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#211 of 219 Old 12-29-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
Yeah. You can't really say "well, right now we have all this extra..." ITs a bit like saying "well, we grew up without seatbelts and we turned out okay."

The graphs of population projections vs. tillable land vs. output are disenheartening, to say the least. We may be talking "generations" in the sense of more than one - but its not hundreds of years in the future that the earth's population will cross carrying capacity if population continues to increase at the current rate. Its less than a century. That means that we'll go from producing surpluses (worldwide) to a worldwide calorie deficit, not even including the calories needed for farm animals. It will require turning marginal lands into farmlands, hastening ecological problems and species extinction. And it will probably be hastened by the sudden focus on biofuels, because growing enough plant mass for the biofuels currently being investigated will use quality farmland that could be used to grow food.

Again, I'm not saying that zero population growth is the answer; I'm just trying to point out that to ignore the issue of rapid population growth is a mistake. I've heard people say "Well, my family only needs a half-acre for a house for us all, and the world has Xthousand acres of solid ground, so there's room on the earth for 50 billion people. Even with green revolution agriculture, there's a limit to how many we can feed.


Exactly.

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#212 of 219 Old 12-29-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post
From what I've read, the impact is only the same for cloth vs. sposies if someone is using an actual diaper service. Then you must factor in the 13 times they launder the dipes, the harsh detergents that HAVE to get the stains out, and the fuel for delivery service.

If it is cloth diapers taken care of by Mom vs. sposies, cloth wins hands down. I looked into it because I live in the desert and was concerned about water useage.
Thanks for pointing that out! I need to go back and make sure I'm not misquoting. I thought I read in general terms disposable vs. cloth, but maybe it was a cloth diaper service.

Thank you for bringing up this point.
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#213 of 219 Old 12-29-2007, 08:26 PM
 
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If you think so, then you should stress education. What I should do is remember that my children naturally have the desire to learn and seek out their own best good, and to support their doing so however that happens. .
I didn't necessarily mean only formal education, or public education, or college education (although, for me, personally, that is what I'll promote with my own kids).

The way you phrased your post..."remember that my children naturally have the desire to learn and seek out their own best good, and to support their doing so" to me, anyway, is the same as supporting the education of a child...again not so much in the public education or formal education sense but in the sense of having a child turn out as a thoughtful, aware, capable person...to me that is an educated person.

But you're absolutely right - what's best for me and mine isn't what other people need to do...we all have our own paths. I just think education as described above is a societal good.
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#214 of 219 Old 12-29-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
Hm. Well, the toxins released in order to manufacturer disposables is far greater than that required to make cotton cloth. That's enough for me. [url]http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/diapers/joy-of-cloth.h.
That is a very good point. I'm going to read your linked article. Thanks for sharing that!

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#215 of 219 Old 12-29-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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It seems a straightforward mathematical problem -- "If I have this hard of a time keeping my temper with two children, it would be four times as hard with eight" -- but for us it didn't work that way. The first two were especially difficult because I wasn't prepared for devoted mothering, nor for being dependent on my husband. So in addition to the normal expense of energy in caring for children, I was dealing with working through these extra issues and this was very stressful. Add in that we were younger and so not as financially stable, and that we were still working out how our own relationship interconnected with this whole new thing, and that we hadn't done any research or thinking about what children need, nor work on ourselves to be able to provide it. The result of all that was that we were not especially GD. Our parenting has evolved significantly with each successive child, by trial and error and for emotional survival. Also, the older they get, the more helping hands there are, and the more they can help and entertain each other. Having my fourth baby was far easier than having my first, and having four is easier than having one was for me, in many ways. I wouldn't have predicted that, but it's the reality.
Very interesting post. Thank you for posting that. I wouldn't have predicted that four kids would be easier than one, but you are right about there being a learning curve. So maybe as a more seasoned parent, the fourth baby is easier for some than the first baby.

But is that because four is easier than one or because experienced parents know better what they are doing than inexperienced?

If I could go back now and parent a newborn, having been through the experience already, I would know better what to do and what not to do, what to worry about and what not to worry about.

