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Large families

(162 Posts)
MadamMMA Fri 07-Jun-19 09:54:14

I have 3 kids and just manage to give them all the individual care and time they need, how do people with large amounts of kids deal with this or are they just processing them iyswim

CheshireChat Fri 07-Jun-19 11:46:37

Well, I've got only one so inevitably I'll have more time for one to one than you- this is without casting judgement btw.

One thing I've noticed is that beyond the parents' willingness and ability, introverted children tend to be quite miserable in a large family due to lack of personal space.

PopcornZoo Fri 07-Jun-19 11:49:44

I think it depends on the age difference between the children and how much time the parents have.

Yesicancancan Fri 07-Jun-19 11:51:50

So many variables and sooooo much judgement. Parents with 1 or 2 may have opportunity to give plenty of time but don’t.
Parents with more than 3 may not have lots of time but give a lot love and attention

Yesicancancan Fri 07-Jun-19 11:52:18

Just processing them ... what a vile comment

ZippyBungleandGeorge Fri 07-Jun-19 11:53:45

My dad is one of eight (Irish Catholic family) , from what he says it was basically a free for all

lovemydoggies Fri 07-Jun-19 11:55:41

My sister has seven. I couldn’t do it. And if I’m brutally honest, she can’t either. She liked the idea of a big family but the reality is a grinding workload that never ends. I do feel sorry for the older ones because they’re always taking care of the younger ones, like little parents themselves sad

UnicornBrexit Fri 07-Jun-19 11:57:52

I once commented to a 17yo helping out at a school function she was "quite motherly" towards the younger ones. She laughed ironically and said "I had enough practice bringing up the other 6". That is how large families function - the older ones bring up the younger ones.

My parents will tell you the same, as the eldest in each of large families, they were expected to proactively look after the younger ones. You also see it in the supermarket today, when someone has more than 4 or 5 in tow , the mother will be getting the older ones to keep the toddlers in check whilst she manages the buggy. Its default parenting. I suppose in some cases it's a natural progression of familial responsibility, but sometimes it does become a burden.

Teddybear45 Fri 07-Jun-19 11:59:43

I was the eldest of 4 and the only reason mum could ‘give’ the younger two a good upbringing is because my sister and I did most of the actual upbringing. That’s usually what happens in large families where there is more than a 3-4 year age gap - the eldest kids grow up too soon, and the parents don’t even realise that the reason why their younger kids are so ‘easy’ to raise is because they are going to the older siblings for their emotional needs.

My cousin is one of eight and he taught his younger 5 siblings how to walk, used to feed them, change nappies, take them out, read them bedtime stories, teach them to read and help with homework, and my aunt and uncle didn’t realise how much he did until their younger kids started inviting him and his wife to their graduations instead of their parents, and explained it all.

kerkyra Fri 07-Jun-19 12:01:55

I was chatting to my sister about this,we are both in our forties. We cant remember our parents ever sitting with us doing our homework,or even asking us about it to be honest. We played the odd game of monopoly a few times a year with them but basically were left to our own devices. We both turned out ok,both independent.
With my three DC I am very much involved but also expect my youngest to be 'bored' sometimes and find his own amusements. My other two are late teens. I will often jump into bed with youngest for a cuddle or have some deep chats in the car on the way to school but he will come to me if he wants time with me,which to be honest,at 11 isnt a high amount!
We will do an amusement park once a yr as a family smile

lovemydoggies Fri 07-Jun-19 12:03:33

My cousin is one of eight and he taught his younger 5 siblings how to walk, used to feed them, change nappies, take them out, read them bedtime stories, teach them to read and help with homework

It’s wonderful that they have a close relationship as adults, but lord what a massive burden for a child who should be enjoying their own childhood.

Hmmmbop Fri 07-Jun-19 12:06:43

They don't. At least not in my experience. It's probably easier if the kids are close together in age.

I'm one of 5 and on paper I have no reason to complain - own room, sahm, good household income, hobbies. But what I was not afforded was time. There was always a (all much younger) child with a more obvious need. So my emotional needs were left unmet. I never got alone time, it was always "later, later" or a small was near by and diverting attention. By the time they were in bed mum was exhausted (dad worked long hours and wasn't an active parent).

Recently my mum and I were talking and I said 2 kids is my emotional and physical limit in terms of giving them what they need and maintaining my mental health (despite wanting a 3rd). She told me I risked regretting not having more and a friend of hers recently told her she was envious of the 5 kids my mum had as she loves the relationship with her 2 adult children and wishes she had more. I explained to my mum that it was unlikely that she'd have such a good relationship with them if she'd had 5, relationships take time and effort, you don't wake up with great relationships with your adult kids. My mum believes she has a great relationship with us all, when in reality she's free child care to my sister and sees the rest of us monthly if that. She's are mum and we love her, but we don't choose to spend time with her.

newmumwithquestions Fri 07-Jun-19 12:11:04

Well I have 2 and struggle!
I have friends with 1 and they definitely get more time devoted to them and it shows in some areas of their development.
But my 2 also learn from each other. In a larger family I guess they learn more from siblings.

Also some tasks aren’t affected by how many children there are. Mine are read to together for example - doesn’t matter if there is 1 child or 6 for that!

B3ck89 Fri 07-Jun-19 12:11:55

I have a 13 year old, 12 year old, 7 year old and 18 month old.
My older 2 are very independent and, well I hardly see them these days they are always out with friends.
My 7 year old has SN - not high needs but he does need a fair amount of attention, and I’d say they all get their fair share.
The older 2 will watch the youngest for me downstairs if I need to jump in the shower or something, but they have never been made to be responsible for any looking after and never will be (till the eldest reaches 16 and he is welcome to babysit 😁 )

Freudianslip1 Fri 07-Jun-19 12:15:45

I do think inevitably the older dc become surrogate parents or assume some of the parenting role. I know quite a few large families (6-9 dc) and the older ones definitely have to help a lot with homeworks, bathing, putting to bed etc. I would say though that most of the mothers would swear that they give their dc individual time and attention, but it doesn't seem that way from the outside. Look at She Radford, she says it is possible to give all 20 dc the time/attention that children from 2dc families get.

