Is an Only Child almost always more lonely/sad?

Is it almost inevitable that an only child will be lonely and sad more than other children and it’s therefore a little cruel not to give him/her a brother or sister?

  • I’m an only child and I say yes.
  • I’m an only child and I say no.
  • I’m not an only child and I say yes.
  • I’m not an only child and I say no.

0 voters

We’ve got one beautiful little girl and are deliberating whether to give her a little brother or sister.

For a little boy or girl to have a brother/sister, sure is more fun. However I don’t think not having one or more than one will make that boy/girl sad or lonely. I have seen my share of brothers/sisters who were maybe 3, 5 or 6 of them and there was a lot of sadness and lonelyness in those famillies.
One child in a family can be very happy when he does feel part of that familly and when parents do include him in their circles, but if the child is often told to go in his room and play or do things on his own, when he wants to be with the parents or do things as part of family then loneliness and sadness sets in. IMO.

I don’t think that single children are all lonley and sad. I also don’t necessarily have completely happy memories of my relations with my sister - but I do think that having a siblings adds another important level of interaction to the child’s life. Also, there is someone else there for them as a close friend as they grow up.

As a parent your life will get both easier and harder as a) now your taking care of two b) they now can play with eachother rather than just you c) they’ll fight - naturally d) requires more $$$

If possiblet, ry to avoid “irish” twins - our are 13 months apart which can be a bit too close.

As an only child, I vote yes, we CAN be more lonely and sad. However, I actually relish time away from other people. It’s good for me.

Growing up, My family lived 40 km from the nearest town and I remember wishing I had somebody to play with. It was a pain in the ass for my parents to drive me to the nearest playmate.

I guess I’m just not a social butterfly. I have a half brother and a half sister that I could care less about, now.

A lot has to do with your parenting skills, I guess.

If I ever get lucky enough to sire children, I hope to have two. I think it may be a benefit to thier social development. But I don’t know.

I think Taiwan has a good infrastructure for family things, and it would be easy for children to meet others.

Good question.

I have one son and I used to ponder this often. However, I think as long as you make an extra effort to let the kid meet and play with other kids and accept that friendships are highly important for normal interacting, while also trying to incoporate them into what you are doing (while they are still young enough to want to), it’s not a problem.

I’m interested to hear from more like Canuckytuck.


Good point about how it may not be such a major issue in Taiwan, with it’s great population density. There are always lots of playmates close by. But we may move back to the States in a few years and be spread farther apart from others.

There’s also the issue of when I’m an old fart, whiling away my golden years, it might be nice to have two loving children (with great accomplishments I can boast to my friends about) to dote on me and not just one. :wink:

Recently a German friend of mine who lives in Berlin with his Taiwanese wife and two children said something on point. He sent me family photos, including one funny one of the three year-old daughter smiling because she had just covered her toddler brother, who was also smiling, with stickers. I told him they looked very happy together and he replied that giving her a younger brother was the best gift they could possibly have given her.

We have 2 boys with just over 2 years age difference, and I think it is double joy. They entertain each other, encourage each other, tease and fight, and seems to be good friends.
Yes, Taiwan is densly populated, but we did not want the kids to go by themself outside our aparment complex, to visit friends, before the oldest was 10 years old and promised to look after the younger one. Because we are such lazy and busy parents, the boys learned to entertain themself at home and invite friends over to our place to play.

I would vote “go for it”.

One is fun.
Two is work.
Three? :loco:

Our son isn’t lonely or sad, although he does ask for me to play with him a lot. Which isn’t bad, just bad when I’m watching baseball…as in the end of the game. :s

He is very independent and creative, which is cool. He doesn’t sit in front of the TV hours on end…not when he could be happily smashing his toys cars together. :slight_smile:

[quote]Bill Cosby wrote:
If a person only has one child, I don’t really consider them to be a parent. Because, for instance, if something’s broken in the house, you already know who did it. [/quote]


We are in exactly the same dilemna. We have a wonderful daughter who was the easiest baby imaginable, and is a really great kid, but we do worry that she will be lonely later on. As it is, the only social interaction she has with other short people is at school, and because we live in a very small city, there are no other foreign kids her age to play with, so she never speaks English to kids either.

