Home > Esmé, Fun Links > A One Child Household

A One Child Household

1024081350aAs Esmé gets older, people are starting to ask when Emily and I are planning on having more children. When we answer “never”, people are shocked that we would leave Esmé to face this brutal life alone. People give all sorts of reasons as to why Esmé needs a sibling. I like to counter that I am an only child, and I turned out okay but this doesn’t seem to really convince people.  Probably the most hurtful implication is that Emily and I are selfish for not wanting more children. There seems to be the undertone that we don’t want to give up any more of our time or money for another child, at Esmé’s expense. As another couple told Emily, “we want another baby for him. He needs a brother or sister”. Really? Says who? Many other people trot out the argument that only children are more likely to be spoiled, selfish, aggressive, and bossy. However, a study released in 2007 debunks most of these assumptions. Furthermore the article states that “a landmark 20-year study showed that increased one-on-one parenting produces higher education levels, higher test scores and higher levels of achievement”.  So there. And Susan Newman, a social psychologist at Rutgers University, debunks many more of the only child myths in her book  Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only.

 

In a way, I really don’t understand why there’s a certain stigma to only having one child. I almost understand why newlyweds are badgered about children, but why do certain people think that one and only one is not acceptable? Just as some couples choose not to have any children, some couples [like Emily and I] think that an only child is what is best for us. It’s difficult enough raising Esmé, making sure we’re doing everything we can for her, without the pressure and stress of wondering why we don’t feel the need for another baby.

 

I’ll end the post with this quote from Emily: “I don’t want to have any more children, but you might have plans for more children with other women. Poor Esmé. She’ll be the odd-kid-out in your next family.”

 

That’s the kind of love and trust we have in our marriage.

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Categories: Esmé, Fun Links
  1. March 11, 2009 at 6:55 am

    As a Child-Free American, I can somewhat understand your plight (especially as Jamie and I are no longer newlyweds). People don’t like it when you don’t hit the marks they’ve built up in their heads regarding family structure.

    While I do think number of kids does have some effect on how families operate (I mean, no kidding, right? You’ve seen Jon & Kate + 8), its also grating to hear the condescending tones from others who think their wisdom will bring something to the table that you haven’t already pondered. Because we think we’re magical beings rather than yet another organism, we forget that we have biological imperatives that make us say things like “he needs a brother or sister” to justify adding to our genetic sprawl, and everyone nodding in agreement.

    So I say to you, congratulations for throwing off the chains of biological imperative and doing what works for you and Team Esme.

  2. March 11, 2009 at 8:48 am

    To quiet the critics, see my discussions of only children (and their parents) at Psychology Today Magazine. You’ll find plenty of ammunition against those who tell you should have another children: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons

  3. Kristi B
    March 11, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    People and their “conventional wisdom” wear me out. You guys are absolutely not selfish for wanting only one child.

    Besides, you already have the cutest kid ever. If you had another one, he or she would inevitably end up with the “I’m not as good as my big sister” syndrome. Who wants to deal with that? ;)

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