Large families and parental impact

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Large families and parental impact
94
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 1:58pm
Just out of curiosity. Do you think a person becomes less of a parent to each individual child the more children they have? Like is a parent of two children more of a parent to each child then, say, a mom w/ 6 children? 7? 8?

Just curious to hear some thoughts on that.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 3:28pm
I would never call one parent less of a parent then another but I do think that large families do parent differently. Especially if there is a large enough gap in families for older children to help with the care of younger child.

I think that the gap in ages can be more important then the size of the family. Someone who had 6 children aged 0-6 would be very busy taking care of all of the childrens needs where someone who has 6 children aged 0-18 has the help of the older children with the younger ones.

I was just shy of 12 and my other sibling 14 and 9 when my younger sister was born. Her infantcy/toddlerhood was much different then ours was. While our parents had to take care of all of our needs she had 5 people to take care of hers. So while my mother changed less diapers/fed less bottles with her then she did the rest of us she was no less a parent to her.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 3:41pm
Speaking as one of six, yes. That's one of the reasons I have only two.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 4:30pm
I only have two because I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER want to go through labor again ever (did I mention never?). I was one of two and I was 9 when my brother was born and I had to take care of him a lot. I think that's why I was never a "kid" person...I had resentment issues. I gave up a lot of my childhood taking care of him while my mom was an alcoholic/addict so that part plays into my decision of how many kids to have.

You are one of six? I actually envy you. I always wanted a sister (or at least a sibling closer to my age).

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:04pm
I dont know from experience, but can say that from MY perspective as a mother, I think there would be less of *me* to go around if I had more children. Dh and I have toyed with having or adopting one more child. But honestly, my 2 children are fairly needy and I think that if I had another close in age to ds, dd would get shunted off to the side a bit. Especially since she is older and it would be easy to fall into the habit of just letting her fend for herself while I was tied up with an infant and toddler.

I also just feel that things are *perfect* in our family the way they are. I enjoy each of my children SO much, I have time to be involved in their various activities (and with an 8 yr age gap, their needs and activities are pretty diverse!), and we are still in a good position financially. Adding one more child to the mix would put a strain on all of us, in a myriad of ways. I just dont want to tempt fate or potentially *wreck* the beauty of what we have right now.

dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:07pm
YOU can HAVE the sister closest to me in age, lol. She's the weird one of the lot. I'll keep my little sister though. She's a gem. The nice thing about being one of six is you don't have to get along with all your siblings to have a close family, lol. My girls are stuck with each other. One of the reasons I had them as close together as I did was I didn't want the older one to feel she had been burdened with the younger one. I was 13 when my last brother was born and spent many a day babysitting when I didn't want to. Mom figured I was there so she could pop out to the store or over to talk to a neighbor if she wanted to. Problem is, she forgot to ask me how I felt about it. It sucks to be seen as a built in babysitter.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:16pm
Well, I am the oldest of six, and my youngest sister was born when I was sixteen, but I hardly ever resented being the built in babysitter. My parents provided me with food, shelter, clothing and education, and they taught me that family members are supposed to support and help each other. There was never any question but we were a unit and that the stronger helped the weaker. I don't understand your resentment at being asked to contribute to your family's well-being.
Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:18pm
Contributing is one thing. Being treated as a built in babysitter is quite another.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:26pm
You talked about your mother running to the store or popping over to chat with a neighbor and presumably asking you to keep an eye on your siblings for an hour or two? Or are you talking about assuming full responsibility for your siblings for an entire summer or something?

I guess my kids are built-in lawn-mowers, toilet-scrubbers, laundry-folders, carpet- vacuumers and dishwasher-emptiers, because those are the kind of things I ask them to do on a daily basis. And no, I don't ask them how they feel about it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:37pm
I think there is a difference between having a child do chores as part of living in the household (after all, they contribute to the dirt and mess) and having the child babysit his/her sibling. I also was the built-in babysitter for my younger brother. I resented it quite a bit. There were many times where I couldn't meet my friends after school because I had to watch him. That is until I taught him to hang on to my back while riding behind me on my banana seat bike, then he could go with me. And Friday night would come, I'd make plans, and my parents would say = well, we have plans so you have to watch your brother.

The worst was the time when he was potty training and he peed all over me. At 13, this is the height of gross!

My oldest is 12, my youngest is 1. I don't plan on pushing the youngest off on the oldest unless I've asked him in advance if he has plans. It is important to me that my ds has his own life, and a chance to spend his free time his own way. I won't treat him any different than I would a hired babysitter. Which means he's asked in advance and paid for his work.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 6:40pm
I'm talking about constantly being on call to babysit. If I happened to be home and mom wanted to run out, out she went. She never asked. If I went out to talk to friends in the front yard and my brother wanted to go out, out he came. If I went for a bike ride and a sibling wanted to go, along they came. I couldn't make plans to go out with friends or to babysit for money in advance because mom and dad might want to go out and I'd be expected to babysit. It wasn't a lot of hours, just constant. I'd be expected to watch the kids a few times a day for anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. I just didn't like being treated like a convenience item. I got my first real job the day I turned 16!! Working excused me from being expected to babysit at moms convenience. At least at work I had a say so in the schedule. That's more than I had at home.

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