Help: The “Only Child” Dilemma!

Wednesday , 1, February 2012 4 Comments

Calling all moms, I have a dilemma. For lack of better words, I call it my “only child” dilemma.

First off, I have a beautiful, smart, funny, and sugary sweet three year old daughter, named Madeline. She is the light of my life and I love her with all of my heart! She has so many wonderful qualities, yet drives me crazy! Well, at least has been for the past six months. Madeline is the only child and will most likely be the only child for the rest of her life.

As the only child, she has gotten our (my husband and I) attention day-in and day-out consistently and now it seems as if it is snowballing. I am not able to have a conversation with my husband at home or even in the car without Madeline’s constant interruption for attention. I have now discovered after spending countless hours playing with Barbie’s, kitchens, play doh, baby dolls, etc., that Madeline cannot and will not play independently. I have told her to “go play in your room” many times. When I do instruct her to play in her room, she will sit in her room with that puppy dog face and well do nothing! Yes, she will sit in a room with a ton of toys and do nothing!  I usually give in after five minutes and go and play with her because I feel like an awful mom.

I have started to hear complaints from the teachers at school who tell me “your daughter commands all of the attention in class, and when she does not get the attention, she does something bad and ends up in time-out.” So, for Madeline it is: me, me, oh and then me, around the clock.

I have been advised by family and friends to have another baby. They have said “she needs a sibling to share the attention with, and then she won’t have a choice.”  Yes, that may be true, but my husband and I are truly set on only one child. I love children, but for our situation one child seems to be the “right” fit for us.

So moms, is there a way to get Madeline to realize there are others here on earth, without having another baby?


Am I doomed and should re-think my baby plans?

Any suggestions are welcome; I am burned out and can no longer cook plastic eggs, brush Barbie’s hair and change fake diapers!

Help 😉

Here is a link to an article about a Mom with an “Only Child” issue.


My name is Amy and I am a WFHM (work from home mom) with a wonderful daughter named Madeline, a fabulous husband named Jeremy and a fun-loving dog named Kahlua (named by the Humane Society). I love our family time and I enjoy sharing memories of these great times with other moms!  When my schedule is open (when is that) I like to run, shop, and go to Starbucks (yes, I might have a little addiction to coffee). Hope to share more of my stories, interests, and drama with you all. 🙂

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather



  • Maggie says:

    Hmmm WELL…in some ways I understand where you are coming from. My kids are almost exactly 4 years apart, so my daughter had 4 years all to herself! People that have watched her have often said – “she plays really well on her own!” This can be true. But when she is at home with me I feel like she is constantly bombarding me wanting to play. It sounds like your cutie likes being the center of attention more than mine so…hopefully some of what I have to say will help you!
    In the last year we started doing room time (since there is no more nap time). I set a timer (and put it up high cause she will mess with it if I leave it down) and give her a few suggestions for what she could play with and I leave the room. I started with 30 minutes. She might not like it. She might come out. I had to tell Miri to go back to her room several times. You might feel bad, but you know what? You have to let that go. You are not a bad mom, and she’s going to have to work/play on her own at some point. She might sit there the whole time, she might cry. But eventually, she might play.
    Maybe the timer would help? She would know it’s not forever. Miriam usually comes out when it rings and says “I did it!” and gets a big hug.
    If you are doing chores, maybe just try and get her involved. Miriam pretends to be a dog and fetches me clothes from the pile to fold. After a while she gets tired of it (me too) but at least we are getting things done!
    Good luck. No need to have another baby – but then you gotta teach it to her yourself!

  • Heather says:

    That might just be her personality! Even for non only child kids, there are those that need/command/want full attention from those they’re with. And it’s not uncommon for three year olds, only or not, to interrupt like that. They often don’t have the patience to wait, or the ability to hold their important thoughts in their heads for later.

    Not saying this is the case for you, but we have an only, and find that acts this way in particular when he hasn’t been getting enough DEDICATED attention from us. That means not playing while also checking emails periodically, or trying to do my own thing whlie doing stuff with him. It has to be play that’s 100% focused on him. And yes, it does get very hard with the pretend play in particular. If you get burned out on that, try physical play like a hike or a park visit.

    I think having another kid in this instance would be a big mistake. You’d force her to compete even more fiercely for your attention. And yes, she’d have no choice in the matter. What a drastic move to make just to try and alter her behavior. And how is that in any way a kind response? Have you been advised that by any friends parenting only children, especially those that are older than yours? I rather doubt it.

  • Mother of One says:

    Hello Rachael

    I see your blog post is over a year old, but I will leave a brief message here and hope that you have found solutions to your “only child” issues by this time.

    I have a little experience on this topic. You see, I am an only child, only grandchild, and have an only child. He is 25 years old now.

    Learning to be social with other children as well as learning to share are some of the most difficult things to learn for an only child. They are used to receiving all the attention, so it’s difficult for them to learn to share attention as well as objects.

    We tried to make sure he our son was mixed in with other children his age as often as we could. In the nursery at church, Sunday school, and school classes and functions, having friends over, to develop his social skills with peers. He had no issues with social skills with adults, but with peers he had to learn by just jumping into situations then learning appropriate and inappropriate behavior by trial and error.

    At times, we didn’t cover for him if he was wrong, we let him find out that we were not always there to jump in unless it was a safety issue of course. We were not always quick to take his side. We had to teach him responsibility for his actions. Some of that falls under the category of “tough love”. Receiving discipline or correction from other children their own age or other adults often makes an impression on them greater than that of a parent, provided that you trust the people to do so.

    Keep in mind that parenting is mostly trial and error and what we have learned from our parents in many cases or what we don’t want to remember from our own parents. It is up to us to seek guidance from other trusted sources and role models.

    Love your child with all your heart, seek God for guidance, read His word and you will have all the knowledge that you need to raise your child.

  • Please give us your valuable comment