The perfect family with One child? Two children? Three… or four?

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Are you one of the ‘only child stereotypes’ because you think having more than one child leads to nothing but sibling rivalries and competitions for attention and affection? Or you think a big family is what perfect family is all about?

Some parents experience single children have difficulties sharing, adjusting or making friends and they eventually become lonely and demanding. Some add to the family under the pressure of influences, in-laws or friends who somehow seem to persuade them with a barrage of antiquated comments. And well, there are those who say that as soon as the second child comes along the first goes through a period of jealousy and confusion which is too big a hassle for them to deal with, so just one child it is!…what about children? Do they need siblings or they don’t?

Two is company, three a crowd, four a rock band…five…??

No one can deny the benefits of having siblings, living in the same household, they learn to negotiate, lead, follow and comply with one another everyday. Amongst siblings the first born child usually heads the younger siblings in academics, social interactions and shares such experiences and advice which are sometimes difficult for parents to convey. They fight and learn to resolve their differences at the same time, which is why they are better at getting along with people in general. Siblings are considered the best playmates. They understand feelings and they are well equipped to comfort, support and help each other, be it family or friends.

On the other hand, quarreling siblings are a cause of increased stress in parents. There are some instances where children simply do not get along which makes them and their parents unhappy, attention gets distributed and parents keep talking and negotiating with each, quite a hassle? Also, children with siblings tend to become more reliant rather than becoming self sufficient which is rather damaging in the long run.

Is your only child a lonely child….?

Considering the development in technology, every child makes friends and communicates on regular basis. Even if children have siblings, it is a good bet they would spend more time engaged in a conversation with a friend rather than their brother or sister. It seems more from a few anecdotal evidences that sibling’s play a crucial role as they get older and do not have their parents to depend on. There are several such examples who credit their childhood without siblings to be the reason for their self dependence and confidence. Such an example, Sualeh Ejaz, who is currently working as a manager in a private firm says, ‘I don’t think I really needed a brother or a sister per se….Yeah I used to complain whenever I had to do a chore and I didn’t want to, I do realize that now, if I have had a sibling, I wouldn’t have learnt all that my parents had to teach’ another example, Razia Khan who is a housewife says, ‘We were a batch of six and being the eldest I realize how difficult it was for my mother to manage with all of us running around in the tiny house. I have only two, but the two I have!!!’

Only children are also quoted spoiled and selfish, but, today in the culture of yes-parenting, most children are spoiled or selfish whether or not they have siblings. Also, parents with one child do not have to worry about sibling rivalries and competition for attention, which is a relief.

Today, various factors like increase in divorce rate, women in the workforce, difficulties of giving birth and the numerous pressures of parenting contribute greatly to the only-child-family tradition. Parents rightly feel that they can be better parents to just one child or two maximum. Secondly, the cost of raising children is one of the key factors one considers while weighing the prospects of adding to the family. No parent likes putting a price tag to a child but raising even one child in today’s world is quite expensive. Those who actually express their views may get to listen to the cliché ‘each child carries his own blessing into the world’, very true if your finances permit you to add to the family, but, one cannot deny the fact that the more we earn, the more child rearing costs and if you want the best for each of your child then the world suggests a perfect family with a husband and wife and two children. 

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