You’re the happy and proud mother of one child. But for some reason, people can’t seem to understand or accept this. Whether it’s your mom, mother-in-law, best friend, or people you’ve never seen in your life, it seems that everyone feels comfortable urging you to have another.
They may insist that your child will be bratty, spoiled, bossy, neurotic, lonely, or otherwise defective. And you’re surely growing tired of having to defend your own reproductive and family decisions. Shouldn’t those be personal?
If you’d like to have a few go-to responses on hand for these pesky and persistent conversations, consider using a few of the approaches below.
The Polite Response
These responses are appropriate if you feel comfortable actually explaining and justifying your one-child decision, or if you prefer to handle the situation with polite kindness. They’re also appropriate with people you want to be particularly kind to (or are forced to be kind to) such as family, in-laws, or perhaps coworkers.
- “It’s just better for our family financially.”
- “[Name of child here] seems happy as an only child, and we think it’s the right decision for our family.”
- “My doctor says it wouldn’t be a good idea to go for a second child.”
- “We think it’ll be easier to balance our relationship, careers, and family if we only have one child. It’s going very well so far.”
- “[Partner’s name here] and I have both always wanted one child, and so far it seems like a good choice.”
- “We’re happy with one right now. If we change our minds, we’ll try again later.”
- “I’m sorry, but I think this is a personal choice and I’m not comfortable discussing it.”
- “We’ve talked about it, and we just don’t want any more kids.”
You can also say something that will end the conversation, like, “Maybe one day,” “You never know,” or, “If we’re meant to have another one, it’ll happen when it happens.” This will cause the person bothering you to leave you alone and stop being nosy. Of course, don’t say this if you’d feel more comfortable defending your (perfectly acceptable) decision.
The Research-Driven Response
Despite whatever beliefs someone may be throwing at you, the most current studies don’t support the idea that being an only child is a disadvantage. You could try to educate the person urging you to have another child, but be prepared for them to infuriatingly dismiss the following factual evidence.
- “Actually, research has proven that only children are happier.”
- “People used to believe that, but tons of recent studies show there’s no difference between only children and children with siblings.”
- “Studies have disproven those ideas. Only children are often more intelligent and confident, actually, and they have just as many friends as children who grow up with siblings.”
- “We think this is the right choice for our family. Studies show that mothers with only children are happier, but so are the only children themselves.”
- “I know what you’re saying is a really common belief, but studies have shown that it’s actually not true.”
Of course, we don’t suggest these facts with the intention of saying that only children families are superior to families with siblings. Instead, we’re saying that only children can grow up to be just as happy, successful, and well-adjusted. And there’s nothing wrong with trying to spread this knowledge to others, even if they’re likely to dismiss your comments.
The Sarcastic Response
These responses may be slightly rude, but they’re also valid points. It’s probably best to use these with someone who knows you well and won’t be offended, like a friend or sibling. Alternatively, you could say this to a stranger if you felt that they were being overly invasive, pushy, or rude themselves. It’s completely up to you and your personality.
- “You sound very concerned about my family. Does that mean you’re willing to contribute financially to this second child?”
- “Well, I’m not planning to carry another child. Are you going to do it for me?”
- “How many children do you have?” (Wait for answer, then use the following response no matter what they say) “Well, that’s terrible.” (Wait for response) “What, you don’t like people telling you how to raise your family?”
- “Okay, what percentage of their college will you be paying for?”
- “How many days are you willing to babysit weekly?”
- “Let’s make a deal: I’ll have another baby if you’ll get up with her at night and pay for daycare.”
- “I’m actually eight months pregnant with triplets right now.”
Usually, these responses will end the conversation—and maybe make the person think twice about introducing the topic again.
The “Okay, I’ve Really Had It Now” Response
If someone won’t stop repeatedly harassing you about having more children, it might be necessary to get a bit firmer. Ultimately, it’s rude and inappropriate to pressure someone about the amount of children they’re going to have, and these responses make that clear.
We don’t truly recommend some of these (except in extreme circumstances), but they’re definitely fun to think about!
- “When are YOU going to have another baby?”
- “Mind your own business.”
- “No matter how many times you ask me, my answer will stay the same. I’m not having any more children. Period.”
- “It’s my family and my choice. Do what you want with your family, but don’t worry about mine.”
- “I don’t want to have another child, and I really don’t appreciate being pressured about it.”
- “I don’t see how it’s any of your business how many children I have.”
- “I wouldn’t criticize you about your family, so don’t criticize me about mine.”
Again, some of these are more polite than others, and we wouldn’t necessarily use all of them. But when you get really frustrated, it sometimes helps to at least daydream about responding this way. And if the harassment gets to be more than you can bear, it might be appropriate to use these options.
Other options include ignoring the person, quickly saying you don’t want any more kids and walking away, or simply changing the subject.
However you decide to respond to pushy questions and statements, it’s most important that you don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or question your personal choices. You know what’s best for your family, and mountains of evidence suggest that your only child will not be at a disadvantage in life (no matter what that lady in line at the grocery store said).