One thing, though, is that if you have helpful older kids, they can be wonderful little helpers, so maybe it is easier. I know a mom who has three and her older two girls are very sweet and very helpful to their mother.
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#216 of 219 Old 12-30-2007, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mary-Beth View Post
Three kids is our goal and our limit.

I wanted the biggest family that I could and still have time, energy, and financial resources for each of us. It's not the "right" number of kids, just the number that feels right to us. There are times I feel stretched to the limit and I have to remember to rest and recharge myself.

I think it's nice that you were able to have a really open and honest discussion about how he is currently feeling. Remember that his feelings could change and evolve with him as the children grow. The same person could look back and say there were some struggles but I'm so glad we have this size family...if I hadn't I would have regretted it.

So take his and other peoples ideas and consider it because I do think it's valuable feedback but there are people who have totally positive big family experiences too...so ultimately do what you feel most called to do for your family.

I think this, too. Interestingly, I have had a lot of dismay from family/friends about dh and I consciously limiting the size of our family - we are complete after two children.

However, two is what I KNOW in my heart I can parent well. And I'm not talking about material stuff/college funds, etc., but what I know I can handle on a day-to-day basis - being patient in the kitchen, nighttime parenting, teaching and learning, etc.

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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#217 of 219 Old 12-31-2007, 10:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post
Yes, I agree with this in theory. The world population is not decreasing though. If you look at population trends, we are in no danger world wide of population decline.
World population, no. But several industrialized nations in Europe and Asia have a population in decline, with birth rates below two. The only reason their populations aren't plummeting is immigration.
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#218 of 219 Old 12-31-2007, 11:38 PM
 
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Everyone has their limits. Our goal and limit was 6 kids. there's a LOT we want to do in life and I just wish we'd reached 6 a few years ago instead of now.

Life has many seasons, and the years spent with little ones are very strenuous on the marriage for sure.

As far as the financial strain we'll be experiencing when these kids start college- I am sure that will put a strain on things, too.

Our current ages are... 14, 11, 7, 4, 2 and 1month old. Originally, I wanted them all 2 yrs apart, but I am glad for the spacing I got in the beginning.

We look at this stress as a season in life, though. It will pass and we'll look back fondly at the season, nevermind that the days nearly drove us off the edge.
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#219 of 219 Old 01-01-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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This thread grew very large and even more interesting while I was out on holiday! My response is going to be a bit loopy, as I try to respond to many different ideas in one post.

The US certainly doesn't have the largest population in the world, but each child in the US is estimated on average to have 5 times the impact of any 1 child anywhere else in the world. This suggests to me that what we teach our children about caring for the planet and each other matters just as much if not more so than the sheer number of children born.

The amount of food we're consuming is also a huge factor.

I think that what we always have trouble with in matters like this is mixing the need for a change in overall trends with personal choices. I know far too many people who are driving full size trucks and SUVS (Tahoe and Expedition size), flying 2-3 times a month, consuming more dairy and meat than their hearts and waistlines can support, are living in 3000+ sq. ft. homes, etc. and who have less than 2 children. They don't need this to live -- if each of us was truly making our decisions based on what we could truly handle and what we truly need, then our impact overall would be far less. Then it would be much less damaging when the people who do need to use trucks, and need to fly frequently, and need a larger house, and need more food, and would like a larger family, etc., do their own thing.

I do think that each family needs to truly evaluate their resources and not have more children just because they can. There are probably many people who should have chosen to not procreate, or to create fewer children. And definitely, we should not have people thoughtlessly making more people.

The matter is too complex to say that 1 or none is better than 2 or more. I think that if people truly follow their hearts and know their limits, then the overall trend will even out to sustainable levels (but perhaps only in privileged countries -- the birth levels are bound to be high in crisis areas, because of the way human fertility works, as well as limited access to birth control and education). I *do* think that, on average, a family of 10 is going to consume more and cause more havoc than a family of 3, all other things being equal. But, we have the power and the intellect to change our impact.

I also don't think "larger" families are a "trend". The vast majority of people I know have 3 or fewer children, with at least half of those having 1-2 children. I know many, many couples/individuals with no children, and only a few with families of more than 4.

I have more to say, but my computer time is done, and this post has grown far too long!

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
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