alienated sibling relationship like you sometimes see.  It would be meh to have an indifferent sibling relationship like you sometimes see.  Which would I have if I had a sibling?  Impossible to say.  It's like saying "Would you like to have grown up in New York?"  The specifics make all the difference, and those are unknowable.

oldladystache

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 11:37:52 AM »
Second of two here.  My childhood would have been a lot happier if I hadn't had a brother. Now that we're old we have a pretty good relationship and we share the aging parent duties.

Don't have a second for the sake of the first. But if you want a second, fine. Do it for yourselves.

mozar

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 11:52:01 AM »
I was an only child until I was 28 so I pretty much was an only child. I'm glad that my parents didn't have anymore together because they're crazy and now I feel sorry for my little sister who my dad had with a much younger woman. As for myself I could see having two if I had a non scary pregnancy and a low needs child. But it would be for "heir and a spare" purposes, and for my own entertainment. But not to provide a sibling.

MandyM

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 12:01:20 PM »
As others have stated, it is impossible to determine if siblings will enrich each other's lives or not. I ended up with both situations as I am the middle of three kids and my sister and I are very close. We both wish that our brother would make himself estranged.

For the only children on here that wish they had help with aging parents - don't forget that having a sibling is no guarantee. My brother will likely be zero help when the time comes. If anything, he will be a financial and emotional burden and nothing else. 

DrJD

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 12:12:52 PM »
Wow, there are some terrible stories in here about people wishing they had no siblings growing up. 

I had a brother growing up and loved it then (and now) and my wife had a brother and a sister (loved it then and now.)  Do people who have terrible siblings just flock to mustachian ideals?

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that your child will love whichever experience they have, or not, independent of your decision.  So that means you have the freedom to do what you think is best for your family!  We had two, and it now looks like we will have a third, and so far our first LOVES having the second around, and our second lives and breaths to be with their older brother.  As a parent, I have absolutely loved watching the two of them create a relationship and to see the joy they bring each other. 

Good luck!

Krolik

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2015, 12:20:06 PM »
Thank you all for your responses. It is very enlightening for me.

I grew up with a sibling. There is a 6 years difference between us and as kids we didn't have much in common (different friends, interests, etc) but as adults we are very close. I am very grateful for having a brother especially now when our parents are older.  I am on the other side of the world and often feel guilty for not being there but knowing that my brother is close by in case they need help or something happens gives me a lot of comfort. So I relate to what MustachianPhD wrote.

I'm an only child, and it didn't bother me at all when I was a child. As an adult though, now taking care of an aging parent, I really wish I had a sibling. All of the caring falls on you, as an only child. All of the worry, the financial strain and the time required to care for the parent, (at the same time has having  young children at home), falls squarely on your shoulders. It would be nice to have a sibling to help share in that.

A year+ ago I thought we should have another child so our daughter has a brother/sister especially that we don't have any other family here. I think also some peer pressure was getting to me. Many of our closest friends were having their 2nd.
But now I agree with what Meggslynn said:
We have realized we shouldn't let the factor of giving our son a sibling much weight in our decision at all. It has to be what as parents and as a couple would make us happy.

We are happy as a 3 people family (+ cat) so we will keep it that way (unless a surprise happens ;-)

All your comments are very helpful and I want to thank you again for sharing your perspective with me.

Mika M

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2015, 12:40:15 PM »
Not an only child but only planning to have one so this has been a good thread for me to read. I certainly hope Mustachianism will pay off at the very end when I've lost my marbles and my daughter can easily use my money to hire help or stick me in a home if needs be lol. Think I'll make clear that she shouldn't feel bad about that (a home) as long as she visits regularly...

Lis

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2015, 12:51:34 PM »
Only child here and happy for it. The only time I truly, truly wished I had a sibling was when my mom was battling cancer. My dad and I supported each other as much as we could (while supporting her), but there's obviously a huge difference between the two types of relationships. Then again, both of my parents have siblings that they hardly speak with. My dad and his younger brother hated each other and he hasn't spoken to his older brother in 15+ years (makes sense when you find out their mother was a narcissistic sociopath, but that's a different set of family problems all together). My mom and her brother are on decent terms, but certainly not close.

I agree with most of the other posters here - it's perfectly fine to have one child.

