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erichw1504's avatar

What are your thoughts on having one child vs. more than one child?

Asked by erichw1504 (26396points) December 6th, 2011

Even if you don’t have any children right now, what is you view on having an only-child versus multiple children?

Is an only-child at a disadvantage for having no siblings? Is having more than one child too much? Do you notice any difference between grown-ups that were only-children between grown-ups with siblings?

If you do have children, how many do you have? When the time came, what were your thoughts on having a second child?

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53 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I understand some people want a boy and a girl; that seems fair, but I honestly don’t see the point of a third kid. Maybe some parents can provide some insight on the whole third kid thing.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I would have liked to have more, I had a well-spring of maternal that I was surprised by. But since I got the very best one on the first try, that’s OK.
I was the youngest of 3, so raising an only was a bit of a different experience for me. I was surprised that she seemed to take things too personally when she was school age, then it occurred to me that without sibs around she had never developed an emotional callous. It also made her much more compassionate toward other kids. That’s just one example, there are others, but it would take too long to explain…

janbb's avatar

Personally, once I wanted one child, I knew I wanted to have two. I do feel that having a sibling is important although I realize that for some people, one child is sufficient. If I had had the option, I would have had three children because I am enjoying the two that I had so much.

majorrich's avatar

We had our first child kind of late in life, when we decided on more, we were no longer able to have more children, Economically, it worked out better for us, but having no siblings made our son a little bit (ok a lot) spoiled as he didn’t need to learn to share. On the other hand, he has absolutely no self esteem issues.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have children, but had always thought I wanted 4. Not just because I wanted them, and wanted the big family, but also because I think sibling relationships can be so important. It is the longest relationship you have in your life. Siblings are the only other people in your life who know what it was like to grow up in your crazy family and household. LOL. They get it more than anyone else. But, of course sometimes siblings don’t get along or never really connect.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with being or having an only child though. In fact there are some advantages I am sure. Sometimes I think maybe that is harder for the parents, because, especially when the kids are young, they are the source of entertainment, while when I was young I played with my sister. But, it is also more days dealing with sick children and driving to soccer and piano when you have more than one child.

Most of my friends with 4 or more kids in the family talk about being able to hang out with one sibling when another one was doing their own thing. Most only children I know say they wished they had had siblings. Of course, they don’t really know what that would have been like. Although, many of them have 2 or more children. Joy Bejar, the comedian, says all the time she is glad she was an only, and is glad her daughter was too.

Rarebear's avatar

We were one and done. We had absolutely no thoughts of a second kid.

Blackberry's avatar

@Rarebear Why no second thoughts?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Katawagrey sees my relationships with my sisters and says she is glad she’s an only. Just sayin’.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here. It all depends on the parents’ wishes, and whether or not it turns out to be a good thing all depends on the kids. My girls are reasonably happy siblings, but I can’t stand my brother.

Rarebear's avatar

Too expensive, too much work, and we were too old.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve shared before that I am 3rd generation “only” and my daughter is my only child.
I would have considered one more child but my marriage was not going to last and I was smart enough to not think another baby would fix the issues.

2 would have been the limit though, I was not cut out to raise multiples even though I adored every minute of raising my daughter, minus a few of the teen years. haha

My daughter at 24 does not want children at all. That might change, but, I fully respect her feelings.

Looks like out family is a gradual trickling down from one to none.

I think now days with the world population outta control that smaller families have been the trend for some time now. Of course there are always those with more kids and I am loathe to judge.

I do dislike all the myths about only children being selfish spoiled brats. Not true, infact, onlies like firstborns tend to be smart, leader types, strong, independent and resourceful, along with a lot of creativity and well developed social skills.

rojo's avatar

I am glad to have both my brother and sister and thrilled that we are there for each other. Normal childhood spats growing up but that is a part of it.
My own kids have both expressed the same sentiment about themselves.
We chose two as the right number for us, in part because we were not adding to the population problem (after we die that is), in part because we wanted our children to have a sibling for later in life. Waited six years between the first and second; actually shot for four but nature will have her way.
On the other hand, I had a friend that told me the only problem they had with three was that someone had to make an extra trip back to the car when they got home late.

ucme's avatar

I have a son & daughter & that seems very neat & tidy to me.
A third kid would just, well…....muddle stuff up a bit.

zenvelo's avatar

I have two, born 2½ years apart, a boy and a girl. They have been extremely bonded since they were very little, I think a lot of that has to do with their mother’s issues over the years.

Anecdotal evidence: I know of people my age who had a child and decided to not have an second, in many cases it seems like the mother overly identifies with the child. One said “I could never have a second, J. takes so much time, besides his feelings would be hurt if he had a brother or sister”. The other talks of nothing but what she and her daughter did, all the time.

I think having two provides some balance for everyone.

