Ten Things to never say to a parent of an only child

My daughter is an only child; by conscious choice. Though I’m generally open on my blog as to why my husband and I only have one child, I don’t discuss it in public simply due to the long explanation involved. I choose to keep it brief “It’s for medical reasons”. However, for years after we had Kathryn, we were asked, even by close friends and relatives, many questions. Some of them were ignorant. Some of them were hurtful, especially since George and I are both only children ourselves. 

And so, I compiled a list of questions that I beg of you to never ask me, or any other parent of an only child:

1) When do you plan to have another?
Just because we have a child, does not automatically mean another is in the works. Ever.

2) Aren’t you concerned about his/her socialization? I mean he/she MUST have a sibling or else they’ll be lonely!
No. I’m not concerned, actually. I’m living proof that a child does not NEED siblings in order to be a functional part of our society. I’m not lonely. I have friends. I have family. I’m alright. Sometimes, I actually prefer to be by myself. My child has several friends and plays with them daily. She is also quite involved in extracurricular activities.

3) Aren’t you worried that your child will be spoiled?
I know children (and adults!) who are part of a large family who are much more spoiled than mine. The spoiled only child is a myth. Many times, you can’t tell if an adult has siblings or not, can you?

4) Why did you chose to have just one child?
Every parent of an only child has their own reasons. Perhaps medical reasons prevented them from having another, despite trying. Perhaps it was a conscious choice to just have one. Perhaps the parent isn’t telling you about another child that has passed on?

5) Since you have just one, you must have plenty of time to…
No. No, I don’t. I work full time, I come home to loads of laundry, a dirty floor, pets and dinner to cook, just like you. I dream about an afternoon that I can lay in the back yard and just read or knit. That has not happened yet this summer.

6) Have you thought of adoption?
Not to be snarky, however, if adoption was an option, or even something we wanted to do as a couple, do you think we would have pursued it by now?

7) You really need to even the score in your home and have a girl/boy
No. No I don’t. I had a feeling my first child would be a girl even back in high school. I’m happy with one. We don’t need the even balance, and the daughter we have is good enough. We don’t need a ‘spare’ child either. Children are not like tires. They’re not for switching out every 10-thousand miles.

8) Well, what is she going to do when you guys get old or die?
The way I see it, it’s really not of anyone’s concern but ours. Additionally, though it is something that weighs on the minds of my husband and myself for not just Kathryn, but ourselves, we figure we will cross that bridge when we are faced with the same situation ourselves.

9) You only have one child? You must take plenty of family trips!
Having just one child doesn’t automatically mean you have more money than a family of two or three children. For the most part, I remember family vacations as a part of moving across the country. Sometimes my family could afford a trip. Sometimes, we could not. The same goes for us now that we’re adults. George and I aren’t richer because we only have one set of uniforms to buy or one list of school supplies, or even one list to worry about at Christmas.

10) Don’t you long for another?
Before my husband and I made the choice to have another “final”, I made sure the longing for another subsided. It was not a decision we took lightly. We felt that it was the best decision for Kathryn, my health and our marriage.


About gespurr

Emily was born in Southwestern Louisiana and has moved over 20 times in her life through nine different states. Most of her life was spent in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where she met her husband and had her only child. Both she and her husband are also only children. She graduated from Stillwater (MN) High School in 1992 and from the University of Wisconsin in 1997 with a BS in Journalism. Three years later, she met her husband, George, and they married in 2002. Their daughter, Kathryn, was born early in 2004. She relocated with her family back to Arkansas in 2005 after being away for 30 years. She currently works as a customer service representative for an insurance company and lives in North Little Rock. When not taking care of her daughter she is either cooking, working, cleaning house, sewing, gardening, knitting, crocheting hiking, traveling or spending time with her husband.

Posted on August 28, 2013, in Family & Marriage, Kathryn, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Brandy Haldeman

    Excellently put and well said!! Speaking as a highly socialized and functioning adult, only child… I have been asked many of those questions about my own parents decisions as to why I don’t have siblings and even as an adult it is annoying at times. We are a special breed, us only kids, we have bonds with our parents that no other person can understand. We see the world differently at times but we are self-sufficient and resourceful people. We are not a group to be pitied or labeled as spoiled or over-indulged, as mentioned above, I, as well, can provide a long list of overly spoiled and far more overly indulged children and now adults than any of the only children I know.

    Thank you for sharing Emily Kate, the world needs to hear this! 🙂

  2. Well-written. As another “only raising an only” I completely agree with you. As far as being “alone” after your parents pass away, I can assure you that I am not alone even though both of mine are gone. I have my husband and my son and they are my family now. When Sean was young and people would ask us that he would look them square in the eye and say, “They’re not potato chips, you know. It *is* possible to have just one.” LOL

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