Jun 092008

What is the ideal size of a family? And who helps make that decision? Is it just the prospective parents, or maybe pressure from family and friends? How often do couples themselves manage to disassociate from the popular beliefs on what the ideal size of a family should be?

Why have an Only?
For various reasons, including economic, medical or emotional affordability, more parents are increasingly tending towards having just one child. What are the pros and cons of having just one child? Is it advantageous for the child as well as parents to be a family of just three?

Research indicates that when parents have more time and energy to invest on their kids, the children make certain positive gains which otherwise cannot be obtained through formal education or training. Parents of single children often are able to offer that kind of focused attention and affection.

In this article, we discuss some of the positive aspects observed in an only child.

Thriving family of three

  • Intelligence- Studies show that first-borns display a higher IQ than their younger siblings. When the first born continues to enjoy his singular status, chances are that he will outshine his peers who come from multi-children families. Single children may prove to be more intelligent owing to the ‘enriched’ intellectual environment the parents provide.
  • Achievement- Parents of only children tend to motivate their offspring with more vigour and dedication. Owing to this fact, the ratio of only children who are bigger achievers is higher than when compared to children belonging to larger families.
  • Self esteem- Research indicates that first-borns, last-borns and only children possess the highest level of self esteem. Their self esteem is directly linked to the positive enforcements at home. First-borns and only children enjoy parental admiration and acceptance at a greater level than other children.

Is three odd?

On the flip side, there are some drawbacks of having an only child. Some of them are:

  • Affiliation- Studies show that only children don’t affiliate themselves to organizations or clubs or societies as willingly as children belonging to larger families. Their social lives are neither intense nor very active. However, single children are reported to have closer friends, fewer social obligations and hence seem to enjoy a richer life.
  • Group Dynamics- Being the cynosure of their parent’s eyes, only children expect similar attention and admiration from their peers, but in vain. They may display a more autocratic and less co-operative behavior with other children in the beginning. Unlike children from larger families, onlies don’t have anyone to play with at home. They then start making changes in their behavior, which then helps them in a great way. With parental contribution in the development of their child’s interaction with peers, single children can grow up to enjoy peer popularity and excel in group dynamics. Also, only children learn over time that, in order to make friends, they have to be flexible and accommodating.