Small families are nowadays more of a necessity than anything else.
That’s not to say that people are wanting to have more kids, but even if it was a priority, finances and the economy often make it difficult.
As a result, some parents of small families start to feel guilty that their little boy or girl doesn’t have a brother or sister. However, a new study released over the holidays revealed that these parents can actually feel good about themselves.
Because small families are actually better for the kids.
The news comes by way of the Washington Post, and it references a research project “from three economists that looks at 26 years of data on parents and children,” suggesting that for every additional child born, “other siblings are more likely to suffer from lower cognitive abilities and more behavioral issues, and have worse outcomes later in life.”
The economists drew from reams of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 1979. This survey questioned families on their kids’ reading and math abilities, home environments, and behavioral issues, “such as how often parents read to children or help them with their homework,” the Post reports.
The research illustrated how elder siblings performed prior to the arrival of an additional child and afterward.
For the full details, you should click the link above, but the gist of it was this: Mom and Dad devoted less time to the development of their older children with each new arrival.
Examples the study looked at included “how often families eat meals together, how often parents show kids affection and how many books each child has.”
This time investment dropped by 3 percentage points after a young child is born, “while cognitive scores fell by 2.8 percentage points and behavioral problems increased,” the site adds.
Children also experienced the downslide of their development in different ways with girls tending to lose steps in reading and math and boys tending to get into more trouble.
Educational levels also declined by -.13 years completed for each additional child, with older children whose parents had twins ending up with “nearly half a year less of education than other families.”
Perhaps worst of all? The results were not temporary, but long-lasting.
With these findings firmly in place, here are some additional things that small families can take comfort in by staying small and not branching out to include three or four or 19 kids.
First of all, less trying to have kids means less chance of a miscarriage or pregnancy complication, which can add significant stress to Mom and Dad’s relationship and, in turn, the development of surviving children.
Secondly, only children or two kids will get a lot more of their parents’ attention and help with resources like paying for college, getting that first car, or inheritance later in life.
Finally, on the day-to-day financial pressures, small families are able to more easily meet financial goals without having to go heavily into debt or giving up on saving for retirement.
With divorce rates long-quoted, whether accurately or not [via Fox News], as hovering around 50 percent and all the negative impacts that divorce has been proven to have on children, any stress relief that Mom and Dad can provide is more likely to boost the overall well-being of their children.
For more showing the child of divorce’s perspective, check out this touching video below.
Do you think small families should be the norm for a society this day and age? Is there really anything wrong or selfish about expanding out to have more children? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via ShutterStock]