Child Family Structure on the Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

The attitude of being the "Little Emperor." Albeit, normally disappears by the time the child from the one child family begins working when an adult.

Child psychologist David Elkind Ph.D. (2009), Professor Emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, asserts in the article, "The only child," that many of the currently adolescent singletons regularly presenting with a variety of social and behavioral problems (¶ 1). This social policy counters the Chinese tradition which encourages a family to have many children, especially boys. This policy, along with Chinese traditions attributes to the fact that children are deemed valuable. In turn, family members tend to overprotect and spoil the children from one-child families.

In any county, the family decision regarding how many children will be in the family may be complex. Elkind (2009) notes that in Western and other Asian countries, that the decision to have a single child often depicts a compromise between the couple's desire to have children and the conflicting desire to live a life style only possible without children. As parental motivations and attitudes for having only one child prove complex, little consensus exists as to the consequences of being an only child.

In the journal publication, "The social impact of China's one-child policy," Dr. Xuefeng Chen (N.d), Deputy Director of the Chinese Children's Center in Beijing, noted the three discrete discrepancies exist between only children and children with siblings.

1. Children with siblings often exchange amongst each other their respective academic and social experiences -- an advantage that single-children lack.

2. Single-children tend to be dominated more by self-seeking instincts, commanding more attention in their individual homes.

3. Because parents tend to treat their single-child the way standard parents treat their first-born (with more vigilance and care due to inexperience), single-children will generally be more reliant on their parents and less independent. (Chen, N.d, p. 75)

The impact of the three previously listed differences, albeit, may not make China's only-children a selfish and socially-awkward generation, Chen (N.d) stresses. Only-children in China also frequently exhibit numerous positive attributes. Some research indicates that only children reflect greater leadership skills and display more positive behaviors in school. On the other hand, some feel that having siblings creates positive attributes in children. Not having siblings, however, does necessarily mean not the lack of siblings will hinder the child's development.

Some researchers suggest that parents of single children are more protective therefore their children prefer group-oriented activities. "Compared to children with siblings of the same age, Chinese single-children have shown superior overall academic performance. What is more, & #8230;there is actually very little disparity in the intrinsic nature of social skills between only-children and non-only-children" (Chen, N.d, p. 75). Even though the overwhelming attention children in one child homes may appear to contribute to these children being more emotionally secure and confident, contrary to conventional beliefs, research purports little difference exists in the social skills between only children and children with siblings.

Chen (N.d) explains that single-children appear more inclined to converse with their parents and, in turn, often display greater confidence and versatility when communicating. Others in China who believe the implementation of the Single-Child Policy potentially generates anxiety and discontent for multiple children families. This discontent could contribute to negative consequences in regard to the balanced status-quo. As yet, however, no proof that such families are widespread in China has been confirmed.

Li Fenhua, Chinese scholar, according to Chen (N.d) argued that instead of the parents' childbearing nature serving to impact the children, the parents' educational background actually influences the growth of their children. "In other words, the most important factors in any child's development are not whether they have a brother or a sister, but whether their parents have a good education and adopt the right values for the family" (Chen, N.d, p. 75).

As single-children may be deprived of childhood experiences similar to those their mothers and fathers experienced, many single children may not have a means to channel their stress, as those with a close sibling-confident may have, which could contribute to long-term stress-related problems. In addition, the type of pressure parents typically place on only children could lead to irrevocable consequences. Chen (N.d.) assert that gradual communication and societal modifications, for instance, increased organized social affairs, may be required to ameliorate these type issues.

Children of Multi-Child Families

In the study, "The one-child family in China: The need for psychosocial research," C.C. Ching, (1982) identifies some of the economic incentives the Chinese government givs to couples having only one child. The perks include free medical care, health care funds, as well as, free kindergarten and schooling. When parents agree to have only one child, they also receive a bonus when the child is born and then receive a monthly stipend until the child's 14th birthday. One survey, the Beijing Normal University conducted, found that in intellectual development and in health, only children tend to appear superior to multiple children. Conflicting results, nevertheless, have been found from comparative studies of personality and behavior of kindergarten age only children and other children.

The oldest child in the multi-children family appears to be the family's most goal oriented and driven child. While the majority of astronauts and surgeons are most likely first-borns, the last-born children tend to be more social and outgoing. "Middle children tend to be the most rebellious. Within this framework, the only child is said to have some of the achievement orientation of the oldest child and the social self-confidence and skills of the youngest" (Elkind, 2009, ¶ 3). These effects, however, may differ and are contingent on the sex of siblings, as well as the age division between the siblings.

Sing Lau (1996) asserts in the book, Growing up the Chinese way: Chinese child and adolescent development, that in terms of the peer evaluations of their social behavior, only children may be at a severe disadvantage. With no exceptions, in the study noted by Lau, "the comparisons between onlies and others indicated that onlies were problematic: specifically, they found to be low in cooperation with peers and peer prestige and high in egocentricism, as seen by their peers" (Lau, p. 269). The poor performance of only children, Lau contends, evolves from the excessive indulgence of their parents. Children meriting the most negative peer evaluations tended to come from nuclear-one-child families. Those children receiving the most positive evaluations most likely came from three-generational multi-child families.

Communication Considerations

Yang Lin and Andrew S. Rancer both of the School of Communication, the University of Akron and Qingshan Kong (2007), Department of Diplomacy, School of Law, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, report in the study, "Family communication patterns and argumentativeness: An investigation of Chinese college students," Chinese students from consensual and pluralistic families tend to be more argumentative than those student from protective families. No significant difference in argumentativeness reportedly exists among students from consensual, pluralistic, and laissez-faire families. Table 1 portrays a two-dimensional model of family communication patterns concept-oriented communication, which in turn, contributes to the children's communication capabilities.

Table 1: Family Communication Patterns (Lin, Rancer & Kong, 2007, p. 125).








"… families stress both types of relations."


"… families stress social-relations at the expense of concept-relations."





"…families emphasize the development of strong and varied concept-relations in an environment comparatively free of social restraints."


"…families emphasize neither type of relation."

According to Carolyn M. Anderson, School of Communication, University of Akron, Matthew M. Martin, Communications Studies Department, West Virginia University and Mei Zhong (1998), Journalism and Mass Communication Department, Iowa State University, in the study, "Motives for communicating with family and friends: A Chinese study," competent com-municators not only have responsive and assertive skills, they exhibit flexibility when they utilize the skills. Competent communicators also communicate "from affection, pleasure, and inclusion needs more often than noncompetent (low assertive, low responsive), submissive (low assertive, high responsive), and aggressive (high assertive, low responsive) communicators" (Anderson, Martin & Zhong, p. 115). Aggressive communicators, on the other hand, more likely communicate from control needs, while noncompetent com-municators tend to communicate to escape. In their second study, a content analysis, Anderson, Martin and Zhong (1998) found that due to their similarity in personality and interests, expres-siveness in communicating feelings, pleasure, and affection, individuals from China more frequently communicate with best friends from their needs for inclusion. (Anderson, Martin & Zhong, 1998, p. 109).

Kory Floyd and Mark T. Haynes (2005), both of Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University, assert in the study, "Applications of the theory of natural selection to the study of family communication," that Darwin's (1859) theory of natural selection best describes the way families interact and communicate. Contrary to the life-span developmental perspective and other theories, Floyd and Haynes argue, Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural…

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