; Life is like champagne......: The Only Child Myth

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Only Child Myth

This week I was sitting in a Dr's office waiting on my time to finish a root canal and picked up an time Magazine article(June 2010 issue) about The Only Child Myth.  We all know about the myth, only children are tagged selfish, spoiled and lonely.  I am an only child and did receive comments like these growing up but I have to say I turned o.k.
Many of my childhood friends had siblings, in fact I can only think of one who was an only child.  Sure I got full attention from my family and was given a lot of opportunities along with gifts.  But I think it did not make me the definition of spoiled.  People often think that there is something wrong with the parents for only having one child, society and religion play factors in having large families.  My parents just decided that one was enough for them. 
Today it seems we are setting a trend in having an only child.  Now it is the economy playing a role and also the parents deciding how much they want to put in to parenting.  I can relate to this.  Right now I have one child, almost 4 years old.  We decided to have children later in our lives and I do not regret that.  With waiting later, fertility can be more challenging.  Some people get pregnant at the drop of a hat.  In my case and several other friends I know, this is not the case.  After having my daughter, I was asked by several people "Are you going to have another?".  My first thought in my mind was "Would you let me enjoy my time with this one and then I will make my decision!"  I almost felt offended with the question, often making me mad as if there was something wrong with only having one child!  Must have been flash backs of me being an only child and always being asked if I had a sister or brother. 
After one year of having my daughter, after two years of my daughter's birth, we decided to try for another.  Again, not an easy task and issues of age, blocked tube and what ever else it is not an automatic gimme!  I can say one thing, I am not tormented in the fact that I am having problems getting pregnant.  If I only have one, it doesn't bother me a bit.  I have no problem with my daughter being an only child, I enjoy my time with her watching her grow up, I also enjoy the fact that I can go back to work and have my own time. 
Just to show you that the myth has not gone away, I finished the article while sitting in the dentist chair waiting for the Dr. to come in.  I put the magazine away and noticed the Dr. had pictures of his children, two girls and close in age.  When he arrived, his first question was "How many children do you have?", wow....that's a bold question.  So I told him one.  Wouldn't you know I was lectured about having only one and two within a close age is much better, and stated I have passed the window of time for having them at a close age!!!  Because of the fact he was finishing my root canal and giving me Novocaine, I refrained from any comments but sis state I am an only child and turned out just fine.  What struck me funny was a comment he made that having his two children so close in age, he does not have to talk to them, they play with themselves.  I am sure you can think of comments to reply to that one!

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katy said...

Nobody should question a woman's reason to have no child, one child, or more. Why do people think that is acceptable.

Kathleen said...

I enjoyed your post very much. My husband and I (parents of 1) go back and forth about having more kids, and we're 35 so we need to figure this out soon. But I also feel pressured to have more kids, and don't feel like getting into it, especially with family.

On a related note, my husband is reading a book called "Nurture Shock" and there's a chapter about how siblings can actually be more harmful to the development of kids, in that rivalry can make them more aggressive and abusive. I need to read that chapter myself.