'Only Child Syndrome'

Dax Shepard And Kristen Bell Give Their Relatable Reason For Having A Second Child

The actors originally thought one kid was enough for them. Then, they considered their only child’s future.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard wanted one kid, originally. Here they're pictured on the "Today Show" i...
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Most parents have the talk about possibly expanding their family. Is one kid nice? Are two too many? Would having more than three be chaos? But to add to your brood is a very personal decision. When it came time for them to consider having a second kid, actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell thought about what would be best not just for them but for their only child.

During an appearance on the Endless Honeymoon Podcast, Shepard, 47, responded to a caller who was debating whether or not to have more kids. The Armchair Expert host admitted he and Bell initially “did not want a second child,” but their lifestyle made them reconsider. They now have two daughters, Lincoln, 9, and Delta, 7, and run a successful diaper and kid product brand, Hello Bello.

“So, I think for Kristen and I, we had two thoughts. One is we travel a lot. It’s not fair to bring this little human everywhere we go and deal with only adults. We owe it to her to give her a playmate that travels with us,” he said. “We love her enough to do something we don’t really want to do, which is have a second because we were so absolutely happy with just the one.”

Shepard went on to say that that reason is now moot, joking, “We had two kids and all of a sudden, we were like, ‘Oh, we’re never leaving town to work again.’ So, ironically … the reason we had, it didn’t even come to fruition. But that doesn’t matter.”

Shepard also shared that he hoped giving Lincoln a sibling would prevent him and Bell from spoiling her in the future. These days, he says their daughters are “united against us, which I love.”

“Our kids are already so privileged beyond belief. It rattles both of us being from very modest backgrounds. So, minimally to make this spoiled b*tch, my firstborn, live in the same room with another person and have to share everything,” Shepard, who married Bell, 42, in 2013, joked. “I needed a force of compromise and sharing and discomfort, because I wasn’t going to give it to her in the other ways. So, we just thought it would be really helpful to make her a better person to have to deal with someone else.”

Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Lincoln and Delta.

Shepard said they’re on “the other side of when it was sh*tty and when it got easy” having two children. Their daughters are under two years apart and although it was “difficult” when they were younger, the family is now in what Shepard calls the “party” time of parenting and childhood.

“Like, if I’m giving it to one of the girls, the other one comes over like, ‘You’re not being nice to Lincoln, you didn’t listen to what she said.’” He continued: “And I’m like, ‘That’s right. That’s your role. You guys gang up and kill me. It’s you two against the world.’ Like [with] that stuff, the less the age gap the easier it is to achieve.”

Still, there’s no wrong way to add to your family, Shepard added, “it’s just different versions.”

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell got married in 2013.

The “only child syndrome” — aka the societal belief that only children become spoiled, entitled, selfish, or maladjusted, as Shepard insinuated — isn’t rooted in any real science, according to licensed psychologist Dr. Francyne Zeltser of Manhattan Psychology Group.

Zeltser told Scary Mommy for a previous story that the theory is based solely on survey data, which she says is “inherently flawed as a sole means of drawing conclusions” due to its subjectivity.

Studies continue to support the notion that lacking a sibling does not hamper children’s social-emotional success later on in life,” she said. “In other words, only children are far from doomed to an antisocial lifestyle. Research surveys possess inherent flaws and cannot usually be generalized to the population at large.”

Another licensed psychologist, Dr. Lindsay Popilskis of Pathways of Rockland County, pointed out that all children — with or without siblings — go through the same developmental cycles. “And while environment does have an impact on a child’s personality,” she said, “there are other major determinants such as genetics and personal life events that impact an individual’s personality.”

Thinking of adding another child to the mix? Whatever you decide is the right decision for your family.