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Grans who had an only child...

(108 Posts)
LondonGal87 Tue 26-Jul-22 12:35:43

Did you ever regret you decision or would you do anything differently (if you could) I'm thinking of sticking with one but wondering if I'll regret not having more in the future...

Thank you x

nightowl Sun 07-Aug-22 13:22:47

As others have said, it’s when you’re an adult that it really hits home. Being the only one to support ailing parents, make decisions on their behalf (including being asked about DNR), sitting by their bedside as they die, clearing their (and your) home and clearing away your own childhood is perhaps the loneliest time of your life. And then to realise there is no one left who shares your memories, it feels as though a part of you has died with them.

I’m sorry to be so negative, it’s sad when there is no choice, but I was always determined that I would never wish my experience on anyone.

MissAdventure Sun 07-Aug-22 13:25:10

I think there are ad many problems in larger families.
They're just different ones.

Blondiescot Sun 07-Aug-22 14:06:13

nightowl

As others have said, it’s when you’re an adult that it really hits home. Being the only one to support ailing parents, make decisions on their behalf (including being asked about DNR), sitting by their bedside as they die, clearing their (and your) home and clearing away your own childhood is perhaps the loneliest time of your life. And then to realise there is no one left who shares your memories, it feels as though a part of you has died with them.

I’m sorry to be so negative, it’s sad when there is no choice, but I was always determined that I would never wish my experience on anyone.

I honestly don't think having a sibling would have made that any easier.

nightowl Sun 07-Aug-22 14:34:27

Maybe not Blondiescot but none of us will ever know the other experience will we?

DillytheGardener Sun 07-Aug-22 14:45:27

I don’t know, my sons are not close at all. One is a mummy’s boy & one is very independent. They are only a couple of years apart, I wouldn’t say they don’t like each other but they have very little in common and only really talk to each other in full family zooms (which are very rare).
They both live in abroad in different countries, but I can’t see their relationship developing further.
It is partly my own fault, the youngest one was clingy and I pandered to him which led to the elder brother becoming resentful and putting his energy into his relationship with his group of friends and growing away from his brother.
If you do have another, my advice is to be very very careful of playing favourites, it’s so easy to do. Took me therapy to realise my mistakes.

DillytheGardener Sun 07-Aug-22 14:55:25

*in my defence I thought I was being fair, I spent exactly the same monetarily on them both, but I made one do chores, but then cooked, did washing, ironing, housework for the younger son till his mid twenties, which I wouldn’t have let the elder get away with. I also used to defend him, I think I always saw him as my baby and didn’t realise the damage I was doing to their brotherly relationship.

GrannySomerset Sun 07-Aug-22 14:59:23

Brave post, Dilly. As parents we can only do the best as we see it at the time.

DillytheGardener Sun 07-Aug-22 16:10:13

Exactly GrannySomerset , I was blind to any criticism of playing favourites as he is so helpless next to my capable and independent elder son, I didn’t realise I’d babied the younger into being completely hopeless.
My sons are both very polite and kind to animals so most of the fundamentals are right, I just wish I’d seen the situation from an outsiders eyes at time to avoid some parenting pitfalls we are all easily guilty of.

bytheway Sun 07-Aug-22 16:29:07

I’m the youngest of 5, and whilst I adore my siblings I only ever wanted one child. I had virtually no attention from my parents (well very little) they were always busy at work and 2 of my siblings were big attention seekers so demanded as much as they could get from my parents. I learnt early to live without attention…and still do.

Ultimately I was never close to them, still not (my mother passed some years ago) my Dad is still alive but very elderly and we have nothing to talk about…it’s hard.

Anyway, that’s why I only wanted one, so I am close to my son. Conversely I ended up divorced and remarried when my son was 6 and had 3 lovely step children, so I’m pretty sure my son would say he wasn’t lonely.

sodapop Sun 07-Aug-22 16:39:00

I think it's a mistake to assume that only children are lonely and often introverted. I found I had to be independent and make my own amusement either alone or with friends. I never had to share books, toys clothing etc so in some ways a privileged childhood. I don't remember being bored, always books to read, bike to go out on etc if I looked at a loose end I was always given a job to do.
My husband has several siblings and they rarely contact each other now.

Serendipity22 Sun 07-Aug-22 16:58:23

Hello smile I am an only child and i can honestly say that I have never hankered over wanting siblings. It was what it was and instilled in me to paddle my own canoe.

I fly solo ( not literally haha ) and conduct my life solo, meaning I dont need anyone to fight my battles.

Saying alllll that, I have 3 half siblings from birth mother and 3 half siblings from natural father but in all honestly I do not need them in my life, that sounds negative, I dont mean it to, im just meaning that Im happy as I am.

