Advice from Larger Families to Growing Ones


#1

I was wondering if parents of large families could share a little bit of things they have learned, things they wish they would have known, and things they are glad they knew that helped them or is helping them in raising a large family (if you have advice and don’t necessarily have a large family you can still share anyways).

I can’t speak for others, but I know I would find it very helpful since I do not know what God has in store for us, but it could very well be a large family. I know there are many wonderful veteran moms on here, so I was wondering if you could share your knowledge on here.


#2

I will just tell you what I tell my daughters, if I had it to do over I would trust God in all things, not try to be the savior of the world and manipulate the world to suit my family.

I would pray as a family daily and insist on at least one family meal each day together.

I would lock up the TV and turn it on only for special pre-selected, infrequent programs.

We did not have computers yet, but now I would have one, in a family area not in bedrooms, with parental controls and filters, and monitor its use like a hawk. I would ban video games.

I would spend less, save more, and buy nothing on credit.

I would get a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinion on any medical or psychological problem faced by a child, or adult in my family.


#3

Family prayer and family dinner.


#4

[quote=Cupofkindness]Family prayer and family dinner.
[/quote]

Amen, family prayer and family dinner is sooooo important and will strenghten your family :thumbsup:


#5

We are still learning as our children are still small, but here are some things that I think make our family happy & strong…

*Dinner together every night and prayers before meals…
*Teaching my children about God (we have our own little Sunday school at home)
*Attending mass on Sundays (no excuses not to) and discussing the mass with our children (why we kneel, why we sing, etc)
*Pray, pray, pray
*Always look to enhance your knowledge of our faith (it will benefit you and your family)
*Also, being a SAHM is something I will never give up (I cherish being able to spend every day with my children)
*Remember to not neglect your relationship with your husband no matter how hectic life gets…happy parents have happy children :wink:


#6

Off the top of my head, I’d say to growing families: trust God.

The most common reason I hear people give for not having another child is finances. Yet here I am, at age 37, with 9 children; my husband is not earning an executive income-- he doesn’t even have a college degree. Although I do have a master’s degree, I mostly stay home (I work in the afternoons when he’s home with them.) And we do just fine. I rarely (I think I can even say never) feel I am lacking for anything.

Now, if you’d told me 16 years ago that I’d have 9 children, I don’t think I would have believed I could do it, financially or in any other way. And yet… having trusted God and taken that path, here I am, and it’s fine. I don’t feel overwhelmed in any way.

Good luck.


#7

[quote=8isgr8]Off the top of my head, I’d say to growing families: trust God.

The most common reason I hear people give for not having another child is finances. Yet here I am, at age 37, with 9 children; my husband is not earning an executive income-- he doesn’t even have a college degree. Although I do have a master’s degree, I mostly stay home (I work in the afternoons when he’s home with them.) And we do just fine. I rarely (I think I can even say never) feel I am lacking for anything.

Now, if you’d told me 16 years ago that I’d have 9 children, I don’t think I would have believed I could do it, financially or in any other way. And yet… having trusted God and taken that path, here I am, and it’s fine. I don’t feel overwhelmed in any way.

Good luck.
[/quote]

Very good advice, all around. But I strongly agree with 8isgr8, Trust in God!

If you had told me 14 years ago, that on a teacher’s salary and a single income, that my wife and I would raise 7 beautiful, healthy, holy children, I wouldn’t have not believed you, but with God all things are possible. I’m a believer in Divine Providence…

Oh and don’t just lock up your TV, get rid of it! (7 years clean ;-))

-Kevin


#8

[quote=KevinG]Very good advice, all around. But I strongly agree with 8isgr8, Trust in God!

If you had told me 14 years ago, that on a teacher’s salary and a single income, that my wife and I would raise 7 beautiful, healthy, holy children, I wouldn’t have not believed you, but with God all things are possible. I’m a believer in Divine Providence…

Oh and don’t just lock up your TV, get rid of it! (7 years clean ;-))

-Kevin
[/quote]

I agree, so far there has been so much good advice, thanks!!!

KevinG and 8isgr8, thank you so much for your posts!!! Its great to hear of people that acknowledge that we can trust in God and that wonderful things can come from trusting in Him!!! I too am a believer in the Divine Providence (which is not the same as the common interpretation of “providentialism”). God won’t give us more than we can deal with, and we just have offer Him what we have and He can do wonders with it. :slight_smile:

I really like all the advice being posted, if you think of anything else please add it to the thread!!! Thanks!


#9

Live debt free, or at least only with mortgage and SMALL vehicle pmts. If you can’t pay cash, then you can do without it 99% of the time. What you’re really borrowing when you have loans and credit isn’t money, it’s stress, frustration, & worries. It’s just not worth it.


