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Marriage of the Only Child: Joys and Worries
In 1979, some 6.1 million parents received their certificates for being a single-child family. Today their children have grown up and reached the legal age of marriage. Comparing to those children growing up in a family with sisters or brothers, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the marriage of the only child? Wang Jie, an expert on marriage issues with the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out four advantages and four disadvantages respectively.

On the disadvantages list, Wang puts on the top the frictions between husband and wife. Compared with those from non-single-child families, the kids of one-child families are more likely to be spoiled and self-centered. They are not used to restraining themselves and taking care of and showing consideration and respect for others. These so-called "little emperors" or "little princesses," or "little suns" will probably remain as they were in their marriage lives. So there will be more frictions between husband and wife, and none of them would like to compromise.

Second: weakness in rearing and educating their children. As both parts of the couple are from single-child families and lack the experience of bringing up a younger brother or sister, they usually find themselves in great troubles once they have their own children. Moreover, most of them concentrate their time and efforts on pursuing their career and give little time for looking after their children. They rely on social establishments to take care of their kids, which may result in the children's mental loneliness.

Third: burden in supporting their parents. A one-child family usually has to support four old parents from both families, which is a big burden. Even if they have enough money to support the elderly, they can hardly afford time keeping their companies.

Fourth: parents' interference in marriage. Parents of the one-child families usually hold higher expectations for their kids' marriage. Very often, they would interfere into their children's mating and marriage lives, which may add the difficulties for the younger couple to have a happy and harmonious marriage.

However, according to Wang, there are also advantages in the marriage of the only-child couples.

First: accompaniment between the two families. A feeling of loneliness has been with the children of one-child families from childhood to youth. As they grew up without brothers and sisters, both husband and wife are eager to have a companion. Therefore, in addition to love, there is a feeling of brotherhood between the couple. Meanwhile, though their parents answered the call to have only one child, they have always wished that they could have had another one. The marriage of their kids indirectly fulfilled their wish by letting them have son-in-law or daughter-in-law, whom they would heartily take as their own offspring.

Second: plentiful financial resources. Comparing with people grew up in a larger family, their financial situations are more stable. As a result, it's better guaranteed for married single-children to keep their lifestyle and other needs.

Third: simplification of the family. A simpler family structure would usually cause less domestic contradictions. In the history of family development, it is the trend that the family scope becomes smaller while the social productive forces become more powerful and the modernization level higher. It offers the individuals more opportunities for development.

Fourth: better education for their kids. Psychologists believe that children who were neglected in their childhood would mostly lag behind in intelligence development. Parents of one-child families pay more attention to their children's intelligence development than the non-one-child families and usually spend more time in stimulating the their kids' intelligence. According to domestic and overseas researches, the level of intelligence, educations as well as professional achievements of single-children are higher than the average.

(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, July 4, 2003)

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