Right, saying THAT, I have 6 grandchildren and its FANNNNNNNTASTIC.

Don't allow regrets to hamper what you have now. X

smilesmilesmile

Goldbeater1 Sun 07-Aug-22 22:03:19

You didnt exactly upset me, but the words 'did you ever regret your decision' assumed choice. Secondary infertility is really hard and not many people realize how common it used to be (still is?). Thanks for mentioning it though.

Goldbeater1 Sun 07-Aug-22 22:09:49

What a lovely post and so helpful.

Carenza123 Mon 08-Aug-22 05:59:35

I am an only one and I was lonely as a child. My parents couldn’t have any more children as my father had progressive medical illnesses. I am quite happy in my own company but now I am older I wish I had siblings. Because of my situation, I was determined to have more than one child.

JdotJ Tue 09-Aug-22 11:30:21

I'm an only, as was my dad. I was determined to have more than one child and, to this day, nearing retirement age, I hate being an only one.

LJP1 Tue 09-Aug-22 11:36:46

Warning - may be contentious -
Do you want your genes to pass into the next generation?

We had 2 and long-term fostered 2 - exhausting but worthwhile.

Grantanow Tue 09-Aug-22 11:42:06

I think the fact of being an only child (as I was) is not the main point: it's what you tell yourself then and now about being one (and how you interpret what others say about it). Rather like the glass half full and half empty. I think in my case it had and has pros and cons like most other things in life.

JuBut Tue 09-Aug-22 11:58:20

I only have 1 child, my daughter. Even though we planned for more, it never happened. But we love her very much, she had lots of cousins and friends so was never lonely. She went everywhere with us and we never regretted any of it. She has a little boy herself and he is such a precious grandson.

GraceQuirrel Tue 09-Aug-22 12:11:04

I come from a long line of only children on my mothers side and I also have an only child (son) myself. I’ve always thought of it as what you’ve never had you don’t miss kind of scenario. Only have my mum now and when she’s gone I doubt my son will look after me (he rarely visits now though we get on). So I do ponder my future and having absolutely nobody but me sad

Lizzies Tue 09-Aug-22 12:11:52

After fighting with my sister(not seriously)throughout my childhood and knowing my own limitations, we only had one daughter. She was happy on her own, but she grew up to be a confident young woman with lots of friends who now has two boys of her own and understands about the fighting!

Saggi Tue 09-Aug-22 12:11:59

One of my friends is an only child ….. and she only had the one son ( not by choice) …. I’ve never met two more needy , selfish, expectant people in my life . I like them both …but they have absolutely no idea about how others are feeling and no empathy with anyone! I had my daughter then two miscarriages … but struggled on with twice weekly injections to keep my fourth pregnancy…my son! Never regretted that decision once, And , icing on the cake ….they get on famously! Don’t stick at one …if you can have another. So much company for each other….and when the parents are gone , they will have memories to share with each other. Singles haven’t got that!

grandmaz Tue 09-Aug-22 12:16:21

I’m with several posters here…was an only child of a widowed mother who did remarry …my new dad had two much older boys who became my step brothers but the age gap was just too wide …they seemed like adults to me. I was a quiet and quite lonely little girl and had trouble making friends, much as I wanted to. I’d have loved a brother or sister close in age but as my mother was 40 when I was born and 46 when she remarried, it was never going to happen. I do love my stepbrothers but they were never playmates. I grew up as quite a serious and worrisome person but went on to marry and have five children of my own…now nine grandchildren…and none of the grandchildren are ‘onlys’. Of course it’s personal choice and it’s fair to say that these days there are so many more opportunities for all children to mix and mingle and form friendships even way before school starts. I’ve never ever regretted having my five …yes money has been very tight, but when I see all of the family together on the rare occasions that we can manage that…it warms my heart to see their closeness, despite very different lifestyles…whatever life throws at them, they’ll always have a band of brothers and sister who have their back. smile

Juicylucy Tue 09-Aug-22 12:29:49

I’m an only child my father wanted to be able to give me everything. I had a very happy childhood and didn’t miss having a sibling, however since being an adult it’s now I feel I’d like a sibling.

Quizzer Tue 09-Aug-22 12:54:17

I was an only child and probably wasn’t aware that I was missing out until I was an adult. I have always been sorry that I don’t have a sibling relationship - ok I know they are not always perfect.
I vowed that I would not have an only child myself. We have 3 boys who all live distantly from each other but still have a close relationship.

Coco51 Tue 09-Aug-22 13:03:35

I wish I had been an only child. My parents misguidedly thought if anything happend to them I wouldn’t be alone, so had my sister when I was eight. She has fraudulently stolen money my mother left to me.