Why It Is IRRESPONSIBLE For Parents To Have A Large Number Of Children
Necessity of Large Families in Agrarian Societies
Large Families As a Result of Rudimentary or No Birth Control
Advent of Urbanization & the Problem of Large Families
The Pill & The Decline of Large Families
The Rise of the Small Family & Its BENEFITS
Feminism & the Normalization of Small Families
What are They ........Thinking?!
This is .......OVERWHELMING
STRUGGLING to Stay......Afloat
Needing to HAVE Children
One MUST Multiply
Children as BAROMETERS of Masculinity
The MORE, the Merrier and Better Philosophy
There are people who insist on, or in stronger terms, obsessed with having large families (6 &/or more children per household). They think and breathe having large families in every waking moment of their lives. Their mantra is the more children, the better and even merrier. In their assessment, there is never too many children. After all, the large family has been glorified in the past. Some psychologists, social scientists, and educators extolled the virtues of large family life, asserting how such families were beneficial to children's overall development.
Even society praised the large family as the idea family. Many people contended that the large family was the quintessential family and that one should strive to have a large family. In the past, the ideal family consisted of husband, wife, and as many children as possible. Large families were considered authentic, even true families which imbued familial camaraderie, even spirit. Religions and religious authorities further espoused that marriage was for the purpose of having children and lots of them. These authorities declared that not to have large families were acts of moral, even mortal transgression.
The Necessity of Large Families In Agrarian Societies
Now permit me to digress for a moment. Large families used to be necessary. In preurbanized and agrarian societies, large families were normal occurrences. In such societies, children were needed to work the farms. In essence, the more children to help with the farm work, the better. Also, parents had large families to guarantee that someone would have someone to care for them when they became old and/or infirm.
In agrarian societies, large families formed a caring network for those who were indigent, those who were challenged physically and mentally, and single women. Since infant mortality was high, people had large families to having a large family ensured that some of the children will survive until adulthood. For example, a couple had 12 children, hoping that at least 6 children would survive into adulthood. Large families were viewed as viable networks to ascertain that no one fell through the societal cracks.
Large Families Due to Very Primitive of No Birth Control Methods In Preurban Socieities
In agrarian and preurban societies, birth control methods were more primitive, even rudimentary, and not as advanced as it is presently. Also birth control was considered quite taboo and against nature. It was expected that women married, they would have large families. Birth control, besides being viewed as taboo and unnatural, was deemed against a preordained order. Besides that, the thought of abortion was totally out of the question. Marital relationships were to result in children and as many as possible.
Sex was viewed mostly for procreation purposes. It was unheard of that couples would have relations for pleasure. That type of behavior was considered quite unconscionable to say the least. Also, birth control was considered to be illegal as it interfered with the marital act. Procreation was accepted as the inevitable consequences of the marital act. Women were expected to endure their pregnancies without question.
The Rise of Urbanization and The Problematicity of Large Families
Then societies became increasingly urbanized. With the advent of urbanization, more people moved to cities in search of a better lifestyle. 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 liabilities because it meant that there were more mouths to feed.
Suddenly, large families were becoming problematic in urban areas To combat this escalating problem, there was an urgent need to implement better birth control methods. Margaret Sanger, a nurse and activist, was witness to women being completed inundated with frequent and unwanted pregnancies. They had more children than they could possibly take care of physically, emotionally and socioeconomically.
Ms. Sanger realized the perilous situation these mothers were in. As a result, she established the first birth control clinic. She believed that full women's emancipation included a woman's right to control 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 particularly from religious authorities who staunchly contend that a women's role was to be married ad have as many children as God dictates.
The Pill and the Beginning of the DEMISE of Large Families
Great advancements in birth control technology came in the 1960s with the invention of the contraceptive pill. Before that time, birth control methods were quite faulty. Each time a woman had relations, there was an extremely high likelihood that she would become pregnant. Even a woman being very careful in her use of birth control did not preclude pregnancy.