Hmmmbop Fri 07-Jun-19 12:15:53

Also some tasks aren’t affected by how many children there are. Mine are read to together for example - doesn’t matter if there is 1 child or 6 for that!

But they are! Reading for example, it's rare you'll have 6 all at a similar reading level, so what do you do? Pick a story the older ones will like and let the younger get bored? Reverse that? Get an older to read to the rest? Leave the older ones to read to themselves (and feel left out)? Read twice? Very little isn't affected by more kids.

mumwithovertime Fri 07-Jun-19 12:17:26

I have 5 , all adults now but small age gaps so definately not eldest bringing up youngest .
2 are uni graduates , 1 is half way through uni and my twins hopefully off to uni in September .
Some of above comments seem to be a generalising? If that’s the right word , the supermarket issue we avoided by one of us going alone or with just some of our children but we still did family days out and had lots of fun .
Certainly don’t think I’ve processed my children

SmilingThroughIt Fri 07-Jun-19 12:17:39

Yanbu op. The larger families that I know of, the older children feel resentment at having to be burdened with such a responsibility. And especially the amount of quality time they were given. Off course the parents think they all were one big happy family. I personally think its selfish. Your children need you at all stages of their lives.

princesskatethefirst Fri 07-Jun-19 12:23:34

Smiling that's exactly how I felt, I was one of 5 (second child) with the youngest sibling with autism.
I hated it. We just basically got used to babysit, feed, play, cook for the younger ones. We had nothing done for us after 12/13. No attention was paid to what we were doing at school etc. I just wanted to go out with friends like everyone else did but was always lumbered with the little ones. I resented them then and still do now to be honest. I have no relationship with mum either.

mumwithovertime Fri 07-Jun-19 12:24:15

So to address the reading one , mine had different bedtimes so read age appropriate story to them at their own bed time until they preferred to read to themselves , pretty much every night with my husband taking his turn when at home .
Also helped all with homework ( ex primary teacher ) but true to say as they got older they could sometimes help one another with that , twins revise together now .

daisy2609 Fri 07-Jun-19 12:25:47

I have 4 (soon to be 5) DC. I definitely do not leave my older ones to raise my little ones. None of my children have ever been expected or even asked to change a nappy or feed a younger sibling. They are expected to help out around the house with cleaning jobs but nothing strenuous or unfair. Ds14 is expected to load/unload dishwasher and Hoover once or twice a week (just the living room.) my DD9 has the job of bringing down washing and taking up clean washing and will have a go at hoovering every now and again. The little ones are just encouraged to help with things like picking toys up, taking cups and plates to the kitchen etc.. everyone helps out with a general tidy up after tea through the whole house, toys away, table cleared kind of thing, and they are all expected to keep their own bedroom tidy, put their clean clothes away and make their beds. All cooking, dusting, moping floors, ironing, washing is all done by me and DH.

We are about to move to a bigger house so everyone gets their own bedrooms (currently 2 little ones share) so everyone can have space and somewhere quiet to escape to if needed.

I am also really REALLY lucky that my DH is amazing, he works so hard and has a good job so we have a good standard of living without me needing to work for now, I did work until my youngest was born but one of us really needs to be home with them for a few years especially as one has special needs. DH will come home and get straight in with kids, cleaning, cooking... basically whatever needs to be done right then. I actually could not do it if it wasn't for him, especially with newborn/pregnancy stuff. Our house is more often than not loud and fairly chaotic but everyone is happy, we have quiet times of the day and busy times. We make sure everyone gets quiet time with us, I have all morning with my 1 yr old then all afternoon with the 4 year old while baby sleeps, then the 14 yr old will often pop down for a chat in the evenings when everyone else is asleep. 9 year old tends to spend more time with DH as they share a hobby that they love spending time on.

Sometimes it does feel a bit crazy but I had the same feelings when I just had one and it just means taking a step back for a second and working out what needs to happen to regain control. I worry that when I'm out people judge us but not for long, we're generally too busy to notice the tuts or glares.

I realise this comes across as a bit smug, I'm not trying to be, there are definitely times that I think fuck, what have I done. But in general I think we had the kids for the right reasons and I hope we're doing a great job raising them.

GetYourOwnLife Fri 07-Jun-19 12:31:23

hmm @ how do people with large amounts of kids deal with this or are they just processing them iyswim

Do you realise how goady and ignorant you sound?

CheshireChat Fri 07-Jun-19 12:32:19

But you'll never see a parent on here admitting that yeah, they had too many children and now the older ones are lumbered with childcare, absolutely never.

Whereas, quite often that's exactly what the older siblings say and point out that their parents don't actually admit it.

shpongle30 Fri 07-Jun-19 12:34:40

I have 7. 14,11,11,9,7,5 and 4.
My oldest do not look after the younger ones.
They all get individual time alone with both dh and I.
It's a strict routine which is kept to. There is always someone to play with or to talk to.
They argue like normal siblings but look out for each other.
We are a very busy, active and sometimes loud family but we all love each and work together.
Having a large family has its downsides but I feel we have more positives.

EmrysAtticus Fri 07-Jun-19 12:39:53

I expect that everyone has different ideas of how much 1:1 time a parent should give to each child a day. If you think that 15 mins is fine then you can fit in several children. If you think it should be over an hour then you are looking at 1-2 children. Everyone will think differently about that.

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