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Can Parents Effectively Give Individual Attention To 4 Or More Children? Well....... It Can Be A Challenge!

Updated on December 26, 2012
gmwilliams profile image

Grace has seen the negative impact of large families through her extended family.It's thoughtless to have more children than one can afford.


Saddle Up, Mary, We Are In For A Quite Bumpy Ride and An Extremely Perilous Journey.............Ready, Set, Go-CHARGE!

In response to this question, there is no one answer. Factors and circumstances relating to this issue often vary from parent to parent. Some parents have the emotional, psychological, physical, and financial wherewithal to effectively raise and give individualized attention to four or more children. In many cases, 4-5 children is a quite manageable number for parents to raise effectively and give individualized attention to .

4 children are not actually considered to be a lot of children and/or a large sized family. 4 children are considered to be a medium sized family as generally defined. Although 5 children would be considered a large family, there is some disagreement regarding this consensus. Many people would consider 5 children to be a large family while others consider it to be a medium large family or even a just plain medium sized family.

No matter how one defines 5 children , the family size is still of a manageable size to raise. Now, the crux of the issue is those who have 6 or more children. That territory can be extremely perilous for a parent to navigate. 6 or more children present some pretty extreme challenges to average parents.

In the large family, the parental span of control can be quite perilous and rocky. The ratio of children to parents is higher. In other words, in large families, children severely outnumber the parents. Now, how does that affect parental interaction with their children, you ask?

Well, in some large families where there are just 4 or 5 children, parents can raise their children without much difficulty. This is because even though the number of children per family is somewhat large, these respective family sizes are still manageable. Even then, there are factors and variables involved regarding this.

There is the issue of spacing between each successive birth of children. Parents who space their children for more than 2 years after the precedent child is born are more able to effectively raise their children and to give them more individualized attention than parents who have their children closer together. Children who are born closer together tend to be more competitive and to vy more for parental attention.

Even though adequate spacing does occur within some large families, the children still are in some type of competition for parental attention. Furthermore, it can be sometimes daunting for parents, no matter how proficient they are, to raise 4 to 5 children. Also, children in large families are not exactly automatonic. They have widely divergent characteristics and personalities which present some difficulties and challenges within themselves.

If raising and giving individualized parental attention to 4-5 children is somewhat difficult, think of doing the same to 6 or more children. Psychological and sociological studies substantiate that the greater number of children there is per family, the more difficult and formidable it is to effective raise them and to give them the individualized attention they need. These studies portend that besides the socioeconomic disadvantages experienced by children of large families, they are also at an emotional and psychological disadvantage.

These studies portend that parents often find raising such a large number of children to be quite overwhelming to say the least. In large families of 6 or more children, it is the oldest and/or older children who are given most of the parental responsibilities for their younger siblings. It is not uncommon for the oldest child in a large family to assume parental responsibilities during childhood. The concept of parents effectively raising their large number of children is a totally impossible premise. They just cannot do it physically, psychologically, or emotionally.

Being human, these parents need help and/or assistance to raise their large number of children in addition to providing their children with needed parental attention. Simply put, parents in families of 6 or more children must have help in raising their children effectively. It is just humanely impossible and mathematically illogical to expect parents of 6 or more children to effective and proficiently raise that number of children without any type of assistance, either outside and/or inhouse.

Whether a parent of a family in which there are 6 or more children have outside and/or inhouse assistance is often dependent upon their resourcefulness and socioeconomic circumstances. More affluent and/or wealthier parents of such large families do have an au pair, nanny, or related child care professional to help raise their children. These parents realize that they need outside, adult help in order to raise their children effectively. These parents strongly portend that their children should not be raising each other as each of them have a right to a normal childhood and adolescence. They maintain that they, as the parents, had the children and it is their sole responsibility to raise them as effectively as possible.

There are other less affluent parents who do have outside assistance to help raise their large family effectively by enlisting the help of relatives whether they are grandparents, aunts/uncles, and/or other relatives. They further portend that it is not the duty of a child to raise other children. These parents acknowledge that fact that effectively raising and caring for a large family can be quite an arduous process at time. They knew this beforehand and willingly parent up to the responsibilities at hand. They further assert that if they were not willing to put in the time necessary for this responsibility, they would have never elected to have such a large number of children in the first place.

Many parents of large families, especially from poorer socioeconomic homes, just do not have the financial resources available to hire outside assistance. It is difficult enough for them to merely provide their large family with a subsistence lifestyle. Oftentimes, they do not even have relatives to help assist them in raising their children. Many relatives are not able to or will not assist these parents in raising their large family.