Side note - one major difference I've noticed as an only child coming from a small family is I'm completely baffled by how large families work. When my ex and I were dating, he brought me down to meet his parents and one brother, which, as a new girlfriend, is stressful enough :). Not only did I end up meeting mom, dad, and brother, but I met an aunt, uncle, and cousin, another uncle from the other side, and grandma. They just kept piling in! The noise around the dinner table was crazy! Not something I was used to (but all together not unenjoyable). A coworker, who also comes from a huge family, said her husband, an only child from a small family, had a similar reaction when he first met her family (and still does to this day).
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 09:38:11 AM by Lis »

monstermonster

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2015, 12:54:23 PM »
I'm an only child and I loved it. I didn't realize how much it shaped me until I dated another only child actually :-P

I think a lot of my frugality/anti-consumerism actually comes from wanting to prove people wrong when they assumed I was a "spoiled only child" because I was female only child. I was so stubborn about not wanting to be spoiled I think it shaped a lifetime of frugality.

I can't say for sure, since I don't have an alternate-reality me to test against, but I do think that being an only child has made me, for better or worse: be able to decouple emotion/guilt from decisions more easily, very good at solo travel (I travel alone internationally ~30 days a year), not dependent on others for my entertainment/relaxation, a great lover of reading, a great cook (made many of my meals as soon as I was old enough to be home alone), pretty self-sufficient (no one to share chores meant I learned to do everything around the house.) Doesn't mean living with a sibling won't give you these qualities, but an only child sure won't miss out gaining said qualities.

Wilson Hall

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2015, 01:02:16 PM »
I'm an only child, and it didn't bother me at all when I was a child. As an adult though, now taking care of an aging parent, I really wish I had a sibling. All of the caring falls on you, as an only child. All of the worry, the financial strain and the time required to care for the parent, (at the same time has having  young children at home), falls squarely on your shoulders. It would be nice to have a sibling to help share in that.


As difficult as this situation is-- and as an only child myself, I will be in the same boat as you someday in terms of parental care-- I know plenty of people whose siblings contributed absolutely nothing toward the care of their elderly parents. Worse than nothing in some cases, such as the "supportive" phone calls bragging about their latest un-Mustachian purchase, or the annual weekend visit during which the absent sibling berated the caregiver for everything (s)he was supposedly doing wrong.

klystomane

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2015, 01:04:21 PM »
My dad comes from a family of 11 brothers/sisters; my mom 6.

My mom also has 4 cousins (all with families) that we are all extremely close with. Growing up, we spent all major holidays together - 20+ people together under one roof.

Our family gatherings are always noisy, chaotic, and absolutely awesome. It didn't matter if we went to a fancy restaurant or stayed in and ate crappy takeout food - it was always fun.

I couldn't imagine growing up any other way.

College Stash

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2015, 01:16:15 PM »
I'm an only child and I am so happy my parent's only chose to have me. I am extremely close to them and I know I will be my entire life. While it sounds selfish, I've had many more opportunities than would have been possible if I had siblings. I've been able to see many incredible places, enroll in interesting summer camps, and in a few years I will graduate with my bachelor's and master's degrees without debt. I couldn't imagine my life any other way. Based on my experience, I'd like to have 1, maybe 2 children at most and develop a close relationship with them.

rubybeth

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2015, 01:27:05 PM »
I was an only child... for 6 years! My sister was born when I was nearly 6 1/2. I liked some things about being an only child, and as an adult, I can see that my parents were able to dedicate a lot more resources to us being that far apart in age. I wanted a sibling as a kid, but man, there were many years where my sister was a big PITA. ;)

My DH is an actual only child. In some ways, this is probably good (I won't go into tons of detail but his mom is not mentally or physically healthy), and in other ways, he behaves like an only child sometimes and I just think, "You might not be like that if you had a sibling." But overall, he grew up with cousins and close friends and I don't think he suffered from loneliness due to being an only child (suffered more because of his parents than lack of a sibling, if you get my meaning).

I think if you're a good parent and you try to socialize your kid fairly normally and they go to daycare or regular school, not having a sibling isn't the worst fate. If it means that mom and dad can be more available to them, I think that's great.

Lis

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2015, 01:29:00 PM »
I'm an only child, and it didn't bother me at all when I was a child. As an adult though, now taking care of an aging parent, I really wish I had a sibling. All of the caring falls on you, as an only child. All of the worry, the financial strain and the time required to care for the parent, (at the same time has having  young children at home), falls squarely on your shoulders. It would be nice to have a sibling to help share in that.


As difficult as this situation is-- and as an only child myself, I will be in the same boat as you someday in terms of parental care-- I know plenty of people whose siblings contributed absolutely nothing toward the care of their elderly parents. Worse than nothing in some cases, such as the "supportive" phone calls bragging about their latest un-Mustachian purchase, or the annual weekend visit during which the absent sibling berated the caregiver for everything (s)he was supposedly doing wrong.

