Should We Plan to have Only One Child?

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Should We Plan to have Only One Child?
Should We Plan to have Only One Child?
Photo Credit: Dragon Images / Bigstockphoto.com

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Having one child is easier for parents.
  2. The child enjoys a 100% of parents’ time.
  3. The child could be lonely.

In our society, it is becoming commonplace to find more couples who are planning to have only one child or have already decided that they’ll have one.

If we are honest, we can see how this is easier on the parents, who have less financial commitment and can devote their full attention to one child. Having just one child allows for a more controlled and less hectic environment. With one child, parents only have to deal with the needs of that one child.

How does a single child affect Parenthood?

Parents of a single child tend to give all their attention to that one child and this can help the child feel an immense amount of assurance and self-worth. They also have to deal with less tantrums, emotional meltdowns and arguments. Parents can devote their unlimited time to this one child as there is no other child vying for their time.

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Financially, it is easier on the parents’ pocket, who have less mouths to feed and train. Also, parents can afford to send one child to the best schools, as opposed to spreading their funds amongst multiple children. This means that a single child might even be more privileged than a child who comes from a background of multiple siblings.

What are the effects on the only child?

But is it selfish of parents to want just a single child? Without siblings, a single child is bound to miss out on the relationships that others experience. Children relate better with others when they have learnt how to relate with their siblings. Adults also report a strong tie with their sisters or brothers, a key relationship that a single child is sure to miss out on. Sibling relationships are fraught with difficulties and challenges but they allow a child to navigate the spaces of relationships and build lifetime conflict resolution skills. Single children will find it difficult to adjust to the presence of others unless they are exposed to a lot of friends and extended cousins of similar age.

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Parents also tend to lavish their love on single children; always giving them what they want and never being able to say no. This is the ultimate formula to creating spoilt children who believe the world owes them a living and they ought to get everything they want. Parents also tend to be overprotective of their only child, preventing him from indulging in certain activities that they consider risky. This can severely damage the child’s confidence, as he/she begins to believe that they cannot accomplish much on their own.

So what decision should I take?

The decision to have a single child is a serious one, especially in the light of current overpopulation. Inevitably, there are pros and cons to every decision. What really makes a difference is awareness. Parenting is one of life’s most complex scenarios and there are no magical or chemical formulas to ensure a child’s healthy development. Even if parents decide that they want only one child, because it is easier for them, there is nothing wrong with that so long as they try as much as possible to increase their child’s interactions with other children and avoid over-pampering them.

Parents have to strive to give their child or children the most wholesome experience. This will allow them to become well-rounded individuals that can contribute to the growth of society.

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