Author Topic: Partner wanting more kids than you  (Read 6300 times)

frugalnewhope

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Partner wanting more kids than you
« on: October 15, 2015, 12:07:25 PM »
I'm single, not attached. For me this is more a thought exercise.

I'm totally bought into the idea of an only kid. I want to have children but I think, if you play it right, a single kid does not necessarily result in a spoiled or uptight kid.

That said, I think people have strong views on this. Being with another person it seems like this would be an issue that people won't budge on. What do you think is the best way to deal with a partner who wants more kids than you? Theoretically I could see myself having 2 kids max but, given the cost, I'm even apprehensive of that.

Anyone with any first hand experience with this?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 12:10:53 PM »
I think the difference is "kids" or "not kids" - the world is so totally different after you have a kid that you don't have an idea what you'll want after the first.

Kitsune

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 12:56:57 PM »
I think the difference is "kids" or "not kids" - the world is so totally different after you have a kid that you don't have an idea what you'll want after the first.

True.

On a more practical level: my partner and I disagree SLIGHTLY. He says max 3, I say I'm willing and would like to have more. What we've agreed on is that, right now and with one, it seems like we have space for more. We have time/energy/affection/money/space/etc to give to more kids, and we're not feeling stretched tight. So we've agreed that we'll have another (planning to start trying probably in the spring, due to work-related and finance-related issues), and then evaluate whether our situation holds steady and we have space for more and keep going from there.

We're also looking into foster parenting, so: we really do feel we have the time, energy, affection, and resources necessary for more kids. You may feel differently. We may also feel differently depending on the situation and on our next kid and on multiple factors. Basically, the answer is, and continues to be, it depends. I think the important part is having self-awareness about your limitations and an open and ongoing discussion about it with your partner.


Capsu78

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2015, 02:15:43 PM »
"Anyone with any first hand experience with this?"

Well, my wifes ex-husband decided he only wanted "one", after my step daughter was born... she soon became his ex-wife, if you catch my drift.

As an aside, when we were first  dating, I told her that her cat was making my eyes water... she said I should consider taking something for it, as she had known the cat a lot longer than me.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 02:19:01 PM by Capsu78 »

AZDude

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2015, 02:18:17 PM »
My wife and I have only one child. I told her I did not want any more, but if she did, then we could discuss it. She has since decided one is enough.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 02:47:51 PM »
...but I think, if you play it right, a single kid does not necessarily result in a spoiled or uptight kid.

Not saying all single children are spoiled or uptight (or attention hogs), because they aren't, but there are simply some basic realities of not having siblings that shape a child's upbringing that I think it would be pretty difficult to "manufacture" in order to mimic an upbringing in a multiple child household. 

For example:

Higher likelihood of not having to share (or at least as often):

a bedroom
a bathroom
toys, hand me down clothes
a parent's allotment of affection, time, lap ect

Parents with single children are also more likely to participate in more activities that would be cumbersome with two children, and would most likely have more money to spend on said activities, setting the activity bar higher in the child's mind.

When one of my two children go to visit a parent or friend, leaving the other behind, it is blatantly obvious the shift in attention to the remaining child.  While some of this is certainly intentional to "make up" for the attention they regularly have to split, but over time, I could certainly see becoming more accommodating to the single child as it is simply easier than accommodating two or more children, which can become so complicated, it just gets shut down.

That said, we initially thought we may go as high as 4.  Two was plenty.  I think the ease or difficulty of the first child has a lot to do with the decision to have another.  I know several people that had an easy child or two, followed by a terror.  Do remember that one of the larger costs, health insurance, is typically the same whether you have one or two.       

Bucksandreds

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2015, 04:33:26 PM »
Single child spoilt ness is a well documented problem in China, due to the one child policy.  A single kid will be worse at sharing/dealing with not getting what they want. Doesn't mean you should have more but that's going to happen in almost all cases. I know single children who are fine adults.

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2015, 05:36:07 PM »
I'm currently expecting my first, and my husband and I aren't quite on the same page about this. I'd prefer just one, he'd prefer 2-3. I've told him I'd consider two, but three is out of the question. One of the big driving factors for me is that I feel very strongly about paying for my children's college education (He feels strongly about this as well, since his father abruptly pulled him out of college with no notice because he didn't want to pay for it anymore). I feel pretty confident we can meet our personal financial goals and send one child to college, but the thought of paying for a second child is pretty daunting. Bernie Sanders may have a direct influence on whether we have a second child. :)

socalteacher

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2015, 06:12:30 PM »
We have three and it is the right number for us. With very careful planning I am willing to help my three kids pay for college. Even if I were filthy rich I would make sure they are contributing a significant portion. The wedding expenses for my two lovely little girls is another topic.

