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One and done: Why we chose to raise an only child despite social pressure

Having an only child gives us a chance to have the best of both worlds.

Updated 19 Jun, 2019 01:38pm

I often get asked by people why I only have a son and when I am going to have another child.

Sometimes people — family members, friends and complete strangers — tell me that my son needs a brother or sister to play with and to share feelings that he cannot share with us, his parents.

This question often comes up in everyday social situations — in a doctor’s waiting room or at a school event — where people feel the need to make polite conversation. If it’s a stranger or a professional acquaintance asking the question, I often joke that my reason for having an only child is that less than one is not possible.

Often these conversations peter out amiably and people move on to other things but with friends and family, things are very different. Unlike with strangers or even professional acquaintances, interactions with friends and family are frequent and intimate.

In a recent online conversation, a friend — who is a doctoral candidate at a leading Pakistani university — asked for the millionth time when I am going to have another child.

In the past I had answered this question with, “Maybe in a few years, we don’t have any plans yet,” or “We’re in a transitional phase and are still unsure where to settle,” or some other equally vague and non-committal reason.

This time I told my friend that my wife and I don’t have any plans to have another child.

She replied with three rage emojis and said I was being unnecessarily “rigid.” The way my friend shamed and judged me for not wanting to have more than one child caused quite a bit of anxiety for me, so I decided to look up why parents with only one child are judged and shamed.

"One and done"

A quick online search revealed that my wife and I are what’s commonly referred to as “one and done parents”: parents who get “done” after having only “one” child.

There is a widespread belief that only children are spoiled, aggressive, lonely, selfish, bossy, overly entitled, not good at sharing things with others and have a hard time building healthy relationships.

This is a stereotypical view and, like all stereotypes, it is based on prejudice and not empirical evidence. But how did this stereotype originate?

During the last decade of the 19th century, G. Stanley Hall, an American psychologist, and his team of researchers at Clark University, undertook a study of different attributes and characteristics of children. The study was published by E.W. Bahannon in 1896 in a journal called The Pedagogical Seminary under the title, ‘A Study of Peculiar and Exceptional Children.’

Among its other findings the study also stated that being an only child is “a disease in itself.” For decades, this view regarding only children was considered received wisdom in the scientific community and society at large.

However, during the late 1970s, this view started receiving increased scientific scrutiny. Judith Blake, an American sociologist, published an article in 1981 titled, ‘The Only Child in America: Prejudice versus Performance.’ According to Blake, “research findings on only children do not support the negative stereotypes.”

Blake’s research demonstrates that “only children are intellectually superior and achieve higher educational and occupational status.” Only children, according to Blake’s study, “have no obvious character or personality defects: they have attitudes appropriate to good citizens of the body politic, their family behaviour is not disruptive, and they are unlikely to be public charges.”

Even if social and economic advantages of only children are discounted, only children “tend to count themselves happy, and to be satisfied with important aspects of life — notably jobs and health.”

In 1987, Denise Polit, a renowned research methodologist, and Toni Falbo, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Austin at Texas, published a quantitative review in the Journal of Marriage and Family that “combined the results of 141 studies and found that only children scored significantly better than other groups in achievement motivation and personal adjustment.”

People & Society: Why family planning is important

The commonly held assumption that only children are socially inept and have a hard time socialising with their peers has also been debunked by scholars like Blake, Polito and Falbo.

Speaking from a personal point of view, my son does not suffer from any social handicap whatsoever. He is extremely friendly and is able to socialise with his peers very easily. He did not have any difficulty adjusting to a new school when we moved from Pakistan to upstate New York a couple of years ago. It was quite remarkable considering this was the first time in our lives that we had moved outside of Pakistan.

During our first week here in the United States, a Pakistani friend invited us over to his house. My son was able to socialise very easily with my friend’s children with whom he was meeting for the first time in his life. The two boys bonded over graphic novels and video games.

In 1980, Denise Polit, Ronald Nuttall and Ena Nuttall published a study of adults who were raised as only children. They studied “537 white, intact married couples residing in middle to upper-middle class communities near Boston” out of which “70 wives and 62 husbands were only children.”

