Only child. Lonely child?

When we had our son in November 2010 we fell completely in love with him. I knew the moment I held my bundle of gorgeousness that I wanted another baby. We talked about it, decided to give it a year or so and then get cracking with giving him a little brother or sister.

Fate then stepped in and after an accident and a couple of surgeries my back is too ruined now to even consider getting pregnant. Even if I spent 9 months in bed, I’d still have to do all the lifting and bending that comes with a baby. Sooner or later I’d be in a wheelchair and my children would become my carers.

I can’t have any more children and my son will be an only child.
Only child

I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently and worrying that he’s lonely, it hit me today when we took him to the playground and he met a little boy, they hit it off immediately and spent nearly an hour chasing each other, rolling around and laughing. It was really wonderful to see.

I can’t shake the feeling that he’s missing out on something, that being an only child deprives him of all kinds of childhood joy. There is a voice in my head which tells me that because he’s an only child he’ll get more of us and he’ll get spoilt more for sure, but he’ll also get more focussed attention with homework and play as well as discipline.

He’s at school now so his days aren’t lonely, his weekends are pretty packed with things we do together as a family and I don’t think he’s quite as lonely as he used to be, though he probably was when it was just me and him at home.

I worry that because he’s an only child this will adversely affect his confidence with his peers, though he’s usually very forthcoming with adults. Maybe I worry to much.

I’ve got a little brother, he’s two years younger, we got on, we played together but we were not best friends and we had frequent arguments and falling outs. But we’d always look out for each other in the playground and I’d muscle in to warn the big boys off if he needed it. But having a sibling is probably no real guarantee that you won’t be lonely.

In a few months we’ll be getting a puppy. When we got our first dog I got a best friend and a constant companion, he loves dogs and I think they’ll be inseparable. I know it’s not the same, we’re doing everything we can to stop him feeling lonely, lots of play dates, lots of special time with mummy and daddy. I hope it’s enough. I hope he never feels lonely and alone, because he isn’t.

17 responses to “Only child. Lonely child?

  1. Carrie Talbot-Ashby

    My mum was an only child, and she told me that when there were moments that she did wish she had an older or younger sibling to play with, she had such a wonderful life and got to know her parents much more than if they had given her a brother or sister. They were able to do so many more things than those with lots of children can. They made her the centre of their world, without spoiling her, she was always allowed friends round, and they could give her the one on one time that many kids can miss out on, and she felt she grew up a lot more confident & happy than my dad who had seven sisters and two brothers, who none of them really speak to one another! So many wars and arguments over who gets what when their parents died meant all out war between the sisters, I used to think having a big family instantly meant being like the Waltons, so not the case!!! They have all gone off into little groups, cousins aren’t allowed to speak to cousins and family get togethers with them all are a no-no, its very sad!
    I myself have four children, and while I wouldn’t change a thing, my eldest son has been very very ill and in and out of hospital these past two years, this has been hard on the other kiddies, as I have had to centre all my attention on my eldest. Thankfully he is slowly improving and we are able to do more things as a family, but I truly think that your lovely little boy will not miss what he hasn’t had, he will have two parents that worship him, and have all the friendships he needs as he goes to school. The most important thing in the whole world is lots of love, and I’m sure he will get absolutely tons of that! 🙂

  2. MENTALLY ME (@stuckinscared)

    Great minds think alike – as I began reading this post, ‘dog companionship’ popped into my head – I don’t necessarily think that ‘only child is lonely child’, especially as you clearly fill his days with so much, and are a fabby mummy! – But dogs do make fabulous companions 🙂 x

  3. My Mum has a brother a similar age who just horrid to her so it doesn’t always work out anyway. My brother is 15 years older than me a left aged 16 so for all intents I was brought up as an only child. My Dad climbed trees with me and took me on big rides etc as a kid. Then when I was a teen I brought my best friend on family holidays. The only times I felt lonely were days during the six weeks school holidays when my friends were on holls visiting their extended family, so I wouldn’t worry.