For us it comes down to what we can handle and still feel like we are "us". Money and the stress of money definitely play into that equation. Kids can really be a challenge to a marriage and if that falls apart so do the kids. Like I said three is the number FOR US. Everyone is different and can handle different amounts of responsibility.

Originally I wanted 3-4 and the wife wanted 4. She could care less for planning for the future and leaves it all up to me. Going for number three was a year long decision so I don't see a 4th on the horizon.

Pigeon

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2015, 06:42:31 PM »
I think this is a situation where the "no" wins.  Nobody should be coerced into having more kids than they genuinely want.

It is entirely possible to not spoil single children.  Dh and I both came from huge families and have over 25 nieces and nephews, and there are a bunch of single kids in the They are no more spoiled than the kids with siblings.  While we have two kids, I think there are many advantages to just one.

rockstache

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2015, 08:00:03 PM »

Single child spoilt ness is a well documented problem in China, due to the one child policy.  A single kid will be worse at sharing/dealing with not getting what they want. Doesn't mean you should have more but that's going to happen in almost all cases. I know single children who are fine adults.

IMHO the China comparison is a little skewed because the one child there, is also the one grandchild on both sides of the family and thus becomes the absolute center of universe and the generation on which all hopes and dreams are pinned. That would cause anyone to become spoiled I think. In the US I think it's less likely that everyone's world revolves around an only child.

To the OP, I would say that if you want to have an only child, then try dating one. Some of the biggest advocates for having an only child that I've heard have been only children themselves.

GizmoTX

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2015, 08:10:33 PM »
We wanted two. It took us 5 years to get one, at age 45. DS has turned out superlatively & will be 22 in a few days. He wanted sibs until he was 5.  It is completely possible not to spoil an only child. I'm convinced that more would have been fine, too.

FLBiker

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2015, 07:16:15 AM »
Single child spoilt ness is a well documented problem in China, due to the one child policy.  A single kid will be worse at sharing/dealing with not getting what they want. Doesn't mean you should have more but that's going to happen in almost all cases. I know single children who are fine adults.

The way rich families in China raise their single child (the "well documented" problem you're describing) is VERY different than the way a Mustachian couple would.  It's also very different than how working class / rural Chinese families raise their single children.  I lived in China and taught university, and my students were very, very nice.  They were from working class families, though.  In the US, our Chinese students are from rich families.  They've never been told "no" and it's a whole different ball game.  That has nothing to do with being only children, though.

Here's how it worked out for me -- my wife is an only child, so she was always pretty open to the idea of just having one.  I had thought 2, but I didn't have strong feelings.  For me, the bigger question was kids or not.  We have one (6 mos) and I think she'll be our only.  I'm totally down with 1 kid, and my wife is 90%, I'd say.  Could change over the next couple of years, but I doubt it.

In addition to my wife being an only child, another thing that helped us make this decision is that we're older -- I'm 39, she's 35.

So my advice, if you want one kid, is find an only child and don't start having kids until your old. :)

And (again, based on my specific experience) as a first-born of three, I'm more selfish and have more trouble sharing than my wife.  I think the experience of "defending" my stuff from my brother (or just taking his) contributed to this.

MrsPete

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2015, 07:28:03 AM »
I'm totally bought into the idea of an only kid. I want to have children but I think, if you play it right, a single kid does not necessarily result in a spoiled or uptight kid.
Oh, it's absolutely possible to avoid spoiling an only child -- but I think it doesn't happen "accidentally".  I think it's very easy to slip into that my-child-is-the-center-of-the-universe mode, and with two parents and one child it's easy to over-spend on that child.  I think you have to purposefully, thoughtfully avoid slipping into spoiling mode.  But certainly you can do it. 

On a more practical level: my partner and I disagree SLIGHTLY. He says max 3, I say I'm willing and would like to have more.
Sounds like us.  When we were talking about marriage and were discussing children -- among a score of other topics -- he was adamant about TWO, no more, no less.  I, on the other hand, considered three the "right number" and thought a fourth would be "up for debate" later.  We talked about it at length, and we finally agreed that we'd have two ... and then decide whether to continue.  Neither of us was SO determined on this topic that we felt we'd be miserable if the other spouse "won" this one. 

