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  #1  
Old Feb 2, '12, 9:06 pm
fm1982 fm1982 is offline
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Default Why the bias against medium to large families?

My story is long, but the gist of it is that my wife and I are at a serious cross roads on how to move forward with respect to children. She is suffering from a mental illness and cannot get pregnant right now, so the only 100% way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. Apparently by putting her health ahead of any of our other physical desires, I am not showing that I love her - according to a counselor we saw tonight.

Anyways one big issue that I have is society's view of what a family size should be. We currently have 4 children, I have said I would have more. After the learning curve of the first 3, the fourth has been a lot easier, I feel significantly more confident as a parent and feel that I could handle more.

My apologies for the rant, but why is it that so many people stick their noses in and say "four is a lot", "more than enough", "why would you want more", "how do you think you will be able to afford them", etc. It is just so frustrating, because not only can I afford them, it doesn't seem to be anyone else's business.

All her friends tell her four is enough/crazy. Doctor, four is enough. People on the street, four is enough/crazy. Society in general, four is crazy. Counsellors, four is enough/crazy. Seriously? Why do people have such an aversion to larger families.

Do you know how much university will cost, they ask. My response is, well, yes, and in fact according to the calculations made by my bank, my contribution rates are sufficient to cover a significant portion. Will they most likely have to hold down part time/summer jobs - yes. But is the value of having more family/best friends/confidants greater than the costs - I would say so.

The people who compliment are far and few between, but I value those compliments much more than any naysayers opinion. When the naysayers comment on how difficult it is, they are usually shocked when I say that four is no big deal and that they are generally well behaved. Routine, predictability good listening skills as well as being able to evaluate and react calmly on the fly along with love go a long way to raising kids properly.

I work part time at a grocery store (second job/an evening out of the house per week/a little extra money) and the other day saw a dad shopping with his 5 kids. I thought it was beautiful to see, and did have a little envy at the fact that he did have 5 and I will likely never see that number.

Anyways, this is just a rant. I am so frustrated by so many people sending the message that four children is such a crazy/difficult thing. My wife always hears this and has bought into it so much that sometimes it's like 4 kids is worse than managing an entire army. I am a teacher, so managing 25 all day, then coming home to 4 makes it seem so much easier.
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  #2  
Old Feb 2, '12, 9:57 pm
bearkatjen bearkatjen is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Lots of people have lots of opinions, and there are plenty of people that think 4 kids are too much or just the right amount. There are people that think having 8, 10, 14 kids is selfish. There are also plenty of people who think couples without children or only one child are selfish for entirely different reasons that those that have lots of children. It really doesn't matter what all of these people think. They don't raise your children, you do. All that matters is what you and your wife want, and of course, what you feel God wants for you.

Now if I understand correctly, you are practicing abstinence, because your wife is not well enough to get pregnant right now. Yes? If so, you don't actually have to practice 100% abstinence, you can easily get in a couple of safe weeks for sex. Also, you can still be tender and loving without going all the way, and doing so would probably go along way to helping your wife feel loved. I don't know a busy mom of four that wouldn't love a back or foot massage from her husband and just some nice cuddle time with him.
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  #3  
Old Feb 2, '12, 10:04 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

If you're suffering from a mental illness, sometimes one is enough. Sometimes one is more than you can do. So although I believe there is a bias against larger families, that may not be what you're running up against. You may just be getting a reality check concerning your desire to have more children, in light of your wife's present condition.

I know many last children who were born five or even ten years after their next-oldest sibling. Put your dream on hold, and take care of your wife now.
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  #4  
Old Feb 2, '12, 10:51 pm
PrayerShark PrayerShark is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Hmmm, funnily enough I've just read through several articles on how putting the brakes on global population growth would do more towards reducing the impacts of anthropogenic global change than the implementation of sustainable energy sources and practices. In regards to that, as a global community we shouldn't be having more than 2 children per family. So it could be said that having more children would be seen as detrimental to the well-being of our global community.
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  #5  
Old Feb 3, '12, 1:31 am
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Gordon Sims Gordon Sims is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

I can sympathize with some of what you're going through. My wife's pregnant for the sixth time and we are avoiding a large portion of my family due to how terribly they treated us during her last two pregnancies (including a miscarriage).

