More then one child; good or bad idea

What a title!  Well, this was sparked by my cousin who Facebook posted that her slightly nutters professor had an article that subsequent children offer diminishing returns.  She posted it tongue and cheek since she (and I) are the oldest but I was pinned by a nursing baby, and, I actually decided to have more then 1 child based on my thoughts on this subject so I posted.  You can’t really say all you mean in a Facebook post or comment so here is my rational;

First, what the article (and my uncle) were talking about is marginal utility – a micro economics term – basically meaning that when you go from zero to 1 you gain utility.  Usually this is in respect to a factory where adding one employee to make a product makes a big difference but adding a second employee is unlikely to double the output and so on with each employee.  It is a math/economic theory and only works in pure terms, don’t get me started on the real life value of a second operator etc.  The last thing I want to put in here is that the value of the product is what is divided by the number of workers so if one worker makes 10 of something but the order is for 15 and you can’t sell 10 but with two workers you can make 15 technically you only got 5 more from the second person, but, then you have something with value so you NEED two to even start and the first person has Zero value without the second.

Bringing children into that equation is on the odd side because measuring the product of a child is difficult.  My uncle says that with each child your ability to parent diminishes and I would say the contrary is true.  If you only have one child then you never know if your parenting is good or they are just good (or vice versa).  Having two children gives some validity to the sample size and if you are or are not an effective parent, plus, practice does improve.  I am far more confident with #3 then I was with #1.  In the FB comments it was mentioned that the oldest gets more attention so they will grow up to have a better output, and in theory,  an output their siblings can never match.  Well, maybe true, they are oldest so they had the years as an only child that a second or third child might not get. On the other hand, when #1 has left the nest #2 gets proportionally more attention for being  at home.  I think about this often since Niamh will be going to full day Kindergarten in the fall so I’ll have full days with just Zoe and Fiona and then some day just Fiona (and lets not talk about the day after that…).

So basically without reading the article I want to shred the premise like a cat with a new sofa but my point is actually the OTHER end of the line.  I say with one child you have one chance for your offspring to be great.  Rolling the dice they might be awesome they might not, they might even die (not thinking about that!!!).  Regardless, one single life will march away from you and they will bring back a single set of experiences   When you have 2 or more children it is like spokes on a wheel, each one goes out to the world and brings back experiences   Since they are not my clones, their experiences will be unique and I will gain vicariously through their life.  The chances of having one kid do something spectacular are probably equal if you have 10 kids v 1 kid, but, 10 kids will bring you 10x the life experiences back.

That is why I wanted a second child (among a few reasons).  I wanted at least two points of view.  With three I get a third.  We are stopping at three but I am sad to cut short the potential of what our kids could do.  Now I am limited to 3…  I can only do so many things in my life so I am betting on my offspring to do at least 3x what I could do alone

I don’t know if my mix of economics and theology makes any sense to anyone but me but this is what I wanted to express.

Ps.  Again, for my childless by choice friends these are just my thoughts and I know you all are confident and/or settled in your decisions.  Without any children you have much more opportunity to do the fun things in life yourselves and not depend on second hand experiences like I am.  I see them and equal paths through life and I’m sure you do to since you  picked yours ::smile::


PPS.  only child syndrome – look it up, it apparently sucks


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3 responses to “More then one child; good or bad idea”

  1. Niklos says :

    Of course you should have at least two kids! Look at it from their angle – through their interactions amongst themselves they will learn valuable life lessons that single children will learn only much later – like sharing, cooperation and negotiation.


    • kateluthner79 says :

      totally, I have a dozen reasons why two kids are better then one but I was trying to stick with the dotty micro economics framework. Just like having two dogs is better then one : ) two personalities


  2. Phil says :

    Parenting is a total crapshoot from beginning to end! There are no odds or evens or any kind integer or equation that can possibly begin to describe the experience with much validity at all. Here is the best formula that even approaches the domain of the question, and it likely holds true here, tell me what you think. In high school I derived the following formula L=(PxP) + (HxHxH) where L=love, P=Problems and H= Happiness. So Love proportionately increases our problems to a lesser degree than it increases our happiness. Since each child is an investment in Love (as well as investments in a whole lotta other things) the universe of our problems broadens exponentially however our happiness quotient is asymmetrically increased. Ultimately all parenting decisions are emotional decisions and the decision about family size from zero to infinity is ultimately a relative one, meaning that all answers are valid including the crazy extremes like having a child with the intent of providing a sibling with a marrow donor. Good people have bad kids and yes bad people have kids that turn out to be good. Just not the terrain for any type of numeric calculation or valid comparison.


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