|My aunt, cousins, sisters, mom, uncle & dad at my grandparents' house Christmas Eve, circa 1990|
I would never say having just one child is selfish. I know many parents who've struggled very hard just to have one & you never know what someone's reasons are for not having another one. However, I recently realized what it could mean if everyone had just one child (besides the obvious population drop) in terms of family relationships. Because there are no only children in my family tree (at least in the last four or five generations), it means that I have aunts, uncles, & tons of cousins.
Think about it for a minute: if every couple had just one child, that child would grow up without siblings. When that generation of only children grew up & had just one child per couple, they would have no aunts & uncles, no cousins. Imagine having no one else in your family who was the same generation as you.
Maybe this isn't such a strange idea for you, if you aren't close to your extended family. Perhaps you don't have any cousins or they live too far away, or your families don't get along. To me, though, it seems like this might be a major cultural shift.We've already seen a change in the West over the last couple centuries from extended families being together to the nuclear family becoming the standard unit. Imagine going further to the three-person nuclear family.
I really think there's a basic human need to have a village around you & without having any siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles, you'd need to fill the gaps with friends. But it's just not the same--the connection, at least in my experience, is never as strong as family.
So I turn it over to you: what do you think about this? Are you a singleton or do you have an only child? Do you think your relationships with family--especially siblings or cousins--are stronger than those with friends? I'd love to know your thoughts...
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