My husband and I are both the youngest children in our families by four years, although both sets of our older siblings are failrly close together, so we both feel as though we grew up as only children anyway, me more so because I am an only daughter.

I have bittersweet moments when I watch my daughter play by herself, on the one hand I am amazed at her imagination, but on the other hand I think it would be really great if she could share that with a sibling. The other thing I worry about is whether we’d be able to guve a second child the same opportnuities that we’ve been able to give our daughter thus far.

All of that being said, I think that only children adapt and their eventual happiness lies soley in their parenting. So far we have raised a happy, independent and outgoing little girl whom we don’t think is lacking in anything because she does not have a sibling.

I think it all comes down to the first kid’s personality. However, it is sheer joy to watch your kids interact. Kind of a head of the pack kind of angle.


“Ah, yes Ober-Wan! The younglings,” (stupiest word ever), “are arranging their hierarchy and tiers!”

“Good work, carry on. Now we shall Divide And Rule! {Evil laugh here}”

I personally can’t wait till my 1 year old daughter [GAININ’ On Ya!} creeps up on her older brother by 4 years, and gives him a damn good thrashing
on account of his laissez faire attitude with her space in general and her skull in particular.

I’m an only-child and I think I’m neither more sad nor more lonely. Growing up, when it got dark out and all the kids in the neighborhood went in for the night, I had to learn how to keep myself entertained. I was and still am certainly more introverted then as a result, but now I’m never bored. I think it also helped me in that, like being the eldest sibling, I had to earn my reputation rather than inheriting it. As for being sad or happy, I’m not overwhelmingly either. I enjoy my life and I’ve always been satisfied with it. I think a big concern should be about teaching only-children to share or to not be selfish. Another concern is making sure only-chldren get involved in team sports or other group activities.

We have a seven year old, and are thinking of having another before it gets too much later. I remember doing a poll similar to this with my friends who were ‘onlys’. The overwhelming comment I got was “I loved being an only as a child, for all the benefits, but I hate being an only now that my parents are getting older. There’s no one to share my concerns with etc. not to mention the workload.”

Your situation almost requires a separate poll, in addition to this one. My brother and his wife had a son, then waited 10 years before having another one (due to personal issues that eventually were completely resolved). Every situation is different – the parenting techniques, the personalities of the kids, etc. – but they had more than their share of troubles with the two kids spread so far apart.

We’ve all heard that children can get jealous when a younger baby’s born, but think how much worse when the older kid’s been the only child for 10 years. At least that’s how it was in their case. And the older kid is by then so much bigger that he can easily tease, torment and beat up the younger one without the younger one getting in any licks, which totally infuriates the younger one. At least that’s how it was with them. In fact, while they had some tender moments over the years, for the two of them it seems to have been mostly fighting and arguing until just recently (the older one just headed off for his freshman year of college) that the older one is now mature enough to treat his younger brother with respect and affection. At least that’s how it was with them. YMMV. And if your older child’s a girl it may be different. Good luck whatever you choose to do.

There’s a 14 month difference between me and my little sister and we fought like cats and dogs throughout our childhood. She was also my only consistent friend as we moved around a lot…and I mean a lot - I went to 4 different elementary schools. I don’t think only children are lonely if they are included in their family and have friends around to play with, but even with all the bickering I did with my brother and sister, I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

Mother Theresa, remember, you’re not just giving your little girl a sibling to play with. You’re giving yourselves another child to care for and love. If you think you’re ready for that, well…you don’t need us to tell you what to do. :slight_smile:

I feel similarly to ImaniOU. My younger brother and I are 20 months apart, and while we were at times “bitter enemies” during our childhood, the things we went through together (including moving a lot too) made us the best of friends.

I think that having a brother or sister rounds a child out in ways that “only-children” do not have access to. It enables them to begin interacting with others close to them in age very early.

Good times.

Besides, having a sibling gives kids great debating skills from an early age…they learn when all other arguments fail, there’s always one to fall back on:

The infamous…

Oh, have another one! I hear they’re fun to make… :smiling_imp:

I wanted another child partly because I didn’t want our first born to be the only biracial child at school etc. It’s nice for a young child to have someone they can relate to and to share similar experiences with. Taiwan can be a hard place to live for a biracial child and I believe having a sibling may make it easier. Just my two cents.