May 11, 2007

Minority Report

Here is my two bit ( or should I say one bit) on rohini's singled out. I am used to agreeing with her- so this is a first time for me.

Only children are often presumed to be lonely and lost. Deprived even. My father is a single child. If you have not already guessed it- I am a single child. Why don't you hear it from a horse's mouth.....

MYTHS- 1,2,3- I speak from experience:
A single child must be so lonely-I have never been lonely.And I would not have problems admitting it if I were so. I had a lot of hobbies and ended up being more adventurous and outgoing. I also feel I was closer to my parents and was more helpful and self sufficient than most other kids my age.

I must admit I have a very romanticised view of siblings, led by Hindi movies and wondered how it would have been to have a very protective older brother.

A single child is not as fit or intelligent as those with siblings. Rohini's disclaimer helps me cope with this statement. And if studies are to be believed then it is single children who are more academically brilliant. I do not subscribe to either theory.

Where children with siblings score, if clever, are in their negotiation skills- since they must always be healthily competitive- be it affection, attention or material stuff that they are after.

Sibling share your history- But not necessary that she/he shares your life with you. I have seen many siblings who hardly keep in touch. My friends have been more than a pillar of strength for me. And yes, some history is better left unshared.

Single children lose their childhood and grow up faster than others. One could also argue that if you have siblings you start taking responsibility for the younger one(s) and therefore lose your childhood faster.

Single children, if well brought up, are adaptable and understanding. I was so proud to be seen as a role model by so many of my friends' moms. I never considered my friends immature, they were just different and I loved that about them and having that kind of fun as well. Also parents of a single child, possibly retain their youth longer, as they try their best to not let us lose our childhood too soon.(Almost all my friends exclaim that my parents come across as so cool and young)

Being intelligent, responsible, acting your age, being secure- it comes from your genes, the environ at home and your exposure. Irrespective of whether you have siblings or not you may end up a dud or a stud.


I do not think it is necessary for a child to have a sibling. It is not in the least bit selfish of the parents. I am NOT saying you MUST have only one kid. Have as many as you think you want to and if the number happens to be one or zero, then just as well.

Do not have a second child for the sake of your first kid. You maybe in for disappointment if they do not take to each other or at a later stage do not get along.
Do not have a second child just because your first was a girl and you want a son to continue the "family name" . You may have another gem of a girl whom you resent for no fault of hers

In India, having a second child is made to seem almost mandatory-like having to get married. It is your decision. Go ahead and choose. Have a baby because you want to. Because you know you have enough love to give him/ her.Remember, none of those who advice you to have a baby( first or second) are really involved in bringing them up. So do what you think you can handle. That is what will suit you and your baby.

And if you do not believe horses and prefer to trust research then please read this

Having said all the above, rather more vehemently than my usual style, we have carefully preserved Anush's crib, play pen, kangaroo punch, some good infant clothes even.....


itchingtowrite said...

your last line says it all!! (wink wink). Infact both yours & rohini's views are correct depending upon point of view.. but I wud have rather erred on the side of having a sibling (had i not had twins) than not as I do believe that if all goes well, the sibling support remains with u rather than any of the friends.. sibling or even close cousin is someone on whom u can demand with complete right.. i do believe that blood is ultimately thicker than water- ancient I may sound saying this...i guess for single children it is like u didn't hav so u didn't miss anything... and same way for siblings- since they shared so much together, they can't imagine a life without the other one. even if they end up fighting among themselves after they grow up/ get married and hav own children to think abt- thats when the selfishness/ fights starts, they do not want to trade the memories of childhood and wish that they never had the a phase well enjoyed and now even if it is gone, i hav no regrets!! sorry for hogging ur space but the words just went flowing

artnavy said...

itchy- That was quick!

To each their own- being the oldest and the youngest child of my parents worked well for me..

And let me clarify our mind is not yet made up either way- before you keep winking away....:-)

Rohini said...

Touche. Great post with an alternate point of view.

I agree with you on the to each their own entirely. I just wonder whether people really think through this decision. I just feel that that given a choice, it is better for a child to grow up with a sibling and some of the reasons I've heard on having single children don't seem very substantive to me - again, just my opinion.

artnavy said...

thanks for lending me a ear rohini

it is tiresome- the assumptions people make about single children and i am glad u did not make some of them :-)

And good to see u and mad momma featured in Femina!!

apu said...

hmm, for every norm one can show 10 exceptions; So i am sure there are siblings who are not close/who fight over money....

for me, the relationship i share with my sisters is a sort of permanent security blanket; Friends are fabulous too, but they can't replace my sisters to me.

At the same time, I think it is entirely within the parents' role to decide not to have a second one. I am not in favor of having one to get a sibling for your first. And I really dont tink there is anything selfish about not wanting to go through it again, or not wanting to disrupt your career, as Rohini says....

What if you are a scientist on the verge of a breakthrough? You may not want to have another kid at all..

sorry for hogging space :)

Poppins said...