When we had our first, we both felt we "weren't done" and mentally were thinking of and preparing for a second; however, from the moment that my second pregnancy was confirmed, we both felt "this was it".  We were completely satisfied with our family size.  With my first, I carefully washed and packed away little clothes and toys as she outgrew them.  With the second, I gave them all away as soon as they were no longer needed.  In the back of my mind, I wondered if I'd feel differently later when the youngest reached certain milestones -- walking, going to school, etc.  I never did. 

One of the big driving factors for me is that I feel very strongly about paying for my children's college education
Yes, this was a driving force for us as well, but paying for college has turned out to be much easier than we anticipated. 

Retire-Canada

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2015, 07:48:35 AM »

Anyone with any first hand experience with this?

I didn't want any kids. As I got older that became a more and more important point of discussion early on in the dating process.

Don't wait until your 6 months into things to bring up kids. Have that conversation on date #3 so that if you are not well aligned on a major issue you are aware while it's easy to move on.

There are a lot of people in the world there is no reason to act like the person you met last week is the last man/woman on earth.

Now if you want 1 kid and they want 2 kids that's negotiable territory. And like others have said you don't know how you will feel after the first one.  OTOH if you want 1 and they want none or 10 kids that's probably not going to work.

dcozad999

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2015, 11:45:20 AM »
Though there's nothing wrong with it, I couldn't imagine having only one. We have a 4 year-old and baby number two is on the way. If money were no object, and the world's resources were more plentiful, I wouldn't mind having 5 or 6. My wife and I each have 2 siblings and our parents come from very large families (my mother is the oldest of 11 siblings).


Sibley

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2015, 12:16:59 PM »
"Anyone with any first hand experience with this?"

Well, my wifes ex-husband decided he only wanted "one", after my step daughter was born... she soon became his ex-wife, if you catch my drift.

As an aside, when we were first  dating, I told her that her cat was making my eyes water... she said I should consider taking something for it, as she had known the cat a lot longer than me.

I like your wife. And my cat makes my eyes water, so you know I'm not getting rid of the cat for another person.

TrMama

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2015, 12:34:01 PM »

Anyone with any first hand experience with this?

I didn't want any kids. As I got older that became a more and more important point of discussion early on in the dating process.

Don't wait until your 6 months into things to bring up kids. Have that conversation on date #3 so that if you are not well aligned on a major issue you are aware while it's easy to move on.

There are a lot of people in the world there is no reason to act like the person you met last week is the last man/woman on earth.

Now if you want 1 kid and they want 2 kids that's negotiable territory. And like others have said you don't know how you will feel after the first one.  OTOH if you want 1 and they want none or 10 kids that's probably not going to work.

This is just what I was going to say. The discussion about kids happens around date #3. If you both want kids, great. If one of you doesn't, then there's no need for date #4. If you both want a similar # of kids, great, keep discussing. If one of you wants 1 and the other wants 6, you may have a problem since life with 1 looks very, very different from life with 6.

It also depends on how strongly each of you feel about your "number". Before I had kids, I thought I wanted 3, but I definitely wanted at least 2. DH thought he wanted 2 and wasn't keen on 3. After our first was born, DH wanted to stop, but I still felt strongly about a second and let him know I was having another, whether it was with him or with someone else. He chose to stick with me and have another. However, after a horrific second pregnancy, followed by a colicky baby, I decided 2 was my limit.

In your case, if you feel very strongly about only having one, let potential partners know this early on. If you find yourself with someone who wants to change your mind about it, let her go.

okits

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2015, 12:42:58 PM »
That said, we initially thought we may go as high as 4.  Two was plenty.  I think the ease or difficulty of the first child has a lot to do with the decision to have another.  I know several people that had an easy child or two, followed by a terror.  Do remember that one of the larger costs, health insurance, is typically the same whether you have one or two.     

Agree, as long as the answer isn't "zero", start with one and see how it goes.  I think people always envision a typical, healthy child (or brood.)  You introduce an incredible amount of randomness into your life by having a child.  Surprise multiples, unexpected medical problems (short-term or life-long), unpredictable personalities, and discovering (perhaps for the first time) what your physical, psychological, and financial limits are (and that of your co-parent.)  As So Close said, I think, for our family, two will be plenty.  Having one has already been a wild, wonderful, exhausting ride.