This study concluded that “compared with other first borns with siblings, and with individuals of higher birth order, only children were found to have higher educational levels, higher occupational status, smaller families, and to be more secularly oriented.” The data obtained by Polit et al did not “support the notion that only children are emotionally or personally handicapped by their lack of siblings.”

But does growing up as an only child without any siblings have any disadvantages? I put this question to Toni Falbo who has been researching only children for more than 40 years.

“Some assume that only children grow up lonely and stay lonely throughout life,” Falbo told me. “But, there is no association between loneliness and growing up without siblings among Americans. Some only children are lonely, but others are not, and the research evidence indicates that lacking siblings does not predispose one to a lifetime of loneliness.”

China, which has come to be regarded as Pakistan’s “all-weather friend,” enforced a one-child policy in 1979 to reduce the rate of population growth. The government strongly encouraged people to have only one child and those who agreed were rewarded with improved healthcare and education for their only child.

Since then there have been numerous studies on only children in China and most of these studies have concluded that only children are not any different from their peers who grow up with siblings.

Family size in many developed countries is shrinking and the one-child family is on the rise for a variety of reasons. But in Pakistan the story is quite different.

Sustenance or bare subsistence?

There is a widespread belief among many Pakistanis that every baby is born with a loaf of bread under its arm and that it is God who provides for every newborn.

While people are free to believe whatever they want to, there is no evidence to support the claim that every newborn comes with the proverbial loaf of bread. Such a belief has serious consequences in terms of public policy.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “5.6 million children under age five died in 2016, nearly 15,000 daily” of malnutrition, and approximately “3.1 million children die from undernutrition every year.”

Pakistan, according to a recent study published by Muhammad Asim and Yasir Nawaz, “has one of the highest prevalences of child malnutrition as compared to other developing countries.”

According to the Pakistan National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2011, 43 per cent of all Pakistani children are stunted, 16.8pc wasted and 31.2pc underweight.

Child wasting is a process in which muscle and fat tissue waste away due to a debilitating disease and stunting, according to the WHO, “is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.”

According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2017-2018, the percentage of stunting among children under the age of five has decreased to 38.2pc. Still, Pakistan continues to have one of the highest rates of stunting in the world.

But this is only half of the story. Pakistanis are reproducing at an alarmingly high rate.

Related: Pakistan and the pill — Check your male privilege at the door

According to the DHS, the fertility rate (total births per woman) in Pakistan is 3.6 which, although gradually declining, is still significantly higher than countries like Bangladesh (2.1), India (2.3), Indonesia (2.3), Saudi Arabia (2.5) and Iran (1.6).

Assuming that the fertility rate will continue to decline rapidly over time, Pakistan’s population, according to a study, will increase to 302 million by 2050.

Further, Pakistan has one of the highest ratios of cousin marriages in the world. According to the DHS, 50pc of ever-married women in Pakistan are related to their husbands as first cousins.

Studies on cousin marriages have consistently shown that children of these marriages have a decided disadvantage in terms of health

Add to this the fact that some religious preachers have continually campaigned against population growth control in Pakistan, supposedly a Western conspiracy against the growing population of Muslims.

One wonders why Muslim countries like Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Iran are working toward population control and why it is only Pakistan that has to foil this imagined conspiracy.

All of this means that not only are we increasing our population at an alarming rate, but more importantly, we are fast producing a highly disease-ridden population with more than one in every three children stunted.

Needless to say, this is going to put an enormous strain on an economy which is already in shambles.

Damaging attitudes

Empirical evidence, I have come to realise, hardly matters for people like my friend who, when presented with these figures and statistics, said that hers was “a simple comment.”

“Why do you have to make a mountain of a molehill!” she said to me. Asking parents like me to have a second child, according to her, is “a social custom” in Pakistan.

Let’s assume that every child is born with a loaf of bread under its arm and my wife and I decide to have another child. This new child may be born with a loaf of bread, but surely no one believes that every child is born with a health policy and a fat cheque for college tuition under her or his arm.

A second child would thus mean an added financial responsibility for me and my wife and a decreased quality of life for our son, not to mention the time and effort that both my wife and I will have to devote to the second child.

