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Smaller families are better for kids?

(313 Posts)
FlowersAndShit Sun 03-Jan-16 10:39:01

What does everyone think? What was your experience growing up in a small/large family?

Caprinihahahaha Sun 03-Jan-16 10:43:07

I am from a family of eight children. We had loving, involved attentive parents.
Nevertheless I would never, in a million years, have had more than three children.
There is only so much attention even brilliant parents can give. It becomes about crisis management, dealing with the obvious issues and, in my family, the children who caused the most 'noise' got the most attention.

FairyFluffbum Sun 03-Jan-16 10:45:08

I'm not saying people with bigger families neglect their children but j believe they can get the one on one attention that some children desire.

For example look at that Sue with 17 kids.

She believes all her children are happy and healthy yet some of the kids admit they wish they had more time to spend with their parents

FairyFluffbum Sun 03-Jan-16 10:45:41

Can't not can **

saoirse31 Sun 03-Jan-16 10:48:46

U have to be careful tho with one or two not to be overly helicoptery... Have one child and u do have to stand back , let them off on own in age related way. Easier to do with more than 2 I think...

Asskicker Sun 03-Jan-16 10:48:50

I couldn't give lots of kids the attention they need. I have my hands full with 2.

mommy2ash Sun 03-Jan-16 10:49:15

I find it hard enough with one I can't imagine having the energy and capacity to successfully raise a large number of children. I'm not nearly organised enough and if I'm honest I'm too selfish to devote 100% of my time to others. I guess it really depends on the person

idiuntno57 Sun 03-Jan-16 10:50:34

This article is actually on the fence on this topic. Issue seems to be individual investment of time and level of education of parents relating to educational attainment of kids.

So IMO you could look at parents of two who both work very long hours with lower educational attainment compared with parents of five with a SAHP and high level of academic attainment and come to very different conclusions.

Grilledaubergines Sun 03-Jan-16 10:50:57

Pros and cons to both I would have thought. Not sure one is better than the other. Big family, plenty of company, never a dull moment, if siblings get on there's plenty of companionship. When parents get old(er), there's more support and more hands to help. Possibly and probably less disposable income, never a dull moment. If relations aren't great, not much escape until older.

Smaller families, in theory more attention from parents, financially life easier, practical things like trips and days out more do-able. If you don't get on with your sibling, that's a tough one. If an only child, ultimate attention but potentially lonely if parents arent sociable with other families, the child doesn't enjoy extra curricular clubs etc.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Sun 03-Jan-16 10:58:29

I only have two and there is no way I would have more. Dd (4) is very demanding of my time but ds (2) has always been happy playing on his own.
I already feel guilty for giving ds less attention.

I think I'm doing an ok ish job of being a mother at the moment but there's no way I could parent 5 kids to a decent standard.

Nataleejah Sun 03-Jan-16 10:59:59

I agree. OH comes from a big family, which was quite dysfunctional. Older kids were shipped off to boarding schools (shit ones, nothing posh) so parents could cope with smaller ones. Great animosity up to present day as a result.

tomatodizzy Sun 03-Jan-16 11:01:01

As a mother of four I agree that our children would have more attention and a calmer homelife if we had only two children. On the other hand there are other benefits that large families have over smaller ones. I know two people that came from large families, who decided to have large families themselves. I also know a number of people who came from small families (myself included) that decided to have large families themselves. In contrast I don't know many only children that choose to have only one child themselves, so I think the pros must outweigh the cons in large families but less so in only child families.

Philoslothy Sun 03-Jan-16 11:02:17

We have six, we are a happy posits family unit. I am a SAHP which enables me to give them the attention they need. I will probably not work again for at least ten years if ever.

Egosumquisum Sun 03-Jan-16 11:03:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AndNowItsSeven Sun 03-Jan-16 11:04:45

I am a sahm to 7 dc my dh works standard 37 hours. Some families with two dc may have both parents working up to 60 hours a week each.
The attention thing winds me up our dc get a lot of individual attention and have a fantastic relationship with each other.

