Do big families bother you? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was out with a cousin and our kids, and we saw in a parking lot a van with a little stick figure family on it, and according to the stick figures, the family had nine kids. My cousin said, "Nobody has any business having that many kids." Then I reminded her that our parents (siblings) were in a family with eight kids, which isn't that far off. But she said that it bothers her because she thinks it's bad for the environment, and because she thinks it's unfair to the kids, particularly the older ones, because the kids don't get enough individual attention and the older ones end up being forced to do a lot of work they didn't sign up for.

I feel like reproductive choices can only be made by those personally affected by those choices, so I don't really give big families any thought.

Any opinions?
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#2 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 06:09 AM
 
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Considering that I'm pregnant with #8, you can assume I don't have any problem with it.

I've had people try to tell me things like your cousin said. Frankly, if there's something no one has "any business" doing, it's telling other people how many kids they are allowed to have. I remember once when my kids were riding a carnival ride, and the operator tried to lecture me about how I was destroying my kids lives by giving them so many siblings, and how they would hate me for it. Not only is that incredibly rude, he's totally wrong. My kids LOVE having a big family, get excited when they find out we're having another, and have repeatedly told me that we should have more.

IMHO, the gall of people who don't even know my family assuming that they know how it works, or people who don't know my children telling me that I don't know how my children feel, is nothing short of astounding.
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#3 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 06:20 AM
 
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It doesn't bother me as a general rule. I personally would have loved to have more than two kids. That said, I know someone who had six kids and she has no business having any. They live in utter poverty and none of the THREE, yes three!, fathers pay child support. Each conception was a conscious choice. That bothers me, but my opinion is that if you can afford it financially and emotionally, you should have as many kids as you wish.
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#4 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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Nope, they don't. It isn't something I would choose for myself, but I definitely understand those that choose it for themselves. I come from a family of big families though, so I think that helps it seem more normal to me. My Mom is one of 6 children and her and 2 other siblings have 4 children each, 1 has 8, 1 has 7 and the "odd" one has 2 smile.gif And yeah, it is definitely not my place to tell someone how many children they can and can't have, I certainly wouldn't want someone dictating that to me, no matter what the circumstances!
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#5 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 08:54 AM
 
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It doesn't bother me. I have 4, which is kind of considered big. The stick figure decals are annoying though. In my opinion.
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#6 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 09:19 AM
 
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My family stickers on my minivan are zombies. Dh has a machine and program so he can make those stickers, so he made me a whole zombie family, including our dogs.

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#7 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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And as for the cars with tons of kid stickers...there are many grandparents who have stickers for their grandchildren.

 

We have seen around town a car with the back window covered in cat stickers LOL


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#8 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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We have six and most of them are begging me to have or adopt more. My good friend who has eleven says the same thing. 

 

As far as work, that is something that comes with the territory called life. It wouldn't matter if we had only one, that one child would still be working.

 

Environment - teach your children to be producers and not merely consumers. A small family or even a single person has as much ability to waste resources as a large family and most large families I know have limited means, which equates to being more careful and stretching out the resources they have.


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#9 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 09:32 AM
 
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That bothers me, but my opinion is that if you can afford it financially and emotionally, you should have as many kids as you wish.

that's what matters to me, please don't ask me to pay for your choices 

 

my grandmother came from a very large family (9), all the sibling went on to have only one, two and three choose none (and this was during the baby boom too) - none liked having a large family growing up and didn't want it either, their children's children also went on to have none and one had two children

 

growing up I only knew one family (with 4 and that was large) their children also didn't want a large family, only one has children, two

 

I know no one now IRL that has more than two now, my family-both sides of parents, I only have two first cousins (only one has a child) and two second cousins (only one has two children) so I am use to small, my DH also only has a sibling and didn't want our child to have siblings (I have one much older- not even close in age and on opposite sides of the county too, so they aren't growing up together)-both his sides of family are very small and are baby boomers too

 

financially is really the big thing in most I know, many didn't like (as in the case with my grandmother) the emotional reprocussions 

 

we hate the window stickers too


 

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#10 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 09:45 AM
 
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My family stickers on my minivan are zombies. Dh has a machine and program so he can make those stickers, so he made me a whole zombie family, including our dogs.

Mine are robots. Build-your-own robots, in fact, so every one is different. wink1.gif I love them, and I got them from ThinkGeek. They also have zombies, Star Wars, Marvel superheroes and Batman. wink1.gif
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We have six and most of them are begging me to have or adopt more. My good friend who has eleven says the same thing. 

