Single child families: The new normal?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the single child family is the fastest-growing family unit. Is one child the new traditional family - and is it fair?
Nearly half of children in the U.K. are in single-child families, Aquarius magazine reports. It’s the same in some parts of the U.S. where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the single child family is the fastest-growing family unit.
More from MSN Living: Top 10 dog names of the year
Gallup first measured Americans' preferred family size in 1936, at which time close to two-thirds (64 percent) thought three or more children was ideal. This view stretched to 77 percent at the end of World War II and remained near 70 percent for an additional two decades. But attitudes shifted in the 1970s following the publication of the book "The Population Bomb," which warned of the catastrophic risks of overpopulation.
As U.S. birth rates drop – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the country experienced a four percentage point decline in live births between 2007 and 2009 – and preferences continue to shift toward smaller family sizes, the great only child debate rages on.
More from MSN Living: 15 amazing, inspiring baby nurseries
Take Carmen* for example. The 32-year-old woman loved growing up sans siblings and would highly recommend it.
“In my opinion, children without siblings are higher achievers because they’re exposed to increased parental scrutiny,” she told Aquarius magazine. “When the spotlight is on you, and only you, you pull your socks up that bit higher.”
In his book, “Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families,” author Bill McKibben reveals that only children also score higher when it comes to making friends, adjusting to new environments, self-control and interpersonal skills.
Amelia*, 46, is one of four siblings and mother of four children, believes in the benefits from growing up with a sister or brother at home.
“Growing up in a big family, there were times I would quite happily have swapped all my siblings for the chance to have my own bedroom,” she told Aquarius magazine. “But as adults, they are my go-to people – a phenomenon researchers at Ohio State University call the ‘hour glass effect of siblings.’ meaning how we grow apart and then grow back together in later years.”
Tell us on Facebook: Do you think it's fair to have an only child? What are the positives and negatives of this family dynamic?
*Names changed to protect identity
Readers: Calling all mom bloggers – we’re looking for fresh voices on MSN Living. Email us your samples and contact info!
Photo: Single child families / Sonntag/Getty Images
News, stories, tips and laughs for moms & dads
The center of the family is your relationship; not the children.
Transform your mornings from grumpy to great by following these 12 simple steps. (Singing in the shower is highly encouraged.)
We're all aware of the reasons one might prefer to raise biological children. There's the miraculous experience that is pregnancy and childbirth. Also, let's not forget how expensive adoption is (though with the cost of childbirth in the United States growing ever-more crippling, it's hard to say which method is most economical). Couple that with the difficulty of the adoption process -- unless, of course, you're Madonna -- and you've got plenty of strong incentives to go the traditional route. Despite the arduous adoption process and the significant financial commitment, all kinds of people -- both famous and not -- choose to adopt for a variety of reasons. Check out this slideshow to see which celebrities (besides the famous Jolie-Pitts) opted to adopt.
One of our favorite ways to start the day is with a piping hot cup of coffee and a thought-provoking TED talk. In case you're not familiar with the group, TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading ideas through projects and talks by a diverse group of inspired thinkers - people of all cultures, ages and disciplines. As you can probably guess, listening to these innovators share their ideas is a surefire way to jumpstart your day and get your creative juices flowing. Click through the slideshow above for the eight TED talks every parent needs to see. By Cordelia Tai
Got kids that are questioning whether or not the Easter Bunny is real? If you want to keep the tradition going at least one more year, try one of these ideas...
You're cold-hearted? We'll take care of that for you...read on.
This kid despises poetry and he's not afraid to let you know.
I used to be one of those moms who thought, 'who on earth would bring their child to an event like that?' and then I had a son. Here's why you might become a convert, too.
Take a look at your house for these telltale signs that a cat is running the show.
Check out this list of requirements you should meet before getting a new puppy or adult dog.
Virtually everything you need to know about relationships, you learned in nursery school: Treat people as you want to be treated, clean up after yourself, and don’t be a know-it-all.
Can you relate?