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5 Things Not to Say to Parents of an Only Child

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CHILD PLAYING ALONE
Cavan Images via Getty Images

I would like to start by saying that I have always had difficulty wrapping my head around the term "only child." You may have one child or a single child, but "only child" has a negative connotation; right? Those of us who have decided to have a single child or have a single child because of a variety of other various and sundry reasons have an issue with some of the statements and presumptions made by parents of larger families. It is also important to know that the number of households in the United States with a single child is high. See for yourself here. Families with a single child are no longer in the minority.

So, let's visit some of the most frequent comments made to parents of "only children" and then we will have some fun with some responses that are intended to leave everyone feeling intact.

Consider:

1. "When are you going to get a little brother or sister for_____ (fill in the blank with the name of your lonely only)? "

2. "Are you trying to have another child soon?"

3. "Kids do so much better with little friends in the house."

4. "You have such a small family."

AND

5. "It must be so much easier raising one child."

There are so many more comments that readers have sent to me, but these five are most illustrative of the types of comments that come from both well-intentioned and less-than-well-intentioned friends. Maybe they believe that they are being helpful. On the other hand, perhaps they want you to be a member of their large family club. Who knows? The more important point is that you get your feelings hurt because the implication is that your family is less than.

Here are some lovely responses to comments about only child families. Readers have sent these to me. Yes; I am always taking informal polls. I love those. I keep my ear to the ground and to your voices and hearts. Look at these responses and then pick and choose and see what works best for you. Feel free to send me some of your best responses that aren't here.. Those of you who know me know that I'm always learning from my readers.

1. "We are really happy with our family just the way it is. We hope that you are too."

2. Our child is really happy and we wouldn't want to rock the boat."

3." ____ has lots of friends and cousins. They are just like brothers and sisters."

4. "We really have our hands full with____. It's not as easy as it might seem."

5. "Nope; we aren't trying for more kids. Are you?"

6." My only counts for about three. I can't even go there." (How very true this one is!)

7. "This is a very personal issue, but thanks for your concern."

AND

8. "One child works for me."

We are all trying to do the best we can. My request is that we respect the choices and circumstances of those who choose to live their lives in all sorts of ways including single, childless, lots of kids, etc.

Your thoughts?