Once when my son was five and his sister three, my son asked me, “Dad, can I get a little brother?” and his sister said, “and I want a baby sister!”

JLeslie's avatar

See, I have always thought one of each is very nie for the parents, but two of the same is more fun for the kids, and usually more bonding from what I can tell. That is if there are just two.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Blackberry I’m the middle kid of a three child house, older sister, younger brother. Three was perfect for me. My brother and I played sports and did the guy things. My sister had her hot girlfriends over too. Perfect.

Aethelwine's avatar

My husband was in a terrible accident in his teens and was told he would more than likely never father a child, so we were very surprised when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. yes, it is his :P We were only 20 at the time and I wasn’t prepared for children, but my husband (boyfriend at the time) was very supportive and wanted the child. Our second son came along 22 months after the birth of our first son.

Thoughts of having another child started to enter my mind once both of our sons were in school and my husband had a well paying job. We were in our late 20s and better prepared this time for children. I’m sure part of it was me wanting to have a daughter. We tried for 4 years for another child. I became pregnant with our daughter once I had given up any hope of becoming pregnant again. Our children are now 7, 17 and 19.

I would have another child if we could afford it, but we can’t. I grew up the youngest of six and enjoy coming from a large family. I want the same for my children, but am very blessed we have the 3 that we do.

My father was an only child and he had a difficult time when his parents became ill and needed his support. I wish he would have had siblings to help him. Luckily he had his children to lend a hand when he couldn’t be there for his parents. Taking care of elderly parents on top of working 60 hours a week is very stressful!

zensky's avatar

I like the idea of two. And that’s what I happen to have.

gr8teful's avatar

I don’t have any children because I knew I would not be able to take care of them as they should be. I don’t think anyone should have children who knows they cannot really take good care of children whether because of upbringing, mental illness or whatever reason .If things were different and I was able to take good care of a child as i would want to I don’t think having one child makes a child lonely and some people have 4 children and take really good care of them so it really depends on the parents and the family.

zensky's avatar

Word. And on behalf of a crazy overpopulated planet – thank you!

ragingloli's avatar

Well, if you are that hungry, I guess having 2 kids is fine.

zensky's avatar

Are you talking to me weird little german boy who pretends to be female?

erichw1504's avatar

@ragingloli Just be sure to add cream and sugar.

DominicX's avatar

I doubt I’d want to have more than 2 children even though I have three siblings. There was nothing bad about growing up with three siblings (we’re all close in age too), in fact, I’d say it made for a better experience growing up…I was never bored, really. There was always something going on and it’s a lot of people that you have available to talk to. It was great, really. I just don’t know if I could handle that many, especially if they’re all close in age.

I don’t know about any significant disadvantages to being an only child, but my ex was an only child and it was difficult to comment on whether having siblings would have been better since it was all he knew, but it did seem to me that he thought it was a bit on the lonely side. I’d probably prefer at least 2 children.

Luiveton's avatar

To me, 1’s a crowd.
Anyhoo, if I had to, I guess two is the super maximum, because 3’s a crowd, seriously.

TheIntern55's avatar

Well, I don’t have kids. I’m 14.
However, my friends are in a family of 8: 7 boys and one girl, who was adopted. However, their family is closer than me and my 2 brothers. I think having a big family actually makes the kids happier.
Another friend of mine is an only child. He is good-looking and he’ll probably end up on Broadway because of his amazing voice. However, he is the definition of an inflated ego. His parents have spoiled him and showered him with praise because of his talents.
Sometimes though, it might just depend on the parents.

ragingloli's avatar

I would rather set my dog on fire…


wundayatta's avatar

My kids love having siblings. There are only two of them. My daughter, at least, wishes there was a third: a sister for her to play baby doll with.

Obviously, the decision to have one, two, or more children is that of the parents, and the reasons for these choices will be different in every case. I don’t really think it matters what anyone else thinks. I don’t think we can say an only has a disadvantage or an advantage. That implies there is one form of ideal life, and that’s just not true. Everyone deals with their own situation and makes of it what they will. There’s nothing else to say about that.

I wanted to have as many as four children. I have two. They are wonderful blessings.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My cousin was an only child, and it was very lonely for her. But then, knowing her mother (my aunt) it may have been a worse situation if there had been more. At least she would have had someone to share the misery with – but is that really a good thing?

My granddaughter is an only child and she loves it. She was also the only grandchild for a long time, so I was able to take her with me to some exotic places, something I couldn’t have done if there had been more.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, pros & cons to everything.
I can say though, that out of all my adult friends with siblings, I don’t know anyone that is really close to their siblings and many that do not like each other at all. haha

Ya just never know, there are no guarantees in anything.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Those that don’t have any siblings can get just as meaningful a relationship with friends. My cousin has a lifelong friend that she is just as close to as if she were a sister.

