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(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-20 07:42

A second child a good idea but expensive

The family planning policy (also known as the "one-child policy") adopted in 1978 to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China greatly relieved population pressure.

However, China's one-child generation (mostly born in the 1980s and 1990s) is considered selfishdisobedient, lazy, dependent, and materialistic. For these reasons, they are also called the "me generation".

As the only child, they are the centers of their families and tend to lack social communication and cooperation skills after growing up without a sibling.

The new family planning policy offers more couples the chance to have a second child without paying any penalty.

It allows exemptions for several cases. For instance, parents both coming from one-child families can have two children.

Many born into the one-child generation in the 1980s have now become parents, but most of them do not want a second child.

Economic capacity is the major concern of many parents. Education is one of the top expenditures of a family. Further, some parents claim that they don't have extra time and energy to ensure the healthy growth of the second child.

Currently, there are more working mothers in China. For a woman, the best time in life for giving birth is also the best time to pursue a career.

The new policy, allowing families to have more children, was implemented to cope with the consequences of the one-child family. Therefore, I believe there should be some benefits for a family to have more children now. The dynamics of the family structure will change dramatically with the second child. Most importantly, a repeat of the spoilt one-child generation can be avoided. Children will perform better both at home and at school if they have a sister or brother in the family because they will learn to share with, and care for, each other.

Now children may have a faithful playmate to share both happiness and sorrow in life, unlike the lonely one-child generation. Today, there are fewer children to care for the aging population, for a 4-2-1 family structure (four grandparents, two parents and one child). Thus, more children in the family mean more people caring for the elderly.

The decision about whether to have a second child should be based on individual's circumstances.

I would like to have a second, just as long as we can afford another.

Zhang Dongye

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(China Daily 03/20/2009 page9)