My mom was the sole caretaker to both of her parents while her brother did next to nothing. He always had some excuse as to why he couldn't come. When my mom called him to tell him their dad passed away, he picked up the phone by saying "I can't come down this weekend." She had hoped he had learned some lesson and would help take care of their mother, who needed a lot more care. No such luck. The most frustrating thing for her was when he DID come down, all of the nurses and staff at the facility would ooh and aah over what an amazing son he was, while my mom busted her ass and was over nearly every day caring for her. Now that my grandmother has passed too I'm not sure they're relationship is going to continue other than passing text messages on their birthdays and Christmas.

Krolik

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 01:51:12 PM »

My DH is an actual only child. In some ways, this is probably good (I won't go into tons of detail but his mom is not mentally or physically healthy), and in other ways, he behaves like an only child sometimes and I just think, "You might not be like that if you had a sibling." But overall, he grew up with cousins and close friends and I don't think he suffered from loneliness due to being an only child (suffered more because of his parents than lack of a sibling, if you get my meaning).


Wow...you described my husband's situation. Identical.

ZiziPB

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2015, 02:01:27 PM »
I have one brother (younger) who was a major pain when we were children.  I often wished for him not to exist ;-)  But we became good friends when I went off to college and he started high school.  We have a very good relationship now.

My daughter (21) is an only child and she often commented on the fact that she would like to have a sibling.  She grew up with close friends who were our substitute family and she is doing fine, but I think she would appreciate having a brother or a sister.

justplucky

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 02:31:31 PM »
When I was young (like, under 10) I did wish I had a sibling. I haven't since then. My parents were able to afford certain experiences for me that they wouldn't have if I'd had a sibling. Also, I am an introvert from a family of introverts, so the quiet holidays suit us just fine.

Out of all of the people I know who have siblings, I wouldn't trade spots with the majority of them.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2015, 02:44:06 PM »
I have a sister that is two years older.  We played together when we were little, but once she hit middle school, we hardly talked unless it was to fight over something.  We are slowly learning to speak to each other again.  I often wished for a brother to share in my adventures.  As it is, I have a few deep long lasting friendships with people I care about as if they were family.

My sons are 3.5 years apart and are really close.  They play, fight, and otherwise get in trouble together constantly and will pine for the other's return if separated.   

Pigeon

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2015, 03:01:56 PM »
I'm one of six and dh is also from a very large family.  Neither of us are close at all to any of our siblings.  Our parents are elderly now, and dh's dad passed away two years ago.  It actually would be easier NOT to have siblings.   The siblings are of no help at all, but are full of advice and complaint if they thing you should be doing something differently.

We have dozens of nieces and nephews.  Several are only children and are young adults now.  They are happy, well adjusted and have had enriched experiences because resources were more plentiful because they were only children.

Shipwreckgirl

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2015, 03:22:20 PM »
I am one of 4.  My mother is one of 5 and my dad is one of 6, so I have a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  My older sister and I are 12 years apart, my brother is 9 years apart, and my younger sister is 3 years younger.  I was closest to my youngest sister growing up because we are closest in age.  I am very glad to have siblings.  My older sister and I were not close growing up, but we have become closer in the past two years since her husband passed away suddenly.  I am glad to be there for my sisters and glad they are here for me.  I'm also glad that we will all share the burden when our parents age and pass away - I could not imagine doing that alone.  My best friend has 17 brothers and sisters.  Her family is huge and chaotic and I swear they all have ADD, but they are some of the nicest, most interesting people that I know.  I am so glad that I am not an only child!  But like other posters say - your family is what you make it, and if you are happy with one child, then that is cool!

daymare

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2015, 03:36:16 PM »
I have a two years younger brother, and my husband is a twin and has an older sister.  I have given a lot of thought to this topic, because for various reasons, I think I only want to have one child, and whenever I say that, 99% of the time my friends will respond with "You can't do that!  You have to give your child a sibling."  Actually, I want to keep my sanity, I want to have alone time and time to read and maintain certain aspects of life that would be hard to do with several children (with one, parents can take solo childcare time and give their partner a break).  I'm not going to do anything just because that's what you think I should do.

