Nowadays, the ideal family for most couples composes of one or two kids or even no child at all. According to Statista, there are 50.33 million households that had no children under 18 living in their homes compared to 4.79 million families that had three or more children under 18 living with them. The American dream of having two or more children in a family has decreased, and many factors have led most parents to make this decision.
Reasons why one child becomes the traditional family
Single moms and dads.
It is common to think that single parents may have been separated from their spouses due to unfortunate reasons, which can be possible, but the truth is, there is more to the story. Some may not be successful in relationships, others have unfortunate life situations (deceased partner), and some decide to be a single mom or dad because it is what they want and will make their lives complete.
Whatever the reason these parents have, it isn't easy to raise one child alone, not to mention having more. Single parents are strong, independent individuals and will do everything for their kids. Although, most would still want a partner to help them make decisions, raise a kid, and have a family. But until then, it is no brainer that single moms and dads would only want one child, at least for the meantime, while waiting for the right person.
Having one child seems suitable for other parents, primarily if they pursue their careers. They will have more time to balance their lives being a parent and a working mom and dad. Some may think this is a selfish move, as their child will not grow up having siblings by their side. But practicality-wise, these parents are working for their family's future, including college funds, retirement, and health care savings, to support themselves without burdening their only child. These parents are unsure of the unknown, so they have accepted that having one kid would be less struggle for them as they balance their family-work lifestyle.
Miscarriage and women's health.
Miscarriage can be a primary factor when couples decide to have one child, and they could have suffered significant setbacks that may have endangered the mother's health, leading them to settle for one kid. There may be other ways to get pregnant in today's technology, like going through an IVF (In-vitro fertilization). Still, financially and emotionally, couples need to be ready and make an effort to make it work. IVF pregnancy may take a toll on someone's physical and psychological health as it may or may not be successful. If the pregnancy is a success, most couples will choose to have one child only and spend their time, savings, and energy raising that child rather than going through another process of IVF.
Started a family later in life, and your partner has kids. One of the common reasons you and your spouse decide to have an only child is that you started a family in the mid-30s, which can be risky if you are getting pregnant or your partner may already have kids, so it is practical to only have one more. Of course, the decision still depends on how many kids you plan to have between you and your partner. If you feel that you are ready financially, physically, and emotionally for two or more kids if it will make you and your partner feel more complete and happy, go for it!
You are not ready or have decided not to have a second child. When you had your first child, you may have experienced exhaustion, sleepless nights, your newborn crying for several hours, and might have undergone financial stretch. After a few years, it becomes easier as your baby grows older. You can now relax, go out whenever you want, and complete your sleep hours. You may be asking yourself if you should have another child or if you are ready to be a new mom again? Relatives and friends might say to go for another one, but it's up to you and your partner if you are prepared to experience the life of having a newborn again. A newborn will need lots of attention, and while they are growing, the expenses also increase as they will have different needs. Will you be ready for it financially, emotionally, and physically?
Why do Parents think that having more kids is better?
Having more kids is one of the most critical decisions couples need to discuss. Raising kids require time, effort, and hard work. Parents think that having two or more kids can make the family happier and complete. They do not want their only child to grow up alone, and they feel that siblings can teach their children to become selfless. Moms and dads think that siblings are important as they can depend on each other and have a better support system, especially when their parents are no longer around.
Siblings are also more likely to confide and tell each other things they cannot say to their parents. Therefore, decreasing the risk of anxiety, isolation, and depression during the teen years. Healthy brother and sister relationships help promote sympathy, enhance social skills, and achieve academic success.
What science says on having one child or more.
Society sees an only child as spoiled and always gets what they want. Still, in two separate research, one in 1986, a psychologist named Tony Falbo of the University of Texas at Austin concluded no difference between children with or without siblings except that the bond of an only-child to their parents is much stronger. They concluded that only children could confide and say anything easily to their parents compared to kids with brothers and sisters. This study was supported by another research held in 2018 by Andreas Klocke and Sven Stadtmüller from the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.
Another research in China by Jiang Qiu of Southwest University had concluded tests for both only-child and kids with siblings. They found out that only children can solve problems more creatively because they are forced to learn to depend on themselves at an early age. There is also a difference in the MRI scan of both parties; studies show that only children have more gray matter in the supramarginal gyrus, which is responsible for creativity and imagination. However, researchers found fewer gray matter cells in the frontal lobe, accountable for sympathy and controlling emotions.
An only child's personality is somewhat similar to firstborns, and they can grow up as happy as others. An only child can gain more friends throughout life just like the other kids and attain more success. However, as per research, the characteristics of only children are more highly-ambitious, intelligent, and independent compared to the other kids. They do not have to compete for their parent's attention; therefore, their emotions are more stabilized. They also excel in developing strong character as they interact more with adults, particularly their parents as their role models. Parents of an only child tend to have a solid marital bond because there are lesser conflicts in the family.
Most people assume that only children are narcissists, selfish, lonely, spoiled, and depressed, are just myths. Only children can grow up normal and happy like everyone else.
On the other hand, some only children regret having no siblings with whom they can share their trust their personal life experiences. During the pre-school stage, they often developed imaginary friends who could see as their allies and share their stories. Based on studies, children with siblings are more tolerant, meaning they are more helpful, generous, and compassionate.
Kids with supportive siblings view life to be more optimistic. Research shows that having a sister is good for one's mental health. And overall, having brothers and sisters can make you physically healthy. As per the 2011 Edelman Health Barometer global survey, friends and family have a more significant impact on making one's life choices. Siblings can also help reduce one's stress, which can help you live longer.
Other than that, there are also toxic sibling relationships. Jealousy, competence, and sibling rivalry can lead to conflicts and stressful households. Also, each kid's age gap and traits can lead to differences and misunderstandings.
Having kids can be fun and fulfilling. It is significant for couples to discuss how many children they plan to have. They have to consider several things like housing, can a large family fit in their home—resources, their jobs, if they can have funds for education, food, and other needs. They must also consider their health and age; they must be physically and emotionally prepared to care for more kids. No matter how many children couples choose to have, it is vital to instill respect and discipline within the walls of their homes. And most significantly, shower each kid with affection, time, and love.