5 Things Never to Say to the Parent of an Only Child

August 12, 2020

August 12, 2020

I’ve seen several “Things Never to Say to the Parents of” types of articles regarding twins and multiples.  I thought it was time I posted my own. These are all things that have been said to me, leaving me wide-mouthed in disbelief.

“So you have JUST the one?”

I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean.  Are you saying my child somehow has less value because he has no siblings?  Or is it that I am lacking as a mother because he is my sole offspring?  You’re obviously indicating some sort of insufficiency, so if you’d be so kind as to clarify exactly what is missing, I’d greatly appreciate it.   

“Aren’t you afraid he’s going to be spoiled?”

I find this especially insulting.  All children have the potential to become spoiled, regardless of the number in the family.  Children become spoiled because the parents spoil them. Granted, being an only child most likely means receiving more individual attention than being in a bigger family. However, that does not equate to being spoiled.  In fact, research has addressed this issue directly and debunked it as a myth. What people fail to realize is that implying my only child will be spoiled is a direct attack on me and my parenting skills.  You are implying that I am too lenient in my discipline, that I coddle or pamper or overindulge him. So thanks. I appreciate your vote of confidence.

“What if he dies?  Then you won’t have any more children.”

To this I would like to respond: “Wow!  How fortunate you are that your children are interchangeable and that one can so easily replace the other! I’m sure your kids would feel really special knowing that if one of them died, it’s okay, because there are still some left.”  Suffice it to say, if you had a second child to ensure you won’t be childless in the event of a death, you’ve got issues, my friend.

    Or the equally ridiculous,

“If you and your husband both die, you’ll leave him to deal with everything all by himself.”

Because siblings work together harmoniously to smoothly divide the estate and the duties up fairly.  There is never any fighting, ill will, or huge problems that result from the death of parents.  And last I heard, you can’t divide up grief. 

“Can you not have any more children, or did you choose to stop at one?”

Um…really?! (And, yes, someone actually asked me this.)  Here’s a clue.  If you’re a person that I feel should know the answer, you already do. You don’t have to inquire. Also, I’m confused as to what value this information has to someone anyway.  If I had five miscarriages attempting to have another baby, would that make it more “legit” for me to have “just one” than if I reached the decision voluntarily?   

The bottom line is, I love my family, just as it is.  And if you ask my son, he would heartily agree. Last I checked, love doesn’t come with a number.

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