I think there's a lot of reasons for the prejudice against large families. On the one hand, you have the zero-population-growth mentality that believes there's no way the planet can cope with more people. Another related issue is the contraceptive, pro-death mentality that is so prominent now. Children are a burden; pregnancy is a disease. Voluntarily putting yourself through either is not only selfish, but borderline insane.

However, the biggest issue I see (just personal experience) is the overwhelming selfishness of the current crop of 18-40 year olds. The 70's may have been called the "me decade," but I think that period can't hold a candle to what's going on now. Partying, traveling, buying the biggest, latest toys and satisfying whatever other wants and cravings come along are all far more important than acting responsibly, getting married, settling down and meeting all the other traditional benchmarks of adulthood. So many of the people I know are in a state of perpetual adolescence that I often wonder how they're able to hold down a job. We quit hanging out with some friends because we don't drink anymore, and we don't want our kids exposed to their weekly binges (and, unlike them, I wouldn't think it was cute to see my daughters doing an imitation of me drunk). We know people our age who don't have kids, but who do camp out to buy the latest big video game. We have one friend who has spent her entire pregnancy complaining about how she can't wait to have that "thing" out of her so she can get drunk again. Another acquaintance didn't want to try having a baby until she had checked everything off her "bucket list." She's now hitting 40 and has spent upwards of $30,000 on unsuccessful fertility treatments over the last few years. But, hey, at least she's been to Paris. These same people criticize us because we don't have the latest video game systems, don't give our kids unrestricted TV & internet access, do teach our kids manners, don't let them act vulgar or inappropriately, take them to Mass and send them to Catholic schools; and most of all, because we have so darn many of them.
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  #6  
Old Feb 3, '12, 4:23 am
Cat Cat is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

I agree with EasterJoy that your first priority at this time is helping your wife get well. It sounds like you and your wife are doing just that.

As for your question--big deal what other people think! There is bias in our current society against lots of things. As long as we are confident that we are obeying God, we just have to let the criticisms roll off our backs.

E.g., bias against families who watch television. (Ignoring their children, allowing the TV to be a babysitter, allowing their children's morals to be formed by Hollywood, etc.)

E.g., bias against families who live in trailer homes. (Poor trash.)

E.g., bias against families who live in a big new home and make a huge carbon footprint (destroying the earth, selfish rich fat cats).

E.g., bias against families who use disposable water bottles instead of buying Brita filters and drinking out of re-usable glasses (destroying the earth, thoughtless).

E.g., bias against families who go to church (indoctrinating their children, not allowing their children intellectual freedom).

E.g., bias against families who go to certain churches (heretics, fanatics, cultists).

E.g., bias against families who home school (isolating their children)

E.g., bias against families who don't home school (allowing their children to be raised by others with wrong value systems)

E.g., bias against families who are in debt instead of debt free (shiftless, selfish, undisciplined, unChristian, foolish, ignorant, etc.--you can tell that my husband and I are in debt!)

E.g., bias against families who spend a lot of money on figure skating, or any sport, or music lessons, or any recreational activity, or almost anything (foolish, thoughtless, silly, living vicariously through children, etc.--yes, our family figure skates!)

E.g., bias against families who are couch potatoes, or fat, or kind of fat, or who eat at fast food places instead of cooking at home, or who buy food from a grocery store instead of growing their own food in their own garden (lazy fat slobs, etc.)

etc. etc. etc.

My point is--people are ready to criticize and backbite and be prejudiced against almost ANYTHING that a family does. I've seen the above examples over and over again, and although some of them seem kind of trivial, it hurts when someone is outwardly critical of a choice that your family has made.

Just ignore your critics. But do continue to take care of your wife. The best thing a husband and wife can do for their children is love each other, and love is an action word.
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  #7  
Old Feb 3, '12, 4:35 am
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SeaShoreGirl SeaShoreGirl is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

I see alot of "I want" and "I feel". You're a teacher (a job that requires dedication) with a 2nd job, an ill wife and 4 kids. Your plate is pretty full...nevermind how your wife feels.

