It’s okay to only want one child. Really, it is. Most of the information we’ve heard spouted about only children, such as they’ll be lonely, selfish or bossy, are simply myths. Studies show being an only child causes zero psychological damage.
Kids are expensive. CNN Money estimates it costs nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child to age 18. A few financial benefits to just having one include:
- Fewer diapers
- Only one preschool (and then college) tuition
- One wedding to pay for
- A small grocery bill
- Lower insurance premiums
It allows you to provide more experiences.
Since your overall expenses are lower with just one child, many parents are able to provide more experiences. Expenses like summer camp, private school, gymnastics lessons and sports teams are possible for some families simply because they only have one child.
One child means just one opinion.
Amy Satler Watson is the mom of three, but her sister has an only child. Amy says, “When my sister comes to visit with her one child, she is always surprised by how much refereeing and mediating I have to do between my kids. My mom had five and said it was the same for her. Nobody ever wants to do the same thing, eat the same thing or go the same places. I would say at least 80% of my parenting is handling disagreements between kids. With one, there’s none of that.”
Only children often learn to entertain themselves.
Children with siblings get used to constantly having a playmate around and rely on mom and dad to entertain them if they find themselves home alone. Only children have no choice but to learn to develop their own interests and find things to do on their own. That doesn’t mean they don’t need and want adult attention, however, they don’t crave it 24/7, which will leave you free to read a book or chat on Facebook uninterrupted.
Single kids travel well.
Of course, traveling is much cheaper with just one child since less airfare, theme park tickets, restaurant meals, etc. are required. It’s also generally fairly easy to take one kid with you wherever you go – from the grocery store to the ballet. Only kids are used to adults as their primary role models, so they generally do well in public settings – especially if they have a book or electronic device in hand.
So how do kids feel about being the only child? Amanda Melagrano says her 12-year-old daughter used to ask for a sibling when she was younger, but now that she’s spent time with friends who have brothers and sisters she really values her alone time. The family combats loneliness by allowing their daughter to bring a friend along on trips. Colleen Payne adds that the greatest benefit to her daughter is, “she knows for sure she’s my favorite child.”