Why It Is IRRESPONSIBLE For Parents To Have A Large Number Of Children

There are people who insist on having a lot children although they are unable to take care of them emotionally, mentally, and financially.  What ARE they "THINKING'?
There are people who insist on having a lot children although they are unable to take care of them emotionally, mentally, and financially. What ARE they "THINKING'?
Large and very large families were fine in preurban and agrarian society when many hands were needed to work the land.In less globalized times, large families provided support systems, particularly for the aged and indigent.
Large and very large families were fine in preurban and agrarian society when many hands were needed to work the land.In less globalized times, large families provided support systems, particularly for the aged and indigent.
Large families were quite common earlier in history because contraceptive methods are either nonexistent or rudimentary at best.
Large families were quite common earlier in history because contraceptive methods are either nonexistent or rudimentary at best.
Women in the pre-feminist era were inculcated with the pronatalist ethic. To be femnine, she had to have children and the more children, the better.
Women in the pre-feminist era were inculcated with the pronatalist ethic. To be femnine, she had to have children and the more children, the better.
Despite the inroads of better and more advanced contraception, there are people who still have large and very large families although they are unable to care for their children emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and socioeconomically.
Despite the inroads of better and more advanced contraception, there are people who still have large and very large families although they are unable to care for their children emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and socioeconomically.
There are a myriad of reasons why some people still have large and very large families in this postmodern era.  These reasons are varied.
There are a myriad of reasons why some people still have large and very large families in this postmodern era. These reasons are varied.
There are people who believe that children are preordained; they feel that any type of birth control is unnatural.
There are people who believe that children are preordained; they feel that any type of birth control is unnatural.
There are some men who view having large families as indicators of their masculine prowess and some women who feel that it is the ultimate femaleness to produce large families.
There are some men who view having large families as indicators of their masculine prowess and some women who feel that it is the ultimate femaleness to produce large families.
There are women who have baby hunger i.e. they love babies because they are cute and cuddly; however, they soon tire of the child once he/she becomes a toddler. So she becomes pregnant because she wants a new baby.
There are women who have baby hunger i.e. they love babies because they are cute and cuddly; however, they soon tire of the child once he/she becomes a toddler. So she becomes pregnant because she wants a new baby.
There are women who are addicted to being pregnant.  During pregnancy, they receive the adulation and attention that they do not receive otherwise.  They also feel a rush during pregnancy.
There are women who are addicted to being pregnant. During pregnancy, they receive the adulation and attention that they do not receive otherwise. They also feel a rush during pregnancy.
There are women who have lots of children to fill a void in their lives. Such women oftentimes do not have outside interests -a career, hobbies, and other activities to occupy her. Her only fulfillment is having lots of children.
There are women who have lots of children to fill a void in their lives. Such women oftentimes do not have outside interests -a career, hobbies, and other activities to occupy her. Her only fulfillment is having lots of children.
Parents are unable to raise a large and very large family by themselves.They oftentimes assign parenting duties to the oldest/older children in the family.Oldest/older children in large families often forfeit their formative years to raise siblings.
Parents are unable to raise a large and very large family by themselves.They oftentimes assign parenting duties to the oldest/older children in the family.Oldest/older children in large families often forfeit their formative years to raise siblings.
Oldest/older children in large and very large families are often parentified children.
Oldest/older children in large and very large families are often parentified children.
Large families are more likely to be socioeconomically impoverished or near the poverty level. There is little monies for the rudiments.Children in large families have to do without even the basic necessities.Many work to supplement family income.
Large families are more likely to be socioeconomically impoverished or near the poverty level. There is little monies for the rudiments.Children in large families have to do without even the basic necessities.Many work to supplement family income.

They MUST Be OUT Of Their MInds!

Of course it is an irresponsible act! Parents who have large families (6 or more children per household) have a different mindset than parents who have small families. They often have an idealized view of how nice and bucolically idyllic it would be have a lot of children. While they have that idealized premise, they either are quite unconcerned with and/or have no idea of what actually is involved in raising a large number of children. The reality is often quite diametrically different than their idealization regarding having and raising a large family.

