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'Only-child' generation grows up to be parents
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-24 02:18

The 'only child' generation is coming of age, as they become parents, according to a recent survey.

The young parents tend to be better prepared for fostering their children's growth than older generations, despite previously having been criticized as "little emperors and queens" during their childhood, expert says.

The survey, conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, found some 40 per cent of 1,800 young parents aged 20 to 40 are the 'only-child' in their families.

The figure is expected to reach a peak in the next five to six years, as a census in 1982 indicated that more than 81 per cent of children born in that year are the only child at home.

"Differences are obvious in many aspects between only-child parents (OCP) and non-only-child parents (NOCP)," said Bao Leiping, a doctor with the Institute of Youth and Juvenile Studies under the social sciences academy.

Approximately 17 per cent of OCPs preferred a career when asked to choose between a career or children. The figure for NOCPs is about 11 per cent.

"The only-child turned parents put more emphasis on themselves than NOCPs, and are more dependent," said Bao.

More than 45 per cent of OCPs live with their parents compared with 28 per cent among NOCPs.

"The grandparents shoulder a lot of responsibilities for OCPs, which allows them more time and energy to explore new ways to educate the baby," she said.

Some 46 per cent of OCPs have used the Internet to search information about education, 7.2 per cent higher than NOCPs.

In addition, OCPs put more emphasis on educating their children on values, manners and social conduct.

More OCPs said they always try to read together with their children, and encourage their curiosity towards new things.

Because of the involvement of grandparents, OCPs tend to play a minor role in the family and are therefore less strict on their children.

Nearly 80 per cent of OCPs tend to frequently review their ways of dealing with their children.

The survey shows that OCPs tend to have babies earlier than NOPCs.

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