Having a second child will inevitably mean having to postpone and, in some cases, forgo our personal ambitions and aspirations.

For example, my wife plans to write a textbook of Urdu for foreign language learners and in due course, pursue a doctorate degree. A second child at this point would mean that she would have to put on hold her plans to start her doctoral studies for at least five to eight years.

Another aspect of this “social custom” of shaming and judging parents who choose not to have more than one child is the adverse effect on women’s mental health. My wife’s colleagues and friends also ask her quite often when she was going to have another child.

Over time, these comments created a deep sense of anxiety in my wife and she started wondering if she was making a mistake by not having more children. Since my wife is educated and confident, she has been able to push back against this “social custom” of shaming — but at the expense of considerable damage to her mental health.

Also read: We teach Urdu in America. We learned we can’t use Pakistani textbooks

Such a social attitude, needless to say, causes immense damage to the mental health of a large number of young Pakistani mothers and makes them unable to raise their children in a positive and healthy environment.

Add to this the fact that there are virtually no mental health care facilities for women in Pakistan and in most cases, women are not even aware of the fact that they need the attention of a mental health care provider.

When I asked my friend the exact reason as to why she thought I should have another child she replied that if my son were to, unfortunately, die, my wife and I would have another child who could be a source of consolation.

I must confess that my friend’s comment based solely on a hypothetical scenario caused me a lot of hurt.

One can only imagine the pressure women face to keep producing babies because people want them to think of their first children dying.

I tried to overcome the hurt and told my friend that she was forcing me to think about my family from a place of imagined fear and insecurity, and that I refuse to look at the future of my family from such a place.

Instead of this, I told her, I would prefer to look at the future of my family from a positive and healthy place, that my son will hopefully grow up to be a smart and accomplished young man in whatever field of life he chooses and that my wife and I will get to enjoy whatever his successes will be.

Raising children is no doubt one of the most rewarding, although extremely exacting, experiences one can have in their life.

But, surely, there are many other fulfilling endeavors in life too besides raising children, and there is absolutely no reason for anyone to shame parents who choose to give their best to the one child they have and decide not to have any more children.

Having an only child gives us a chance to have the best of both worlds. As parents, we will get to see our son grow up and follow his passions, and as individuals we would be able to follow our own personal ambitions and aspirations.

Illustration by Rajaa Moini


Are you exploring the roots of social norms in Pakistan? Share your experience with us at prism@dawn.com

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Mushtaq Bilal is a Fulbright doctoral fellow at the Department of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. He is the author of the book Writing Pakistan: Conversations on Identity, Nationhood and Fiction.