  4. I was an only child whereas my husband as the middle of three. I don’t think it was a particularly lonely time although I have always felt more comfortable with one or two friends rather than large groups. I think a dog is a great companion but I also think that you would know if he was lonely and I doubt he is!

  5. expressionconfession

    He’ll be totally fine. He has lovely parents and you do a great job xx

  6. Mummyofboygirltwins

    You sound like you are an amazing, wonderful parent. That’s all that matters. Having a sibling will not make him a better or worse person – it’s just someone to fight and play with. Just make sure (as you are) that he is well loved. I can understand your feelings though. I know so many couples who’ve just had one child recently and are not having any more and a few feel the same as you. But enjoy it all and try not to worry – he will be just fine x x

  7. I think there is a lot to be said for having a sibling, but also there are many reasons why being an only child is AWESOME. You’re right about him getting all of your attention. You won’t have to deal with the relentless bickering and falling out over who had ‘it’ first. You won’t have to decide which one can go to the football match because there’s only one spare ticket … I could go on! I am absolutely certain that your little boy will have the happiest of childhoods. Don’t worry xx

  8. I completely understand this as Z is an only child and I would love a sibling for him as I had two brothers. I do think though they do make great friends though just like your little boy has shown, even if they end up being your only one. I think they’re also closer to their parents and that’s a very lovely thing too.

  9. I think (as with most things) there are positives and negatives to both having siblings and being an only child. He seems like he is good at making friends and I am sure he will love having a puppy! It’s something you’re worried about so you might make that more effort to make sure he’s not lonely (if that makes sense). He gets you all to himself too 🙂 xx

  10. My husband is an only child – and the least ‘only child-like’ person I know. He would tell you how he he a sibling – particularly at Christmas – but it has never done him any harm. Like you, circumstances were beyond his mum’s control & he was never destined to have siblings. X

  11. The Ordinary Lovely

    Do you know, I think you can have lonely moments even when you have a brother or sister. And some people find friends that they become closer to than their own blood relatives. It’s hard to say what’s best and what a child does or doesn’t miss out on. I have two brothers who I’m really close to and my husband has a sister that he talks to once a year. You just can’t second guess what kind of relationship that siblings would have. Gosh, we can worry about everything and every eventuality, can’t we? Who’d be a parent? 😉

  12. Really interesting post. I’m sure your son knows how much you love him, and when he’s older he will understand why you decided couldn’t have another child.

    My six year son is an only child. He is very sociable and tends to make friends easily, so I don’t think he misses out too much. Sometimes he complains that he’s bored with no-one to play with, but I don’t think it does kids any harm to be bored occasionally. As for loneliness, you can have siblings and still be lonely if you don’t get on with them. I have four younger sisters and love them all now, but was desperate for time and space to myself when I was a child…

  13. I honestly do not think that he is missing out on anything. How can you miss something you don’t have? Lots of parents decide that one child is enough, and I know that this decision was taken away from you but you mustn’t worry that you are depriving your son of anything. He has you and his dad 100% and that must be amazing! x x x

  14. farmerswifeandmummy

    I’m an only child and yes, I did want a sibling when I was younger but has it affected my life? Not a bit. I am glad I was an only child now.
    None of us can change what fate has thrown at us and your son will have a lovely life with a great mum so please don’t worry xx
    Ps the dog is a great idea. We treat Rosie as part of the family and I joke that she was my first fur born 😉

  15. The puppy will definitely stop him from being lonely, but I’m sure he won’t be. The only children I know have never complained about it, I think kids take what they have as normal and don’t worry too much like we do, don’t you? I’m sorry to hear about your accident, must have been very painful for you. X

  16. I’m an only child and can honestly say my childhood was fantastic. I never felt I’d lost out not having a sibling. I was in a one parent family too, but had a close knit group with maternal grandparents there. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I have an 8 month old, and we haven’t decided whether he will be an only child or not yet.

  17. Have you considered adoption? There are plenty of lonely kids looking for loving families who I’m sure would love to have your little boy as a brother. Not trying to judge though – even if he doesn’t have siblings, I’m sure he’ll still develop great friendships which will keep him from being lonely.

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