I have a friend who is due to have his second kid any day now. I have several other friends who already have two kids, and another friend who is actively gunning for a third.
All this while my wife and I are sitting here, kinda-sorta feeling okay with just the one.
But is that okay with everyone else? More importantly, is it okay for our son? It’s the only child conundrum!
I’ve always thought that I’d never want to raise an only child. Not only does having just one kid increase the odds of raising a selfish, spoiled douchebag, but I liked growing up with brothers, and I like the idea of my son having a younger sibling. The built-in camaraderie, the automatic companion, the frequent sparring partner; these things appeal to me and, I suspect, would be good for him.
(Disclaimer: I am not a scientist. And I am fully aware that many of the “Only Children Are Evil” theories have been wildly debunked. But regardless of whether it’s a stereotype or factually supported, it’s still a prevalent enough belief that I think it’s a definite consideration for parents struggling with having only one kid.)
Obviously, not every “only child” turns out bad. But it seems logical that growing up without having to share toys or cake or clothes with a sibling, or without having to compete for love or for leftovers – without having to deal with all the stuff that comes with having a brother or a sister – would fundamentally change the way a person interacts with others later on, even if only a little bit. Growing up in a contained environment with a sibling or two would seem to serve as a nice little training ground for future interaction with the rest of the world.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that siblings will turn out to be best friends, or friends at all. In fact, later in life, your siblings can grow to be a burden, or an obligation forced upon you because of blood ties and little else. At the very least, there will always be a connection there, and that can be a valuable thing, especially as you get older. But life is unpredictable, and who knows if you’re setting your kids up with a support system or just some extra baggage? What if we suddenly toss a Cain into the ring with our beautiful little Abel?
That’s a lot to chew on.
Aside from people that have a bug up their ass about overpopulation and/or hate their siblings, the general consensus out there seems be that having just one kid (by choice) is a bad thing. But not everyone feels that way, and there are more and more studies coming out that dispute the stereotypes surrounding only-child syndrome. Now that I have one kid, I have some practical knowledge of what being a parent is like. As such, some of my preconceptions have been challenged.
This blog is about how having a kid has impacted my life, both good and bad. I trend towards the bad here, because, frankly, it’s funnier, and also because – while it’s easy to get parents to gush about their kids – it’s hard to get them to admit it the less-then-glamorous truths of parenting. And there are a lot of less-than-glamorous truths. But there’s a lot of better-than-expected truths too. It’s difficult and fun and exhausting and exhilarating and frustrating and hilarious and boring and exciting and everything in between. But most of all having a kid is incredibly draining and incredibly rewarding.
But will that balance – that balance this blog makes a big deal about maintaining – remain if we have more?
We’ll cover that tomorrow, in part 2.