KATHMANDU, May 7: According to family planning concept, lesser children equals to lesser economic burdens.
Due to this notion and factors such as privacy and developmental facilities, the social institution of a family has undergone constant modifications. Modernization has already shown a rise in number of isolated nuclear families.
Being the only apple in the eyes of parents and to be the prince/princess of the house surely seems fun. However, being showered with too much love and getting undivided attention without siblings also create difficulties in adapting to a wider society.
Aashish Panta, 19, says, “I have working parents, and so till the age of three, I had a nanny who took care of me. I was very stubborn and highly tempered, which I showed by throwing things.
” Aashish was sent to Welham Boys’ Hostel in Dehradun, India, in grade five where he had a tough time adjusting among his peers for two years. “I cried over the phone each day to my parents but I slowly got along with people as I understood the value of friendship,” he adds. He prefers spending time with his younger cousins at home rather than hanging out with his friends.
“No matter how close I am to my mother, my openness to her is limited. I’ve made the habit of keeping things to myself. Sometimes I wish I could pour my heart out to my sibling, if I had one.”
At only 19, Aashish is now looking after DCG Tech Nepal, a corporate gift company and will be leaving soon for further studies. He says, “Although I’ve spent very less time with my parents, I know they worry about me all the time. My mother’s frequent inquiries about my whereabouts frustrate me. I’m independent and responsible but she treats me like a child. On the other hand, my father is proud of me for taking care of the company and he believes in my capabilities.”
Similarly, 16-year-old Kamakshi Kanojia, a 10th grader at Rato Bangla School, describes her life being a single child. “My mother had brought me a whole bunch of learning CDs, so I spent most of my time on computer. I often go out with my grandparents. Earlier, I was very possessive about my belongings but later in school I started sharing with my friends who get along with my parents and I don’t mind sharing the love.”
She shares a friendly relationship with her mother which she describe as like having a sister that she never had, but she wonders how things would have been if she had a sibling.
At one hand, those with siblings have a constant love and hate relationship between them, and on the other, those without siblings are perceived as pampered and spoilt brats. But they, too, have their own melancholies.
Since those parents have only one child to focus on, they have a tendency to give their child the best and fulfill all the demands.
Batuk Krishna Parajuli, Associate Professor at Pulchowk Campus, and his wife Sangita Parajuli, parents of 17-year-old Anton Parajuli, shares, “ We try to resist his lavish demands at first but our love and fear of losing our only child overpowers us and hence we always end up giving him what he wants.”
Anton’s mother worries, saying, “I’m worried about his social life as he frequently changes friends.” His father adds, “We feel very insecure about him. He’s sharing and caring towards his cousins. I feel that we’ve done injustice to him for his loneliness. He doesn’t open up to us but when he needs to ask for something he tries to butter us and has his way.”
They believed that they could to give their only child the best education and opportunities with their income but they add, “Even though a single child, our resources spent on him are equal to that of five children.”
Another parent, Chobi Ghosh who has an 18-year-old daughter, Sarbani Ghosh, opines, “Even if I had more than one daughter, I would pamper them the same. If parents can become friends, philosophers and guides, their children will have the best social development. Although my daughter isn’t troublesome, her temper worries me, though. I sometimes feel guilty for being too concentrated on her educational development and not letting her explore on her own. I worry about her independent life, given the competition in the modern world.”