5 Ways Large/Very Large Families Tend to be MORE Dysfunctional, Even Pathological Than Small & Medium Families,Pt 2/2
3. Lack of Individualized Attention in Large/Very Large Families
3. Very Little or No Individualized Attention in Large/Very Large Families
In part 1/2 of this hub, I discussed the large/very large family in the context of a postmodern, 21st century American society and/or culture. I also detailed the first 2 of 5 ways that large/very large families tend to be more dysfunctional, even pathological than small and medium families namely parentification of children and differential, even preferential or disparate treatment of children based upon their birth order and gender. I even touched upon the issues of favoritism and scapegoating as to how those related to the large/very large family environment. In the concluding part of this hub, I will now discuss the last 3 of 5 ways as to how large/very large families tend to be more dysfunctional, even pathological than small and medium families particularly in terms of little or no individualized attention from parents, placing little or no value on individuality and self, and having a very poor or no sense of self, and having to fend for, take care of, and support oneself very early. Large/very large families are defined as having 6 and more children per family.
In large/very large families, children do not receive the individualized attention and care that they need to thrive. It is quite common in large/very large families for children to receive inadequate parental attention as it is next to humanly impossible for parents to devote individualized time to each child. Also, in many large/very large families, it is the youngest/younger children who receive the most individualized parental attention. It is believed by parents of large/very large families that the youngest/younger children need their time and attention more than the oldest/older children. There are some parents who feel that the concept of individualized attention is overrated. They feel that their children really do not need such attention and that the attention that they give their children is quite adequate.
There are other parents who feel that to give children individualized attention is really a waste of time. They may even feel that given such attention to their children makes them selfish, even spoiled. They feel that their family time is sufficient time to give their children the attention they need. Besides, they reason if each their children want individualized attention, they have their siblings to turn to. They furthermore feel that the time their children spend interacting with their siblings is far more important, even valuable than the time spent with them. They rationalize that their children are not really interested in interacting with them as they are on different wavelengths. They argue that their children learn things from their siblings that they will never learn from them.
There are parents who contend that giving their children individualized attention causes them to be very dependent upon them. In addition to that, they feel that giving their children individualized attention is also excessive. They are of the school that the less attention given children, the better, more resourceful, and independent the latter will be. They may even assert that children even thrive on less individualized parental attention. They explain that their children depend upon themselves and their siblings and that they are not really needed so much by the latter. Many children from large/very large families have poor or even very poor relationships with their parents. Sadly, they do not know what it is like to have a close bond with their parents. They are seldom, if ever are close to their parents as their primary relationship are with their siblings. They even report being closer to their siblings than they ever were with their parents.
4. Large/Very Large Families Devalues Individuality & Self
4. The Correlation Between Large/Very Large Families and Having Little, Even No Sense of Self
In large/very large families, there is very little emphasis placed upon children's individuality and self. The concept of individuality and self are strong deemphasized in large/very large families. In addition to such being deemphasized, it is also devalued and seen as wrong concept to have and cultivate. Children in large/very large families are taught that others are more important than they are. They are also told that the needs, wants, and desires of others take strong precedence over their own particular needs, wants, and desires. They are even taught to subvert and even discount their needs, wants, and desires for the good and benefit of others.
Children in large/very large families are inculcated in the premise that to have a sense of individuality is akin to conceit and selfishness. In their family environment, they are neither considered as nor treated as individuals in their own right. They are brought up to be part of a group and that they exist within a group construct and paradigm. They are indoctrinated in the premise that the self counts for very little, if nothing. They maintain deem that the stress on individuality and self create people who are very self-indulgent and self-centered. They contend that there is far too much emphasis on and thought about self. They feel that individuality and the self are quite insignificant in comparison to the group and/or others.
Children in large/very large families are raised in an environment in which individuality is not encouraged but rather strongly discouraged. They are deterred from considering themselves unique and special. If they do believe in and even assert their uniqueness and specialness, they are quickly put in their place, being told that they are the same as everyone else in their respective families. It is also the nature of the large/very large families to stress and value the group and others because such children live together and must depend upon each other. If one of the children is a strong individualist, he/she will not survive emotionally, psychologically, and even psychically in the large/very large family environment. This child may even be scapegoated by others because he/she does not have a sense of family and is only concerned with his/her so-called selfish needs and desires.