This dilemma often leave such parents with another course of action. That is enlisting and/or forcing their oldest and/or older children to assume partial, most, and/or all of the parenting responsibilities for their younger siblings. It is quite rife in large families for the oldest and/or older children to be the second parent to their younger siblings. This phenomena is known as the parentified child.

Many such children are assuming the responsibilities that their parents should have. However, these parents are often so overwhelmed at the prospect of raising a large amount of children by themselves. They portend that the task is simply too much to effectively undertake!

So these parents delegate that task to their oldest and/or older children to do. Many oldest and/or older children often have no childhood of their own. They spend most of their childhood and adolescence being a parent to their younger siblings. Many of these children strongly resent having such parenting duties thrust upon them. Having such onerous responsibilities pushed on them during childhood result in some leaving the parental home at the first opportunity to get some semblance of individual and personal freedom.

Just putting aside the parents' respective socioeconomic circumstances, there are just some parents are more psychologically and emotionally ready to easily raise and care for a large number of children than other parents who are just too psychologically and emotionally overwhelmed by the experience. Many parents who are just simply daunted by the task of raising a large number of children often have no other recourse but to enlist their oldest child to either help raise or to entirely raise the other children in the family.

To a few parents, the mere idea of raising a large family is severely and extremely onerous. They are constantly overwhelmed at every time. They are in quandarous quicksand proverbially. They did not know that raising a large family would be that physically, emotionally, and psychologically taxing.

In other words, it is not what these parents have thought it to be. They were in love with the idea and proposition of having a large family; however, they were in quite for a shock when reality set in! So they become totally stressed out! In many such cases, children often raise themselves or each other. They are virtually left to their own devices emotionally and psychologically as their parents are often emotionally and psychologically distant from them.

In the large family system, there is no human way for average parents, no matter how loving, efficient, and/or proficient they proclaim they are, to give their children the individualized attention they need. It is common knowledge that in average large families, some children are not going to receive the prerequisite parental attention based upon the sheer numbers alone. There is no denying that no matter how some people strong contest this assertion.

In typical large families, some children, usually the youngest and/or younger children are going to receive the most individualized parental attention while the oldest and/or older children will be cast aside as they become older, being left to fend for themselves emotionally and psychologically. Oldest children in large families just do not receive the prerequisite parental attention. Most of them are on the giving end of the spectrum anyway, being busy with surrogate parenting duties themselves.

Many children growing up in large families can be aptly described as attention starved. Some of the most attention seeking people come from large families because as child, their parents could not afford to give them the needed attention because they had other children to raise. As a result, of little parental attention and interaction in many large families, children from large families often seek attention elsewhere, either positive and/or negative.

There are children from large families who join gangs to seek the attention and interaction that they did not have from their parents. Also, many teenage girls from large families are more likely to have unplanned and unwanted teenage pregnancies because they are seeking the attention and love that were missing from the parental home. On the average, children from large families, especially in families where they are 6 or more children, are less likely to receive individualized parental attention than children from smaller families, especially those with 1-2 children. It is a human and mathematical impossibility for an average parent to give a large number of children individualized attention!

In summation, the greater the number of children in a family, the less likelihood those children will receive the prerequisite parental attention. In such large families, it is difficult enough for average parents to devote the necessary psychological and emotional resources to effectively raise a large number of children. This is an extremely stressful task given the sheer number of children per family. However, there are some parents who can effectively give all of their children the individualized attention they need; however, these parents are often the exception rather than the rule.

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    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To Patty, Thank you for your wonderful sypnosis regarding this matter. It is so nice to hear from you. Thank you again and have a very pleasant night and pleasant dreams. Your wonderful comments are the reason I love to write and to be a part of the wonderful world of HubPages. Sweet dreams to you and your wonderful and blessed family.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      6 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      I have 4 children, 2 girls ages 17, 15, and 2 boys ages 11 & 8. It is a challenge to see that each person gets there own personal attention. However, it can be done. It took time to find a special thing so they each had time with me.

      Each of my children and I have a special thing that we do. My oldest daughter and I love photography and art, My 15 year old and I love walking together, my 11 year old and I love dancing (believe me it is not a sight you want to see) and my 8 year old and I love to play cards.

      It is hard to balance family, work, and other responsibilities...however, the kids are sooooo worth it!!!! Good Luck!!!!

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Good afternoon, Kelley. Thank you for your insightful input and sypnosis regarding this hub. It is greatly appreciated. Hope the rest of your day be lovely!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have 3 children and find it difficult to give each child the one on one attention he needs. However, having brothers is also very beneficial. Right now my oldest is playing with my youngest while my middle son is reading quietly. It's a challenge with 3 so I can't imagine 4! take care, Kelley


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