Who are they going to learn baby care from? As more young people flock to the cities, it's less common to have a mother/mother-in-law in the house or nearby. And even if they do, that woman had one child, a couple decades ago. If theirs was an easy baby, what help will they be with a baby who has colic? Will they even remember what they did for teething pain?
My older kids know how to take care of babies. My children have learned organically how much work a toddler is, simply by having them in the house. I consider it a tongue in cheek form of birth control for my teens, actually. I don't have to worry about them romanticizing the idea of a baby and getting pregnant on purpose.
I think it's sad that Chinese mothers today are having to reinvent the wheel. Without benefit of being around a variety of children, how will they know what their child should be doing, developmentally, or how they can teach their child the things they need to learn?
It appears that the tide is turning. China is starting to relax it's One Child Policy by allowing 2 only children who marry to have 2 children. There are families who can afford to pay the fine for a second child and choose to do so. But change happens slowly. Not only are the One Child kids at a disadvantage when it comes to conflict resolution, they miss out on what can be a beautiful sense of community within a larger extended family.
I know, being raised an only child myself, that it's certainly possible to survive and parent as an only. But imagine also not having aunts, uncles, cousins... when you start lopping all those branches off the family tree, it becomes a sad stick, indeed.
Next time I start feeling bad over something my kids can't have or do because of our family size, I hope I stop and remember the gift that it is for them to have each other. Not only here in the present, but also into the future. Long after I'm gone, I hope they will have each other.
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