Don’t borrow worries either. This is basicly rephrasing the “trust God” theme. So many people are scared these days! Scared of having 20 kids or medical problems or losing a job or … When they can’t control those things anyhow. Not using NFP or other birth control doesn’t mean you’ll have 20 kids. For that matter, it doesn’t mean you’ll even get 3 kids. Just live life as best and good as you can according to God and deal with life today as it happens. Trust me when I say that will be enough work for anyone! That will be so much easier to cope with if you aren’t borrowing worries from tomorrow. Interestingly enough, it has the added benefit of seeming to rid you of many problems in the future.


**Ask yourself what matters and what’s right when making tough decisions or dealing with crisis and then DO THAT. I have found the vast majority of the time, most people know exactly what the right thing to do is. It’s the turning the heart and mind to actually doing it when we don’t want to for some reason that makes it seem like a tough decision. Yet once the right choice has been made, there is much peace and things seem to just work out. God has a way of making us see His way eventually, hard though our heads and hearts may be at times. My dh has a saying for this, “Resistance is futile!”:wink: **


Put your spouse first and this applies to both husband and wife. Not just before the kids, but also the in-laws, the job, the best friends, the problems, the money, and everything else - including yourself. Remember you are not 1 being anymore. You are forever a part of another.


#10

The thing that is speaking to my heart right now is balance. Endeavor to have balance in your life. We limit the kid’s activities. In fact, the younger kids don’t really do organized activities. We limit sleepovers (rare) because they usually produce grumpy kids the next day.

Moms esp. need to balance their lives–taking time to exercise, be with friends, pray and just be alone. Dads need this too–I just think they are better about taking it without guilt.

And, most of all, don’t neglect the primary relationship in the family–Husband and Wife.

Because of finances, we haven’t taken vacations, but we take a fair amount of day trips to state parks. I think the best summer we ever had was when dh was only working 2 days a week (partial lay-off). We were so broke and quite worried about money, but the family time was so great. We went to parks every week. We didn’t have any money for entertainment, so we did alot of backyard play. We couldn’t afford any sports or clubs or classes, so we weren’t running around to these things.

We only have six currently and our oldest is only 12.

The best thing about larger families is the virtue building circumstances are built in. Less money (usually) means less emphasis on material comfort. More work leads to more team work and work ethic. Older kids taking care of younger leads to more compassion. I’m sure with a smaller family, my undisciplined nature would spoil my kids and myself. The husband is pretty good with work and money, but not so much with giving up his leisure time.

Padre Pio when he would marry couples, would pray for them to have eight children. Eight sounds perfect to me. But, dh doesn’t agree with the good saint. :rolleyes:


#11

I just finished facilitating a parenting study using the Biblical guide “Discipline Them, Love Them.” It is a beautiful collection of “projects” that you and your spouse can do together to examine areas of strength and weakness as parents, and it offers wonderful ideas for building up your children and developing responsible, respectful little persons.

It emphasizes keeping your marriage relationship a priority. If you and your spouse can model for your children what a healthy relationship is, you will be giving them an incredible gift that will impact them forever!

And yes, this can ONLY be done through **complete trust in God. **

The old adage, **“The Family That Prays Together, Stays Together” ** cannot be denied!

I always have said, since the birth of my first child, “If parenting does not improve your prayer life, NOTHING WILL!”

One thing, too, that comes from the study I mentioned, is that “The LORD disciplines those that He loves.” He commands us to do the same. **Discipline and the “rod of correction” will drive folly away from the child.

Our goal should be to gradually work ourselves out of a job** (that is, teach them, train them, correct them, and they will grow in self-discipline…hence, not need so much of our controls)…the book gives you 6 methods for training up your child in the way he/she should go. Very helpful!

Also we must understand that to “discipline” means to “teach/instruct” then to “train” (through guided practice) and then to “correct”…it’s not ALL correction! We have to be careful that we have done the teaching and training before it is fair to correct them.

And NEVER punish/correct your children when angry. This is where two parents are very handy!!! :thumbsup: Always discipline out of love and a desire to nurture and train up the child in the way they should go. That is:

We should be shaping the child’s will without breaking their spirit.

You can find the book at AMAZON.com. It’s been significantly helpful for my DH and I.

We have five beautiful children (8, 6, 4, 2, and 11 months) who can handle a trip to a restuarant!!! And we often get compliments from complete strangers about how well-behaved they are! What a testimony to the LORD!!! :slight_smile:

You also will find that you cannot be “selfish” as a parent…you are simply stripped of the “me-attitude”…which is really amazing. And this can only be dealt with if we remember that your job as a parent IS A MINISTRY!!

We do it by the GRACE of God, depending on Him, through prayer, for wisdom, patience and endurance…and the BLESSINGS we get in return are more than we could ever ask for or imagine.

I am glad that you are seeking wisdom with your role as a parent. That, in itself, is a HUGE thing. We are not to throw in the towel, no matter how tough things get…but turn to the Lord in all things. He is faithful.

God bless YOU on your journey into the world of “family”…it’s truly a beautiful thing.
:slight_smile:
D.


#12

[quote=lifeisbeautiful]I was wondering if parents of large families could share a little bit of things they have learned, things they wish they would have known, and things they are glad they knew that helped them or is helping them in raising a large family.
[/quote]

God bless you for being open to what God wants for your family. In addition to the wonderful advice already given, I would add to start now to develop habits to keep your life simple and organized. Large families are typically either very organized or very chaotic, and unless you want chaos then limit the “things” (both material and other).

Regardless of how many children a family has, I think simplicity helps make raising children more enjoyable. The multitude of junky toys clutters the house, and the nightly lessons/sports/clubs etc clutters ever possible moment to sit and reflect. Those things rob us of the greater joys of parenting. And our own personal grown-up clutter can do the same thing.

Simplicity also helps keep life organized. Cleaning is easier when there’s less to put away, dust or wash. And organization helps achieve some of the other mentioned goals, such as family meals and prayer, (which are often combined.) I read an old tip that “a meal planned is half done.” I follow a rough plan of what I’ll make for lunch and dinner every day of the week, and it’s much easier to get meals together.

Simplify and find the organizational ideas that work best for you and develop those habits now. Remember to stay somewhat flexible–our things and schedules should serve us and our families, not the other way around.


#13

Doreen, may I PLLLLLEEEAASE cut and paste your post in an email to my best friend??? She could really benefit from it.

I only have three itty-bitties at the moment but hope to have more. Hubby is borderline “no more” but he’s coming around to at least one more. :slight_smile:

I have to say that the hardest part for me is to NOT WORRY AS TO WHAT OTHERS THINK. I often worry about how I look with the kids… do I look out of control? do I look angry? do I look embarrassed? And 99.99999% of the time, that causes me to not react properly to my children because it’s all about MY image. Which is totally unfair to my kids. I’m a work in progress… :slight_smile:

I grew up in a self conscious family that believed the worlds eyes were on them so therefore we must behave in a certain manner. Unfortunately, it’s been passed down to the next generation so I’m trying to break that stupid cycle. Very fortunately, my husband is the exact opposite and he’ll do what he has to do as a father to instruct, guide and/or correct his children whenever/where ever and he doensn’t give a hoot as to what others think. I have alot to learn from him. :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:


#14

My in-laws told me something that has become true.

If you find it difficult to handle X children, then X-1 children seems easy.

That is, when you have two children, it seems much simpler when you are directly dealing with only one.

When you have three, it seems peaceful when one is not there.

And so on.

Seems to have been true all the way. Now that they are getting older (six children ages 8-19) it is more complicated.

Alan


#15

Ultimate importance: the kids must get along with each other

I am very much an activist for the children getting along with each other. I recognized, and now have taught them, that I consider their relationships with each other more important than their relationship with me.

Their relationship with me is important, as they all know the answer to “which is the only Commandment that comes with a promise” is “the fourth commandment.”

That said, I tell them that if all goes as the worldly normally does, I will be pushing up daisies and they will not have me anymore, but God willing they will have each other.

It seems to be working. They are very supportive of each other, they like to be seen together and say good things about each other to third parties.

One way I try to teach this is in the way I handle tattling. I have mixed feelings about tattling because I like information but I don’t like kids trying to get me to empower their internal struggles – and most of the time that’s what tattling is about. I can’t tell you exactly a “rule” by which I handle any individual tattle, but one thing is I NEVER assume when one tells me something that they are right. They are maybe 99% right, but also there is at least a 50% chance that this truth is only part of the story, and that if we need to find a villian between the two of them, had I been a fly on the wall during the tattled event I might not have found one.

Anyway, as a minimum, if kid X comes from another room and finds me and says, “kid Y is doing thus,” unless it’s absolutely an emergency I will NOT go stop what I was doing. I might say, “oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” or something and act like I’m not particularly interested, or change the subject. I may very well talk to Y, and not always delay it, but it depends largely on the apparent demeanor of X when the report comes in.

Alan


#16

[quote=tamccrackine]Doreen, may I PLLLLLEEEAASE cut and paste your post in an email to my best friend??? She could really benefit from it.

I only have three itty-bitties at the moment but hope to have more. Hubby is borderline “no more” but he’s coming around to at least one more. :slight_smile:

I have to say that the hardest part for me is to NOT WORRY AS TO WHAT OTHERS THINK. I often worry about how I look with the kids… do I look out of control? do I look angry? do I look embarrassed? And 99.99999% of the time, that causes me to not react properly to my children because it’s all about MY image. Which is totally unfair to my kids. I’m a work in progress… :slight_smile:

I grew up in a self conscious family that believed the worlds eyes were on them so therefore we must behave in a certain manner. Unfortunately, it’s been passed down to the next generation so I’m trying to break that stupid cycle. Very fortunately, my husband is the exact opposite and he’ll do what he has to do as a father to instruct, guide and/or correct his children whenever/where ever and he doensn’t give a hoot as to what others think. I have alot to learn from him. :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:
[/quote]

Hey Tam’
You sure may share my post. I am glad that it will be of use to someone.

Re: your comments about worrying about what others think, I can relate very well. I remember when we had two kids, I went to a “Bunko” group, and our nametags we were to write something that was on our mind…a discussion starter. I wrote: “How does one come to decide to have that THIRD child?” I mean, I had a girl and a boy…we fit in the car nicely. We could go skiing someday and DH and I could each partner up with one, and have an easy day of keeping track of things. It just seemed that to have more would only shake things up and make life difficult.

God placed across the table from me that night a woman who had 8 children. Hahahahhaha … I always laugh when I think of it! She shared with me “her ministry” as a mom, how she has grown God’s kingdom just by the way she’s brought her kids up to love and serve the Lord…and the remarkable thing is her college-age daughter was one of our first and was our absolutely favorite babysitter! This girl was so mature for a college kid, so self-assured, compassionate, kind, patient. She WAS a testimony to the Lord!

And so, I realized that night that all my thinking was pretty selfish. I don’t mean to judge anyone else, if they chose to have two and be done, by the way! I think God leads us all and I am certain that for some, two is what he intended for them. And that is great! But for me…well, I came from a family of 10 kids…I knew how wonderful it was to have such a large group of brothers and sisters to share life with. There’s simply nothing to replace the relationship of family…and God has blessed my parents greatly because of their willingness to sacrifice and be obedient to Him in childbearing.

My hubby and I started late, so we are “old” parents which adds to the potential for public scrutiny and criticism…and the only thing I can say is that when you decide that pleasing God is far more important to you than pleasing men, you’ll reap great rewards. Not saying it’s been easy, but once I realized that my decisions needed to be done through prayer, God showed us in no uncertain terms that he had more children for us. We had thought we’d stop at 4, a nice even number, but after having my 4th, I just got sick anytime I thought about being done.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you (that is, SHOW, and even PLANT INSIDE YOU) the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4

This is a favorite Scripture…and once I learned that the word give translated to SHOW/REVEAL, and even to implant, it made so much sense to me.

When we delight in His will, then our will becomes His will, and we are no longer torn!

What a blessed thing.
I wish you all the best, and I know you’ll have it, if you seek first His kingdom!
In His Unfailing Love,
D.


#17

Our six 10-and-under kids have made us see the profound truth and value in the saying, "It’s not about me. Saying this to yourself over and over makes it easier (more than easier–natural) to accept the sacrifices and frustrations that go with the job.

We’ve also learned to keep delegating new, challenging responsibilities early. Having the kids watch out for each other, read to each other, and help each other dress and eat helps create the kind of connectedness between them that AlanFromWitchita is talking about. Grownup jobs are also fun for them (at first), and teach them to value work and responsibility.

We try not to be referees. Often, when there’s a disagreement during playing, both kids involved will feel the consequences (such as “Game’s over–give me that ball!”), and they learn to try to work between them instead.

We don’t try to always be “equal.” A good thing that happens to one does not mean they all deserve something; they ought to be happy for the other one. They don’t always accept this happily, but drumming it in over years and years is the way to get them to have the right perspective (i.e., “It’s not about me”).

Peace.
John


#18

Everyone has such wonderful suggestions. I have to admit that the first thing that I thought of was to get a big freezer! Of course it’s to hold all the wonderful things you will make for the family dinners. :smiley: Whenever I make a meatloaf or lasagna or soup or chili or anything like that, I always make extra for the freezer. Even pies. We all get busy, but I always have something homecooked for my family whenever I’m short on time. Plus, where we live I can get beef and pork at good prices but in bulk from the neighboring farms.
So far we are a family of 7. My freezer is huge!


#19

I remember an old indian lady telling me that she stopped apologizing for the state of her house, paired all the socks from the laundry and put them in one big wash basket, so everybody gets their own out.

She only had 4 children!!!

Pray pray pray nobody down here has the manual and God will help you in your own particular situation. One day at a time


#20

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