Update: What it Means to be Brazilian – the Only Child

Apparently, it’s totally acceptable to tell someone (me) with only one child that they’d better have another, or they (me) will “ruin it’s life.” They actually use those (English) words. I’ve had mothers at my daughter’s school say it to me. I’ve had total strangers at the airport say it to me.

Really? Seems a little extreme. Maybe there’s some kind of translation snafu and they don’t really mean to imply that our decision to rear just one child will result in the future devastation of her existence. Perhaps they are not suggesting that she will turn out to be an intravenous drug user/prostitute that will eventually wind up in jail. Or a hermit living in a cabin in the woods with questionable grooming habits. I’m willing to give these bearers of unsolicited parenting strategies the benefit of the doubt.

In response, I reference an article I read in Veja magazine (an article it took me about five hours to read because I had to look up every third word in my Portuguese dictionary, and then there was so much slang, I had to ask my husband to translate anyway). The article clearly stated that a “filho único” being disadvantaged is a fallacy and that  perceptions about the only child were changing in Brazil.

But all I get is a blank stare.

I suppose it’s difficult to change commonly held views in any country. And even more difficult to adjust the commonly acceptable delivery of opinions.

Click here to see my original post, What it Means to be Brazilian and Why I Have a Long Road, or visit http://www.bornagainbrazilian.com.

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3 Responses to Update: What it Means to be Brazilian – the Only Child

  1. ricardo says:

    Many decades ago, families were larger than they are now. People had eight or ten brothers and sisters because the cultural requirements were lower: needed only to read and write to work.

    In my generation (90’s) people had only two or three brothers. Now these days have only one child is more normal.

    I read that about 30% of Brazilians (today) has only one son. I believe this is not devastating hehe
    here is a good article: http://br.guiainfantil.com/filho-unico/170-o-filho-unico.html
    =)

  2. Jenna says:

    One son? What is this China where the female is worth less than the male?

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