38.1% of couples who have children, only have one child. Out of the 1,136,397 families in NZ that is around 431830 who have made the decision to only have one child.
Many people used to frown upon the decision over parents deciding to only have one child, they thought it was a selfish decision and unfair to their child. However, over the years the trend of having only one child in a family has increased. Many people have many different reasons for deciding that their first child will also be their last and only. This decision may have been made for financial reasons, the fact that they don’t have the time to look after more children or that they don’t have a big enough house, to cater for the living needs of a larger family. For me, I believe that the decision my parents made to have only one child was not selfish, but because Mom couldn’t handle the workload of more children with her on her own.
61.9% of couples who have children in NZ have 2 or more children. This is almost ⅔ of the population that have kids that have decided 2 or more is better than having just one. 40.2% of these couples have 2 children and that seems to be the most popular amount in NZ. A lot of people believe that children need siblings so that they have someone to grow up with, it stops them from being lonely. Many people decide to have another child because they were only children and hated it, or they came from a big family with a great upbringing and want their kids to have the same experience they did. Many people believe that 2 kids are the best choice because they can grow up together and always have a friend nearby. It also helps to keep them busy when the parents have things they need to do around the house. I know that as an only child, with no one around to grow up with I was always nagging my Mum to come and play with me. There weren’t many times that she did as with just the two of us in the house she was very busy.
Many people in the world have stereotypes about the characteristics that only children have and how they were brought up. Growing up the main thing that I got called a lot from being an only child was ‘spoilt’. Many people think children who don’t have siblings are spoilt and get anything they want by just asking their parents. However that is not the case, growing up I didn’t have to share my things with a sibling which was very lucky for me, but I was never spoilt by my parents always buying me things whenever I want.
Another stereotype people give only children is that they are lonely. Lonely was one thing I was not, I did not grow up with any other siblings but I still had friends at school and other after-school activities I would hang out with. Having no siblings I gained a lot of independence and so when I got home from school or being with lots of other people, I was happy to come home to no one else and have some alone time. I was fine with doing my own thing and I could look after myself.
People also think only children are controlling, that they don’t like their stuff being touched and they don’t know how to share. It is not that only children are controlling but that we have a greater sense of privacy. Because we don’t have to share toys or a room with siblings we tend to be more private with our things and require a lot more personal space than other as we are not used to people being around all of our things all the time. This doesn’t mean that we are spoilt an unable to share, it just means we need a little more space than other people. I know that as growing up an only child I have definitely had this trait developed within me.
I think that growing up as an only child that it is hard with the stereotypes of being called controlling, lonely and spoilt. It may seem like all of these are true for some people but overall everyone is brought up differently and they don’t apply to all only children. I think these three traits appear in most people no matter if they have siblings or don’t.
There are many pros and cons to being an only child. Some of the good things include a lot more attention from your parents. This is because when you have siblings, your parents time has to be shared between you, whereas my mother doesn’t have any other children she has to pay attention to, so I get all the love. From this, my mother and I have developed a very close bond which is good because we have to spend a lot of time together.
Another good thing is the independence because I did not grow up in a house with other children I gained a lot of independence. Independence is great because it allows me to be my own person and do what I need to get done. It means no distractions of other people around the house when trying to do work, and so, therefore, I get more accomplished.
The main thing that sucks about being an only child is having no siblings. Having no one around a similar age as me in the house, I struggled to relate to other kids for a while. It meant that I had no one to play with at home and no one to share memories of my childhood with. It also resulted in me developing an imaginary friend. People say that imaginary friends are good for children because it helps to boost their confidence and do things they normally wouldn’t do.
Overall, growing up as an only child my childhood probably wasn’t a lot different from yours as neither of us actually knew anything different from what we had. If I was to have siblings, I don’t think I would be very good at it. I would be absolutely useless at letting other people touch my stuff and sharing my things.