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Walking tall, walking alone— the single child!


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Walking tall, walking alone-- the single childIn the corridors of childhood’s carefree years, he walked alone – my son. Knowing neither the companionable comfort of a brother’s support nor the competitive edge of sibling rivalry, he had no sister or brother’s jealousy to contend with.

The sole claimant to his parents’ love, he remained our only child. When asked whether he ever missed having a brother or sister, he says, “Of course I did. But my friends and cousins made up for this lack. Yet there were times when I wanted so badly to confide in someone whom I could completely trust and those were the times I missed having a brother.” 

Most parents do realize that life can get lonely for the single child. That ideally ‘Hum Do Hamare Do,” does make for a lot of sense. And this used to be how life was in most of our families. There was a brother, another sister or brother or maybe two of each.

A single child used to be viewed with sympathy if not pity. But today the single child is not an uncommon phenomenon. Time constraints, money considerations, future planning strategies for the child’s education or maybe just health factors may all push for a single child family.

Couples planning to have a single child find it easier to do so, if the first born is a male child. However, there are many instances of couples who have happily settled for a single child even when it is a girl.

One particular couple, (Drs.) Shakuntala and Bhushan, who opted to have just one child are more than happy with their daughter, Abha, a Harvard scholar and successful writer. They do admit however that it is difficult to rear a single and impart a sense of balance to her, while also taking care of complementing the child’s basic need for company.

“We made a conscious effort to raise a balanced child with a set of values that would stand her in good stead.” Abha is a beautiful woman today with a wholesome view of life, and shows no signs of being spoilt.

As appears typical with most single children brought up in stable homes, she retains a positive outlook on life. Her strengths and ability to look at the world with fresh eyes she believes, are derived from being a single child.  Her parents and she share a unique relationship. She takes their advice and they take hers.

However, according to my friend who is also a family counselor, most of the problem cases that come to her for counseling are those of single children. “At heart most of them remain lonely, unable and unwilling to really get out of their shells.”

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Responses to Walking tall, walking alone--- the single child!

  1. 1 Jaya Sankar

    Kudos on this lucid article on “Walking tall, walking alone the single child.”

    Being a single girl child, I can vouch for the pains and pleasures of growing up. Single girl children always see the world with fresh eyes and make friends and cousins their global family.

    As a well-educated single working Indian woman in a professional field, who is also a single girl child, I have heard of the attitudes and behavior of potential high-degreed grooms to whom such a person is “untouchable,” especially if there was a hint of reponsibility of the girl’s old parents. Could it be because these high-degreed guys have never been responsible for their own parents in their entire lives? What would be their attitude/behavior, if such a “single girl child” was their own cousin, or neice?

    Its time the single child was valued for what they are and not banned away! We could show the world a thing or two:)

    cheers,

    Jaya

  2. 2 a.banerjee

    Great and thought povoking !
    One one hand we parents opt for a single child in order to give the best opportunities to our child, do we really end up spoiling their future ?

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