The Right Number of Children for Your Family: One or More

Planning out your family size is a big part of your relationship with your partner or spouse. When you first decide to have kids, it’s a question that may come up, one child or more? Generations ago, large family sizes were the norm. This was probably due to the prevalence of a farming lifestyle for most families living outside of cities. Primitive medical technology also made having many children preferable to families because of the high infant mortality rate years ago. Families ended up having lots of children to ensure some members of their family would live into adulthood. In today’s modern society, parents don’t have to worry about multiple children dying before growing up. Most families also don’t need to have lots of children to help them support themselves or operate a family farm. Luckily, couples today can choose the size of their family based on preference. So, if you want to have one child and be done, you can feel comfortable with that decision. Or, expand your family with siblings if you like. Find out some of the reasons why families may choose to stick with one child only or why parents may prefer giving their children siblings.

Little brother hugging her newborn baby. Toddler kid meeting new sibling. 

Little brother hugging her newborn baby. Toddler kid meeting new sibling. 

The Only Child

Traditionally, there has been a stereotype of only children in many conversation circles. Some have been led to believe that an only child is spoiled, poorly adjusted, lonely and socially awkward. Research has disproven these generalizations about families that have one child only. As medical technology has improved and the world’s economic system has made strides for families, the sizes of families have decreased over the past 60 years. The idea of having only one child has become more popular because of how much easier it can be on the family.

How it Benefits Your Child

The biggest reason why families may want to have only one child is to benefit their kid. With only one mouth to feed, it is unlikely an only child will ever be lacking food, clothing or other necessities in life. One study states that children from an only child household are more likely to have higher IQs than those with siblings. Onlies may end up doing better academically because of this fact as well as having that undivided attention and support from their parents. Some research has also suggested that only children are more confident than kids with siblings. And, there’s no evidence that only children are lonely because they have just as many friends as other kids their age.

Why Couples May Only Want One

Parents also reap the benefits when they make the decision to limit their family size. Raising one child instead of multiple children has an incredible impact on your wallet. Small families are able to afford more things like vacations, nice homes and luxury clothes. It’s also easier for the parents and much less stressful to raise one child instead of multiple kids with a variety of different challenges related to behavior or school issues. And you also have to consider the family dynamic. One child makes things much less complex regarding your relationship with your child and partner.

How to Make the Most of a Small Family

So, if you plan on only having one child, it’s important to make the most of your time with your family and enrich your child’s life so there is never a problem with loneliness or other stereotypical issues with only children. Encourage your child to be assertive and outgoing enough to approach other kids when trying to make friends. Help your child develop social skills by enrolling him in a preschool program at a young age since there are no siblings. When your child does develop significant friendships, invite friends over to help your child learn even more essential interpersonal skills.

Problems That May Come Up

It’s important to be proactive with your small family so your child doesn’t start complaining about being lonely all the time. It’s also smart to give your child space at times so you aren’t accused of being overprotective or smothering your child with too much attention. Ideally, you want to give your child plenty of opportunities to grow into a happy and well-adjusted adult.

The Large Family

While having one child may seem attractive to some couples, others are horrified at the thought of a small family. They may have grown up as an only child and felt lonely, or they may have come from a large family and enjoyed the experience so much they want the same for their own kids. According to research from public perception surveys, the ideal family size includes two children. Larger family sizes have been declining over time because of the increased number of both parents working, the higher costs of raising kids and the widespread availability of birth control. Despite the decline of large families, there are still plenty of couples who commit to giving their first child at least one sibling some day.

Brother and sister kissing little sibling. Siblings bonding. 

Brother and sister kissing little sibling. Siblings bonding. 

Why Having Siblings Is Better

Having a sibling grow up with you can give you some of the best lessons about life, getting along and social interactions. Studies have shown that those early interactions between brothers and sisters benefit kids in later life by making them more optimistic and trustworthy. Kids who have siblings may also learn more about cooperation early in life compared to only children. They learn about the value of compromise and dealing with conflict more effectively as they navigate issues with their brothers or sisters. And the greatest benefit of having a sibling is the lifelong connection or friendship that comes along with a brother or sister.

How It Impacts Parents

Having more than one child can also benefit the parents. Parents with multiple kids don’t have to worry about giving their children enough interaction with their peers or scheduling playdates. A larger family can often bring more life to the household and more fun with the combination of different personalities and relationships. There’s also the reality of what happens to you as you age. If you have a large family with multiple kids, you have plenty of options for who will end up taking care of you later down the road.

Family Dynamics With Multiple Kids

The dynamic of a large family is very different from one with only one child. Parents must work to ensure their kids grow up together in harmony and resolve different conflicts more effectively so your children benefit from their sibling relationships. Siblings can sometimes develop rivalries, and parents can squash these ideas by giving plenty of attention to each child and avoiding comparing one kid to another. Growing up with a large family can be a great way to enjoy things in life even more and make many happy memories.

Problems in Large Families

Some large families struggle because of the challenges that come with multiple children. Siblings fighting with each other can get out of control at times if conflicts aren’t resolved. It’s also common for one sibling to feel left out sometimes or feel like the other sibling is the favorite. This can lead to intense emotions of anger, jealousy or bitterness. There is also a significant cost in raising children in a large family when you consider the price of everything over time.

What kind of family do you think is ideal? Let us know by commenting below or following KAMO on Twitter at @kamo_family, on Facebook or by finding kamofamily on Instagram.

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