Now, permit me to digress a while. Large families used to be necessary. In preurbanized and/or rural societies, large families were quite de rigueur as children were needed to work the land. In essence, the more children to help with the farm work, the better. Furthermore, before the advent of nursing homes and centers, parents had large families to guarantee at some of their children will care for them in their old age.

Besides the abovementioned factors and variables, contraceptive methods were more primitive and not as advanced as it is today. This translates that when a couple had congress, there was an extremely likelihood that the wife will become pregnant. Many pregnancies were unexpected and seldom was abortion practiced because it was frowned upon. Women were expected to endure their pregnancies with no questions asked.

People also had large families because the infant mortality was high. Large families were a guarantee that at least out of let's say 12 children, probably at least 50% would survive into adulthood. Then societies became increasingly urbanized.

With the advent of urbanization, more and more people moved to the cities in search for a better way of life. There was also less space in urban settings. Smaller and more congested spaces meant smaller families. Since children were not needed to work on the farm, more children were considered to be a liability because it meant more mouths to feed.

Suddenly, large families were becoming problematic in urban areas. To combat this increasing problem, there was an urgent need to implement better birth control technology. Margaret Sanger, a nurse and activist, was witness to women being completely inundated with frequent and unwanted pregnancies. They had more children than they could possibly take care of physically, emotionally, and financially.

Ms. Sanger realized the perilous situation these mothers were in. So she established the first birth control clinic. She believed that full women's emancipation included a woman's control over her reproductive destiny. She further portended that in order for family life to be more harmonious, every child should be planned for and wanted. What she was about to undertake was not easy sailing. She encountered opposition from men and from religious authorities who staunchly assert that the sole duty of women were to be married and to have as many children as God dictates.

Great advancements in birth control technology came in the 1960s with the invention of the contraceptive pill. Before that time, birth control was quite faulty. Each time a woman had congress, there was an extremely high likelihood that she would become pregnant even though she can be extremely careful in that regard.

The birth control pill was viewed as a boom to women, married and single alike. For single women, it gave them more sexual choice and freedom without the fear of pregnancy. For married women, it give them more reproductive choice and freedom. With the advent of the pill, families became smaller and smaller.

Parents came to the realization that small families meant more freedom especially for the mother to pursue venues such as education, job/career, and/or other outlets in her life. Smaller families also means less economic stress for the male. He does not to worry how he is going to support his children. In small families, the number of children per family is more manageable.

Furthermore, in small families, there is more an equal parity between the husband and the wife. Chances in small families, both couples are working towards the support and upheld of their children. Because the wife is working, she is not in a subordinate status to her husband but is considered to be an equal contributor.

In the 1970s, with the advent of feminism and increase of women in the workforce, especially in high powered and professional careers, small families became the rule instead of an anomaly. In conjunction with women entering the workforce in record numbers, they become more educated than ever before. Studies have repeatedly corroborate that the higher education a woman has, the less children she has. It has been stated repeatedly that one of the methods of reducing fertility is to educate a woman.

As people become highly educated, they realize the importance of providing their children with a decent level of living. They further realize that the more children they have, the more difficult is to provide them with decent standard of living. Studies further substantiate that poverty levels are highest in large families. Children in large families are more likely to be either impoverished or near poverty than children from small families.

However, there are people who elect to have large families. These reasons range from strictly religious to just a devil may care attitude. Many parents have a large family, knowing that they are socioeconomically and psychologically ill prepared to care for a large number of children. Nevertheless, they portend that the children will learn to adjust to their situation.

In large families, the average parent does not raise their children. They often enlist the oldest and/or older children to be the parent to their younger sibling. Many oldest children in large families can be classified as parentified children.

It is an impossibility for parents to effectively raise a large number of children by themselves. The span of control is too great between the parent and the child. In large families, the children far outnumber the parent. Parents, realizing the sheer volume of the number of children that they have, must enlist the assistance of their oldest and/or older children to rear the younger children in the family.

The socioeconomic situation of large families is quite tenuous. In large families, the only breadwinner is often the father. He has to worry about how to allot monies to support a large brood of children. Oftentimes, because monies are tight, children learn to do without many things. Or if they want and desire these things, they often have to get after school jobs to get them.

