The problem with having an only child

Too many aunties want to decide what your life has to be like. Don’t let them. Ever.

I thought I was finally done with the unsolicited questions at this stage in my life:

“Do you not want to get married?” (When I was still not bothered about marriage at 30).

“At last! So when is the big day?” (When I got engaged).

“So are you going to have children?” (Pretty much the day after I got married).

“Do you think there’s a problem?” (Behind my back when I still wasn’t pregnant four years later).

Then I had a baby and finally it seemed that all the busybodies were getting on with their lives and there were no more questions to be thrown at me.

But I was wrong.

Since having a baby the questions and comments are back.

“You’re not going to leave him as an only child are you?”

“Because of your age, you know you’d better have another one quickly?”

Ah yes. The ubiquitous “only child discussions” will be familiar territory to any parent of one. People are terribly preoccupied with women and their wombs. They pity those who can’t have children, cast aspersions on the ones who have too many, and shake their heads at those who don’t want any at all. We can’t win. And then there are women like me, who have a baby, and once the first year has passed, are bombarded with statistics about having another.

“Only children are very introverted”. (Actually, it’s the opposite).

“Having a sibling makes them less selfish”. (The woman spouting this gem didn’t realise the irony of her own children standing behind her as we spoke, almost killing each other over a tattered toy fish. Schadenfreude lady. You have selfish kids).

“He’ll be very alone when you die”. (WTF?! I hope he will have lots of friends, maybe a family and a lovely life all of his own, but thanks for that!)

I have heard them all over the last 12 months; my son will be self-centred, lonely, spoiled, aggressive, bossy, friendless and possibly a psychopath. Seriously, someone said psychopath about my tiny, smiley, happy baby.

There are so many reasons why it’s not ok to question the number of children someone has or doesn’t have.

Plus, I have news for all of you only-child skeptics; the single kid family is no longer the exception.

It is more common than ever and is here to stay. All the long-held myths about only children have been debunked — only children are not socially inept; they are self-reliant and independent. They make strong friendships and often benefit from the additional time their parents or grandparents can afford them.

That’s not to say only children are better off without siblings (I’m not starting that fire!) but let’s not project our own ideals of what a family should be onto our kids.

If you were one of two, three, four or more, then you might think that is the ultimate family unit. But every child will only know the dynamic they are born into — that will be their ‘normal’.

Good parenting is the important common denominator in a family, whether you have one child or ten.

And if you do have ten, well come here and let us all judge you…..

Source: The M Word

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