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04:52 PM on 02/21/2013
This feels more like an angry banter rather than a calm, researched view on the part of the author. I understand she was rudely insulted by another woman, but I also feel like she should have gathered data from "non-onlies," who would have left similar responses, that they loved their siblings, but sometimes wanted them gone, but felt it contributed to who they are now; that's essentially what the onlies said, except in the opposite way.
07:08 AM on 02/26/2013
Please feel free to write your own article on the subject matter. It is astonishing to me how mean people get when talking/writing about only children.
09:54 AM on 02/26/2013
That wasn't mean, it was constructive. I agreed with some points she made, and disagreed with others. The comments are here so we can leave our opinions.
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Uncle Bill
Socratic method survivor
04:41 PM on 02/21/2013
I was planned to be the oldest of a large Irish Catholic family but fate intervened and I became an only back when only children in that world were rare.  If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me (often loudly so my parents could hear) if I didn't want a little brother or sister I'd be rich.  When  I was small my usual answer was that I wanted an older brother (that's what I was always threatened with by other kids so I wanted one to fight my battles for me too) and looks that little non-sequitur got usually gave my Mom a laugh.  These people with their well meaning "helpful advice" should realize that having siblings is sometime simply not possible for health reasons and not choice, and sometimes because there was another sibling, that the family has lost.
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PoisnIvy
Hug a tree, they have fewer issues than people.
04:04 PM on 02/21/2013
My father was the youngest of 18! For many of the reasons you listed religious, work the farm, societal expectations. Luckily, by the time my brother came around my parents knew enough about themselves to stop. I did end up with two step-siblings that I love dearly. While all of us have made vastly different choices in how we created our families (2, none, step-children, only) we are all satisfied with our choices. (Except maybe the brother who keeps trying to marry a woman with kids in tow.) My son is an only and admits that he once wanted a little brother. But at 16 he knows that if I had been able to have another child it would have changed our life dramatically and not all for the best. He definitely enjoys the fact that he is the center of attention, yet is often bothered by it as well. There is a bond I have with him that I simply can't see being the same if I was required to divide my attention. In the end I'm happy things turned out as they have. If more people focused on that we might all smile a bit more.
02:50 PM on 02/21/2013
This is such a timely post for me! My husband and I have one child, and not necessarily by choice, she may be our one and only. My worries are what was mentioned aove about my daughter being spoiled, lonely, etc. Like many children of "onlies," I have been told I am selfish not actively trying to bring a sibling into the world just for her. I shouldn't take those comments to heart but it can hurt. So reading the comments from those who know best was refreshing and a little bit of a relief:)
03:21 AM on 02/23/2013
Again, WOW. I simply cannot believe someone would say this to you! Wonder if it's possible to say, "Gee, maybe *you* are the selfish, self-centered one here for believing that you get to tell me what you think of my life choices! And for thinking that your opinion matters so much! Go handle your own life." If you bring just one person into this world who is decent human being, that is an achievement. And you don't need siblings to become one. Saying so is outrageous.
02:44 PM on 02/21/2013
Wow, people sure are insensitive these days... Ignorant too! I simply CANNOT BELIEVE people think they have a right to comment on the family choices of others. I am an only child, and I'm here to say I turned out just fine! What the previous commenter said is true - caring for my parents is fully on my shoulders - but I've seen times when it hasn't gone well for parents when siblings have battled about caring for them.

The truth here is that you can't know how a life is going to turn out. Nothing will be perfect. As a teacher, I know plenty of entitled children who have siblings! I also know "onlies" who are exactly the opposite of entitled - they are completely empathetic to their peers, and if anything, seem much more responsible. (It's a generalization, of course, but "only" children are often more mature than their peers because they spend most of their time with adults.) So let's stand up for "only children," and let's stand up for common courtesy as well, while we're at it!
01:48 PM on 02/21/2013
As an only child, I relate to everything above and enjoyed the comments. The only thing that is of concern to me is as my parents get older, all of the burden of their care falls on me. I have seen countless examples of siblings splitting up the duty of taking care of a surviving parent by alternating days of bringing them food, having them over, visiting them, etc. and I will not have the luxury of splitting up that time with a sibling(s). I pray that they are healthy until the end...
02:26 PM on 02/21/2013
Or you could have the alternative- one sibling takes care of everything while the others criticize the care and yet don't lift a finger to help leaving the burdened sibling to start resenting the others. That could happen too.
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SusanElizabeth1949
My micro-bio may be empty but my head isn't.
02:38 PM on 02/21/2013
I lost my Dad when I was in high school, but took care of Mom to the end of her life (2000) yes I would have loved to have help but I saw so many of her neighbors that only one of their children or even one grandchild was there to help them. At least I didn't have siblings to be irritated at.
relevancematters
You're so full of what's right, you can't see what
12:28 PM on 02/21/2013
Thank you so much for this--it was illuminating in a very good way. I have two daughters: one has chosen not to have children because of serious medical issues and the other is raising an only--a delightful little boy who is now 5 years old. We are very definitely a village for this child, and while the rest of us leave the raising of him to his parents, we have been a little concerned about the fact that he is and will remain an only. This concern was not really based on anything aside from cultural conditioning (and the unalterable fact that he has six adults as his closest companions most of the time) so I am very grateful for this insider's view that shows me that these things are not bad things at all. Thank you again!
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07:26 AM on 02/21/2013
I would have loved to know what it's like to be in a big family but I never got the chance and that's OK. What I never got from my brother, I now get from close friends who have become family. I had also wanted at least one more child but after my daughter was born, I had a lot of health problems and we all decided it was better if we stuck with the one we already have. We already see too many examples of parents who shouldn't have children and since I didn't feel I was up to it, I didn't think I should. Yes, maybe my daughter will never know what it's like to have a sibling but there are worse things in life.
babybates
Disingenuous = rule 1 in GOP playbook
03:29 AM on 02/21/2013
I love my siblings, but I never wanted to have any children. I'm the oldest of 4 children. I have 2 sisters and my brother is the baby. I took care of kids enough and knew it was a hard job. My 2 sisters have kids (youngest sister has an only child and he is not spoiled at all), but the oldest kid (me) and the youngest (my brother) have no kids. I also married 2 "oldest kids" and they also had siblings who had children, but they didn't want to have kids either. People should mind their own business about what other people want to do regarding having children. I don't think people should voice their opinions about "only" children or no children or people who want a large family. I think it is the biggest decision a person can make in their lives.
05:35 PM on 02/20/2013
I grew up in a big family, had 4 younger siblings! I always wished that I had less siblings: like 1 or 2 at most! The weird thing is that people assume that it must have been fun to have so many siblings and totally romanticize big families. The reality is that there was always noise and chaos in my house, especially when I was trying to do my homework or sleep; we could never afford to go to amusement parks, fairs, movies, arcades, or anything fun that charged admission.