In quite a few large families, children must work in order to supplement the family income and to keep the family at barely the subsistence socioeconomic level. The concepts of amenities, luxuries, and affluence are totally foreign ones to the average large family. The average large family is extremely lucky just to have a minimum standard of living.

Because of the stark socioeconomic environment, many children in large families develop a strict poverty consciousness. They learn that life is a continuous uphill struggle. They also learn to expect very little in life. That is why many children from large families portend that children from smaller, more affluent families are spoiled as the latter's parents can well afford to provide them with more than a subsistent standard of living. To a child from a large family, the concept of an socioeconomic affluent lifestyle is an anathema as they are more comfortable with poverty and want.

There are women who have large families because they are addicted to being pregnant. These women often received adulation from others when they are pregnant. Also, being pregnant gives these women a high and a rush that they do not have otherwise. Furthermore, the act of being pregnant is the main point in these women's lives as they often do not have an outside hobby and/or life. Since they have nothing else worthwhile in their lives, pregnancy gives them the joy and impetus which are missing in their lives.

When the baby is born, these women are overjoyed. Once the baby becomes a toddler, he/she is no longer a baby hence no longer cute and cuddly so she gets pregnant again to have a cuddly baby, often neglecting the oldest child. These types of women often go through several pregnancies until her baby hunger is fully satiated. However, while she continuously gets pregnant to satisfy this obsessive need, there are casualties of neglected, attention deprived older children.

There are women who get continuously pregnant just to full a void in their nondescript, empty lives. These women often do not have any outside interests whether it is a job/career, hobbies, friends, and/or intellectual activities. They feel worthwhile only as mothers. So they use incessant motherhood as a subterfuge to avoid finding more practical ways to use their time and energy.

Then there are women are still believe that the only function of sex is to have children. The idea of them thinking that sex is also for pleasure is inherently wrong for one reason or another. Furthermore, the idea of using contraception to prevent pregnancy is egregiously against some type of preordained law. So each time they have sex, they become pregnant. If their children is unwanted, that should not matter. Their attitude is whatever come what may, nothing more, nothing less. There are women who state that if they become pregnant, they will just have the child without thinking how this will deleteriously affect their family dynamic.

There are men who believe that the duty of women is to be barefoot and pregnant so to speak. These men portend that women are destined to be mothers, especially mothers to as many children as possible. They further believe that it is their prerogative as men to have congress with their wives. It does not matter whether their wives want to or not as that is not their concern. If the woman becomes pregnant, so be it!

There are men who view having a lot of children as a badge of honor. They actually measure their masculinity to the ability to sire as many children as possible. In essence, the more children they have, the more macho he feels.

There are parents who instinctively know that they cannot afford to effective raise a large family. Nonetheless, they persist in doing so because they are in love with the idea of having a lot of children for whatever reason. They do not believe in planning and strategizing for the most affordable number of children. They are of the school of whatever happens, just happens.

These parents staunchly portend that is totally unnecessary as the children will learn to adjust to their respective familial situation. This attitude is totally lackadaisical as children function best in families when they are adequately provided for psychologically,emotionally, and financially. There is no way that parents can effectively do these things for their large brood of children. Children in large families often suffer in one way or another because their parents can ill afford to provide for them psychologically, financially, and/or emotionally.

In summation, large families were suitable to a more agrarian culture in pre-20th century societies before the event of mass urbanization. However with increased urbanization, large families were viewed as a liability because children were no longer needed to work the family farms. Families started to become smaller. With the advent of better contraceptive technology, small families become the norm instead of the exception.

There are myriad benefits to having small families such as more individualized parental attention and more monies allotted per child. In addition to that, in small families, there is a more equal socioeconomic parity between husband and wife. Because of this equal socioeconomic parity, there is less stress upon the husband to be the sole breadwinner in a family.

Despite, the advancements in contraception, there are some parents who avidly insist on having large families. Reasons for this varies from the strictly religious or a more lackadaisical attitude. No matter what the reasons, the average parent could ill afford to support a large number of children financially, psychologically, and emotionally.

