One & Done: The only child phenomenon

(WEAU) - Have you ever heard the term "one and done"? It’s becoming a popular choice among families and that is choosing to have only one child.

According to the National Center of Health Statistics the number of single child families has nearly doubled. Now 1 in 5 families in America are only having one.

"We decided that we we're only going to have one," said Megan Severson, mother of one from Chippewa Falls.

It was recently, after having their 3 1/2 year old son Brekin, Megan Severson says her and her husband made the decision.

"With the birthing costs and putting him in day care, doubling that wasn't really feasible at the time. Then, as Brekin got older it was something we considered more seriously," said Severson.

Megan says they are aware of the stereotypes that come with only having one. So I talked with a Child and Family therapist to determine what they are.

"In some cases the children can be spoiled," said Ann Ball, Child and Family Therapist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services.

Often times when patients come into Ann's office they have the opportunity to express how they feel through a sand world. A stereotype that might show up is the princess, because some believe the only child is spoiled. Another common stereotype is where parents work a lot and therefore many not pay attention as much. But in reality, an only child has the same opportunities to succeed as anyone else.

"I think that we're more conscious of you know what he gets away with and our discipline tactics," said Severson.

Even though Brekin won't have siblings, he does have cousins around his age to play with.

"It’s sometimes draining for the parent's because they don't have a sibling to play with, so the parent becomes the sibling,” said Severson.

"In the home you don't have that environment or the opportunity to share or wait your turn things like that as much,” said Ball.

But even being in day care three days a week helps expose him to others.

"Ever since he was 8 weeks old we had him in day care, so he's exposed other children on a daily basis,” said Severson.

Yet why are parents choosing to have only one other than the added expense?

"More women with the women's movement are they're putting their career and wanting to get established first,” said Ball.

While that's not the case for Megan, she says she's happy just having Brekin and excited for what the future will bring.

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