I think that, as with anything, any number of children you choose to have will have positives and negatives.  But I think life expands to fill in for what's missing - for instance, my only family on this continent is my parents and brother.  And I have no aunts or uncles or cousins at all period.  So I have a very small family and never developed the close bonds others have with, say, their cousins.  But I did instead have lots of friends and grew up into an adult who values her friend community as a chosen family.  My husband has a huge family and really values it but doesn't have many friends - people work with what they have and develop differently based on what they need.

The common concerns that I heard being voiced about having one child are that they'll be spoiled, that they won't know how to share and interact with others, they'll miss out on a close relationship you get from siblings, that they'll be stuck caring for elderly parents alone.  For the first few, you can actively work to expose your kid to others through playdates, group vacations with other friends/families, or outings where you allow your kid to bring a friend.  If you don't spoil your child, they won't be spoiled.  And kids who don't have close family or siblings can build amazing relationships with their friends, a whole community of potential future chosen family members.

My brother and I fought a ton growing up, and there were a couple years in our teens when we basically hated each other, but all in all it was great to have a sibling.  He's a wonderful person, we both like each other as people, but I've also been living far from him for 8 years (ever since I left for college), and we're pretty different people, so he's not a daily or weekly presence in my life.  That said, it's great to have someone else who has experienced all of our family dynamics and is also connected to our parents.  My husband's grandfather died recently, and watching my MIL and her 3 siblings working together to take care of their mother (and their father at the end of his life) is really beautiful to see, and it's major that nobody has to deal with it on their own.  Of course, it seems like in many cases there's one sibling (the more responsible one) who gets stuck with everything, and these situations are fraught.

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2015, 04:57:57 PM »
Only child checking in. No issues here, as long as you're in a community where your child can find friends to pal around with I don't think it matters in the least bit.

dilinger

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2015, 05:06:19 PM »
I'm an only child.  I have step-sisters that I lived with for 5 years.  They were MISERABLE.  Constantly fighting, arguing, and hated each other.  I didn't fight with them nearly as much, but I was pretty glad when my mom divorced their dad.

I also have half-brothers that I lived with for a few years.  They were much younger than me (I was 15, they were 2 and 5).  We got along okay, but we weren't especially close.

I feel like I got the best of both worlds; I experienced having siblings, but I wasn't forced to spend my entire life with them.  I'm glad I don't have real siblings.

Mrs. Pomodoro

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2015, 05:07:48 PM »
I have a two years younger brother, and my husband is a twin and has an older sister.  I have given a lot of thought to this topic, because for various reasons, I think I only want to have one child, and whenever I say that, 99% of the time my friends will respond with "You can't do that!  You have to give your child a sibling."  Actually, I want to keep my sanity, I want to have alone time and time to read and maintain certain aspects of life that would be hard to do with several children (with one, parents can take solo childcare time and give their partner a break).  I'm not going to do anything just because that's what you think I should do.

Totally agree! I always wanted to have either 0 or 2 kids, never just one. After a difficult birth and suffering from postpartum depression/anxiety, I realized keeping my sanity for me and my family is more important than having one more child just because that's what's expected. Someone once said to me I should consider having another child only because I want that for myself, not to provide a sibling to my child. That helped me make peace with having just one. We also have a large pet family (2 dogs and 3 cats) and noticed that we have a lot less time for them since the birth of our boy. I imagine we will have even less time to spend with our pets AND the first child if we choose to have more.

My husband and I both have a brother. I'm very close with my younger brother most of my life, but my husband is growing more distant from his older brother as they get older. Having siblings doesn't guarantee great sibling relationships. There are always pros and cons of having one or more children. As parents, we do what we can to provide a healthy environment for our kid(s). We all live with what we're given and what we choose to do when it comes to the size of our family.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 05:12:03 PM by Mrs. Pomodoro »

dilinger

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2015, 05:08:57 PM »
BTW, if your 4yo is lonely, try getting her into preschool and playdates.  If she's actually lonely, she'll love it.  If not - hey, much easier to back out of a playdate than a second pregnancy! :)

neophyte

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2015, 06:02:21 PM »
I lived on the same college campus as my sister for a couple of years and only saw her a handful of times. This was with my mother calling and encouraging me to try to include my sister in more things. Now she lives about a half an hour away and we probably see each other twice a year or so.  Neither of us have families of our own or particularly busy social lives.  It's just that we aren't that close. My mother swears we were close as small children, but by the time I was old enough to remember, we never did much together.

littlebird

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2015, 06:16:28 PM »
I have a somewhat unusual (in this day and age) situation where I was one of two children two years apart, but my younger sister died suddenly when I was in my late teens. Of course this was very tragic, was difficult then and remains difficult to this day, but the point is I have lived with both a sibling and without one (in the reverse order that most people do).

