Real Talk

One and Done: Why Modern-Day Parents Are Happy With One Kid

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More young parents are following the trend of “One and Done”. Here’s why!

While the thought of our kids having siblings is heartwarming, younger parents nowadays find themselves happier with having just one child. The self-imposed ‘one-child policy’ may come off weird to many Filipino families, especially since the original logic was “the more, the merrier”. That, alongside how deeply rooted religion is into Filipino family culture, can make modern-day parents appear selfish in the eyes of traditional parents. But their reasons behind the decision have more science than many wish to believe. Here are some research-backed explanations why modern-day parents are following the “One and Done” trend:

one and done family

1. They want to enjoy their married life.

Sometimes, when kids enter the picture, the communication between the parents as a married couple begins to degrade. All the effort is then focused on the children, leading to a lot of fights and miscommunications. A 2015 study in Tehran, Iran proved that the number kids did have a big impact on married life and not in a good way. However, they specified that boy moms were happier with their marriages than girl moms or moms with multiple kids.

With more kids, more attention is needed and it soon becomes easier to unknowingly reason out why we can’t pay attention to our partners. Girl moms, on the other hand, may sometimes feel a sense of frustration and nostalgic neglect when their partners pay more attention to their daughters.

Another study showed that it also depends on the culture, how “collectivist” it is, and an individual’s personality. A study in Nigeria performed by Oniyishi, Sorokowski, Sorokowska, and Pipitone in 2012 showed that the number of kids actually increased marriage satisfaction. Having said that, the study did point out that this may have been due to their society’s culture more than the parents themselves.

2. Financial stability is a major factor for “One and Done”.

Let’s be real: things are not getting cheaper. With tuition becoming almost half a million per semester in some schools, many modern-day parents think that they would not be financially ready for having one more when taking care of an only child is already expensive. Many feel it would be “unfair” for their children to not have the same (or more) opportunities than they had because of financial constraints. Being “One and Done” is a decision influenced by financial stability, too.

3. Achieving career balance.

Nowadays, more moms are taking the spotlight in becoming entrepreneurs, CEOs, and skilled professionals to ‘spoil themselves’. Domenico and Jones performed a study in 2006 that women began to participate more in the workforce especially if they would witness their mothers working while young. Moreover, Brown and Barbosa discovered in 2001 that women from poor families aspired for high-paying careers—possibly influenced by the wish to support their families.

Besides, while we do like it when our husband buys us things, we love buying our own things and getting fulfillment in doing so.

4. Events leading to the birth of their first child can be traumatic.

Many studies pointed out that the birth of the first child can be a strong influence on whether parents want to have another one. Myrskylä and Margolis revealed in their study in 2014 that the age of the parents when they had their first child can affect their decision whether or not to have other kids. However, they did not specify if it was because of age or money that they decided not to.

Not all pregnancies and births are smooth. Some are traumatic—becoming the leading cause of postpartum depression or the baby blues. And sometimes, even the postpartum portion can be the deciding factor to go “one and done”.

5. Their child didn’t want another sibling.

Some parents did think about it. But they took their child’s thoughts into consideration, knowing it meant sharing. At a young age, kids would feel that having another child would mean competing with their sibling for their parents’ affections. Hence, a big, fat NO coming from them. At this stage, the child is still trying to understand how having a sibling benefits them when it means losing their parents’ attention or love.

6. Energy isn’t the same.

Nowadays, it’s harder to climb the corporate ladder especially in terms of earning more money. It isn’t rare to come across a parent who is working three jobs to keep food on the table, or handling nine different clients as a virtual assistant. With work taking away majority of the energy, having another kid or even libido may as well be the farthest thing from their minds. Korea and Japan are two of the countries that are currently dealing with that, with their government granting more incentives to their citizens to have more children.

one and done family

“One and Done” is not as selfish as many people think it is!

It may look selfish because some parts of our culture takes the “be fruitful and multiply” quote from the Bible quite seriously. Also, many Asian cultures saw having multiple kids as a status symbol because it reflected financial stability as well. But nowadays, modern parents are being more conscious and aware and how their decisions as parents can either make or break their children. Being “one and done” may not be for everyone but it’s certainly not something we should be shaming parents for.

References

Blair-Loy, M. (2009). Competing devotions: Career and family among women executives. Harvard University Press.

Brown, S. G., & Barbosa, G. (2001). Nothing is going to stop me now: Obstacles perceived by low‐income women as they become self‐sufficient. Public Health Nursing18(5), 364-372.

Dobrowolska, M., Groyecka-Bernard, A., Sorokowski, P., Randall, A. K., Hilpert, P., Ahmadi, K., … & Sorokowska, A. (2020). Global perspective on marital satisfaction. Sustainability12(21), 8817.

Domenico, D. M., & Jones, K. H. (2007). Career aspirations of women in the 20th century. Journal of Career and Technical Education22(2), 18-25.

Ghahremani, F., Doulabi, M. A., Eslami, M., & Shekarriz-Foumani, R. (2017). Correlation between number and gender composition of children and marital satisfaction in women presenting to health centers in Tehran-Iran, 2015. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences11(2).

Myrskylä, M., & Margolis, R. (2014). Happiness: Before and after the kids. Demography51(5), 1843-1866.

Onyishi, E. I., Sorokowski, P., Sorokowska, A., & Pipitone, R. N. (2012). Children and marital satisfaction in a non-Western sample: having more children increases marital satisfaction among the Igbo people of Nigeria. Evolution and Human Behavior33(6), 771-774.

Smock, P. J., Manning, W. D., & Porter, M. (2005). “Everything’s there except money”: How money shapes decisions to marry among cohabitors. Journal of Marriage and Family67(3), 680-696.

Song, J. E., Ahn, J. A., Lee, S. K., & Roh, E. H. (2018). Factors related to low birth rate among married women in Korea. PLoS one13(3), e0194597.

Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Foster, C. A. (2003). Parenthood and marital satisfaction: a meta‐analytic review. Journal of marriage and family65(3), 574-583.

Yadalijamaloye, Z., Naseri, E., Shoshtari, M., Khaledian, M., & Ahrami, R. (2013). Relationships between self-esteem and marital satisfaction among women. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences2(3), 124-129.

More about modern parenting:

The Road to Conscious Parenting: Transforming ourselves to empower our children
Maxene Magalona: “Stop Asking Women When They’ll Have Kids!”
A Good Quality for Any Parent is Being Attuned to Their Inner Child