I used to read a blog of a lady with twelve and the youngest three were adopted. Apparently she was in her 50s when she got the call about adopting her youngest, and she was going to say no, that she was too old, and her kids said she couldn't turn away a little boy who needed a family. All three of her adopted kids, plus one of her biological kids, have Down's Syndrome.
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As far as work, that is something that comes with the territory called life. It wouldn't matter if we had only one, that one child would still be working.

Sometimes when my older kids are having to do a job that includes, say, cleaning up after the younger ones, I tell them, "Even if you were an only child you'd still have to help out. I'd just have to work harder to find things for you to do. Teaching you to work is part of my job." They don't actually complain about that; I just worry a little because everybody and their brother wants to tell me how it's not fair that my kids -- gasp! -- have to help around the house!

Near the beginning of my homeschooling career, I read a book that said a child's day should be divided thusly: 3/6 play, 2/6 work, 1/6 formal schooling. I agree with that philosophy. Play (real, unstructured play) and work are very important to a child's development, and far too overlooked in our society.

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#11 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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It doesn't bother me at all.

The environmental argument is just silly. I know plenty of families with 1 or 2 kids who have a FAR bigger negative impact on the environment than some large families I know.

I hate bumper/window stickers of any sort.

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#12 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 01:13 PM
 
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It doesn't bother me. It's no secret that children greatly increase your carbon footprint but really, why should anyone care? At the rate the population is growing in certain countries, the world as we know it will one day come to an end anyway, it isn't like me having 8 kids will make even the slightest difference (I only have 1 but 8 would be cool smile.gif). 

As for them not getting the attention from their parents as less children would, my mom is from a family of 10 kids, 2 parents, grandmother and a nanny (14 in total), she said they all loved it. The kids would all form "groups" so it didn't even seem to them like their family was that big at all.

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#13 of 69 Old 04-11-2013, 04:37 PM
 
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It doesn't bother me at all.

The environmental argument is just silly. I know plenty of families with 1 or 2 kids who have a FAR bigger negative impact on the environment than some large families I know.
 

No it`s not. It is true that some one-child families have a bigger negative impact on the environment than, say, a 10-kid family. However, it`s simple math. Suppose the one kid decides to have one kid, and the 10 kids have each ten kids, the impact on the environment of 100+ people is a lot bigger than the one-kid family`s impact. The more we are, the bigger our impact is, no matter how environmentally friendly we strive to be.


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#14 of 69 Old 04-12-2013, 07:26 AM
 
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It's more about the carbon legacy than the actual emissions of the family. Someone who drives 3 SUVs to work each day but has no kids is undoubtedly going to have less of an impact on the future of the environment than someone with 10 kids, who cloth diapers and doesn't even drive. 

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#15 of 69 Old 04-12-2013, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's more about the carbon legacy than the actual emissions of the family. Someone who drives 3 SUVs to work each day but has no kids is undoubtedly going to have less of an impact on the future of the environment than someone with 10 kids, who cloth diapers and doesn't even drive. 

Only for that one generation. The people with no kids - their carbon legacy ends with them. The people with ten kids will end up with ten future families who also have carbon legacies, and generations after that.
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#16 of 69 Old 04-12-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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No it`s not. It is true that some one-child families have a bigger negative impact on the environment than, say, a 10-kid family. However, it`s simple math. Suppose the one kid decides to have one kid, and the 10 kids have each ten kids, the impact on the environment of 100+ people is a lot bigger than the one-kid family`s impact. The more we are, the bigger our impact is, no matter how environmentally friendly we strive to be.

 

Doh! Big families still don't bother me, but you're right, I was thinking shortsightedly. 

 

Escaping and mamazee, aren't you saying the same thing in your most recent posts? 


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#17 of 69 Old 04-12-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Doh! Big families still don't bother me, but you're right, I was thinking shortsightedly. 

Escaping and mamazee, aren't you saying the same thing in your most recent posts? 

Oh yeah. I have a headache today and misread it. Sorry, Escaping!
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#18 of 69 Old 04-12-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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Oh yeah. I have a headache today and misread it. Sorry, Escaping!

 

No problem... feel better! smile.gif

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#19 of 69 Old 04-13-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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I can (kind of) understand being concerned about the environment, even though larger families often make wiser and more conscious choices that make their carbon foot print smaller. I can't understand being judgmental about how much time parents have for individual kids. How does she know what goes on in X family? No inside insight = no right to judge, I think.


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#20 of 69 Old 04-13-2013, 02:45 PM
 
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Yup.

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#21 of 69 Old 04-13-2013, 09:29 PM
 
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Sometimes it bugs me.  But, sometimes, people in general bug me.

 

I remember when my daughter was six, I was taking her to dance class...she had two classes in a row, so *I* had two hours off.  I parked next to an SUV with a couple of kids in it.

