Only child desperate for siblings

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Post  Wed, Jan 04 2017, 3:27 pm
My 13 year old DS is an only child. He's desperate for siblings, and cries all the time. He feels that late on in life, it'll just be so boring, because there won't be any sibling parties, etc.He also gets teased frequently that he must be very "spoiled". Anyone know anything to tell him to help him feel better? Please don't say to tell him, "I know what you feel like, etc etc etc." He always says that it's impossible to know what it feels like unless you're going through the same situation. Please don't either say, "Just tell him to get over it!" Thank you.
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Post  Wed, Jan 04 2017, 3:37 pm
My mother A"H was an only child. She too was desperate for siblings. At one time, her parents actually looked into adoption because she wanted a sibling so badly. All of the things he is saying are true. It is hard to be an only child - in fact it's even hard to be the children of an only child (ditto to the lack of parties, etc...it didn't help that my father's family lived across the ocean....I remember a time when I keenly felt the lack of aunts and uncles, first cousins, etc.....)

One thing my grandparents did for my mother is, the fostered very close relationships with cousins for her. My mother was really close to her first cousins, and even some of her second cousins. Some of these cousins were really there for her later on, when my grandparents were old and unwell. We also had some really nice get-togethers with these relatives (though not often enough like people with siblings do). I cherish memories of a Purim Seuda we had with my mother's first cousins, and the time my mother and her cousin took me and cousin's daugher my age to a concert together, among other such....

In short, validate his feelings. Tell him everyone has to deal with their reality in the best way possible for them. What are the best possible options in his situation? Are there cousins you can invite NOW so he will have a close relationship with them in the future? Are there friends, perhaps, that you are close to that he will consider their children like family in the future? Now is the time to think about these relationships, since it matters so much to him.

And of course, he should start to daven that Hashem prepare a spouse for him who will B"EH be supportive of him. And you never know, she might come with a family that will be siblings for him, and provide the extended family he wants so badly.
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Post  Wed, Jan 04 2017, 3:54 pm
I was an only child till the age of 14 and then my mother had 3 kids close in age.

I understand how he feels. Its lonely.

Another perspective though, getting siblings so late in life is not always the party one imagines:

I really had a hard time with my new siblings. My mother was not young when she had them and our household turned into absolute chaos. More then the usual tired mom with little kids. We went from having an organized clean home to everything falling apart, flying, dirty disaster. I went from having attention to having no one around. My mother was not really available anymore for anything. If I had grown up with siblings I would have been used to sharing attention but this was hard going from zero to 100 in such a short span.

Additionally, my siblings are young but they think I am their friend and they want to come to my house a lot for Shabbos and spend time with me etc. I understand their feelings but right now I don't have the time for someone else's little kids. I have my own family to raise and I work full time and I don't have the energy to invest in a relationship with young kids who are not mine. It makes me feel guilty and pressured. I know that had I grown up with them we would be closer but honestly, I lived with my siblings for 3 years, went to seminary, got married and haven't lived at home in 12 years. They are too young for me to have a sibling relationship with. At best, its more like an older cousin or aunt relationship. Its not exactly the fulfilling vision I had of having siblings.

At the end of the day I am happy they are here and I am sure when my siblings are married with kids we will have more in common (I hope) and I am happy the 3 of them have each other so they can have that connection. It really was not as great as I hoped it would be though.
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