One- child fam­ily is not for ev­ery­one

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE - WITH BABY PSY­CHOL­O­GIST NI­COLE PIEROTTI

W e’re think­ing about hav­ing only one child. We have a seven- month- old son. Will my son be all right be­ing an only child or is this a very self­ish de­ci­sion on our part? Fam­i­lyof3, HP

DE­CID­ING to have only one child is a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for fam­i­lies and each cou­ple de­cides this for var­i­ous rea­sons.

Your con­cern about your son is a com­mon worry as he will be an only child and not ex­pe­ri­ence the re­la­tion­ships that sib­lings bring. We could dis­cuss the pros and cons of this and the likely im­pact on his per­son­al­ity as ob­vi­ously, be­ing raised in two dif­fer­ent fam­ily com­bi­na­tions will af­fect his per­son­ail­ity, skills and the type of per­son he be­comes. This can have down­sides or can be ben­e­fi­cial de­pend­ing on what­ever you choose.

I have seen chil­dren from large fam­i­lies and you can al­ways tell that they come from a large fam­ily as they are very

or­gan­ised, in­de­pen­dent, play well and cer­tainly learn give and take So in short, de­pend­ing on your fam­ily unit, yes, it will im­pact on your son as does whether you de­cide to have or two three or six chil­dren. Will it be neg­a­tive? There is re­search to show how it is likely af­fect his per­son­ail­ity. I would take this into ac­count and keep it in mind as you raise him. For ex­am­ple it is likely he will feel a lot of pres­sure to do ev­ery­thing ex­ceed­ingly well and to please his par­ents. It is likely you will be a ‘ he­li­copter par­ent’ and hover over him, pro­tect him.

The most im­por­tant ques­tion to keep in mind when you are both de­cid­ing would be: Do you both want to raise another child? Do you both want to com­mit to the years it takes? Do you both want to par­ent, teach, play with and ed­u­cate another child?

Your an­swers to these ques­tions should be your guide to the de­ci­sion you are both try­ing to make. There is no point in hav­ing another child for your son’s ben­e­fit or pos­si­ble ben­e­fits if the de­sire for a long, long- term com­mit­ment and the abil­ity to put that child at the top of your pri­or­i­ties is not the main fac­tor.

As with­out this com­mit­ment, the way you would then raise/ par­ent your sec­ond child would cer­tainly neg­a­tively im­pact this child — more than your son be­ing an only child.

Email ques­tions to aboutababy@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au. Ni­cole Pierotti is a child psy­chol­o­gist who is an ex­pert in help­ing solve sleep prob­lems. Call 4724 2600 or go to babysmiles. com. au

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