The Pros and Cons of Having an Only Child
Owing to the current dynamics of changing social and personal relations, a rise in the number of parents opting for an only child is prevalent. With both working parents, it is difficult to manage the cost of childcare which often becomes an issue later in life. The percentage of divorce rate hovering at 50% leaves parents divorced before they can have a second child. In this fast paced world with career-oriented individuals, both male and female, decision to have a child is often made later in life which leaves less time for having a second child. Hence, today’s economic climate, a lot of people are opting to have a single child.
Having a single child is, however, no piece of cake; yes the number of infants to take care of are less but it is quite possible that the child turns out to be maladjusted in the social space without being accustomed to the idea of sharing right from his formative years. While the grass is always greener on the other end, let’s take a look at both pros and cons of having a single child.
Only one child to think about
When you have only one child, you can focus on them more completely. You don’t have to worry about different nap schedules, multiple diaper changes, keeping many kids clothed, fed, disease free, etc. You can help your baby at the same time enjoy your work space as well without leading a hectic life.
Having an only child makes inheritance issues much simpler. You don’t have to think too much about dividing your property justly between two or more kids and your kid doesn’t have to live in the resentment of not being favored as much as another child.
Your money will go further
The cost of raising a single child from birth to 17 years of age comes around to approximately $230,000. Raising two or more costs double or three times that amount. If you have limited sources of income, having an only child will result in your being able to provide the best for them without worrying about splitting it for multiple kids.
You don’t have to divide your attention
When you have an only child, you can focus all your attention on them. You don’t have to keep track of multiple kids’ progress and what is going on with them and you get to spend all your free time with a single child. The child can also bond with you to the same level feeling secure and loved at the same time. This would also reflect on the progress of his life.
No sibling rivalry
There is no issue of your child competing for your attention, or feeling that they must compete with any other sibling to be ‘the best’. Young children are sensitive to the different parental treatment. Sibling rivalries can lead to many heated arguments and jealousy rising to the level of separation in life. In the case of a single child, no such childhood pressures need to be dealt with.
Research shows that an only child is likely to have better verbal skills and higher IQs; reason being their parents have more time and support to offer to them.
Having siblings alleviates the chances of a child becoming lonely. Even if you schedule many playdates for your only child, the fun of having siblings in the house growing up can never be replaced. The things siblings learn from each other and the real life growth they experience cannot be compensated by any outside interaction.
An only child doesn’t understand the concept of sharing too well
An only child doesn’t have to share his toys, his rooms, his clothes or even his space. If the child’s interaction with other kids is limited or if he isn’t taught to share his things with other people at an early age, not being able to share can become a major problem in teenage and adulthood. The term ‘adjusting’ does not occupy any space in such a child’s dictionary posing serious problems later in life.
An only child can get too spoiled
Since an only child will get the best of everything his parent’s resources can buy, he can get too spoiled and expect to be bought more lavish things at an early age. They fail to understand the value of objects or gestures and start to act and take things for granted. They may grow up to be ungrateful and spiteful.
Very small family
Unless your child has a lot of cousins his own age, his family will be a very small one throughout his life. He will have no siblings to help comfort him through your passing and might even be left without a family if you and your partner to are from single child families. Close-knit relations are important in a person’s life and limited interactions of such a child leave him helpless in times of need.
Extra time for yourself
If your child has a sibling, both can play and entertain each other all the time without the requirement of any ‘third wheel’. You could find time in some your hands when the kids are playing among themselves. during social events or outings, any external item like a toy would not be a necessity to carry since both would have each other. This time, could be utilized to do something productive or complete an unfinished task avoiding frustration.
It is your moral responsibility, as the parent of a single child, to initiate the feelings of sharing, caring, helping and waiting their turn in their children through the everyday home life, as an only child can miss out on this opportunity of learning these things with siblings. However, this does not mean that you have to compensate for an only child not having a sibling. It totally depends on the way the child is brought up. Spend time with your child maintaining a friendly relationship with them. Parents of the only child are often very devoted to their child sometimes ignoring nurturing their personal lives too. There needs to be a balance of the relationship between the children and the parents. It is perfectly a person’s choice to determine what they want to do – parent a single child or multiple ones.