“Being an only child is both a blessing and a curse”, my cousin Ekta Nainani told me when we were discussing about number of children a couple should have.
Ekta said, “Growing up, I was always alone whether it was a family vacation or just a long drive. The only people I could share my secrets were with my parents. Now that I’m older I can now wonder why they were constantly annoyed with my chattering.
On the plus side, I never had to share my room, clothes or gifts. Of course, the unconditional love of my parents was always a bonus.
Being an only child while growing up, you don’t have anyone to play with, and all the games you play are in one player mode (I know it’s sad, but…), apart from my cousins, my friends were a go to for any problem.
I grew up believing that I can do it all by myself, there is no ‘Co’ in my life, besides my family and friends. Though my mom had siblings and I can still see their bond and those secret eye messages they pass to each other. My mom who is now 50+ still gets excited when she speaks or meets her siblings.
But, growing up alone, I realized certain facts about my position as a single child. Being exposed to perks and drawbacks of a lonely child. Though, at the end of the day I am grateful for it because who I am today is because of it and in spite of it.”
I had to hold back tears while I was in conversation with Ekta. Like Ekta Nainani, I too have a 1-year-old daughter and I often wonder having a second child would ease the burden off me, for all the responsibilities and be my daughter’s companion as well.
As easy as it sounds, I don’t think I could have a second child. Though the world keeps bantering me for a second one, it seems to be a burden for my partner and me. Raising two kids in today’s world is not an easy task.
Many people are afraid to admit but it takes a lot of courage and mainly good finance to bring up a second child. You can’t compromise giving one child the best of everything while the second one just sits and watches with envy.
I have three brothers (yes, we are total of four… hats off to my dad for bearing us). Often growing up, one would get everything while other would just watch. Don’t even remind me of the number of fights and arguments we had to get into to get our way done. It was always a next year ‘for you’ and that next year never came.
Now that I’m all grown and mature (I like to think of myself as mature!!), I can understand why my parents did those things. Raising four kids is not an easy task with education, clothes, food, family vacations and so on.
Here’s the parent’s point of view:
Varsha Lakhani, she is my aunt by relation – has a son who’s currently studying in Germany and a wonderful boy I must say.
Varsha always wanted a second child. But her health did not permit her, since she faced a lot of complications with her first pregnancy. Her husband was very firm on single child policy – “Do one do best”.
According to Varsha Auntie, “Only child makes you very protective and possessive towards him. You want to give the best to him. There are times when you can spoil your child as well. Luckily for me, Niket has been a great son. Today I have no regrets. I’m happy and contented. We gave the best to Niket and today I can say I did a good job raising him.”
Like me, many parents would be confused if we should or should not, before it’s too late. Speaking to Ekta from an only child’s point of view to Varsha who’s a mother of an only child. I can say that I am better off with an only child.
I understand my daughter would grow up complaining and missing a companion to play with, share her secrets with, but I hope someday she would understand why we had to take this decision.
Few parental tips that I’ve able to understand with a single child:
- Very first rule – Never ever go for a second child if your health does not allows you.
- If you feel you are financially well off and can provide your child with best of everything, then go for it. (Remember to read the next rule)
- Give equal attention and love to both the kids. Never let one feel left out. If you praise one kid, praise the other as well.
- Never make a decision based on peer pressure. You only know your condition/situation as a parent.
- Consult and talk to as many parents as you can before you settle on a decision. I know it would help you as it helped me.
- It’s not about materialistic world for your kids; it’s about their future and what you make of them.
- Two kids mean two savings, two school fees, two sets of clothes and uniform, two sets of tuition fees, college funds, books, toys and two sets of everything….
Decision is in your hands, so choose wisely.