This result in children from large families having to raise each other and/or the oldest children acting as surrogate parents to their younger siblings. They also receive little or no individualized attention from their parents. They either learn to do with very little or if they want more, having to take after school jobs to supplement their immediate needs or the family income.

In many ways, children from large families are often at the short end of the stick. Children should not have to suffer for the thoughtless and irresponsible actions of their parents. To put it more succinctly, if you believe that you cannot afford to raise children effectively, then DO NOT have them-enough said!

© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments: the rule is to make logical, intelligent comments. Any comments disparaging small families & personal attacks therein will be......DELETED... 17 comments

Olga 4 years ago

Thank you for this well rounded post. (the macho father and she-rabbit mother is hilarious) Also the post of gmwilliams is spot on although it has carried along the note of serious looking down on the social status of large families ; I do not see if this is true in real life. An objection: Nobody ever on this earth is ever comfortable with poverty and want unless they are indoctrinated in a poverty cult or something. Even if and probably because they were raised in a large family. Children of large families are acutely conscious of the economic and social disadvantages of being poor in our competitive society and they probably develop an all-out struggle to improve their status even if this takes them a lifetime. So they rather envy privileged children than frown on their luxuries. Also may I add that many of the traits recounted in the analysis of gmwilliams could also be present in smaller families with two children when the parents have lost their jobs, have economic problems, only one parent is working and there is no financial security. Poor people should not have children then at all? Is it this not a wee bit racist?


MAGICFIVE profile image

MAGICFIVE 4 years ago from New York

Well, I chose to have one child, and I must say, I LOVE the way it is working out! My husband and I both have lots of time for our daughter, AND for each other! All I can say, is that it's the best choice for me! This is a very interesting, well written, and well researched hub!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you, Magicfive. I have been studying family dynamics, birth order, and family size for decades.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

OK....great topic here! Did I hear someone say, "The Duggars??" LMAO Sorry for even mentioning the family of 24 people.......but I had to! They are soooo pathetic, but the truth is....they don't even know it. They think they're just WONDERFUL.... Oh well. It takes all kinds.

Although I raised 4 sons.....(2 per husband) I am a staunch proponent of "only children." It is clear to me at this point and time in our world, that one child is sufficient for most young couples......whether they can AFFORD more or not. Problem is, one can't seem to convince these couples of the positive aspects to only children.

Great work here, gm......you write very well and I might add, convincingly!..UP++


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Again, thank you for your response. I have gotten quite a bit of flak for this hub. Well, whatever to each his/her own as long as our precious children are not neglected, harm, and/or hurt in the process. I am a strong proponent of responsible parenting. Children need the best that life has to offer, they should not suffer or be deprived at all!


LeanneSmith profile image

LeanneSmith 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Great hub! I was definitely against your views when I began reading the post, but once listening to your thoughts I have begun to see a different perspective of the topic.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Leanne, everyone has a right to his/her opinion. People should be free to disagree, after all, it is a democracy and disagreement is good for discourses in a civilized society. Thank you for stopping by and responding.


3 years ago

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-adviser-argu...

Interesting article that supports your point of view. Their opinions, although it offends many large family supporters, is supported by data.


Oldest Daughter 3 years ago

I am the oldest of 7 kids. My parents foster parented and then adopted more kids as we grew up. Every child in this day and age needs more emotional care and attention. Unfortunately neither me or my siblings received that.

My parents used the kids to distract themselves of their miserable marriage. They distracted themselves from spending time to really figure out how to handle my adopted siblings' complex issues. They don't have time or energy to be proactive, just reactive. As the oldest, it's been extremely tough to watch the train wreck. It reminds me of how "orphaned" I felt in a large family.

Now we are in our 30's to 20's, none of us know how to be in a healthy relationship. I'm watching my adopted siblings failing to become adults because of the emotional baggage that my parents did not help them handle. And what do my parents do? They take on ANOTHER CHILD instead of taking care of their current ones (or themselves). It sucks.

Right now I'm focusing on re-parenting myself to be a well-adjusted adult. The only thing I can do is be an inspiration to my siblings. Maybe someday I'll be close to some of them. But the emotional intimacy in the family just isn't there, so we're all pretty disconnected (except when mom wants us together).

