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The Case for Siblings

In an only-child boom, reconsidering the lifelong value of brothers and sisters.
The Case for Siblings
Image: Erin.kkr / Flickr

Nothing gets parents talking quite like starting up a conversation about family size. How many children are too many? How few are too few? When should a couple decide to start having children? When should they stop? Should children be spaced out or should they be close together?

Parents-turned-grandparents, brand-new parents, and even those who haven't become parents yet are ready to share their preferences on how many kids to welcome into the world and when.

Despite all the talk about whether you should have as many kids as possible or if three kids is really the most stressful or if it's just a better financial option to forgo kids all together, the numbers show that most American women have between one and two children, or 1.9 on average.

That means more children than ever are growing up without siblings, and the stigma of being a lonely or spoiled only child is fading away.

Families aren't one-size-fits-all, but I'm struck by how narrow a view some parents take when considering their plans to have and raise kids. Many look for what's easiest, what's most affordable, what they can imagine in their own home right now, instead of taking a long-range view. The view the journey to parenthood as one more thing they can control in a society that is ever increasing in its grasping for control over our very lives.

Lest we forget: The babies and kids we welcome into our families will go on to have lasting relationships with each other as adults. ...

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