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (86) Closed

Abraham D Haque
Jun 18, 2019 05:37pm
Sir, people who have nothing to do in their lives choose to criticize others
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Unknown
Jun 18, 2019 05:57pm
I understand where the author is coming from. Between I already have two kids (a boy and a girl) and I am looking for my third one but this time me and my wife has decided to go for an adoption instead of going for a third childbirth. In Pakistan, its quite difficult to explain the adoption if you can have your own kid.
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Mohd azeez
Jun 18, 2019 06:24pm
Children are gods gift. Who are we to say no. Plus more the kids more will be earning hands when they grow up
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m. khan
Jun 18, 2019 06:32pm
An excellent article in a long time.Tons of THANKS.
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Abraham D Haque
Jun 18, 2019 06:35pm
@Unknown, it is quite commendable for some who look into that option
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Israr Anwar
Jun 18, 2019 06:46pm
Very well researched and written article. Myself being a father of an only child, I can say this "BEEN THERE DONE THAT". Look forward to read more of your writings. Will try to get your book "Writing Pakistan: Conversations on Identity, Nationhood and Fiction". Thanks and keep writing.
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Hussain
Jun 18, 2019 06:54pm
Author makes some good arguments but I still feel being an only child is not an ideal situation for the kid. i have a baby boy and the thought of him being an only child scares me.
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GR
Jun 18, 2019 06:57pm
Being the father of a single child I found this article extremely interesting.Many of your justifications are right on the spot.I suppose though that majority of the aam aadmi will not be able to relate to issues like career goals of the mother, cost of efucation etc.It will be a long long time before we south asians decide like westerners that marriage and the companionship it offers is reward enough and a child is not needed to cement it.
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Asad
Jun 18, 2019 06:58pm
Really surprising family and society as a whole pressurize couples to have more children. Pakistan's biggest problem is overpopulation .. it is simply out of control. When you have more kids, your expenditures increase drastically and you are not able to fulfill your responsibility the way you should. Its like a punishment for these children since they are unable to grow up in an environment which is not conducive and no fault of their own. Also, Pakistan is not really producing scientists or scholars .. its just producing more trash, lets be honest. There are no jobs, and the situation on the ground is very desperate. The government should learn something from the Chinese on this.
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Laila
Jun 18, 2019 07:12pm
Family planning is required if you have limited sourced if income. You have to feed, clothes and school your children. Income for the average Pakistani is limited. Most are living below poverty levels. So you need family planning. You can't put your faith in charity, zakat or borrowing. Only have as many as you can afford. There is no welfare in Pakistan catch you if you fall. Soi get what the author is saying and why they are right.
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Pervez
Jun 18, 2019 07:14pm
Sir you family your choice. Please don't care about critics.
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Pervez
Jun 18, 2019 07:15pm
@Unknown, Why do you have to explain adoption to anybody? It's a choice to be made by husband and wife.
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kartz
Jun 18, 2019 07:18pm
Our Human population is not on extinct. So one child is more than enough. Burdening the earth with more humans is going to spoil the environment.
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Ali
Jun 18, 2019 07:35pm
It might also be the case that parents wanted a second child but couldn't. It happened to us. Wanted the second one but Almighty didn't agree!
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AikBanda
Jun 18, 2019 07:53pm
"Pakistanis are reproducing at an alarmingly high rate." -- Indeed. Every single Pakistani should have one child until the population is reduced to around 50 million instead of 200 million. If you look at the world map, Pakistan has one of the highest population densities. Its not even able to produce enough electricity for itself and pollution is a huge problem as well. One day we might see the masses wise enough to realize all of these things.
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NSM
Jun 18, 2019 08:00pm
I like your article. People find it hard to accept other people’s ratdecisions. Live and let live.
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Talha
Jun 18, 2019 08:02pm
You are free to choose to have only one child but i am sorry your reasoning sounds very shallow. Don't worry too much bro! You're thinking too much.
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Khalid_Toronto
Jun 18, 2019 08:03pm
I am in the same boat as you. Although it was not our decision to have just one child, fate had other plans. Over the years, we have had to deal with a lot of "concerned" people who gave a lot of unwanted advice. Now my son is almost 17 and he does not have any social or other issues. Yeah, sometimes he has his ups and downs but which teenager doesn't. Anyway, when it comes to children, it's the quality and not the quantity that counts.
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Kashif
Jun 18, 2019 08:07pm
The article seems to be a defense of the author to have one kid. He fails to elaborate whether the couple could not have a second child or was it by choice. I know this as we have been trying but seem to be not having a second kid.