The birth control pill was viewed as a boom to women, married and single alike. For single women it gave them more sexual choices and freedom. It also eliminated the fear of pregnancy for them. For married women, it gave them unimagined reproductive choices and unprecedented freedoms. Another aftereffect of the contraceptive pill was that families became smaller...and smaller.
The RISE and BENEFITS of Small Families
Parents came to the realization that small families meant more freedom, especially for mothers to pursue avenues in education, job/career, and/or other outlets they may be interested in. Small families also meant less economic stress for the father He does not have to worry as to how he will support his family. In small families, the number of children per family is more manageable than it would be in large families.
In small families, there is more equal parity between husband and wife. Chances are that in small families, couples are working towards the support and upkeep of their children. Because the wife is working she is not a subordinate to her husband. She is an equal partner to her husband and has a say without equal participation in family affairs, especially on the socioeconomic end.
Small Families, Now the NORM
In the 1970s with the advent of feminism and the increase of women in the workplace, especially in high powered and professional careers, small families became the rule instead of an anomaly. In conjunction with women's entering the workforce in record numbers, they became more educated than ever before. Studies have repeatedly corroborated that the more educated a woman was, the less children she had. It has been reiterated that one method of reducing fertility is educating women.
As people become more educated, they realize the paramount importance of providing their children a decent standard of living with myriad educational and socioeconomic opportunities. They are cognizant of the fact that the more children they have, the more difficult it is to provide them with a decent standard of living. Studies indicate that poverty levels are highest in large families. Children in large families are more likely to be in poverty than children from small families.
When Will They Learn, What are They "Thinking"
However, there are people who elect to have large families despite the myriad benefits authenticated in having small families. These parents have large families, knowing well that they are ill-equipped psychologically and socioeconomically to care for a large number of children. However, they contend that their children will have to learn to adjust to their familial situation.
These parents have an idealization of having large family despite the reality of unaffordability. They oftentimes have an idealized, even fantastical view of how nice and bucolically idyllic it would be to have lots of children. While they have that idealized premise, they are quite unconcerned with, have no idea, and/or actually do not care what actually is involved in raising a large family. The reality is quite different from their idealization regarding raising a large family.
This is......SO DAUNTING.....What Am I To Do
It is a near impossibility for parents to effectively raise a large number of children by themselves. The span of control is too great between parents and children. In large families, children far outnumber parents. Parents realizing that sheer volume of the number of children they have must enlist their oldest and/or older children to be second parents to the younger children in the family.
In large families, typically parents do not raise their children. It is very commonplace, even normative for oldest and/or older children to assume parenting duties, raising the younger children. In fact, many younger children consider the oldest and/or oldest children as parents instead of the actual parents. Many parents of large families are parents in name only. Oftentimes, after each succedent child is born, the child is simply handed over to the oldest and/or older sibling to parent. Oldest and/or older children can be aptly classified and/or described as quintessential parentified children.
In SHOULDER Deep.......So What?
The socioeconomic situation in large families is quite tenuous, if not harrowingly precarious. In the large family environment, the father is the sole breadwinner. He has to constantly worry about how to allocate monies and support a large number of children Oftentimes children must go without even the necessities because monies are stretched to the hilt. If children want and desire anything, they must get afterschool and/or weekend jobs in order to obtain what they want.
In large families, children must work in order to supplement family income and to keep their families at the bare subsistence level. The concepts of amenities, luxuries, and an affluent life beyond poverty and constant struggle are total anathemas to them. Typical large families are extremely lucky just to have a minimum standard of living, if that.
Because of the stark socioeconomic environment in large families, children in such families develop a negativistic poverty mentality. To them, life is a continual series of roadblocks of struggle. They learn to expect very little in life. They may even contend that they deserve nothing because their parents brought them up in poverty which struggle and doing without are normative. This outlook explains why children from large families maintain that children from small, affluent families are spoiled as the latter's parents can well afford to provide them with more than a barely subsistent standard of living. To a child from a large family, the concept of a socioeconomically affluent lifestyle is foreign to them as they are quite comfortable, even accustomed to a life of poverty, struggle, scarcity, and want.