I think part of the push against big families is the recognition of the damage good intentioned people can do to their kids by not being there. How older ones tend to fall from the nest too early, middle ones seem lost and younger sibs never seem to grow up. Its a pattern I see all too frequently in families of 9+.

There also is a greater understanding of mental illness (of parents) and learning disabilities of kids. 30 years ago my friend's daughter would of been labeled retarded. Today we can easily see she's incredibly intellegent...just has visual/auditory issues and poor hand-eye coordination. All this requires a MASSIVE amount of time on her parents part. They now have 5 and the others often suffer at the lack. Her little brother is ADHD (maybe even aspergers) among other issues and it was ignored too long. Now they face meds or not homeschooling just to cope with the problems faced. They (and I) love all the kids but the fact is the more people who need you the less you have for each one.
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  #8  
Old Feb 3, '12, 4:44 am
KCT KCT is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Culture of death. Culture of selfishness.

God bless you for loving your wife enough to make such a sacrifice.
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  #9  
Old Feb 3, '12, 6:28 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

God bless you and your generous heart.
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  #10  
Old Feb 3, '12, 8:13 am
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Luvz2travel Luvz2travel is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

I don't see anything wrong in big family unless you're having kids to draw attention to yourself and start a tv show such as the Duggards with 19. But honestly who has 19 kids. To me a good size large family is 6-12 not all born at once that way the parents can give them all the attention they deserve. I wanted 4 plus kids when I was 20. I was never blessed with any but I think it's important to have at least two so your child has the experience of having a sibling and not being the sole focus of attention which can lead to problems later. Just my 2 cents. By the way I still have hopes of adopting someday.
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  #11  
Old Feb 3, '12, 8:18 am
holyrood holyrood is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaShoreGirl View Post

I think part of the push against big families is the recognition of the damage good intentioned people can do to their kids by not being there. How older ones tend to fall from the nest too early, middle ones seem lost and younger sibs never seem to grow up. Its a pattern I see all too frequently in families of 9+.

...Now they face meds or not homeschooling just to cope with the problems faced. They (and I) love all the kids but the fact is the more people who need you the less you have for each one.
As a mother of 9, all I can is...wow. Maybe I should get rid of a few? For what it's worth, my children seem unaware that I've damaged them so badly or that I'm not there for them. They love telling people they come from a huge family, they enjoy doing all sorts of things together, the two in college are both there on huge academic scholarships (full ride in one case) thanks to great grades, etc. Every single one of them has asked repeatedly for more siblings, and one of the older ones can't wait to be an uncle, now that he knows there will be no more children.

Sorry, but what a huge generalization. It seems to me this is exactly the kind of thing the OP is talking about. Of course a family with 9 kids has problems and difficulties. We certainly do. So do families with one child or two or none. I could tell story after story about the difficulties faced by my friends with smaller families. It's part and parcel of living in a fallen world.

What is missing from this equation is that while I cannot spend 30 minutes one on one time with each child each night...my kids get not only my attention, but the attention of 8 other siblings. It's a wonderful thing to see the older ones learning and growing from the love they give to the younger ones, the friendships between similar-aged kids, and the way the younger ones blossom under the love of the older ones.

There are pros and cons to every life situation, to every size family. I'm happy to say that I have received almost entirely positive comments all these years about my large family. For those who don't like it, oh, well. I don't criticize their choices and if they criticize mine, it says more about them than it does about me.
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  #12  
Old Feb 3, '12, 9:30 am
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MomaMary8 MomaMary8 is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaShoreGirl View Post
I see alot of "I want" and "I feel". You're a teacher (a job that requires dedication) with a 2nd job, an ill wife and 4 kids. Your plate is pretty full...nevermind how your wife feels.

I think part of the push against big families is the recognition of the damage good intentioned people can do to their kids by not being there. How older ones tend to fall from the nest too early, middle ones seem lost and younger sibs never seem to grow up. Its a pattern I see all too frequently in families of 9+.