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Real MD
Jun 18, 2019 08:16pm
My question is: Would you have been a "one and done parent" if your first child was a girl?
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jatinder
Jun 18, 2019 08:27pm
It is difficult to come out of the steriotype expectations of a society you live in. Congratulations for standing up. May god produce many more thinking people in our societies.
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Kaju
Jun 18, 2019 08:35pm
Looking at this comment section I think that Pakistan Muslims are more mature than indian Muslims.
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Ali
Jun 18, 2019 09:08pm
People need to realize that how many kids others have (or cannot have) is really their choice. Respect that choice and move on. Plus, as has already been pointed out here, Pakistan's population is out of control with no plan for human development and improved living standards. We were far better off as a country when our population was 100 million.
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Sammy
Jun 18, 2019 09:15pm
Children the most beautiful part of life and one wants to have more. I understand the authors perspective but not wanting other children because it could compromise personal ambitions isn't necessarily valid. There are numerous successful people around with more than one child. It how ever is a personal decision and no one should be judging the parents about it. Every one has a different reason and perspective.
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Dr Aslam
Jun 18, 2019 09:16pm
Pakistan is Bundle of contradictions. More children ( quantity ) are preferable than Healthy ( quality ) ones. Still we expect Quality to be associated with Quantity!!
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Zeea
Jun 18, 2019 09:31pm
Thank God that someone has raised this issue. Well done writer.
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RationalBabu
Jun 18, 2019 09:54pm
@Mohd azeez , more the earning hands for who? Every child will have to be provided for and equipped to earn their own and their future family’s keep. More children may be God’s gift to you but you can equip one or two children better than four or five!
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RationalBabu
Jun 18, 2019 10:03pm
@Ali , cherish the one that you already have. To fulfill your need for another child you may perhaps consider adopting one. You’d be amazed how rewarding that would be to yourself and the child!
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FY
Jun 18, 2019 10:03pm
I usually use the line that “in today’s day and age “aik ho aur naik ho” is sufficient of a blessing.”
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RationalBabu
Jun 18, 2019 10:11pm
@Sammy, absolutely, there should be no religious or social pressure to bear on one’s decision.
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Tarique Aslam Qureshi
Jun 18, 2019 10:56pm
Appreciate that you attempted to write on such a topic. Beyond the topic itself, what’s difficult to understand is a why people would chose to ask others’ about it. Who gives them the right to enquire about such a personal matter. We should learn to respect others’ privacy. It’s a high time !
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samanvita
Jun 18, 2019 11:11pm
Whenever one deviates from the norm, people expect you to defend your choices. Refuse to do so, after a couple of times they will stop. They now realize you won't be perturbed and will make your own decisions. "To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing and be nothing " has been my favorite quote. only children have a higher tendency to be self centered, feel entitled and feel the pressure to satisfy all the expectations of their parents than their counterparts. Parents need to take care of these.
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khurram712@gmail.com
Jun 18, 2019 11:24pm
China one child policy should not be given as reference.it has created social problems for them . I think one should adopt orphans instead of having more kids if one can afford to do so.
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Abraham D Haque
Jun 18, 2019 11:29pm
@Mohd azeez , more of them including their parents will be desperately paupers and I don't believe Almighty would have anything to do with that
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saedul Bibi
Jun 19, 2019 12:19am
In my opinion, the main facts of being a Single child have gone through major problem like communication skills as well as confidence due to loneliness. Sibling are good relation as like to play each other, to take care of each-other and share secrets even from the Parents. Lastly to say that the article is very informative!
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Misfit
Jun 19, 2019 12:33am
I felt the dismay of the writer on being asked this probing question. I strongly feel people should stop being judgmental and keep their critique with themselves when it comes to somebody's personal life. Having said that I disagree with many notions debated here. Every child comes with a loaf of bread in his hand is not just a paradoxical belief as potrayed in this article but it does have a very logical explanation behind it. Its urdu translation reads it as "rizq"(sustenance). Sustenance my friend is not just a monetary fund from God as most of us literate people would understand it. It also encompasses the intellect of a child his special abilities and talents his character and demeanour which might seem as a burden on the world but who knows it bears great minds like Aristotle, Albert Einstein, Shakespear ,Stephen hawking who were surely not the "only child" of their parents. You can read the lives of most influencial people in the history and how they shaped the world. You can go through the directory of scientists and doctors who developed the cures for fatal diseases. You can walk through the gallery of painters and artists. You can read through the pages of authors and the poets. NOT all of them were the "only child" to their parents. As for The chinese they are already revising their "one child policy" tagging it as a blunder. You can research that as well. I respect personal choices but I do find public declaration of false and biased notions problematic.
