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The Best Things about Having a Large Family Part 1 of 2

Updated on March 11, 2013
Having a large family does not mean an automatic doomsday for children who grow up in that household. In fact, there are a number of great benefits from being from a larger one versus a smaller one.
Having a large family does not mean an automatic doomsday for children who grow up in that household. In fact, there are a number of great benefits from being from a larger one versus a smaller one. | Source

Which is better, a large family or a small one?

I wanted to say that I was outraged after reading the hub identifying large families as a pathological blight on society, but I must admit I was a bit disappointed in the information shared as empirical evidence large families are terrible. There are twice as many people who come from a large family who will tell you how wonderful being part of a bigger family unit is than those that say it sucked.

The writer certainly did a detailed job of all of the misery found, but there was nothing in all of the stories and material communicated that certainly is not also discovered in smaller ones. Whether you have twelve children or two, there are still circumstances where kids miss meals or do not receive the proper nutritional needs for their growing minds and bodies. There are single parents with one child that struggle the same as someone with 6. This is especially true with our current economic times. I believe the underlying issue for success or failure in many of these cases is parenting skills and knowledge and not family size.

Until you have lived on the other side of where you grew up, you will never actually know the pros and cons of both. Though, just to be fare I wanted to share some of the great things which do come from growing up in and around a large family unit.

Why do people have large ones?

Historically larger ones were there for a myriad of reasons. Things which played a part in this included religion, culture, women in the workplace versus the home, rural living and especially technology. All of these affected the size of a household and will continue to do so as we progress. The same reasons people had bigger ones years ago are basically the same reasons they do today with a few changes.


Technology has played an enormous role from birth control pills to infertility advancements. Both of these have increased and decreased the number of kids a couple has and not on a balanced scale. While birth control has stalled over the last several decades the role of infertility has not. Infertility treatment alone accounts for the reason a lot of people have more children or a larger family.

Childless couples for physical reasons used to be out of luck. Now in addition to adoption there are surgical interventions to correct simple as well as complex impediments to having more children. Even certain types of cancers which left numerous couples infertile are no longer an issue. Voluntary sterilization is being successfully reversed and one or two offspring now turn into five or six.

In the past radiation and chemo treatments would see reproduction lost as a symptom of the disease. Now these even have been worked around to make your future family planning options more viable after receiving cancer treatment.

Religion and culture

Religion and culture have affected the issue in several ways as well. Divorces and remarriages have made for offspring which are yours, mine and ours. This means more than one set of parents for a multitude of kids which include step parents, half siblings and an extended nuclear family. The stigma of having babies by more than one spouse is no longer there and households have grown.

Having a baby later in life is not a stigma. Men are grandfathers and fathers at the same time while women are able to see being a mom and getting a PHD or higher education as doable. Whether they get their education first or last doesn’t make a difference.

They can have their babies later in life and not feel out of place or a minority at the OBGYN clinic. Late babies are also coming into view. There will be a few siblings spaced closely together and then a decade later a couple of more come into play.

While a number of religions still preach birth control is not a choice for many husbands and wives, things have changed where this is no longer an absolute for many people.

Workplace changes

Although women have been in the workplace for some time their opportunities for nurturing a bigger family have changed. There was a time not so long ago when working while pregnant was frowned upon and maternity leave was difficult to come by. Even returning to work after maternity leave held a certain stigma. The Armed Forces didn’t allow pregnant women to continue their careers and the only employment accommodating for a larger family was a farm.

Flexible work hours and schedules for both men and women along with FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act opened up more alternatives for parents who wanted to have more children and needed to find the time to spend with them. It was suddenly there. If they were ill, had special needs or were just coming home after a birth, both mom and dad had a choice that wasn’t there before. They didn’t necessarily have to sacrifice the economics to have the larger family they wanted.

What is the other side of the coin?

The flip side of the coin is defined as not enough children in a household. Unfortunately, one child is not the perfect answer to having too many. Do not misunderstand me. If you have trouble conceiving and are blessed with one, do your best to instill the same morals and values as someone with more than one. However, do not assume a houseful of children is not a blessing within itself for many reasons.

I cannot condone any parents having children for the sake of science. These are parents who believe they will benefit their family raising eight newborns because scientifically they are able to conceive all of them at once.

There is no way this was the intention of our reproductive life cycle. There is a reason why we only have so many babies at the same time. Although having more than one is not unheard of, eight or more is unreasonable. Not only is this physically dangerous to mom and baby, but the love and attention little ones need at the crucial stage of bonding cannot physically take place with eight to nine newborns.

In addition to the physical demands this puts on parents, there are mental ones as well. Mentally nurturing all of these new souls in the world is too much for a couple of novices at the game.

How does a large one benefit us over a smaller one? Look at part 2 of this article to find out.

The family is one of the few things in life we do not have a choice about. In fact, we are stuck with these people for a reason. Most of these are good reasons.
The family is one of the few things in life we do not have a choice about. In fact, we are stuck with these people for a reason. Most of these are good reasons. | Source

Amazon has some inspired reading on the subject


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    • Nicole Winter profile image

      Nicole A. Winter 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I think that you've done something wonderful in pointing out the benefits of having a large family. Like you mentioned, (and I would remind peachpurple, too, of this,) parenting skills, knowledge (and I would add a healthy dose of respect,) are more at heart than just small vs. large. Truly if you want to argue against the large family, the real issue at hand is the environmental impact having children has on the planet. While we cannot strive towards zero population growth, obviously, we've far outnumbered our resources at this point, making environmental impact the number one concern and consideration for all families, not just small or large ones.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my mother in law has 9 children with the same husband. In the past, birth control pill was not introduced yet. The problem with big family is she couldn't give all her love to each child. Hence, siblings rival occurs from young until old. Now my brother in law and sister in law are fighting over my mom in law for her properties and money, not her. that's the problem.