Coloma's avatar


Absolutely! Good point!

nikipedia's avatar

I hate to be offensive to only children, but I have found they are difficult to deal with in romantic relationships. But maybe those were just the ones I dated. In my experience, men with sisters have made the best partners.

I would rather have a bunch of kids (3–4) than 1 or 2. Mostly because my mom’s many siblings have been able to help each other out a lot, and despite some of them being crazy and difficult, they have a very strong network. I like that a lot.

I do kind of like the idea of having a couple biological and a couple adopted to try to balance out the impact on the environment.

Coloma's avatar


It’s all about the individual. My ex husband was the middle child of two sisters. One 3 years older and the other 7 years younger. He was the biggest narcissistic mysoginist ever, totally objectified woman, was a complete jerk. So much for ” Oooh, he has sisters so he will be more sensitive to woman.” Bah! lol

Now, on the other hand, he got a GREAT woman with me, the only child. Very unselfish, caring, not super materialistic, earthy, smart, honest as they come, and, I was raised with an absentee father….go fucking figure! lol

Ela's avatar

Having a sibling is just something you can’t duplicate or imitate, imo.
I have 5 siblings and always wanted to have a large family. Had I married the right man I’m sure I would have. As it is I have three wonderful boys. Sometimes I wish I had a little girl to do some of the girlie stuff with but I’m kind of tomboyish so I’m happy playing baseball and doin boy stuff : )
I think it would be a lot easier to be a single parent with a single child (sometimes I feel that I don’t spend enough one-on-one time with each them) but I would not choose to have only one child.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Single parent with single child does have its advantages, @EnchantingEla , but I don’t know about “easier”. As with anything else, there are so many factors to consider.

Ela's avatar

@JilltheTooth True. Each has it’s challenges and degrees of difficulty. I just remember having baseball games/practices 7 times within 5 days one summer. As a single parent of 3 it can get over tiring for me but I think it can be that way for any parent no matter the head count.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Ah, @EnchantingEla , I missed where you were a single parent of three. Sorry. Yes, definitely much harder.

Ela's avatar

@JilltheTooth I see I didn’t initially specify, sorry.


I’m glad my wife and I decided to have more than one child. My first child would have missed out on having a great relationship with her sibling——her life has been enriched substantially. Similarly, my second child’s life has been enriched by her older sister. It’s always good to have more than one kid, if you can afford it and are willing to devote the extra attention and energy.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Gadzooks, the choice, the choice. I hope to have five, a boy, a boy, girl, girl, and one last boy. If I believe I only have chance at one, we will have a PDG to help assure things come out right.

I see each experience having its own pros and cons.

Being in a family with siblings I can say the advantages was having someone to play multi-person games with. If something comes up broken, there are more suspects. There was someone there to share experiences with, on trips, what you discovered around town. You learn to negotiate, when it comes to toys and what games you play. You learn you have to be tolerant when it comes to space, privacy, access to things of the house. There is a built-in work force for getting chores done like the yard.

A cousin grew up as an only child. She didn’t have anyone she had to share or compete with in the family, but she also had to think of ways to stay entertained on her own; a bit hard to do before the Internet days. You rarely have to compete or negotiate TV access. You didn’t have to compete for deserts, etc. I have noticed many “only child” to be more mature in their talk and more patient around adults. As an only child you have the room to yourself, you can decorate it as you please, within your parent’s limitations.

Both has its good points and its bad points. I believe many families would be larger, but economics limits them to one or two.

Coloma's avatar


Yep, a lot of us onlys are very good at entertaining oursleves. I was a child in the 60’s and was rarely bored. I had 3 friends in my neighborhood and we were always together, but, I was equally adept at spending hours alone, drawing, reading, playing with my toys, I do think onlys have a creative edge often because they are forced to be resourceful and imaginative by sheer necessity. :-)

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I have no children, but I do have 12 siblings. I would not have it any other way. I love my siblings, no matter how much I might fight with some of them. I think I would be lonely if I was an only child, unless I had friends over all the time who might as well be my siblings because of the amount of time spent together.

If I ever have children, I hope to have at least two. I also hope they get along and become lifelong friends who can turn to each other when and if they don’t feel like they can trust anyone else, no matter how much they might fight while they are growing up

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AnonymousGirl Holy shit. 12 siblings?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I bet Christmas was fun.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish I’d had more…I have 3.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

3 is a fine number. ^_^

MadMadMax's avatar

A child may be alone for a time and feel very loved and taken care of. A second child comes into the picture and many parents do not know how to balance their attention. They are enamored, excited over the new baby. If a third is put into the picture some parents just simply can’t handle it and become heartless toward all their kids.

I don’t believe an only child is lonely. We put that identification on them. If they have friends and family they’ll be fine.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would not have wanted to be an only child.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My son has 4 kids (each contributed a child from previous relationships, and 2 of their own.) They are seriously considering another. Why not?

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