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Noor noor
Jun 19, 2019 12:44am
How capitalist have we become We measure having children with how much money spent... I find the whole idea sick We r in financial crises cause of our foreign policies and distribution of wealth being done inadequately... not more children Ur wish how many you want but stop relating it to population
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Laila
Jun 19, 2019 12:47am
@Unknown, I just wanted to say how great your comment was. I am in awe that you are adopting. Considering how many orphans there are in Pakistan, it takes a real and real woman to stand against social convention and norms and do adoption. I applaud you. May Allah reward you and bless your efforts. You are great people in my book
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Un-Zak
Jun 19, 2019 01:05am
I grew up with two girls, one of whom is my twin , in a lower middle class nuclear family. Space was a problem till I turned 24. Even after living in two small rooms with my sisters for so long, I have no closeness to either of them. May be it was lack of resources with my parents, but the three of us didn't exactly turn out to be friends.And as the only guy among the three, I have become especially lonely as my parents seem to be from another planet and the girls are now married. So loneliness isn't related to being an only child. It just happens
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sheeraz awan
Jun 19, 2019 02:10am
@Mohd azeez , ppl like you just dont get it man. You know what else is GOD gifts, having personal time, coming home to a quite home and read a book in the evening. I can go on and on, but this is the mentality that has destroyed Pakistan. Focus on quality not quantity
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saeeds
Jun 19, 2019 02:24am
@Mohd azeez , You still living in dark ages. People should should make difference between. Quality child versus quantity Childrens. Pakistani believe in quantity that’s why our quality life going south.
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Fate of Pakistan
Jun 19, 2019 02:52am
very well written and to the point, with all crucial facts. I can totally relate to this being a such parent. Thanks for writing this.
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Kuldeep
Jun 19, 2019 03:04am
@Mohd azeez , Only if you are able to raise them properly with proper education and take care of their expenses and needs without depending on Zakaat and charity .
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Goan
Jun 19, 2019 03:50am
@Mohd azeez , lol.more children more money ..thats rational attitude..and who are to provide for education 10 children none proper educated vs A single MBA kid..I wonder who earns more
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Goan
Jun 19, 2019 03:59am
Appreciate the author. Single child is gaining traction in urban India. Costs of education and life's necessities are high. Southern states have high GDP per capita.they all could reach $600-800 billion GDP if left alone..with central gov devolution of revenues Bihar and UP drags the country down as they get more for their large population... What current generation wants Modi is one child policy but the same religions fanatics specially Muslims don't want it.
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ABD, San Francisco, USA
Jun 19, 2019 04:24am
If God were to take care of children then definitely we all could continue to have children to our hearts content. One thing missing in the discussion is the size of the family. Earlier people lived in a large joint family and child care were often shared among many aunts, sisters and grandparents. Now in the culture of nuclear family raising many children by parents without any support from the network of extended family members is very challenging to say the least. One last thing, bringing a child to the world without the means to raise and provide for him to make him a successful and independent human being should be considered as a crime against the newly born child.
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Raju
Jun 19, 2019 05:10am
He would not have thought this way had ot been girl child. One and done is half naked truth.
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Fraz
Jun 19, 2019 05:18am
@Mohd azeez , I would strongly recommend you consider stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real estate, etc. Instead of producing more babies for some extra income.
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Imran Khan
Jun 19, 2019 05:44am
Society have issues, i have been blessed with 3 daughtyers and on my rcecent trip to UAE even totally strangers Arabs were asking me to have more kids so we can have a Son, they dont feel how my daughters would feel when totally strangers ask me this question in front of them who are teenagers and I have to shrug this off...
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yaaz81
Jun 19, 2019 06:15am
The referenced researches in this article seems to be completely biased towards writer trying to justify their reasons for having only child. Even China is now regretting their 1 child policy and encouraging people to have more children to avoid gender gap. In my view, growing population has nothing to do with economic prosperity of a country. The 2 fastest growing economies in the world today are China and India which are top 2 most populous countries.
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Illawarrior
Jun 19, 2019 06:31am