GuitarStv

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2015, 12:49:59 PM »
One is about 40% too much for me.  I don't understand multi-kid people at all.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2015, 12:50:52 PM »
I think this is a situation where the "no" wins.  Nobody should be coerced into having more kids than they genuinely want.

It is entirely possible to not spoil single children.  Dh and I both came from huge families and have over 25 nieces and nephews, and there are a bunch of single kids in the They are no more spoiled than the kids with siblings.  While we have two kids, I think there are many advantages to just one.


If only it were that black & white.....but the world is full of gray.   I didn't want any but DW did....if I stood my ground we would have been separated....hard thought given that we were together for a long time (high school) and every other aspect worked.   So I reluctantly agreed to one....and now I have three.   Give you one guess who pushed for the second one..... 

mm1970

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2015, 01:38:53 PM »
ya know, negotiate.

I married wanting 0, husband wanted 2.  You'd think we would have talked about that.  Well, we did, but we both figured we could change each others mind.

It took him about 7 years to talk me into 1 (then longer to actually have the 1).  Then, we were happy and done.

I have friends where one of the members wanted more than the other.  If the person who wanted to stop really wanted to stop, then they won.  I mean, you just get something permanent done.  If the woman is done it's easier, because you can go on birth control. For the man it's a little harder without the snip.

Generally it defaults to the person who wants less.  Otherwise, I've heard stories of women wanting more and having them, and the dad just saying "well, you wanted it, it's your job".  Which, um, no.

Long story short, we have two.  But in my defense, it was kid #1 who was begging for a sibling.  Tried, failed, gave up, and whoops.

Axecleaver

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2015, 02:03:37 PM »
+1 to "people change." But, this is one of those things that has to be constantly discussed with your partner. Mrs Axe and I have been together since we were 18. In that time, we have gone from wanting no kids, to wanting one, to wanting more. People change over the course of their lives.

We ended up having one kid. At 44, we are done. Although now that we're empty nesters, Mrs Axe loves to tease me by asking for more kids. I tell her she should feel free to do that with her next husband, I'm retiring soon. I can't imagine paying for my kid's college until I'm 67, but it's fine for some folks.

We constantly monitored the "spoiled" risk as Little Axe grew, and she seems to have turned out great. Part of making this work was teaching empathy at a young age and setting good examples for her in our daily lives. Kids are always watching you. The best way to raise an unspoiled child is to behave that way yourself.

brycedoula

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2015, 02:09:23 PM »
Before I met my husband I was always like "4 kids!" (I have 3 younger brothers, so my childhood was always interesting).

Then I met him, and he's very staunchly "2 kids". And as we're married now, so...obviously I'm willing to compromise.

I am currently pregnant with our first, and while the current plan is one more after this one - I could see one (or both) of us NOPE-ing out after just one; we're both pretty big introverts who like our quiet time, etc. So we'll see where we're at a year after #1 is born.

I think it's an important conversation to have BEFORE committing to another person for the long run. No point in shacking up/getting married if you're just going to split a few years later because Partner A wants 5 while Partner B wants a dog(maybe)...

ysette9

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2015, 02:23:15 PM »
Yes it is important to have the conversation before getting married, but I think being on the same page over the decisions of Kids/No Kids is way more important than on the number of kids (unless you are in the 1 kid vs. 6 sort of camp). As others have noted, have the first kid and then reassess how you feel because SO much changes with a baby that is impossible to predict in advance.

We used to argue over the 2 kids vs. 3 kids stance. He has two siblings and felt strongly that he wanted 3 kids. I have one sibling and felt strongly that as a woman, somehow I would lose my separate identity being the mother of 3 kids with no time or energy for anything but then. Fast forward to now. It took us 2.5 years, three pregnancies, and two losses after 17 weeks to have the one lovely girlie we have now. We now agree that we would like to have another but if mother nature doesn't allow it, we would both be happy with one. In the back of my mind though I find my priorities have really shifted and I love my daughter so very much I can finally understand why some crazy people are tempted to have 3 or 4.

My point is that you need to keep some flexibility in your thinking because it is hard to know how your feelings about this may change with time and experience.

Emg03063

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Re: Partner wanting more kids than you
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2015, 06:40:58 PM »
No first hand experience here, but I do have a book recommendation on the topic: 

http://www.amazon.com/Maybe-One-Case-Smaller-Families/dp/0452280923