Parenting an Only Child – Are Siblings a Must

parenting an only child

Marriage is a beautiful start to a bright new chapter in a couple’s life. Two people unite for a lifetime socially, physically and financially. It brings in a lot of joy but, it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of the major responsibilities that comes with the institution of marriage, is starting a family. With the decision of starting a family comes the question of how many kids you should have. Would parenting an only child be acceptable? Or is a sibling a must?

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Case Study

Ryan and Nancy married five years ago and they are proud parents of a two-year-old daughter. Both of them are working professionals who value their career and want to have a comfortable life. They want to give their daughter the best of everything. They never thought of extending their family but, parental and societal pressure for having another child and giving their elder one a sibling is confusing them and they are not sure whether to continue this way or have a second child.

When we talk about a family, it is normal to project parents with two children as a common family size. But, with change in the traditional structure in the families (where a man earns and a woman takes care of the family) things are changing.

We want more luxuries in life and for that both the husband and the wife are working and earning. Women are becoming more career-oriented and priorities are changing. Marriages are happening after the age of 25 years and couples are taking time to start a family as they wish to settle down first and have a secure future. Having children and starting a family has taken a backseat.

We can see many couples who have settled down with the idea of parenting an only child and do not wish to have another one. On the other hand, there are many, who do not want to have a second child but they have to rethink their decision because there is a lot of pressure from families to have a second one.

Bringing a new life into this world comes with a lot of responsibility for the parents. Their whole life changes after having children. So, it is completely their choice how many children they want to have. There were times when our grandparents and great-grandparents had three or four children—maybe even more. But, at that time life was simpler. The roles of a man and woman were not so complex. Then, our parents had two or three children. But now, the time has come to people deciding on parenting an only child.

Is it okay to have one child?

There is nothing right or wrong when it comes to a perfect family size. We often find people saying that an only child often becomes spoiled, or they are adamant or do not adjust well with others. They do not develop the habit of sharing, are moody and want things to happen their way.

But, we all know that any child can develop all these habits if the environment is not appropriate. Even a single child can be well-behaved and disciplined if conditioning is done in that manner. If children with siblings have their brother or sister, then, a single child has all the love and attention of the family.

The role of parents in parenting an only child

If you have decided to have only one child, it is perfectly all right. Parenting an only child is not a sin. It is your decision and you know what is best for you and your family. Just make sure that you give your child a balanced upbringing. Do not over-indulge or become a strict disciplinarian. Give your child ample time and make sure he/she interacts with other children.

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If you have decided to have one child, then don’t feel guilty and don’t get pressured by society or family for having another one. Just make your child happy, confident and secure as an individual and give him/her ample opportunities to grow and develop into a healthy and wonderful human being.

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About the Author

Varsha Tyagi is a Master's in Psychology with 5 years of Experience as a Life Skills Coach and a Counseling Psychologist. She has worked with many schools, colleges and corporates as a Counselor and a Life Skills Trainer and dealt with both children and adults. She is currently working as a Life Skills Facilitator with an organization.

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