Large families are a bad idea in this day and age. Period.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank for your eloquent response, it is greatly appreciated. I have written more hubs on the subject if you are interested. Thank you so much for stopping by and responding.


justareader 3 years ago

I am quite happy stating that I have no desire to help a family in trouble that has more than two children. I don't mind tax dollars going to help a family of four when jobs are lost, but no more. When financial assistance is required for more than a family of four, let "the Lord provide" or make the parents work doing jobs such as cleaning roads. If "the Lord"decides when to close the womb, "the Lord" should be providing for the extra kids. Large families take up more resources yet get tax breaks. They eat more, excrete more, use more fuel and water, put extra weight on the roads, etc. And there is simply no reason for people to do more than replace themselves. How selfish to have more than two kids per family!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Totally agree with you, justareader. There are some challenged parents who really refuse to acknowledge when enough is ENOUGH! It is not only selfish to have a large family, it is also THOUGHTLESS and IRRESPONSIBLE!


Erin 5 months ago

Clearly written by a smug, arrogant liberal. Your superior intelligence is dazzling.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 5 months ago from Philippines

Large families aren't uncommon in the Philippines, but they're getting smaller. There were 12 children in my mom's family, and they were the greatest mentors the children could hope for. We are a family of six, and what I really miss, now that everyone has moved onward and have their own grandchildren, is the Christmas holidays when we would have such a big group of us together and have so much fun. Today, families are smaller. My sisters only have one or two children. It wasn't always by choice, but we are thankful for what we have. I just worry sometimes that having just one child, who will be there for her as she grows older? Because our sisters and brother are such a comfort zone for us in our old age.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Don't worry, your child will be fine. Only children have interesting lives. They have friends, cousins, & if she is married, her husband & child(ren). One need not have siblings to have someone to be there in old age. There are PLENTY of people who have siblings yet the siblings AREN'T THERE for them in their old age. Get real! This thinking is atavistic, old world, tribal thinking which isn't relevant in this post-computer age. Large families are irresponsible & causes poverty which results in lack of educational & socioeconomic opportunity for children. I am a small family advocate. I have cousins who are comfort zones in my old age. I know plenty of people w/siblings who NEVER contact them unless they want something. I know a person w/siblings who weren't there at her funeral. They didn't care which this person revealed to me. So siblings mean nothing-friends & cousins do care & provide comfort. Your thinking is old-world, tribal thinking.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 4 months ago from Philippines

Hi GM, I understand what you say about old-world, tribal thinking. In the Philippines, however, we would probably would not see it as a bad thing. Filipino families are very close. My friend is the most financially successful in her family of 7 other siblings, under a single parent. She has never complained that she supported some of them and some grandchildren, too. Yes, it is tribal because our cousins feel very close. We are a huge clan (imagine the offspring of 12 children) but we always know that when you are a Gaviola, your other cousins are there for you. We really feel like a tribe, and we love it.

On the other hand, I can understand your advocacy of small families. It does add weight to the budget. I knew a girl from the province who had 12 siblings, half of which died as babies, because when they were ill, there was no money for medicines. In the Philippines the Catholic church doesn't allow birth control which is weird because you can buy it in drug stores, so only those with money can access it and those without cannot. The government wants to give free birth control pills in government hospitals, but the church is against it. I also believe birth control should be accessible to the poor for free, and let them choose to use it or not. You would be very frustrated in the Philippines. But having lived here most of my adult life (I grew up the daughter of a diplomat), warts and all, one tends to love one's own.

Thank you, too, for your kind advice that my daughter is going to be okay. I am very reassured by that.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Quite welcome indeed. Only children don't have to be bereft of companionship. They can reach out to others & not be so insular. One doesn't need siblings to be happy or cared for. Other people care- there are friends & cousins. Cousins are wonderful people. Onlies just reach out. There is a beautiful world of people out there. Please note, there are siblings who AREN'T close & don't gave a damn about each other. They are only there when they NEED something. Family means people who love & care for each other. & ISN'T necessarily blood. Remember that!

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