Anyway, given this unique perspective I plan to have multiple children. Having a sibling was great growing up. Yes, we squabbled but I always had someone to hang out with on vacations, but also at home. I have greatly missed that. Also, you have history with this person in a way that even close family friends can't provide. They've lived with your parents, they've gone through the ups and downs. Friendship between siblings is not guaranteed, but it certainly isn't rare.

Now as an only child adult I feel a lot of pressure. Pressure to succeed, pressure to interact with my parents more often with the full force of their attention on me. All the eggs are in one basket. My parents never put this pressure on me, it's strictly internally motivated but I still feel it. When my parents get old and sick I'll be the only one to take care of them and will have to make all of the decisions. It's tough looking forward to a time when I will have to shoulder that burden alone.

cloudsail

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2015, 07:54:11 PM »
I feel like the difficulties of being an only child aren't really felt until the parents are old and need care or something bad happens.

My MIL was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year.  My husband is youngest of 3 children, and all three live in different areas of the world, none in the same city as their parents.  My FIL is not in the greatest of health himself, and needless to say they really need a lot of help with all the doctors visits, treatments, medications, etc.  Also none of us really feel comfortable leaving them there by themselves.  Thankfully my husband's oldest brother is relatively close (at least in the same country) and is able to shoulder the biggest part of the responsibility of caring for them, and is in fact making plans to move back to the same city.  There's the added benefit that he's a doctor.  My husband's older sister lives the farthest away, but in my MIL's native country, and there is talk of possibly moving her back there if her condition is stable enough for a long flight.

Anyway, my point is that in this tragedy that my husband's family is going through, the greatest comfort is probably all the children that are able to pitch in and help.  If my husband were an only child, we'd probably have had to quit both our jobs here and move back with his parents -- there would have been no other option.  (Can't have them move to U.S. because of health insurance.)  That would've meant selling our house, uprooting our kids, saying good-bye to our current income (in-laws live in a HCOL but low income city)............. basically a complete and total life change.  Not to mention the emotional and mental strain of being the only one on whom the whole burden rests.

I have seen this also with my grandparents, when my grandfather passed away last year.  They have five children, and I absolutely cannot imagine what my mom would've done without all my aunts and uncles who were there to help.

I myself have a younger brother who I was never particularly close to, but he is turning out to be a smart and responsible kid and I am very grateful for the attention that he diverts from my parents.  I know that if anything were to ever happen I can count on him to stand beside me.

Of course all this is based on the assumption that you raise mature and responsible children who can band together in times of trouble.  I've definitely seen cases of siblings who are more hindrance than help.

Gray Matter

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2015, 08:01:55 PM »
I have three sisters--was varying levels of close to them over the years.  I'd say I enjoyed having sisters, but my friends were always far more important to me and that remained true well into adulthood.  The first time in my life that I actively, keenly, wanted-to-fall-down-on-my-knees-and-thank-the-gods appreciated my sisters is when my mom was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. 

My friends were sympathetic, my husband supportive, my colleagues kind, my neighbors helpful, and my dad greatly impacted (obviously), but no one, no one else in the world except my siblings was going through what I was going through, no one else understood in the same way, and I cannot find the words to express how that felt--they felt like a real lifeline.

I think it's a very personal decision, and you can't predict how close siblings will be and whether they appreciate or hate each other, and there's no right or wrong answer here, but I can say for me, the real value of having siblings is now when we are losing parents, not when we were kids.

Exflyboy

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2015, 09:04:02 PM »
I have one sister and growing up I'd say she was a giant PITA!

She was a party gal I was the academic.. So her music was played volume #11, while I tried to study. Both activities were done ALL the time.

We are not close although I respect her more as a human being now.

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2015, 10:02:05 PM »
I am an only child and grew up with a single parent, so I am thankful that my mom didn't have to support several kids. When I was a kid, of course I wished a had a sibling to always play with, but now I do not mind being without siblings. The only downside was that I loved board games, but didn't often have someone to play them with because most are more than two players.

The plus side is that I never had sibling rivalry. Also, I learned how to behave around adults and a young age and how to entertain myself. Those are not strong traits I saw in other kids who had siblings, so I think that helped me be more mature and when starting to work, etc.

I never truly felt lonely, as I had friends and other things to keep me busy and socialized.