 

The lady got out, then a preteen daughter got out, and they both unloaded about six more kids... mom got the giant double stroller contraption, put two little ones in it, held the hand of another one, the older siblings held hands with another younger one, and they all walked in to drop off ONE little ballet outfit clad little girl.  Then, they all walked around the plaza a little bit while the preschool-sh age boys ran around and roughhoused.  

 

I dropped my ONE kid off, went to the .99 store, and then hopped in my little car and drove home for a while.  I was thinking "Man, i'm glad I only have one kid, that looked exhausting".  

 

But, then other days, I thought it looked fun.  She had a lovely little family.  They homeschooled.  The kids truly LIKED each other...they treated each other with respect and genuine enjoyment.  It was refreshing to see.  

 

Their clothes weren't nice.  They didn't go buy ice creams after class, they didn't seem to spend a lot of money on non necessities, yet, they seemed like one of the happier families I've seen.  

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#22 of 69 Old 04-13-2013, 11:39 PM
 
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Not at all. I have four kids, which seems to be the cusp of "big family" these days. (Maybe I just think this, because I homeschool, and in homeschooling circles, four is nothing terribly remarkable...but outside of those circles, I get a lot of "you have four kids???" type reactions.)

 

Older kids having to do work they didn't sign on for is a parenting style thing, not a "number of kids" thing. My oldest is 10 years older than his next youngest sibling. The other two living kids are 12 and 16 years younger than him. He's been mistaken for his youngest sister's dad on more than one occasion.

 

Yes - he's had to change an occasional diaper, or watch his siblings while I run an errand. He's also had to clean bathrooms, do his own laundry, take out the garbage, set the table, do the dishes, etc., at various times. In his case, I think he's actually had to do less around the house, because of his siblings. I cut him some slack on chores, because he was watching his siblings while I ran to the store, yk? There's always work to be done, and different parents have different comfort zones about where to draw their lines. One of my factors in drawing those lines was that I didn't want to sabotage my son's relationship with his siblings (esp. after he waited soooo long for them) by introducing a bunch of resentment. He's been expected to do short-term babysitting, since he was about...12, I guess?...but he only has to do it for free if it's for the household (eg. if I need to run to the store for something for dinner, he doesn't get paid - if dh and I want a romantic dinner, he does). When possible, I also give him the option - do the errand, or watch his siblings.

 

The environmental side of it doesn't really bother me that much. We need to make across the board cultural changes to really make an environmental impact. The fact that a dozen or more of my friends have no children, and I have four, isn't really the issue. If everyone in North America just stopped having babies, we'd have to increase immigration to keep our economy functioning (including growing food, medical/health care, etc. - not just consumer frenzy stuff). Most of those immigrants would then develop a North American lifestyle and become environmental menaces themselves.  The lifestyle is the problem, not the birthrate. (In any case, the last time I looked, the overall birth rate was down - the large families aren't the norm.)

 

Another point...I don't do the family sticker thing.  If I did, I'd have four. But, my sister has a serious heart condition, and we don't know if she'll survive to raise her kids to adulthood (I don't say that out loud very much). If she doesn't, I'll be their guardian...and will then have a household with eight "kids" -  two are adults, or very nearly, already.  I'd certainly include her kids if I were to do a sticker family. And, my mom has 12 grandchildren, so she'd have a big sticker family, too!


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#23 of 69 Old 04-15-2013, 05:04 AM
 
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its just dd and me but we always wanted a big family. going by my dd who is a total introvert - she needs people around her. and so do i. it would have been delightful to have more children around. 

 

my parents grew up in large families. my father's was not a very happy one, but my mom she loved it. 

 

i have friends who refuse to have children on the environmental grounds. to me it seems like there are two kinds of people. people who want to have kids and people who dont. people who want to have kids raise a family well - taking care of all needs - social, intellectual, emotional. the trouble starts when parents who dont really want to have kids do.

 

what i do have a problem is with economics. the idea that because you are poor and/or on welfare you must limit the number of children you have. irresponsible parents are irresponsible parents whether they are rich or poor, i kid or many kids, on govt. assistance or not. its like saying the poorer areas like the south should not have any kids (not saying this to anyone here - its an attitude i get IRL all the time). this really REALLY bothers me. the attitude to the poor, to the illeterate, to the homeless - adult or children - really REALLY bothers me. and yet (pot calling the kettle black) i remember once saying one should not be allowed to vote unless they took an exam of the info they know. in my defence i will say i am from california and we have a lot of propositions. but omg essentially i was saying some people should not have the right to vote. yikes!!!!

 

it taught me never to judge people. well at least try not to. 


