Children From Small Families FARE Better Than Children From Large Families-HERE'S WHY
Why Children From Small Families Fare BETTER
Why Children From Large Families Fare WORSE
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Small Families Provide The VERY BEST Environment for Children to Grow Up In
Children from small families(1-2 children per household) fare better than children from large families(6 or more children per household). There are myriad reasons for this. First of all, parents of small families, on the whole, tend to be better educated, more liberal, and/or more socioeconomically affluent. There is a correlation between the levels of education and income and family size. Basically better educated and more socioeconomically affluent tend to have smaller families. Secondly, there are more physical, emotional, and financial resources allocated per child in the small family than there are in the large family.
Parents have more time to devote to the caring and nurturing of children in the small family. This means that children from small families receive more individualized parental attention than their counterparts from large families. Children from large families oftentimes do not receive the prerequisite individualized parental attention. They may not even receive the basic level of parental attention. They are left mostly to their own devices and lead a hardscrabble and an extremely harsh existence, existing at the most elemental and rudimentary level.
As there is more monies allocated per child in the small family, children from small families are exposed to more educational, intellectual, and/or cultural opportunities such as theatre, piano/dancing/ singing lessons, overseas travel, opera, and/or going to fine restaurants to experience different cuisines. This exposure translates into children from small families having a better and more advanced all around education. This exposure also results in children from small families being more cultured, knowledgeable, sophisticated, and urbane than children from large families. Children from small families have cultural and intellectual savvy that children from large families do not possess.
Another by-product of being exposed to cultural and intellectual activities is that children from small families want to obtain the highest level of education and the best job possible in order to provide their own children with the same opportunities. They want to obtain high goals as a result of their exposure to affluence, luxury, and culture as children. The saying that children from small families are used to the better and finer things of life is a truism.
On average, children from small families tend to be better adjusted and know how to successfully navigate their environment. They are more creative and self-actualized than children from large families. They are routinely encouraged by their parents to be creative and to use their utmost potential, especially if they are only children.
Children from small families,for the most part, have a marked appreciation for beauty because of constant exposure to the finer things of life. Parents of small families inculcate their children that there is more to life than just the rudiments of food, clothing, and/or shelter. They instruct their children regarding the importance of the higher human needs and insist that culture is as essential as food, clothing, and/or shelter.
Children from large families, on the contrary, are often raised by their parents with just the basic rudiments such as food, clothing, and/or shelter, if that. Parents of large families typically tend to be less educated, more conservative/religious, and/or socioeconomically poor, even impoverished. On a whole, less educated, more conservative, more religious and poorer people tend to have large families. Children from large families are further taught the principle of just mere instinctive and primal survival, nothing more, nothing less. Children from large families are not raised to appreciate the higher human needs such as appreciation for beauty, culture, the finer things of life, and the importance of self-actualization and individuality. Such things are often beyond the purview of the average large family.
Children from large families are routinely inculcated with the premise that they are part of the group. They are further told that their individuality count for very little or nothing. They have an extremely meager material existence. They have no concept of affluent living and privacy, often crammed together in an extremely crowded environment. They also have a low sense of self and little sense of self-love. Their parents impart to them that individualism means nothing and that the collective is of the utmost importance. The concepts of self-actualization and self-fulfillment are foreign in the large family environment. Beyond that, they are taught that self-actualization and self-fulfillment are selfish values.
In small families, the primary source of children's interaction and their sphere of influence are their parents. As a result of this intense parental attention and guidance, children from small families are steered into proper activities which decrease their likelihood to indulge in deleterious and delinquent behavior as children from large families are more predisposed to do. In a study done by Lipsey and Derzon (1998), it authenticated that there were factors which caused delinquent behavior: (1) socioeconomic poverty, (2) poor parental supervision, (3) low parental involvement, (4) poor parent-child relationships, and (5) large family size. In large families, there are multiple factors and variables such as socioeconomic poverty, poor parental supervision and parent-child relationships, and low parental involvement. Based upon such factors, juvenile delinquency is more prevalent in large family than it is in small families.