MandyM

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2015, 06:27:14 AM »
I find it so interesting to read people's experiences here. Above I merely commented on the OP's original question about having no guarantee about siblings getting along. I will also add that I treasure the relationship that my sister and I have. We have a relationship and a bond that I don't think I can replicate with a friend, no matter how close we are. In fact, I never describe our closeness as being "best friends" because I believe that we are much more than that, we are sisters.

And just to round out my sibling story I grew up with my older brother and my younger sister. After a divorce and the addition of step families on either side I am up to a total of three brothers and three sisters. It is a wonderful, blended family and although I am only close with half of my siblings, I only have one that I prefer to not claim.

rubybeth

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2015, 07:03:29 AM »

My DH is an actual only child. In some ways, this is probably good (I won't go into tons of detail but his mom is not mentally or physically healthy), and in other ways, he behaves like an only child sometimes and I just think, "You might not be like that if you had a sibling." But overall, he grew up with cousins and close friends and I don't think he suffered from loneliness due to being an only child (suffered more because of his parents than lack of a sibling, if you get my meaning).


Wow...you described my husband's situation. Identical.

I'm sorry to hear that. It's a very tough situation. It will be interesting what happens as his mom gets older (his dad lives in another country with his wife, who he married when DH was in college). DH's mom just had a milestone birthday, and I can't see her health improving, even though it seems she finally has a good therapist and MD caring for her. DH and I agreed long ago, as a couple, that she can't ever live with us and we can't support her financially. The other side of this is that she has her own mother and siblings still living, but they basically gave up on her long ago and I can't see them stepping up to care for her (maybe if she were about to be on the street... maybe). Having family is no guarantee of help, unless the relationships are good. The one major positive thing to come out of this whole situation is that my DH is now in school to be a marriage and family therapist, to help other families with their dysfunctions. :D

cityfolks

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2015, 10:25:19 AM »
I think a lot of the difference between only children and folks with siblings can be luck of the draw.

My sister and I are very close - as MandyM says, it feels different even from my relationships with close friends. I had pretty good parents growing up, who let my sister and I figure out our own relationship and do our own things. I also have a pretty great sister, the kind I'd like to be friends with even if we weren't related. Those things are luck, for me, because it could have been very different. One of my good friends has a very difficult relationship with her sister, one that has caused her a lot of grief as an adult, so possibly she would have been better off solo as her parents would not have been able to play favorites. I have another friend who enjoyed being an only child, felt it was a great upbringing, and plans to only have one child herself. My husband is an only, and finds it really stressful - but partially because his parents have been in poor health for a while, aren't very financially responsible, and are definitely guilt-trippers. Another friend loved being an only ... until she fell in love and her parents blew their tops to have their closeness with their daughter "ruined" by her very nice boyfriend, even though that's a pretty normal part of growing up.

I like having somebody around who "gets" why certain things my parents say might drive me crazy, or who can share inside jokes and stories about them. But we're relieved of some worry and responsibility by having healthy, financially solvent parents, who have made their plans for inheritance clear. We're better off than the mister, who will be the only one to inherit from his parents, but most of what he's inheriting will be a lot of junk and headaches.

tl;dr? Keep your financial house in order, give your little one the ability to do her own thing, and I suspect it will turn out fine.

Mrs. Pomodoro

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2015, 11:24:44 AM »
tl;dr? Keep your financial house in order, give your little one the ability to do her own thing, and I suspect it will turn out fine.

Well said! After reading this thread, it got me thinking that since we choose to have one child, it's important for us to keep our life in order, especially as we get older, to minimize the burden to our child in the future.

jeromedawg

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Re: Have you ever wished you had sibling(s) ?
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2015, 11:45:56 AM »
My dad is an only child and my mom has 4 siblings, so a pretty stark contrast. I have 2 older brothers but we're pretty far apart in age. I think I probably would have been OK being an only child but at the same time it is nice to have brothers, even though one of them still acts like a junior higher at times. I think my dad would probably tell you that he would have wanted siblings - my mom will sometimes lament about this which probably makes him feel bad about it at times. Kind of a kick while your down since she has 4 siblings. Fortunately, he has quite a few cousins who he's kind of close to and who are almost like brothers/sisters to him.

My wife has an older brother but he's almost 15 years older and wasn't always present growing up, so she really did feel like an only child growing up. And her parents 'unintentionally' neglected her growing up - she was very much a latchkey kid and would often stay with and be fed at friends' houses while her parents were consumed with running their restaurant (they still are to this day - they love her but show her "love" in different ways... probably also realizing that they weren't very present and want to make up for it in other ways).