Many children in large/very large families have little sense of individuality as a result of being told that to assert and/or value their individuality is wrong. They are afraid to express their needs and to ask for what they want. They may even let others take advantage of them because they are unable to set boundaries. Some may even be subjected to abuse by others because they are nonassertive regarding their needs. They can even possess an inferior complex because they believe that they are insignificant in comparison to others. They also feel powerless and worthless because of the familial inculcation that others are more important than they are. Secondly because of this inculcation, they may give their power away to others and be followers of a group because they are afraid to be individuals.
There are some children in large/very large families who become very selfish, even highly territorial as a result of the familial inculcation decrying individuality and a sense of self. They are making for the years that they had to consider themselves subordinate to others. They go to extremes to fully broadcast their individuality and sense of self because they were deprived of such by their families. Others relish and embrace their individuality and uniqueness. They refuse anymore to put themselves last while others go first. They strongly assert, even argue that it is not noble nor honorable and even a form of aberrant mental illness to be always self-abnegating. They further believe that a normal person has a clear sense of individuality and self and is not afraid to express it.
5. Early, FORCED Independence in Large/Very Large Families
5. In Large/Very Large Families........One Is Independent QUITE EARLY
In large/very large families, children must become independent very early. There are many factors in large/very large families that makes early independence highly likely. The main factors causing this are economic impoverishment and very little or no parental attention and involvement. In large/very large families, children experience economic penuriousness and struggle. Those components are normative in lives of such children. In large/very large families, monies are to be stretched far per each child. There is very little monies for the necessities and rudiments, if that. It is quite normal for children in large/very large families to do without. Children in large/very large families oftentimes have to work afterschool and weekend jobs to get the things that children in small and medium families normally have.
Besides working to get the normal things that other children have, many children in large/very large families work to supplement their meager income. There is a higher incidence of poverty and impoverishment in large/very large families than it is in small and medium families. Children from large/very large families oftentimes consume inferior quality of food, sometimes going hungry. They also have very little or no medical, health, nor dental care unless it is provided for by outside sources. Being poor and impoverished necessities that they must work to supplement family income and to even keep their families economically afloat. It is not unusual for children in large/very large families to begin working in childhood. Children in large/very large families are working at a time when other children are enjoying an unencumbered childhood with school, play, and friends their primary concerns.
For children in large/very large families, work is a constant staple in their lives. It is not unusual for them to work to help prevent their families from descending through the socioeconomic cracks. Many teens from large/very large families must work concurrently to attending school. They may be even secondary breadwinners in their families. There are parents in large/very large families who expect, even demand that their children pull their economic weight and contribute economically to the household. There are some who even forfeit their educational opportunities in order to work to help support their families. Not only that, there are parents who make their children drop out of school in order for them to work, helping support their families.
Children in large/very large families must learn the lesson of independence early in life. In large/very large families, there is very little parent-child interaction and parental involvement in their children's lives. Parents in large/very large families cannot give each child needed time and attention. Everything including time is at a premium. In most instances, parents of large/very large families only give attention and spend time with their youngest/younger children. Children in large/very large families realize at a young age that their parents cannot be there for them. So they must learn to be their own parent emotionally and psychologically, even psychically.
It is quite common for children in large families to fend and take care of their needs. They may even have to fend for and take care of the needs of others. They also must learn to navigate their particular familial environment. They may be even expected to act as and be adults by their parents as the latter are inundated with children to take care of. As such parents realize that they cannot adequately care for all of their children emotionally, they push even force some children to become emotionally independent of them. Many children in large/very large families must become independent in order to survive. If they remain dependent upon their parents, they would fall through the familial cracks as their parents cannot do for them.
The large/very large families contain attitudes and behaviors that are different, even opposite to that of small and medium families. Such attitude and behaviors can even be considered to be dysfunctional, even pathological. There is very little, even no parental interaction and involvement with their children. There is marked differential, even unequal treatment of children based upon gender and birth order. There is even rampant favoritism and scapegoating of certain children by their parents.
In large/very large families, children oftentimes assume adult roles and responsibilities at a time when other children are enjoying their childhoods. They have to work not only to obtain the things that other children have but to supplement their family income. Some may have to forego their education in order to help support their families. They must learn to be independent or sink. Children in large/very large families encounter, endure, and experience things that would immobilized the toughest adults. The large/very large family environment presents a daunting road for children to embark upon, navigate, and ultimately survive.
© 2015 Grace Marguerite Williams
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