Hmm. Nice counter view to Rohini. I am of the 2 kids mentality even if I DON'T have a good realtionship with my sister. Yup.. we were perfectly fine when we were kids but growing up we had too many issues.. And now we are only superficially in touch.

But then, why do I want a sib for my kid? Because of me. I am selfish enough to desire another child and if the kids stay close for life - Great !

Sunita said...

I always wanted to hear a mother's perspective who was the only child thinking of keeping it to just one because that would have honest reasonings as to why single is as good as 2 or more.

To each their own - Absolutely.

In my mind(& heart) 2 is embossed and there isn't too much thinking or reasoning happening even in my head about it. The Indian mentality as you say :)

Orchid said...

Boy, am I glad to see this post....rohini's post felt me leaving a little guilty. No, I have not entirely decided on whic way I want to go (to stop at A or have another one) this point I am confused and her post scared me, yours bought me back to my original level of confusion which I am comfortable with :)

artnavy said...

sunita/ poppins/ apu- all boils down to what you think is okay by you

hahha orchid- come on - u r way beyond being awayed by a few posts- but i am right now unconcluded as well on the subject of a second kid....

noon said...

Hi Art, Very nice to read your perspective as a single child who is now a parent. I agree with you on many counts - I also wrote a post in response to Rohini's post in my blog - so wont' write on and on in your comment space. Like someone here said - people who have had siblings somehow feel this urge to give that to their children...single children don't know what they missed out on attitude!

SS said...

Hi. Very well articulated indeed.
I was an only child for 11 years (my step brother is 11 years younger than me) ... I feel more like a second mum to him actually now as my spouse and I help him with his future plans n all :)

I don't have any regrets being an only child looking back and it felt very good to read a post which echoed my thoughts.

Cheers :)

rads said...

Good stuff :)
Ive known both kinds of singlebees - the snobbish ones and the outgoing nice ones. I think each one develops differently, and the environment and raising style has more say that given credence.

btw, I believe in hvaing at least 2 kids - reasoning - am not around forever, hopefully, I can leave behind a little of me in each of mu kids so they have a bit of their "own" later on?
weird logic eh? :)

rads said...

arghhhh@typos! This is nuts!!

artnavy said...

noon- i am going to catch up with yours- have not been visitng my fav blogs regularly teh lat one month

rads- i am the worst when it coms to typos- shld do a post on them i suppose- and i do not think your ogic is wierd - it is very sweet and correct too in its own way

ss- firts time here? welcome and i will visit you soon

The Mad Momma said...

I had a second simply because i enjoy parenting. i could do it over and over again because the whole miracle of life thing has me in awe. seriously. i am one of those. and my brother and i are still very much a part of each others lives... touchwood. cant imagine a life without him. career anyway took a backseat the moment i had the brat so derailing it again is not an issue.

also, having had a sibling, i cant imagine any child growing up without a sibling and a dog - sometimes they are one and the same :p

finally - kids are inherently what they are - they cannot be brighter or stupider depending on the number of siblings they have. and also the relationshop between children is largely nurtured by parents. where parents make an effort, children grow together well. of course there are no guarantees abt whether it will last into adulthood or not. and if you dont force the elder child into taking on the responsibility of a younger one, they are fine. sheer protectiveness works both ways. my brother is like a tiger if anyone upsets me and you wont believe he is younger!

what i do firmly believe however is that having a child, like most of my other decisions, was lead by the heart. i just simply yearned for one. no child deserves to be the product of a cold blooded decision. so have the first, second or tenth child only if you want it badly. not otherwise.
all the best with your decision.

artnavy said...

hey madmomma- was wonderign why u had not yet commenetd on this one- in you oh so typical ( that is meant as a compliment) and articulate way

u said it - u need to put ur heart into it- there is no half way....

karmickids said...

Single children, if well brought up, are adaptable and understanding. I was so proud to be seen as a role model by so many of my friends' moms.

I completely identify and agree with this art. In fact, this is the argument I give my MIL whenever she starts her whining. I think I am much more sensible and balanced than any of her five children are. Including the spouse.
But I still feel lonely. You know. There are friends, but they are not family. I wonder whether my son would feel the same.

starry-eyed said...

Thanks for the link, artnavy:)

agree about all the presumtions, they're just that. Except that yes, it's so true that I have issues with conflict resolution, coz I never had the safe experience of fighting and making up with a sibling.

I loooooved being an only child, my parents did not spoil me, in fact they were very strict to compensate. I wasn't at all lonely. But as an adult...I feel it....truly long desperately for a sibling now...luckily I have sisterly friends :)

And I catch myself very often taking my daughter's side in sibling fights, coz I feel a slight twinge of guilt that she wouldn't be pestered if she was an only child. And then feel really ashamed of myself :(

Oh and I am also very militant about not having a second kid as company for the first one...blech! I have two kids because I wanted both of them, period.

Good to talk about this with ya!

sandhya said...

Thanks for this link, Art. Made me feel so much better. Sometimes I feel really guilty about A being an only child. This will help me deal with it, and enable me to help her deal with it better.