Countless psychological and sociological studies have consistently confirmed that in large families, parents do not have the physical resources to supervise their children. They are clearly unable to devote the necessary time to a large number of children. There is evidently little parental interaction with children in a large family environment. In the large family environment, it is commonplace for children to be left supervised and to their own devices.
Children from large families participate in less parent supervised activities than their counterparts from small families. Unstructured activities=more involvement in more dangerous, more deleterious, even delinquent activities. A friend of mine, a registered nurse/supervisor, had a patient from the unpaid hospital wards who was one of 13 children. She told me that the boy would routinely sneak out of his home at night, roaming the streets until 5 o'clock the next morning. She further remarked that that he often burglarized nearby apartments, stealing articles such as radios and television sets.
Many times children from large families become involved in delinquent activities in order to receive the attention that they do not receive in the home environment. Many girls from large families because they did not receive sufficient parental attention fall for anyone who would give them the attention they need. Oftentimes, such attention, especially if it is from a male, is not positive. If children do not receive adult attention at home, they will seek it elsewhere and that attention can be quite negative with dire consequences.
Children from small families tend to be more mature than their counterparts from large families as a result of mainly interacting with their parents. They are more exposed to adult behavior via their parents thus learning adult behavior, mannerisms, and/or speech patterns. This results in more adult behavior. Children from large families, au contraire, interact mostly with their siblings and seldom with their parents. As a result of mainly sibling interaction, they possess more elementary and/or rudimentary levels of behavior, mannerisms, and/or speech patterns. Siblings raise themselves and/or each other in large families while children in small families are raised by their parents.
A study was done in 1975 and 2001 by R.B. Zajonc, a social psychologist. Dr. Zajonc stated that the larger the number of children per household, the less mature and more backward the intellectual environment is for all concerned. The study further authenticated that oldest children from large families have lower IQs on average than similarly situated children from small families. In a study done by Black(1981) and Downey(2001) based on The Resource Dilution Model, oldest children have the highest IQ but with each successive sibling, there is a reduction in IQ. They explained that the reduction is a result of in the further division of parental time spent with each time in a continuing growing family.
John P. Holdren, top science adviser in the Obama administration, stated in 2009 that the larger the family, the lower the IQ of the children. He confirmed Dr. Zajonc's findings that children from large families are less likely to perform well intellectually than children from small families. Dr. Joyce Brothers, the noted psychologist, adamantly asserted in 1981 that children from small families are brighter and more creative than their counterparts from large families.
The reasons are obvious, in small families, parents spend time conversing and discussing things with their children in addition to teaching them. In small families, it is the parents(adults) who parent their children. This is the way things are supposed to be in a family. In the large family, parents do not devote time to having a conversation and discussing things with their children. Parents of large families seldom, if ever, teach their children. Children in the large family environment must learn to proverbially swim or sink. In large families, parents do not raise their children, it is the children who either raise themselves or each other which is total inverse logic and unnatural.
It is not unusual for children in large families, especially the oldest child, to assume parental responsibilities regarding their siblings. Many children in large families are parentified children; they are the ones who raise younger siblings instead of the parents. Children raising children implicitly explains why children from large families are less developed emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically than their counterparts from small families. In large families, it is the children who teach each other, not the parents.
Parents, as adults, have more education, experience, knowledge, and wisdom than any sibling has. Children who primarily interact with their parents instead of their siblings are more developmentally mature for this very reason as opposed to children who only interact with siblings who are either at the same level or a level only slightly above. Siblings are children themselves and not as developmentally mature as an adult. No child, on average, has more advanced education, experience, knowledge, and/or wisdom than an adult.
Because there are books and other educational paraphernalia in the homes of small families plus the intense, individualized parent-child interaction, children from small families come to school more prepared academically. Another aftereffect of this academic preparedness, children from small families tend to be high academic achievers. In my elementary school class, all of the honor roll students were from small families. The top three honor roll students were only children( I was one of them)!
