Please Don’t Be Afraid of Our Only ChildPosted: December 13, 2012
Joe and I are continually asked, “So, when are you having the next one?” and we are always astonished by the reaction we get when we say, “we aren’t”. Everyone has an opinion about only children and we have heard it all. After we state that our Funny is the only Funny that we will be having, the person who asked the question usually has a look on their face which you would expect to see had you dyed your hair purple, painted your face green and showed up on their doorstep on a Sunday morning in your footsie pajamas. I promise people, you do not have to be afraid of us, we come in peace. We mean you no harm and our only child is nothing to be afraid of.
Some of the comments we have heard are quite humorous!
- Oh, you’re having an “only”? (person usually has a sad look on their face…not sure why)
- Your child will be spoiled
- Your child won’t know how to interact with other children
- Your child will be lonely
- You’re mean to do that to your child
- He must have been a really difficult baby (nope, quite the opposite)
- Is he a challenging toddler? (not yet…keeping our fingers crossed)
- You must not have liked being pregnant
- Was childbirth really hard for you? (this one cracks me up…who is childbirth easy for?)
- Watch out…he may be socially inept
- Is it because you want to work? You’ll regret that.
- Who will he play with?
- Make sure you don’t give him too much attention (things that make you go…hmmmmm)
- Only children are not good at sharing
- That’s selfish
Long before Joe and I had our wonderful Funny we decided that we only wanted one. We knew going into this that ONE was the right number for us. It may not be the right number for you, but it is for us. I don’t look at families with multiple children and go, “Oh, those poor kids, those parents probably don’t give each of their children enough attention”. Both of us grew up in households with three children. I am the oldest of 3 girls and Joe is the youngest of 3 boys. We know the joys of having siblings and we can also recount times in our lives when our siblings made us not so joyful.
I have read a lot about only children and most of what society thinks about only children can be blamed on one psychologist named Granville Stanley Hall. In his findings, Hall stated that only children are misfits who possess odd behavioral characteristics. He went on to say that being an only child is a disease in itself. Really?!?! A Disease! Odd behavioral characteristics! I can almost certainly promise you that no matter what, our Funny would have odd behavioral characteristics….have you met us?!
Of course, many psychologists have worked to disprove Hall’s claim about only children, but it’s always a better story when it’s negative or else we would all tune in to the evening news to hear stories of kittens being rescued from trees.
Many articles I have read regarding only children state that parents of only children need to concentrate on teaching the child how to share, compromise and show consideration of others. Now, I am no psychologist, but I assumed as a parent I would teach my child these lessons whether they be an only child or not. I actually know some parents of multiple children where I don’t think this has been taught…just saying.
Joe recently recommended a podcast to me where they were discussing raising children and one of the hosts (Merlin Mann) was stating that he and his wife have decided that they have one daughter and that is good enough for them and this is his response when people ask, “just the one?”
“21 years of day and night responsibility, fear, anxiety, pants crapping, destiny changing, pain in the butt, gut wrenching, hair pulling, eye tearing, fear and doubt for one child is plenty. I think that’s enough.”
I loved this response. I may adopt it as my own.
So, when you see us coming down the street don’t be a afraid, we are just like you….we love our kid, we only want the best for him and we aren’t bad people, I promise. We love being parents; our Funny is our world and the best thing that ever happened to us….once.
1. the podcast referenced is called “Back to Work” and it’s on the 5by5 network.