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It is Perfectly Fine to Have Just One Child

Updated on June 3, 2016
ErinElise about five months old.
ErinElise about five months old.

Making The Choice To Have Only One Child Is Not A Bad Thing

Many people believe that having an only child isn't fair to the child; that the child will grow up an adult who is dysfunctional in some way. There are a bunch of negative stereotypes that people believe about only children such as the child will be spoiled, selfish, lonely, dependent, nerdy, wimpy and more. But in my opinion, these stereotypes simply aren't true. It doesn't take someone who is an only child to be any of those things and actually, there are many advantages to having only one child for both the parents and the child.

I Am An Only Child

Growing up and living as the only child, I know firsthand how it is to be an only child. I have heard people say time and again that they wouldn't want to do "that" to their child. What does "that" mean? That they would be able to give that one child much more than they could give multiple children, emotionally, physically and financially. That they could focus more attention on the one child rather than having to divide the focus between multiple children. That they could sit down and help that one child with homework rather than having to help multiple children. That they could afford to help the child with a car, with college, and more? The list goes on.

It isn't wrong to have just one child. Having only one child does not constitute doing something bad to the child, at least in my opinion. Growing up as an only child isn't a negative thing like some people believe. I can say for 100 percent certainty that having only one child will not cause a child to turn out dysfunctional, self-absorbed, selfish, or otherwise. Those things are seen in people with siblings and without and they're generally caused by poor parenting skills, environment, and other things, not the amount of siblings a person has or doesn't have. Not having siblings doesn't cause a child to grow up to be dependent, spoiled, or generally messed up.

Don't feel like you're doing something wrong by only having one child. It turns out, at least I believe, that it's actually a good thing in some respects.

Children don't even really notice the difference because it's always been that way. And by the time they do, they will be old enough to understand the reasons you chose to have only one child.

To me, being an only child was good. I mean, it was normal. One thing I want to say is that being an only child does not make a person lonely. I was not lonely. I mean, if I was, I don't think it has had any negative effects on me. In fact, I didn't even really realize the difference until I got older. And, then once I was of a certain age, I was glad to be an only child. For a lot of reasons.

Growing up as an only child probably was not much different than growing up with siblings. Except, there were no siblings. But, I got blamed for things that I didn't do, I had sibling rivalry with my two cousins sometimes during the summer, I had chores at home, sometimes I got in trouble, normal things. Don't think by having an only child that the child is doomed to a life of loneliness or anything else. I promise, it's not a bad thing. That's my opinion.

Now, I have four kids of my own and sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. But please don't get me wrong, I love them, don't get me wrong. Oh, there is one disadvantage to being an only child, I can see, at least for me, is that I require daily quiet time and I need to have alone time sometimes. I feel like my house is so noisy and messy all the time. Growing up, it was the total opposite.

My mom, dad and me.
My mom, dad and me.

Having Only One Child Is Becoming More Common

These days, the average family size is getting smaller and smaller and having one child is much more common than it once was. Since the 1960s, the number of families with only one child has doubled -- nearly 20 percent of families have just one child. This is mainly due to the economy, but also due to the fact that people don't believe the stereotypes from the past about only children. Other factors include a higher divorce rate, an increase in infertility, couples are waiting longer to have children, worry about the future and the environment, and more.

This is a photo of my friend Margaret (stripes) and me (blue) probably about 1973.
This is a photo of my friend Margaret (stripes) and me (blue) probably about 1973.

Only Children Make Friends Just As Easily As Children With Siblings

People often feel that only children are shy or withdrawn and therefore they don't make friends as easily as children with siblings. However, several studies have shown that only children make friends just as easily as kids with siblings and they have just as many friends. They are just as active socially as other children and join just as many clubs and organizations.

Disadvantages Of Having Only One Child

I figured since I included the advantages, I should probably include the disadvantages too. There are a few less disadvantages, they are:

From personal experience, here are some disadvantages to having an only child:

  • Sometimes the child gets bored.
  • They often want friends to go on family trips.
  • The child may ask the parents to adopt or have another baby.
  • Jealousy toward stepparent relationships.
  • Expects to keep mom all to themselves.
  • Can feel like an outsider when around friends that have a lot of siblings.
  • Unfamiliar with sibling relationships.
  • People always ask when there's going to be another child.
  • People ask questions like "Why you would want to 'do that' to your child?".
  • The child sometimes acts older than their age. (Disadvantage?)
  • People without siblings are less familiar with conflict.

