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Is having one child better? Well, it definitely has its advantages. But be aware, there are disadvantages too. To have one child or not depends on many reasons. Let us have a look at them.
There was a time when big families were considered to be the happy families. Of course, a lot of it attributed to high infant mortality rate, lack of family planning devices and lack of education. Then came the concept of the two-child family. But the 21st century has seen more and more people warming up to the one-child family concept.
Reasons Behind Popularity of One-child Families
Rise in Nuclear Families
The great joint family system is giving way to nuclear families. In the absence of grandparents and other elders to help in the household work, day-to-day life management and supervising children have become difficult. Hence, couples are opting for one child.
More women are stepping out for work, nowadays, as they are ambitious and career-oriented. These alpha females not only marry late but also take their time in embracing motherhood. This phenomenon might sometimes lead to fertility complications or difficulty in carrying a baby full-term. And even when they do bring a child into the world, their work and ambitions take precedence, leaving them with less time and energy for child rearing.
Luxuries have Become Necessities
The needs of the family are growing. In the last couple of decades, the definition of necessities have changed. It is no more confined to food, clothing and shelter. Many luxuries have become necessities now. And the list is only growing every day with more technological advancements appealing to consumers.
Rise in Family Expenses
Earlier while family members were happy to share one vehicle, one bedroom or other luxuries, now everyone wants one of their own. The concept of sharing is dwindling. It is expensive to raise more children on limited income.
Influence of Education
With the spread of education, the social stigma of bearing a female child is wearing down. People are now more acceptable towards having a female child. Thus, bearing one child after another in the desire for a male child has taken quite a beating. People now realize the importance of a healthy child whether male or female.
So why should a couple opt for only one child? Is it better? What impact does it have on the child or the family?
Pros of Having Only One Child
With only one child to look after, parents can invest their time, energy and resources well on bringing up the child. For example, taking the child from one class to another, helping with his school assignments, attending his PTA, etc.
Less Financial Burden
Rearing children is expensive. The cost of education, special activity classes, medication, etc. can dig a big hole in the parents’ pockets. However, with one child, parents not only feel relieved but can also hire the best services possible in terms of good schools, classes, holidays and medical help.
Raising an Independent Child
Not having siblings, help develop the skills of problem solving and decision making in the child quite early. Without any company, he learns to entertain himself by taking up various activities like drawing, reading, etc.
Reduces Environmental Impact
Cons of having Only One Child
Loneliness of the Child
An only child can be a lonely child. If the child is raised in a nuclear family set up where his one or both parents are working, the child may miss human interaction and may feel the need for some company. In absence of proper care and intervention (for example, playdates with peers or enrolling in social skills classes like storytelling, drama & elocution, etc.), the child may become an introvert.
Lack of Social Values and Skills
Growing up with siblings, teaches a child important life skills like sharing, caring for another human being, placing trust, being responsible for others, having arguments and taking disappointments. If parents do not take care, the single child may turn out to be a self-centered and selfish adult.
Sole Dream Chaser
It is a known fact that parents chase their own dreams through their kids. In case of a single child, the entire burden will fall on him. He might be made to feel useless if he doesn’t achieve them. He becomes the sole bearer of the parents’ disappointment. He might also find it difficult to pursue his own dreams.
Burden on the Single Child
As the parents grow old, they might require constant care. The entire responsibility, both financial and emotional, of the parents falls on the child. It might be tough on him especially if he is living in another country or lacking sufficient means to support them.
Like with any other system, there are pros and cons for having one child. But at the end of the day, the parents need to take a hard look at their dreams and aspirations, and then choose what works best for them.