Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Parenting an only child

I'd like to introduce you to my pride and joy. She is the child that God blessed David and me with, and will be our only child. Over the past 4 1/2 years, we have watched her grow from an infant who relied on us for her every need, to an independent preschooler with her own emotions, thoughts, and vocabulary, and her vocabulary is something else. I have spent a lot of time around children her age, and she speaks exceptionally well for someone of that age. However, along with her new found sense of independence, has also came an attitude when she doesn't get her way. Imagine that- a 4-year-old with an attitude.
I remember the day I gave birth to her. She was 7 pounds 11oz and 20 1/4 inches long. Absolutely perfect in every way.
So, it's no surprise that we get the age old question of when we are going to have more children, and while it seems like an innocent enough question, some people don't know when to leave well enough alone. The simple answer is never. We have accepted the fact that she is the only one God will give to us, and we have made our peace with that.

Please do not tell me that she will be lonely, spoiled, or selfish because she is an only. She is far from any of the three, and it's our job as parents to teach children to not be any of those things regardless if we have one child or ten children. We are teaching her to be selfless and to appreciate the things she has, just the same as anyone with 2+ children would do. She is going to start her second year of preschool in 2 weeks, and she is a social butterfly. She has absolutely no lack of social interaction with her peers, and she tells me about her friends on a daily basis.

The bottom line is that I am trying to dispel the only child myth. It is not wise to bring another child into this world based solely on the fact that they "need a playmate." I have heard this an insane amount of times, and the thought is asinine. For one, there is no guarantee the children will get along or have that ideal image of closeness when they enter adulthood. Not to mention, it's also not a wise thing to bring another child into the world if you are struggling to provide for just one financially. Babies cost a lot of money, kids cost even more, and teenagers cost a small fortune.
I am almost 29-years-old, the oldest of 3 children. I can count on one hand how many times I have seen my half brother and half sister in the past six years. We just are not close. The same goes for my husband. He is the baby. He has 5 (I think) half siblings and one full brother. The only one he is close to is his half sister, and she is thousands of miles away in Texas.

Multiple children are great- if you can afford them, but with our economy being in the state that it's in, people should not be having children just for the sake of having children. I can assure you, with the proper guidance and parenting, an only child can grow up to be a well rounded individual just the same as a child with siblings can.


Anonymous said...

I, too, have an only child. She is 8 years old. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I loved what you said about it being our responsibility as parents to raise our children not to be the "stereotypical" only child.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this blog entry. My husband and I have had trouble conceiving, and up until my recent surprise pregnancy it looked as if my son would be an only child. People don't understand that they are being cruel when they make these types of comments. Especially the type that implies we aught to give our son a sibling just so he can have a playmate. I hate to quote Dr. Phil, but you don't give a baby a job, not even the "job" of being the playmate of another kid. You seem to be doing a great job with your one child, keep it up and you will have a wonderful adult too!