Advantages To Having One Child

There are several advantages to having only one child. Such as:

  • You can focus all of your energy on just one instead of spreading it between children.
  • Sending one child to college is much cheaper.
  • There's less worry having only one child driving rather than multiple children.
  • There are studies that prove only children are better students.
  • Only children have higher levels of intelligence.
  • Only children are more mature.
  • Only children are more helpful and obedient.
  • Only children are good at keeping themselves occupied.
  • Only children love to read books.
  • Childcare costs less when you're only paying for one child.
  • Private school is affordable for just one child.
  • Only children have a much better bond with their parents.


One thing scary to me now is being an only child and watching my parents grow old and knowing it's just me that has to worry about it. But, they don't live too far away from me so I will do whatever it takes. Luckily my oldest son is 19, so he can hopefully help too when the time comes.

Thanks for reading my hub and I hope you have a great day or night.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions? Want To Say Hi?

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    • ErinElise profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      Hi One&Done, I apologize for taking so long to respond to you. I've been busy with school and kids of course LOL. I would love for you to reference my hub, thank you. I appreciate your nice comments and I hope you have a great weekend. If you would like more information or to chat, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks again, Erin

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi! I just came across this post, and thought it was great - my husband and I are starting a blog on where or not we're going to have an 'only' and I'd love to reference this - I like that you're an only who decided to have four of your own(!!) and the perspective you take.

    • ErinElise profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      Hi Sophia Angelique, what a pretty name! Thanks for reading my hub. Your daughter sounds like such a joy! You must be a great mommy to be raising a daughter so wonderful. Erin

    • ErinElise profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      Hi Rema,

      Thanks for reading my hub and following me. I'm following you now too. Your friend is right about that and I decided to add something like that under my disadvantages of having only one child. It is harder to deal with conflict situations because only children never have that at home with siblings. Thanks again, Erin

    • ErinElise profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      Hi Alur, you're right, care, love and a good foundation do generally build a healthy child no matter if there are one or five. Thanks for reading my hub and I'm going to read some of yours. Erin

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Erin,

      You do have a point here. But I have heard a friend say that her child mentions that she would have been better off with a sibling to play/fight with, the idea having got into her head from her friends' experiences at home.

      I do however agree with you that only children are no different from children with siblings in their manners and attitude. Nice hub. I am sharing it with my followers on HP for more people to be enlightened by it. Cheers, Rema.

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 

      6 years ago

      My 'only' child is popular, responsible, generous towards others, and loved by all. I have often received compliments for the wonderful person she is. In fact, I quite envy her... I wish I could be like that! :)

    • vbernsd profile image


      6 years ago from Stockton, CA

      We are raising an only child. Thanks for allaying my fears. Danny is 3.5 and we are trying to supplement the lack of siblings with many hours at the daycare center having fun with other children.

    • ErinElise profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      I agree with you. Thanks for reading my hub and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • wyomom123 profile image

      Allison Felton 

      6 years ago

      HI, I really enjoyed your hub, although I don't have any first hand experience being an only child, I think good parenting is good parenting. Regardless of the number of children.

    • ErinElise profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      Hi and thank you do much for reading my hub. I am so glad that you liked it. I am also an only child and I agree that others should know we aren't those negative things people say. Only children are great and I'm glad we both (and many others) have had the privilege to be an only. Thank you again and have a great day. .

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      I am an only child. Thank you for writing this. We onlies need to educated the sibling population that we are just as good as them. Most people have negative perceptions of only children as spoiled, lonely, and other pejorative stereotypes. Well, we are not! We are happy. We are healthy. We are interactive with others. Great hub which should be required reading for all! God does answer prayer!

    • ALUR profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      People often blame children, one or more on their own failures. We as parents forgot we are the ones choosing to breed these humans into a complex world. We must remember healthy children(unless predisposed to ill genes or disease) generally are apt to be healthy adults if the parents simply allow them to "be" without putting on them EXTRA-ordinary measures. Care, love and a good foundation build a generally healthy child.

      You're welcome to read/rate my hubs as well:)


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