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#24 of 69 Old 04-15-2013, 01:26 PM
 
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There hasn't been anything about a big family that has irritated me that couldn't also have been done by a smaller family.
 

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#25 of 69 Old 04-15-2013, 04:30 PM
 
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I find questions like these to be more bothersome than what they are pointing to! I know the topic came up because of what your cousin said, OP, but it bothers me that there's so much judgement surrounding this topic. Its not anyone else's business how many kids a couple chooses to have, and i find it to be bad taste that its socially acceptable to air our judgments on the matter. Families come in all shapes and sizes, some of us have a lot of kids, some of us just a few, and we all have our own personal reasons. In my experience, a lot of families with several kids are very loving and attentive-the parents lives are kid-centered. Theres also plenty of families with one or two kids that are not very loving or attentive. Thus, it depends on the parents, not the size of the family. Also, when people start listing environmental concerns, i find that to be an easy scapegoat since pretty much everything we do or dont do can be attributed to caring or not caring for the environment. It just seems like an easy answer, not terribly thought through. Its also easy to list as a reason because its difficult for anyone to refute--we dont know exactly what will happen to our planet so limiting this, this and that in the hopes that it will help our planet is reasonable and irrefutable. To say that having a lot of kids will increase the carbon footprint is irrefutable as well, but does that mean its completely irresponsible to have several kids? Not necessarily. If the parents teach their kids how to tread lightly on the earth then they will pass this on to their kids and so on and so forth, which is far better than having a few kids and teaching them a lack of care for the planet. Everything we do has a ripple effect and by teaching our kids how to be mindful of the environment, we are aiding the planet no matter how many kids we have. A lot of kids aiding the environment=a lot of adults aiding the environment=more and more communities forming over time with this central theme.

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#26 of 69 Old 04-15-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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Like everyone said...you don't know the situation. It could be a blended family or there could be some adoptions. The family could live a lot more simply and not have as much of an impact on the environment as a family of four. Unfortunately, those are not always the types of families having lots of kids. I live in an area with a lot of poverty. There are so many children in foster care, and so many sad stories of abuse in the paper every day. There is an entire high school for teen parents in my community. In some areas of the country, there are large numbers of irresponsible people who have a lot of children. For whatever reason, they are too poor, sick, desperate to care. It is sad, but I can see why this upsets people.

 

People have their reasons for having large families, but I think "because that's how our ancestors did it" isn't the best argument any longer. Yes, our grandparents all came from large families (on my Irish side, I think 10 siblings was pretty typical). That was a different time. We didn't buy things that were advertised on TV because we didn't have TV. We ate what we grew on the farm. We made things from scratch instead of buying things made in mass quantities in a factory overseas. Children often didn't survive illness or epidemics, and boys were expected to go to war where they would often die. People didn't live as long. We weren't going to war over oil and natural resources. Although they had lots of kids, women weren't having 10 kids with 5 dads, while the dads were off having more kids with other women. In other words, they took care of all their children. They had more kids because they were worried about the future of the family farm, etc. We don't have the same issues today.

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#27 of 69 Old 04-15-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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Only because I sometimes wish we'd started sooner and had more children. smile.gif
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#28 of 69 Old 04-15-2013, 08:47 PM
 
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O.K...Today they bothered me.

 

Seriously...if you have a huge family, you do not ALL need to shop at Walmart in one huge mass.  Honestly...give the kids some coupons and send them searching, you don't need to cling to each other like a small island lumbering through the store together.  Spread out.  

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#29 of 69 Old 04-16-2013, 05:29 AM
 
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Nextcommercial- I could as easily say, you small family with the humongous car shaped grocery cart, get out of my way!! People are going to be idiots either way! I would never have thought anything about a bunch of kids staying with their mom? Maybe that was the first time they've all been together in awhile, considering school, sports, whatever else they have going on. I used to go shopping with my three plus a large group of their friends when we'd end up with a bunch of them for the night. It was fun being with them altogether.


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

Nextcommercial- I could as easily say, you small family with the humongous car shaped grocery cart, get out of my way!! People are going to be idiots either way! I would never have thought anything about a bunch of kids staying with their mom? Maybe that was the first time they've all been together in awhile, considering school, sports, whatever else they have going on. I used to go shopping with my three plus a large group of their friends when we'd end up with a bunch of them for the night. It was fun being with them altogether.

Actually, sometimes husbands bother me.  Especially when they stand in the way at Victoria's secret.  Occasionally Old people bother me.  (admittedly it's usually my own Mother or Mother in law)  People who smoke in the drive through at the bank bother me too.  

 

I'm an equal opportunity crab.

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