Monday, October 31, 2005

You Can Have Too Many Kids!

The debate over the size of families is not one that is likely to go away. At one time in our history, families were huge in part because of a lack of birth control and in part because children provided much-needed assistance in agricultural households. Today, though, the debate is more about money and time. Here are the reasons for why families can get too big.

First, many parents, particularly those parents who were part of large families, believe that you cannot give the same amount of attention to your children if there are a large number of them. Their point is factually sound. You cannot spend as much time with each child if you have six as opposed to two. That means that if you do have a large family, it is important to make more of an effort to have alone time with each child. Still, opponents of big families argue that it is impossible.

Their second concern is time in general. It is not just that you will not have enough time for each child, but you will find yourself strapped for time in every area of your life. It will be hard to find time for yourself or as a couple. In addition, you will spend hours driving to and from soccer practice, cooking and cleaning for the brood, and checking homework. There will be precious little time for anything else.

Money is also a worry for many families. Even if the parents make a hefty income, you will have to squeeze every penny if you have many children. Instead of being able to go on a really nice vacation, you will have to camp and bring lunchmeat because you will not be able to afford the cost of putting up six or seven children in a hotel room. Everyday expenses can become a hassle, too. Think of the cost for breakfast for the family in Cheaper by the Dozen! Yipes! Two dozen eggs just for one meal!

While Mom and Dad may be willing to make these sacrifices, it will be important to explain these choices to your children, who may not be as prone to understand your decisions. Children are more likely to see everything their friends have that they cannot afford, making it vital to push the importance of human relationships.

The final concern is over the peace of mind you will have. How much time will you have to get your thoughts together? None! It will be hard to find even five minutes by yourself with a large family. You should know that you can survive the noise and chaos of even an organized home with many children. The advocates of small families believe that inner peace is important but hard to achieve with so many other demands on your time and energy.

Now that we have considered the reasons you can have a family that is too large, let us look at the opposite side. What are the advantages of having many children? We will find out.

By Julia Mercer

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