There also is a greater understanding of mental illness (of parents) and learning disabilities of kids. 30 years ago my friend's daughter would of been labeled retarded. Today we can easily see she's incredibly intellegent...just has visual/auditory issues and poor hand-eye coordination. All this requires a MASSIVE amount of time on her parents part. They now have 5 and the others often suffer at the lack. Her little brother is ADHD (maybe even aspergers) among other issues and it was ignored too long. Now they face meds or not homeschooling just to cope with the problems faced. They (and I) love all the kids but the fact is the more people who need you the less you have for each one.
Mother of 10 here! I'll tell my children how damaged they are tonight at dinner. The poor little tykes were all on the honor roll and my oldest made the dean's list at college. I guess I should have had less children so they could do better... ,

to the OP: I kind of know what you mean!! lol God bless you and your family and may God heal your wife's mental condition.
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  #13  
Old Feb 3, '12, 9:48 am
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StJudePray4Me StJudePray4Me is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

I agree with Cat.

Our society is very judge-y.

Do what you know is right.

People will be critical of you no matter what you do.

Learn to let it roll off your back. (I know: easier said than done.)

Good luck, and I am sure we are all praying for your wife.
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Old Feb 3, '12, 10:23 am
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaShoreGirl View Post
I see alot of "I want" and "I feel". You're a teacher (a job that requires dedication) with a 2nd job, an ill wife and 4 kids. Your plate is pretty full...nevermind how your wife feels.

I think part of the push against big families is the recognition of the damage good intentioned people can do to their kids by not being there. How older ones tend to fall from the nest too early, middle ones seem lost and younger sibs never seem to grow up. Its a pattern I see all too frequently in families of 9+.

There also is a greater understanding of mental illness (of parents) and learning disabilities of kids. 30 years ago my friend's daughter would of been labeled retarded. Today we can easily see she's incredibly intellegent...just has visual/auditory issues and poor hand-eye coordination. All this requires a MASSIVE amount of time on her parents part. They now have 5 and the others often suffer at the lack. Her little brother is ADHD (maybe even aspergers) among other issues and it was ignored too long. Now they face meds or not homeschooling just to cope with the problems faced. They (and I) love all the kids but the fact is the more people who need you the less you have for each one.
It is funny that those of us who actually grew up in big families don't necessarily see it that way. Now that my parents are old and frail, I am very thankful that there are eight of us to take care of them. In contrast, the only children I know say they wish they had a lot less scrutiny than they got growing up, not to mention someone to share the responsibility of taking care of their elderly parents.

You seem to imply that nothing is lost when a child grows up in a small family, but the experience of not being the center of attention, of having to pitch in, and of having to look after needs other than your own has its own rewards.
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Old Feb 3, '12, 10:27 am
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Why the bias against medium to large families?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StJudePray4Me View Post
People will be critical of you no matter what you do.
This is true, and it has been since Aesop:

A MILLER and his son were driving their Donkey to a neighboring fair to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a troop of women collected round a well, talking and laughing. "Look there," cried one of them, "did you ever see such fellows, to be trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?' The old man hearing this, quickly made his son mount The Donkey, and continued to walk along merrily by his side. Presently they came up to a group of old men in earnest debate. "There," said one of them, "it proves what I was a-saying. What respect is shown to old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while his old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let the old man rest his weary limbs." Upon this the old man made his son dismount, and got up himself. In this manner they had not proceeded far when they met a company of women and children: "Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad there can hardly keep pace by the side of you?' The good-natured Miller immediately took up his son behind him. They had now almost reached the town. "Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is that Donkey your own?' "Yes," replied the old man. "O, one would not have thought so," said the other, "by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the poor beast than he you." "Anything to please you," said the old man; "we can but try." So, alighting with his son, they tied the legs of The Donkey together and with the help of a pole endeavored to carry him on their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance to the town. This entertaining sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at it, till The Donkey, not liking the noise nor the strange handling that he was subject to, broke the cords that bound him and, tumbling off the pole, fell into the river. Upon this, the old man, vexed and ashamed, made the best of his way home again, convinced that by endeavoring to please everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost his Donkey in the bargain.
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