@Mohd azeez , It is attitudes like yours that perpetuates the problem. You can absolutely say no to unwanted gifts. If you only have 1 or 2 children, you can afford to finance your own old age, whilst your children are supporting their own children, should they decide to have any.
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Uzma
Jun 19, 2019 07:37am
As an only child I can say, it can be tough. You are lonely while growing up and and emotionally not as flexible as people from larger families. A sibling can be a built in Friend for life.
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Farooq Arby
Jun 19, 2019 08:38am
One child or having more than one is your choice. It is useless to cite references of different studies in favour of single child; it is not hard to get desired results by doing so called scientific studies. You can also think in these lines that marginal cost of having and raising another child may be less than additional benefit to the family.
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Xerox
Jun 19, 2019 09:10am
Bravo!
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AK
Jun 19, 2019 09:24am
It's your decision to have more child or not, I too have a daughter and going for my 2nd one, It's a blessing of God and one should not deny it.
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Munir
Jun 19, 2019 09:36am
While "one and done" is a great idea, I've gone a step further and cemented the notion "none and fun" in my life. Do we really need kids these days? My A level physics teacher (who happened to be from Portsmouth, England) asked me this question 20 years back. I faltered and had no answer for him back then. Now I know what he meant. May God bless him.
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maliha
Jun 19, 2019 09:46am
The society's views need to change for the simple reason that Pakistan will have a major scarcity of food and drinking water in the not so distant future. The glaciers are melting due to climate change already. And our agricultural land is also loosing productivity due to salination of ground water. Its happening now, not a hundred years from now. What we are seeing in Thar is a scary highlight of what water and food scarcity would be like for most of the country in the future. Instead of having more children, each affording Pakistani should teach at least one under privileged child from school to university that is not their own child.Distancing ourselves from reality will not change it. These children out on roads who are begging are very much OUR own future and investing in them is investing in our future. If we start seeing our society as our family and not just our blood relatives, this country would truly prosper because then we will do what's best for everyone.
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Asif Ali
Jun 19, 2019 09:54am
@Mohd azeez , earning? from where?
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Asif Ali
Jun 19, 2019 10:00am
Limited sources and unlimited breeding, can't coexist for a long time, Almighty or nature will badly control it if we don't.
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Ehsan
Jun 19, 2019 10:18am
Great article... covers the case from all angles and dicusses all possibilities with research base information.
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Manoj
Jun 19, 2019 10:26am
Had I got this article some 30years back, I would have never opted for single child. As a young idealistic Indian, concerned for population explosion and bad treatment of girl child, I decided not to have another child after birth of my daughter. I wanted to set an example for the society that single child is a better option for raising a healthy and educated child to serve the family and nation. But all my dreams got shattered with the growing up of my daughter. She has all those demerits and behavioral problems that this article mentioned. In spite of my best efforts and putting her in best of education institution, she is failure in life and worst tries to find fault with me for all her failures. She is unable to introspect and take any remedial measures to improve. A person, who kept only one child and worked hard to raise her as a good person, dies everyday when her daughter curse and insults him. I wish her best, but repent for having only one child.
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Ayesha
Jun 19, 2019 10:44am
my situation is exactly the same!! i have one child and sometimes it becomes too difficult to explain it to people that why we just want to have only child. my child is super active, intelligent , 24/7 he plays, wherever he goes he adjusts quickly and indulge with everyone and we as parents are putting 100%effort to give him the best of life as surviving in this world is becoming difficult day by day so for our generation there is going to be double trouble. it is important to make a child ready for future in every way so parents should consider kids as per suits them!!! to hell with social customs!!!!!
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Kamran
Jun 19, 2019 10:51am
Perfect. You have quashed both social and religious Myths by presenting authentic statistics.
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Zh
Jun 19, 2019 11:12am
This is what Pakistan if it wants to survive; one and done rather ten and then some.
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RationalBabu
Jun 19, 2019 11:42am
@yaaz81, so would you advocate a mandatory 2 children policy? That would still be a lot better than a free for all! In the interest of humanity’s future this should happen across the globe!
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ExPak
Jun 19, 2019 01:08pm
@Asad, kudos to you for telling it like it is. We need to have less kids, NOT more
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Anita Raj
Jun 19, 2019 01:33pm
A very well written article :-)
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Ab
Jun 19, 2019 02:07pm
