5 Things Not to Say to Parents of an Only Child

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You might think that now that my child is a teenager, my wife and I have become some kind of an expert on being a parent of an only child. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, my Wife and I have had more than our share of (supposedly) well intentioned people share with us a range of opinions on life with our only child.

On that basis, I have compiled this “expert” list of five things NOT to say to parents of an only child.

  1. Do Not Ask Us If We Will Have Another Child
    There is probably nothing more anger inducing to the parent of an only child than “helpfully” asking or, otherwise inquiring when/if we might have another child. The fact that we already have a child is monumental. And the fact that we may/may not have another child is “noneya”… none of your business. We just might not conform to your ideas on family. And there may be many reasons why we “chose” to have an only child. Some of these reasons we may not be willing to discuss with you. They could include medical issues with mom or, dad. Things we are struggling with in child #1. Or, heaven forbid, just how we wanted it.
  2. Do Not Tell Me That I Will Change My Mind About Having Another Child
    Related to #1 above…you’ve introduced your ideas about how many children I should have to me. And, I’ve given you a response, you then tell me that I “will change my mind about having another child.” Here’s a clue, don’t waste your breath. If I’ve told you I wasn’t having another child, chances are very good that’s it. And you should from there on out, drop it.
  3. Do Not Tell Us How Spoiled She Is/Is Not
    As the parents of an only child we are acutely aware of the “spoiled” factor. We already work 100 times harder at NOT making them spoiled and do not need any helpful reminders. In fact, what you perceive as spoiling (due to the fact that you have multiples) might just be a benefit of having an only child. We parents of only children can spend on one child and it might appear to you it’s more than you would spend on two (or, more). But, we don’t have two to purchase for, we have one. And that one is as much a part of our budgeting as your multiples. Besides we know there are things better than things, don’t you? They are called experiences.
  4. Do Not Try To Convince Us About the Value of Brothers/Sisters/Siblings
    We have heard our share of only child future horror stories. Stop it. Our only doesn’t have sibilings but, she does have cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents. She has friends, too. Perish the thought. She will not be “alone in the world”. If we’ve raising her the best we know how, she will stand on her own two feet. She find someone to share her life and she will not be alone in the world.
  5. Do Not Imply That I Am Being Selfish By Having Only One Child
    The world has billions of people in it. And the world’s population grows larger each day. Just because we had an only doesn’t mean we are being selfish. In fact, quite the opposite. Having an only gives us an edge that parents of multiples might not know. The parents outnumber the children… and that’s a great thing. The odds are in our favor.
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Are you the parent of an only child? What have people “shared” with you?

2 Responses

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes that’s just the way it works out. Says nothing about our parental capabilities OR what type of child we will raise as parents of an only child.

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