In my family, there are a lot of two-children families. My bride and I both came from two-children homes. We have two children ourselves and both of our kids’ spouses hail from two-children families. Plus, my sister has two children. So my mom has two children and four grandchildren. If the trend continues, she will have eight great-grandchildren.
Contrast this with China’s one-child policy, which has been in place since 1979 (33 years). A child born in China today will be the only child of two parents and the only grandchild of four grandparents. If the trend continues, he or she will eventually be the only great-grandchild of eight great grandparents. This child will also have no uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, or nephews.
While this may be an effective means to curb population growth, it has two most negative outcomes:
First, a Chinese child will be the only child of two parents and four grandparents. That means that six people are placing their sole generational focus—good or bad—on that lone child. There will be a tendency to spoil their only child and grandchild. And there will be tremendous pressure placed on that child to do well, succeed, get married—and have his or her, one child. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one kid. Plus, all these overly indulged, “only-child” kids, being the center of their family’s attention, will most likely be narcissistic and selfish.
Second, a Chinese child will be the only grandchild to care for four aging grandparents and later the only child to care for two aging parents. There will be no siblings or cousins to share these duties. That’s a lot of responsibility to place on one child.
In societies with no procreation limits, parents rightly make their own decisions on the number of offspring, be it ten, two, one, or even none. That is good and right, but when a whole society is forced to limit themselves to one, the ramifications are significant.
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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.