Countries like Russia, Japan , Germany and China are getting ready to embrace the aftershocks of family planning.In Germany schools are empty. In Uk 2/3 of population will be of pensioners by 2050 as there are no kids to replace them. In Russia there is a national holiday and allowances to encourage couples to have children.In China they have already reverted One child policy in some cities. I think unless and until one is suffering from a serious medical or mental condition one should have two /three kids. Kids do have a right to have a sibling. No matter how much data you share, a family with few kids has a flavour of its own.
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Raza
Jun 19, 2019 02:08pm
So Mushtaq bhai, "One and done" thats epic
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S.Ahmad Washington D.C.
Jun 19, 2019 02:23pm
If every one followed in your footsteps the country's problem of overpopulation could be resolved in record time!
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S.Ahmad Washington D.C.
Jun 19, 2019 02:26pm
What better solution than this to tackle the country's burgeoning problem of overpopulation !
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Raza
Jun 19, 2019 02:39pm
Well written. A sad state of affairs in our society where your business is of utmost importance to me and is MY Business!! Well researched, depicting our society for what it is.
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khan
Jun 19, 2019 04:14pm
Among its other findings the study also stated that being an only child is “a disease in itself.” For decades, this view regarding only children was considered received wisdom in the scientific community and society at large.
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Zubaida Ali
Jun 19, 2019 04:17pm
Can't agree more, Mushtaq sahab. My husband and I have raised our only son and we are all for it. He is an intelligent, social, happy youngman. Based on my experience I'd say that raising children is a demanding respinsibility and one child needs atleast two people him/her service to nuture him /her. Having said that i'd say its not a matter of having one or more than one child. Its all about giving your undivided attention to each and every child and be able to provide his/her needs. And I think people have no right to poke their noses in such a personal matter.
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Farhan
Jun 19, 2019 04:42pm
A completely wrong notion. Economist Brian Caplan in his seminal book, "Selfish Reasons to have more Kids" has completely debunked this less kids myth economically. This modern day concept runs contrary to happy old life which only consists of becoming a patriarch and matriarch of an extended family. You can simply walk out and interview old people about it. If you can't afford it due to financial or health reasons, that's another story; but to promote this concept is to promote the curse of loneliness in society which western world is grappling with today
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Mushtaq Bilal
Jun 19, 2019 05:37pm
@Real MD, Yes, sir. We would have been "one and done" parents if we had a girl.
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Mohammad Tariq
Jun 19, 2019 05:56pm
@Farhan, I agree. The western countries are projecting and talking about a serious problem facing them in the near future with a sharp tlrise in aging population and a decline in their young generation.
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Faisal Salman
Jun 19, 2019 06:59pm
7+ billion people with as many point of views. Much debatable issue but at the same time pure personal choice.
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Arpit Patel
Jun 19, 2019 08:05pm
Who cares about Quality . Enjoy the Quantity. Writer is ahead of curve. People always learn the hard way. So sad few South Asian will understand him.
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Berliner
Jun 19, 2019 08:29pm
This is the first Article i ever read on this topic which reaffirms why I choose to have only one child, a baby girl. Some of the arguments mentioned in this writeup truely reflect how young parents think today. Not to mention the social pressure on producing more I choose to raise the only girl because I am eldest of six siblings in an extremly glued up family and assuming the role of spoon feeding the rest. Thankful of the opportunities I got which the rest of us could't afford to have, I am afraid of not being able to raise my Children evenly (if we ever change our mind). Every one has limited time as Parents and of course resources, lets put this all together for only ONE of our offsprings and try to raise them as better Humans.
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Berliner
Jun 19, 2019 08:35pm
@Ab, I don't know about other countries, but in Germany people are struggling to get a slot in Kindergarten. Long waiting lists, and parents register their to 'be born kids' on waiting lists to get a slot on time.
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Berliner
Jun 19, 2019 08:43pm
@yaaz81, China is regretting their one child policy because chinese preffered to have Boys as their only child and aborted millions of baby girls. The disturbing ratio of available adult Women to Men forced them to relax one chlid policy not the lonlines or behavioral problems of 1 Child.
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Kaju
Jun 19, 2019 10:21pm
@Real MD, in India west Bengal Hindus most of all first children are girls. And they don't produce more . Same with south korea
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Kaju
Jun 19, 2019 10:22pm
@Mohd azeez , the beggar lady on the road across my house said the same thing to me last Christmas
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Talha
Jun 19, 2019 11:01pm
@Mohd azeez , Bro you are the rightly guided one on this forum. You are way ahead of the curve.
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Zh
Jun 19, 2019 11:34pm
@Ayesha, you do not owe any explanation to any. It is a matter between you and your husband. Just tell other to mind their own business.
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