China Daily (Canada) - - HOLIDAY -

years— it will be very pres­sur­ized, and I will need to work even harder to earn more money,” Luo said, with a smile.

“But, weare lucky enough to have three chil­dren — this is the great­est thing ever.”

Their bit­ter­sweet com­ments are a lux­ury that few­fam­i­lies in China can af­ford, be­cause the coun­try is ag­ing fast.

There are 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple in China, and more than 220 mil­lion peo­ple, about 16 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, are age 60 and older. That fig­ure set to rise to more than 400 mil­lion by 2033, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­naNa­tion­alWork­ing Com­mis­sion on Ag­ing. If noth­ing changes, by 2050, one-third of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion will be se­nior ci­ti­zens.

The re­lax­ation of the na­tional pol­icy on fam­ily plan­ning in Jan­uary last year, which ef­fec­tively al­lowed every fam­ily to have two chil­dren, was in­tended to tackle the long-term prob­lem.

How­ever, it will take time un­til the ben­e­fits be­come ob­vi­ous.

A re­cent re­port, jointly con­ducted by the All Chi­naWomen’s Fed­er­a­tion and Bei­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity, found that more than 50 per­cent of Chi­nese par­ents do not want a sec­ond child, while a fur­ther 25 per­cent are hes­i­tant about ex­pand­ing their fam­i­lies.

Some fac­tors were omit­ted to make the re­port more con­cise, but they also play an im­por­tant role when par­ents are con­sid­er­ing whether to have a sec­ond child, ac­cord­ing to Wang Yun, a pro­fes­sor of child de­vel­op­ment at Bei­jing Nor­malUniver­si­ty­w­holed the re­search team.

They are ob­jec­tive con­di­tions — such as how many houses or apart­ments a fam­ily owns, how many­cars­they­have­and­whether the chil­dren will have rooms to them­selves, she added.

“Obviously, the more you have, the more you are ca­pa­ble of rais­ing a sec­ond child,” she said.

How­ever, there are also other, less ob­vi­ous, con­cerns, such as how peo­ple feel about their fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances. That is far less tan­gi­ble and mea­sur­able, be­cause many peo­ple in Bei­jing, where av­er­age in­comes are the high­est in the coun­try, feel they are not welloff, a feel­ing de­rived in part from fierce peer pres­sure and the ex­ces­sive por­trayal of the wealthy in some sec­tions of the me­dia.

“This sub­jec­tive feel­ing can Top three rea­sons for hav­ing a sec­ond child First child’s at­ti­tude to­ward their sib­ling

Af­fect the sec­ond child has on first-born Pre­ferred meth­ods of learn­ing about par­ent­ing play an equally im­por­tant role as ob­jec­tive con­di­tions in fam­i­lies’ decisions, if not more so in some in­stances,” Wang said.

She sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment should pro­vide more pub­lic re­sources, such as eas­ier ac­cess to child­care ser­vices, ed­u­ca­tion and med­i­cal treat­ments, to make peo­ple feel more com­fort­able with the idea of hav­ing a sec­ond child.

“It’s not the sec­ond baby that traps peo­ple at home dur­ing the hol­i­days— it’s the lack of pub­lic ser­vices,” Wang said.

Con­tact the writ­ers at chen­meng­wei@ chi­nadaily.com.cn and li­ux­i­aoli@chi­nadaily.com.cn Top three prob­lems

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