Single Child or Siblings – Which one to choose? Which one is better for you and your child?

The decision to have one child or two or more is a tough one for parents these days. With career taking a forefront and parents having children in their late thirties and forties, the choices are becoming more difficult and single child families more prevalent. Fueled by financial constraints – economic uncertainty, expensive lifestyle and exorbitant childcare costs and an increasing number of women juggling family with careers – the decision, such as later parenthood, is making the only child more ‘alone’.

There is no right answer to the question of having only one child or having two or more children. Parents have the right to decide what they want for their family, and they have the unchallenged ability to make that wish a reality.

However, I wish the parents would think more about the interests of the child than their own as they decide how many children to have.

I have met many parents recently with a single child. Dare to ask them if they were planning for a second child – wham comes the answer! No ways! It’s so expensive to raise one child these days – we can’t even think of having two. Besides, we had him/her so late and I don’t know if biologically it’s possible for me to manage a second one and so on…. And by the way, these are double incomed parents who have their own cars to drive, living in good apartments and have a great salary package. So, if they are worrying about the expense of raising one child – there is a deeper-rooted problem psychologically than seems to be on the surface.

Parents who decide to have only one child, may think that life is a lot more peaceful! They often give undivided attention to the one child, which means that the only child must feel extremely loved and attended to. Seeing your parents around at your beck and call, gives a sense of entitlement of attention and indulgent to all their needs promptly. The only child gets the best in everything material things and otherwise.

However, the downside of having only one child can be several. An only child may grow up lonely with no one to play, share, fight and be with. An only child may get too much pressure from parents, to perform well or excel in school and other activities. The parents of an only child tend to be overbearing and overprotective. An only child may have a harder time making friends. An only child may become burdened about being the sole caregivers of elderly parents.

Being the younger of the two siblings, I often wonder if parents today are being selfish to have only one child? It's hard to deny that having only one child deprives the only child out of one of the most important relationships an individual can have in this lifetime: the relationship with one or more siblings. I have an elder sister of my own. We share a five years’ age gap between the two of us. As kids, I remember fighting like cats and dogs but I can tell you that my strongest ally and most trusted partner in the family system is my sister. A sibling relationship is one of the best tools for children to learn how to manage and navigate relationship struggles and to learn about conflict resolution as they grow up. Our families are becoming smaller by the day. We all are getting busier. No one has time to spend time with cousins anymore. Atleast having your own sibling pushes one to spend family time with their sibling and nieces and nephews. Also, having siblings help in sharing the responsibility of care giving of older parents. It may be overwhelming for the single child to take care of their parents all by themselves.

Most importantly, in my opinion, if you’ve had a sibling yourself – it would be unfair to not have a sibling for your child for your selfish reasons. Our parents had a lot less than us in terms of material wealth; but they never had only one child because of a reason called “financial constraint”. Our generation has much more materially, we earn more, but sadly, we seem to have much smaller hearts!

Let’s think harder and deeper through this decision. Let your first child have the pleasure of a sibling and what it’s like to share and care. At NeedyBee we have a section dedicated to beautiful gifts for siblings and gifts for newborns. Indulge yourself shopping with us.

Author Nidhi Banthia Mehta, is a mother of two kids. Arjun Mehta (12) and Nia Mehta (10). She is happy to answer any parenting questions you may have. You may email her at

Nidhi is the founder and publisher of SuperMomPreneurs. She is also an appointed Mentor on Sheroes Community. She has three self-started businesses that she runs currently.