Large Families

(687 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Czerny88 Sat 10-Sep-16 17:56:22

I'm trying to understand the psychology behind people having large families (by which I mean anything over three children, I guess). NB I'm thinking about people in the 21st century, in the West, with access to contraception and low infant mortality, who don't belong to a culture where it is particularly encouraged to have a large number of children, such as Judaism. And obviously there are circumstances such as multiple births which don't apply.

My visceral feeling is that it is often wrong on many levels. In attempting to enunciate why, I would say people should not have more children than they can afford, than they have time to care for, than can fit comfortably in their living accommodation.

And even in the case where the parents are very wealthy, have a huge house and extra support such as a nanny, there is still the hugely important issue of over-population. It feels like we are at capacity already, without room to increase the population by the amount would result by every couple having even three children.

I'm trying not to be too goady or right-wing, and I have personal reasons for the way I feel (I am involuntarily childless) so please don't be too harsh, but it's something I struggle with ideologically as well as emotionally.

So... AIBU to think that people should be more responsible about how many children they produce and not act solely on their own desires regardless of the potential effects on others? Or is that an unrealistic, draconian expectation?

Waltermittythesequel Sat 10-Sep-16 17:58:33

If someone gave you the opportunity to have children, but said you must have four, you would feel very different.

Why are you wasting your time and energy judging other people's choices?

ColdAsIceCubes Sat 10-Sep-16 17:58:41

biscuit How many children do you have? Maybe we can start judging you too??

Waltermittythesequel Sat 10-Sep-16 17:59:21

cold I actually gasped at how nasty that was!

ColdAsIceCubes Sat 10-Sep-16 17:59:49

Sorry, misread your op in my rage! However, it's none of your business to judge anyone else on their choice of family size.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Sat 10-Sep-16 18:01:03

I was in an abusive marriage and was continually forced into remaining pregnant. This resulted in me having 7 children (2 died so I have 5 living children).

There is a world beyond readily available contraception and choice.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Sat 10-Sep-16 18:01:04

Could you also find out the pyschology behind people who look at me with pity and ask why I only have one child?

It seems inexplicable to some that I'm happy with 'just' my boy. Or that I can't comfortably afford a second child.

Girliefriendlikesflowers Sat 10-Sep-16 18:02:58

I agree with you but suspect a lot won't!!

I personally think there is no need for anyone to have more than 3 children, there are too many people on the planet as it is.

That said I do understand that the urge to reproduce is something some people seem to have very little control over and the 'want' for a baby can be over whelming. There are also lots of psychological type reasons, the love of a baby and the feeling that someone needs you for example.

My friend has 3 children, very little money and is constantly stressed by sorting out the kids she has, but is always saying she would like one more confused I don't get it! I have one dd and thats fine for me.

DelicatePreciousThing1 Sat 10-Sep-16 18:05:09

Too many humans in the planet already.

DelicatePreciousThing1 Sat 10-Sep-16 18:05:29

...on the planet...

DeathStare Sat 10-Sep-16 18:07:33

I'm sure this exact post has been posted before....

happyandsingle Sat 10-Sep-16 18:07:53

totally agree. we are over populated as a nation and some people just want to breed like rabbits because they obviously love babies I guess.
But with a population living a longer life we should really take responsibility as an adult and limit the amount of children we have.
Even if you can afford to have 8 children that doesn't mean you should.
I have one and that will be it but I think two max is enough children for anyone.

BettyCrystal Sat 10-Sep-16 18:09:50

I think it's your own issue, related to not having kids. I don't have children, so I honestly can't compare my life / situation to my friends with families (big or small). I just think that you've (by that I mean folk in general) no idea unless / until you've got them (kids). So I don't think my opinion qualifies, either way, when it comes to what I think of other people's family choices.

Topseyt Sat 10-Sep-16 18:11:47

If you have no children then the nosey Parker's want to know why/when you'lol be having them.

If you have one child they want to know when you plan on having the next.

If you have two children then they speculate on whether or you have finished procreating.

If you have a third child then they ask if you are crazy or if you meant to.

There are plenty of other permutations of that too.

I generalise a bit, but you get the picture.

You can't win really.

littlepeas Sat 10-Sep-16 18:12:29

I have 3 and seriously considered a 4th. We can easily afford the family we have and could have afforded another. My dc attend an independent school and we have a 5 bedroom home - to illustrate that we can afford them and have the space!! The main reason dh and I considered a 4th was simply because we like children and I have to admit I find the love highly addictive (hormonal?). We also liked the idea of a large, supportive family (I know it doesn't always turn out that way). Stopping at 3 was definitely the right decision, for various reasons, but I wouldn't judge someone who went to 4 or 5, if they could provide for them, in every sense.

In terms of overpopulation - the average number of dc per family is actually 1.8, lower than the generation I grew up in. Part of that average will be larger families, but the majority are smaller it would seem.

Topseyt Sat 10-Sep-16 18:13:14

*you'll. Bloody auto-correct!!

MrsMargeSimpson Sat 10-Sep-16 18:14:39

I have 4, because I fucking wanted them and I fucking paid for them. So... Fuck off really grin

Czerny88 Sat 10-Sep-16 18:15:16

Well that got off to a good start... hmm

Ok, I'm "wasting my time and energy", because it bothers me, because it intrigues me, because I have nothing better to do today, and because it's a way of dealing with feelings of jealously about other people who are able to pop out numerous children when I can't. I think what I wrote was reasonably considered, and it's not as if it's totally out of the ordinary for us, as humans, to spend time observing and considering the actions and behaviour of other humans. I believe it's called social anthropology.

Walter I'm not sure I would feel very different, actually. Your scenario is obviously hypothetical and entirely unrealistic, but I don't think I would have four children even if that were the only option, no.

And Cold (appropriate name, if I may say) no, I don't have any children as I am infertile. Judge away... Oh, and you can have your biscuit back, too. Unless it was chocolate.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Sat 10-Sep-16 18:17:12

I have 11 and won't justify my reasons why to anyone. Will say tho that when asked if they are happy to be part of a big family they all say yes.

Itrytoohard Sat 10-Sep-16 18:17:39

I have 4, I can afford them so why the duck shouldn't I?!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 10-Sep-16 18:18:07

I think you're right, but it's not that simple.

I think couples should be restricted to 2 children from an ethical and better for the world point of view.

I have 3, I'd have 4 or 5 if Dh hadn't stood in my way.

You get many contraceptive mishaps, children arriving accidentally and not planned.

You have people having babies because they have loving new relationships.

It's not simple at all.

LeaveMyWingsBehindMe Sat 10-Sep-16 18:19:49

I completely and utterly agree with you OP but be prepared to get your arse toasted on this one.

I think it's hugely selfish and irresponsible to have more than four children, even if you think you can afford to feed and clothe and house them without state help, but especially if you know you can't.

And I have no respect whatsoever for people are feel compelled to have lots of children because of their religion.

Stevefromstevenage Sat 10-Sep-16 18:19:54

It is very hard to answer this given the nature of what you have included in your thread.

However I don't think some of your assumptions are correct. I have met rookie who have coped fantastically with 5 children and others who cannot cope with 1. Many people can afford larger families. Not every country is overpopulated etc etc.

Willywolly Sat 10-Sep-16 18:20:09

I had 3 with my first husband and another 2 with my current.

We can easily afford to and have plenty of money left over so why should I have stopped at one or 2? hmm

Stevefromstevenage Sat 10-Sep-16 18:20:31

Rookie = parents

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