One Mama Stands By Her Decision to Have “Just One” Child

I have one child and I plan on keeping it that way.

Go ahead, hurl your questions at me. I’ve heard them all.

“But won’t your son be lonely?”

“Don’t you think he’ll want a brother or sister?”

“Do you really want your child to be a socially awkward misfit?”

“Do you want to make him miserable and deny him a lifelong best friend?”

People talk like it’s impossible to have one child, like our bodies can’t physically, mentally or emotionally handle having just one child. But not all families want to return to diaper changes and sleepless nights.

I have nothing against people who have more than one child. I can accept large families. I just don’t get why many people fail to accept my family of three.

Only children are stereotyped as lonely, awkward, depressed, selfish, self-centered and overly-sensitive. Only children are said to lose out on important lessons of sharing and aren’t aware how to coexist with other (sometimes hostile) human beings.

While only children won’t experience being locked in the closet by older siblings, they don’t turn out any worse than children with brothers or sisters. According to psychologist Susan Newman, author of the book “Parenting an Only Child,” only children are not any more self-centered or spoiled than children with siblings.

Both only children and children with siblings can be shy, lonely, and selfish. For every socially awkward only child, there is a singleton social butterfly.

There are benefits to having one child, just as there are benefits to having many children. Families need to do what’s right for their finances, marriage/relationship and emotional stability.

What’s best for my family may not be best for your family. This may seem obvious, but the message apparently gets lost.

Creative Commons License photo credit: spuklo

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About Sarah Valek

Sarah Valek is a freelance writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She has written numerous articles on alternative parenting and the challenges of raising a vegan child in a meat-eating world. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and art from Ithaca College. She spends her days drinking soy lattes and taking her son bird-watching.

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  1. Susan Newman, Ph.D. says:

    Times are quickly changing and having an only child is not unusual…it is the fastest growing family unit in the US and Australia, among other countries. The stereotypes are weakening–thank goodness. If you need amunition for the questions “hurled” at you