Why It Is IRRESPONSIBLE For Parents To Have A Large Number Of Children
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!
- The Large Family is Pathological, Part 1/2
Many decades ago, the large family was revered by society. Parents were praised for having lots of children. Psychologists and sociologists heaped emulations on parents that how beautiful and altruistic they were for bringing so many children into...
- The Large Family is Pathological, Part 2/2
I hope that this is going to be my last hub on the large family. We are all too familiar with the extreme megafamilies presented on cable television such as the Duggars and the Bates. The Duggars of Arkansas now have a total of NINETEEN children....
- Parents Who Have Megafamilies Are Putting Their Chi...
People often have children without thinking about its socioeconomic ramifications for their families. People who have large families often do not plan for their children's socioeconomic futures. People who have large families are often subjecting the
© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams
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