I recently commented on a post at Parentous, When are you having a baby? about being asked questions about having a second child. After putting in the comment, I asked myself. ‘Does my family really need another child?’
Yes, sometimes, we women do self-inflict ourselves with these questions too. Why do we need someone else to ask us questions that irk us?
And then I had this lingering question.
If I say no more, Will it be unfair on my firstborn by not giving her a sibling?
‘Only’ children are often stereotyped as Spoiled Brats who are selfish, aggressive, bossy, lonely and maladjusted. It is also said that only children have a lot of undue parental pressure. Possibly true. Parents can put all their energy and attention into the one child and may have unrealistic expectations from them.
It is so easy for all the above to happen. Most of the times we think, ‘Arrey, if we don’t do this for her, then for whom?’
Currently, my little one is the empress of the house. She is the number 1 priority. But is she being spoiled?
A research also states that children are more affected by the stereotype of the only child status that they have, whether or not it is true or false. She might see that her friends have siblings and might miss having a sibling too.
As we grow up, I also feel that this so-called spoiled child will also have the sole responsibility of worrying about us. Will she be sandwiched between the needs of her own family and the needs of her parents?
We have a set time in this world too. Will she feel totally alone after the inevitable time?
Sometimes I think I am too conscious and get that nasty mommy guilt of not giving her a sibling. Such a selfish thing to do. I have a brother and it feels so good every time I think about it. It’s a warm and a mushy feeling that is never expressed out though. I see his family and feel it’s a family away from my family.
But then I mentally list out the many reasons that I cannot think of another child and push the guilt away. But like many other Mommy guilts, it is always there. As I do with everything, I researched through tons of research papers about the so-called ‘Only Child Syndrome’ or ‘The Little Emperor’ syndrome. I found relief in the fact that most of these researches refute the Syndrome and call it a myth.
Practically, in today’s times of raising inflation, having a single child and raising them well sounds the right decision. After all, you cannot just pick up your favorite child and send her to university. No matter how financially stable we are, that’s something to ponder on. I have had the luxury of staying at home with my girl as an infant; I don’t think I can do that with my second one.
If we had a child just for the sake of the first one, I know we will be cribbing and fighting over every sibling fight and tantrum for all our lives. There is no guarantee of the great sibling relationship that everyone promises that she’ll be having. I know quite a few siblings who meet only when they are literally dragged into it.
Now I understand that my parenting style would require a lot of working if my little empress has to keep her throne but still be kind to the world at large!
She wouldn’t get everything under the sun just because she vocalized her demand for it! She would definitely have to earn it.
She would have to be taught sharing. This would have been sort of managed on its own if she had a sibling. So, I’ll sometimes ask for half of her candy and take a few of her books to read on my own. I’ll sometimes do what I want to, rather than what she wants. If she wants to play with dolls, I’ll pull out the blocks.
Cousins will be a magical key to socializing. Again it’ll be an effort to be made on our part to get the said cousins to meet her on a regular basis. Nuclear Setup does have its cons. I put her into a playschool for 2 hours a day just for her to know there are other people in the world apart from her parents and her grandparents nearby. I accept every party invite that comes my way mostly to let her interact with people.
This little empress of mine is and will be pampered a lot. Inevitable. But not spoiled. She will get her share of timeouts and scolding. But she will be the sole owner of all my attention and not too much fretting over, I hope.
She will very soon come home one day and ask for a little brother or sister. I am going to have good answers to that or I’ll succumb and have a second kid. Till then she is my only empress and I’ll raise her like one.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full time mommy to an adorable 2 year old girl and a part time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!