In contrast, the children from large families in my elementary school class come to school academically unprepared as there were little by the way of intellectual paraphernalia in the home in addition to having very little or no interpersonal relationships with their parents, only siblings. These children were very poor students. They were C, C-, even D students. The overwhelming majority of them (90%) regularly attended summer school and/or remedial classes during the school year. They were relegated to the class for slower students.
Parents of small families place a premium value on education and academic achievement more than parents of large families. They are of the realization that if one is to achieve high levels of success, one must obtain a high level of academic achievement which increases the likelihood of furthering one's educational and career attainment. Parents of large families value pure street smarts and other forms of instinctual behavior over intellectual and academic achievement.
The concept of intellectualism and academic achievement are simply not viewed important in the large family environment. It is enough in the large family environment to survive from day to day. To them, it is hard enough for parents of large families to provide their children with the very basic of necessities, let alone books and/or other intellectual things. The main concern in the large family is barely covering the basics, including the art of survival. Children in large families, because they grow up in financially tenuous circumstances, have a very strong survival instinct. They are used to making do on very little or next to nothing.
According to a study done by Lillian Gelmont and Frances Moralla in 1973, there was a strict correlation between large family size and low academic achievement. The study showed that children from large families tend to make poorer showings on intelligence tests and other educational measures. The study added that this was in contrast to their counterparts from small families who excelled on intelligence tests and other relational educational measures.
For instance, I had to teach one of my maternal cousins, who was one of 8 children how to read and do arithmetic on a rudimentary level. Her parents never taught her how to read and there were no books in the home. Another example of this was a former classmate in the 5th grade who could not do simple multiplication and division problems. She was 13 years old and retained thrice in the 5th grade. In addition to that, she was extremely inarticulate and could not write in complete sentences. This young girl had little or no interaction with her parents. They felt that it was her job to raise and teach herself, not theirs although they were the parents.
Children from small families have more socioeconomic opportunities to continue their education, even to the tertiary level and beyond. Studies done by Blake in 1989 and Steelman in 2002 confirmed that children from small families, on the average, attain higher levels of education than children from large families because there are more economic resources allocated per child in small families. Children from large families, because of socioeconomic circumstances, oftentimes have to discontinue their education in order to work to supplement their family income. It is not unusual for parents of large families to force their children to quit school to work because of insufficient income. A social worker friend related to me that a 16 year old client had to quite 11th grade in order to work to help support his parents and 8 siblings. As a result of children from large families being forced to discontinue their education, they are oftentimes relegated to low end positions.
Two NEW YORK DAILY NEWS articles from the 1990s maintained that children from small families had more positive outcomes that those from large families whose outcomes were more negative. The first article stated that children from small families achieved a higher level of socioeconomic affluence in adulthood than their counterparts from large families. According to the article, children from small families had more available socioeconomic opportunities that afforded better quality of education and more educational opportunities thus access to better jobs.
The second article confirmed that children from large families ended up the poorest socioeconomically. It explained that children from large families tend to be impoverished and as a result have lesser educational opportunities thus having to take lower level, dead end jobs. It added that children from large families suffered more psychological stresses due to the constant vying for parental attention and being in a neverending state of financial struggle. It continued to state that another influential factor relating to this psychological stress is oldest children parenting younger siblings, preventing them from experiencing normative childhoods and adolescence. The article concluded that they also exhibited more pathological behavior than children from small families due to the poor parent-child dynamic which is normative in the large family environment.
To conclude, children from small families tend to fare better than children from large families in so many ways. They have more socioeconomic advantages which allows to pursue more constructive intellectual activities. They have more individualized time with their parents. They also develop quicker as a result of primarily interacting with their parents, who as adults, are able to impart a more advanced level of education. They furthermore have more opportunity to pursue higher education than their counterparts in large families who oftentimes must forego any forms of higher education,having to work in order to supplement family income. The small family is the best environment for a child to be nurture in. The small family is the future while the large family is becoming an atavistic remnant of the past.
© 2010 Grace Marguerite Williams
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