I NEED To Have Children
There are women who have large families because of an addiction to being pregnant. They often receive adulation from others only when they are pregnant. Also, being pregnant gives them a visceral high which they do not have otherwise. Furthermore, being pregnant is the main focus of their lives as they do not have outside hobbies, careers, and/or other interests. Since they have nothing worthwhile in their lives, being pregnant gives them the joy and impetus which are missing in their lives.
When the baby is born, these women are initially overjoyed, even elated but once the baby becomes a toddler, he/she is no longer that cute, cuddly baby so she gets pregnant again in order to have that cuddly baby-often neglecting the older children. Such women oftentimes 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 continuously get pregnant to fill a void in their nondescript, empty lives. These women do not have outside interests and/or activities whether it is hobbies, jobs/careers, friends, and/or other intellectual pursuits. They feel worthwhile only as mothers. So they use incessant motherhood as a ruse to avoid finding more constructive ways to use their time and energy.
Having Children is.......Preordained
There are still women who vehemently believe that the only function of sex is for procreation. To them, the idea that sex is also for pleasure is inherently, even morally reprehensible. They subscribe to the idea that sex should always result in having children and any other use for sex is lustful, even indulgent. They are of the school that sex is preordained for the purpose of having children.
They even believe that the act of using contraception to prevent pregnancies is an egregious violation of some type of preordained law. A subcategory of such women even consider contraception as a severe mortal transgression. As a result of having unprotected sex, there is a high likelihood of pregnancy. If their children are unplanned and/or unwanted, that does not matter to them in the least. Their attitude is whatever comes what may, nothing more, nothing less. There are women who declare that if they become pregnant, they will just have the child, being unconcerned about the negative impact of yet another child will have upon their existing children.
Having Children Makes Me A......MAN
There are men who contend that the duty of women is to be barefoot and pregnant. These men portend that women are destined to be mothers, specifically mothers to as many children as possible. They further assert that it is their prerogative as men to have relations with their wives. It does not matter in the slightest whether their wives are interested or not. This is not their concern. If their wives become pregnant, so be it.
There are men who view having lots of children as a badge of honor. They actually measure their masculinity as the ability to sire as many children as possible. They maintain that it is the epitome of manliness to have large and/or very large families. In essence, the more children they have, the more macho they feel.
I Want What I.......WANT
I WANT Children, No Matter WHAT
There are parents who know that they cannot support a large family. However, this thought does not preclude them from having a large family. In fact, it is their intention to have a large family no matter what the negative consequences will be. They want that large family and no intelligent nor logical reasoning nor advice will deter them from reconsidering. They are going to have that large family for whatever reason they conjure. They find it totally futile to using planning and strategizing in order to have the number of children that they can reasonably afford. They are of the school that they will do as they please and to hell with the consequences.
Such parents believe that no matter how negative their familial environment will be, their children will adjust. This attitude is the height of being lackadaisical and even callous, if not irresponsible. Children function best, even thrive when their needs are meet and taken care of emotionally, psychologically, and most of all, socioeconomically. There is no way that parents of large families can effectively do these things for a large number of children. Children in large families oftentimes suffer in one way or another because their parents are incapable of providing for their children emotionally, financially, and psychologically.
In conclusion, large families were fine in preurbanized, agrarian societies when children were needed to work the land and there were very few social networks outside the family. As societies became increasingly urbanized, there was less need for large families. Furthermore, in burgeoning urban societies, large families were starting to be seen as liabilities. With the advent of more advanced methods of contraception, broadening of women's options, and higher levels of education, people considered having small families and saw the detriments of large families.
Despite the advances of and widespread knowledge regarding contraception, there are people who insist on having large families. Many of them know the perils and detriments of having large families, especially upon the lives of their children. However, they are obsessed with the idea of the large families, not caring how negatively impacted their family life will be emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and particularly socioeconomically. Responsible parents have the amount of children that they can take care of emotionally, psychologically, and socioeconomically. Only parents who are irresponsible have more children than they can afford.
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- The Large Family is Pathological, Part 2/2
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Is it irresponsible for couples to have large families?
© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams