Being Part Of A Big Family Can Be A Positive Thing.
I'm always caught off guard when someone's eyes light up because they find out how many children I have. They're always stunned and want to know how do I do it. I don't know if the bewildered thoughts in my mind make it to my face, but since when is four children considered having a big family?
It seems like if you don't have the designated two and a half kids, that you've overloaded the family meter. My grandmother had thirteen siblings. My dad has eight. My husband has six. That's what I consider to be big families. Of course, families like the Duggars, who are working on child number twenty, are an absolute extreme to the big family rule. I have seen ordinary women, on television and in reality, who are having child number seven, eight, and nine!
As I watch Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on television, they continue to grow their family. You would think they were the exception to the general definition of a celebrity family, who consistently had one child only for decades. Taking turns between adoption and birth children, I see Jolie and Pitt as the leading examples for what many celebrity couples are beginning to do more and more these days: have lots of children. The standard one child has now become three.
I'm usually faced with the question of how do I manage with four children? My reply has often been that once you have two children, the next one is just one more! A lot of people tend to view a big family as a negative. The comments span the gamut, from food bills to overcrowding the country. True, it's no question that having a more than average number of children can squeeze the pocket. There are quite a few benefits, however, to having a big family.
There is little time for personal boredom. I've heard my mom utter the words quite a few times: there's never a dull moment, where our family is concerned. Nothing could be truer! Families are full of activity and drama, especially where children are concerned. The more people living under one roof, the more prospects you have for excitement. Though you may savor the small moments that allow you a little alone time, the excitement of constant stimulation can be positive. If you are the type of person who feels your day is wasted if you're not doing something constantly, don't worry. There won't be a lag in your day. Things will be hopping until bedtime!
There's always someone to talk to. When there are many people in the house, there's little need to go outside the house for social time. This doesn't mean that you don't want or need to make friends with people outside of the family. It just means that you don't have to go looking for anybody to talk to. There are always people around you who are willing to hold a conversation with you. This situation tends to work best for the teens and pre-teens; giving them someone inside the house to talk to, and keeping them out of trouble on the outside.
There's no need for playdates. Usually, in big families, many of the children are close in age. This makes them great playmates. Friends coming over to the house is alright, but siblings often play with each other best. Siblings play well together, and know the things the others like. This allows their together time to be more peaceful, and less likely to be ruined by a fight. They can keep each other company for a longer period of time. Friends have to eventually go home. Siblings are home!
Having siblings around in the confines of a big family can have a built in benefit for parents also. Because children will need somone to play with at some point, you, as the parent, will not have to be the playdate whenever you can't have one come over from outside of the house. Unlike an only child, siblings can play with each other, instead of looking to the parents as extra playmates.
Chores are easier to complete. Imagine having five or six people to do the chores normally done by one or two. Having a number of people in the house allows you to spread out the different jobs that must be completed on a daily basis. This allows for more time to do the other things in a day that everyone actually want to do, instead of work. I've noticed that turning over the dishes to my children gets the job done in half the time! Plus, they want to get back to whatever else they were doing beforehand, so they work together to complete the task quickly.
Children learn to share. Many children have a tendency to hold on tightly to the things that belong to them when playing with other children. Though there may be a few arguements over "my things," children who live in families with siblings learn to share a lot faster and earlier in life than single children. It's not gospel, but an only child just doesn't have to share things on a regular basis, and usually struggles with having to do so when the time comes. In a big family, the children have to share everything, from toys to the bathroom. And unless you have a huge mansion where everyone can have their own rooms, siblings share a bedroom on a daily basis.
Everything is an event. Couples who agree to have a big family usually do so because they are very family oriented people. These families are more likely to have an activity like family night, when they can play big family games. Imagine how fun Family Night can be when you can divide into teams! Usually, we, as adults, get together with our own friends for this same reason. This is why activities like poker, bingo, and other adult related activities can be so well attended on a regular basis. In the confines of a large family, the teams are built in. It eliminates the 'every man for himself' rule you have to enact when family members are limited.
Being part of a big family is not always a situation for shock and awe. A happy big family is more the norm. Adding another child is not the time to hang your head and mourn for whom the bell tolls. Larger than average families are just as great as small ones. Who's the judge when it comes to drawing the line on what is truly a large family and what isn't? In all fairness, isn't it alright to say that a family is too big when both halves of a couple decide it is?