SerenityReynolds Sun 03-Jan-16 11:05:44

Exactly what mommy said. I just don't feel I have the energy or inclination for more than 2 DC. I feel I can do the amount I am happy with with 2 but no more. And there is also an element of selfishness too. I don't want to do the baby stage again after DD2 is older and already long for when she's a bit more independent. I want to be able to go out again and have a bit of "me time"

ItsANewDayToday Sun 03-Jan-16 11:08:39

I have four but I think two is more sensible. I love mine to bits and wouldn't have it any other way but four feels like a LOT sometimes. I had them close together which doesn't help. We are not perfect family but we muddle along well enough. Mine are in their late teens and 20's now and it's surprising how different you see things when the kids get older. The cute, noisy gaggle of little DC all grow up to be, well, adults. A household with 6 adults (albeit only when they are back from Uni) is a whole different thing. especially when they all bring their BFs and GFs

Rebecca2014 Sun 03-Jan-16 11:09:40

My parents had four children, they found it hard financially when we were younger and I feel me and my sister had a more difficult childhood than the younger two. Funny enough all my siblings agree we wouldn't have more than two children, take from that as you will.

Sadik Sun 03-Jan-16 11:10:31

Worth noting this is a US study - they point out that if you look at Norwegian families, you don't see the same effects, essentially it's a side effect of the fact that in countries with minimal welfare state support, a large family very often = poverty.

It's true I believe that even in the UK, the lower down the birth order you are (and the more older siblings you have) the lower your final number of educational qualifications is likely to be, statistically. But IIRC that tends to be balanced out by other factors and younger children from large families are typically more contented (again, statistical average only, sure there are lots of miserable little sisters, and I'm a perfectly happy only child myself).

BarbarianMum Sun 03-Jan-16 11:10:56

I couldn't possibly have been a good mother to more than 2 or 3 children - I just don't have enough mothering (or energy) in me. Likewise, I would have been a terrible mother to an only child - constantly hovering over them wringing my hands and fussing.

I do think some people are better equipped to manage larger or smaller families than others (I know several perfectly happy single child families fe). I do think once you get beyond 4 children you get into crowd control territory though. Attention is a finite resource.

SmallLegsOrSmallEggs Sun 03-Jan-16 11:14:27

The article as much points to poor state support fir parents and poor state education being an issue as mumber of kids. Obviously having more kids costs more and if education has to be paid for and parental leave is short then this will have an effect.

My grandmothers both came from large families. They then had small families. There hasn't been a massive difference it attainment but education was free and the mothers didn't work. Whereas I only have two kids, I do work and I am an lp so it is more likely that my kids will be the ones with the least one to one attention.

Rebecca2014 Sun 03-Jan-16 11:15:08

Oh yes lack of attention is a given and unless you spoke up my parents didn't have the time or energy to get into root of any emotionally problems you may been having as they had other children to contend with and the grind of daily life.

My parents now older (50s) want the quiet life yet chose to have four children not realizing they will grow up and have partners and children of their own. They will have many grandchildren in the future yet I don't think they will handle that well. Grr well suppose not all big families are like mine.

BrandNewAndImproved Sun 03-Jan-16 11:17:55

I think two is the right amount.

Being an only child isn't great, they always get their own way, never have to share space, time, attention ect and once you get to three there isn't enough time and attention to go around.

Not a great view but 4 and over is selfish IMO. Selfish for the environment, for the rest of the dc and there really isn't a need.

GloriaSmellens Sun 03-Jan-16 11:21:28

I think two is the right amount.

The 'right' amount? For who?

FlowersAndShit Sun 03-Jan-16 11:21:35

Thanks for the replies, it's interesting to see everyone's experiences. I suppose 2 is the ideal, although I'm nc with my brother and wish I had another sibling.

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