Grace studied all aspects of the family.The large family has a vastly different culture.The large family exists in ITS OWN universe.
Large Families Were Once Commonplace ...
The Trend Towards Large Families Decreased With the Advent of Better Birth Control
The Feminist Movement Created GREATER Opportunties For Women Thus Spiralling The Large Family Into Gradual Demise
The Rise of the Small Family & Its Myriad Benefits
The Large Family-NOT What It's Cracked Up To Be
Children in Large Families AREN'T Seen as Individuals But as a GROUP
In Large Families, There are HIGHER Stress Levels & Incidences of Child Abuse
Large Families and Low Academic Achievement
In Large Families, There is MORE Likelihood of Juvenile Delinquency
Parents', Particularly Mothers' Educational Levels In Relation to Large Families
Poverty and Large Families
Why the Large Family Is Aberrant, Barbaric, Neolithic, and Foolish
I. THE TREND OF LARGE FAMILIES IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY AND HOW THE ADVENT OF BIRTH CONTROL AND FEMINIST MOVEMENT REVERSED THAT TREND
In the early part of the 20th century, the large family [6 or more children per household] was revered by society. Parents were praised for having large families. Psychologists, social scientists, and sociologists heaped emulations on parents on how beautiful and altruistic they were bringing so many children into this world. The motto was the bigger, the better and there was always room for one more.
However, the societal trend advocating large families was reversing. In the 1960s, the birth control pill came on the market. With the invention of the pill and other more advanced contraceptive methods, families started to become smaller. In addition to the advances of better contraception methods, there was the feminist movement which broadened and liberalized women's roles beyond that of housewife and mother.
Many women embraced the feminist movement as it allowed them freedoms and opportunities unheard of before. In addition to the advancements of birth control technology, abortion was legalized, resulting in greater reproductive choices for women. Women no longer had to endured unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. They had children who were planned and wanted. Finally, women were in charge in of reproductive freedom.
II. THE RISE OF THE SMALL FAMILY AND WHY IT WAS DEEMED MORE BENEFICIAL TO THE FAMILY UNIT
The increases in contraceptive technology resulted in small families. With the increase in the percentage of small families, psychologists, social scientists, and sociologists were studying and seeing the myriad advantages of the small family socioeconomically and psychologically. It was found that in small families, more economic resources are allocated per child. Small families lived better and did not have to struggle as much financially. There were also more allocation of parental time per child which resulted in children receiving more individualized attention. Children in small families are high academic achievers because their parents had more time to interact with them and also there is more money for books and other educational paraphernalia in the home.
As there were more money allocated per child in the small family household, such children were more exposed to cultural and intellectual things as a result of there being more money in the household. This economic factor explains why they also received better and consistent health care, and were more likely to pursue college and postgraduate education. Not only children benefited from small family life, women immensely benefited. In small families, women were freed to accomplish their career goals. Studies showed that couples who have small families are less stressed, happier, and have more fulfilling sexual lives than couples who have large families. Dr. Alex Comfort, sex educator, stated that couples who have small families have more conducive sexual lives as they are more privacy and less interruptions.
III. THE GRADUAL DECREASE OF LARGE FAMILIES AND LARGE FAMILIES WERE BEGINNING TO BE SEE IN A QUITE DIFFERENT LIGHT.............AND IT WASN'T PRETTY
As there was an increase in the percentage of small families, there was beginning to be a gradual decrease in the amount of large families. Psychologists, social scientists, and sociologists were beginning to see the liabilities of the large family. Contrary to the stereotype and myth that children from large families are more likely to interface well with people, it was quite the opposite. It has been authenticated that children from large families tend to be highly territorial of their space and fiercely competitive with others as a result of being constantly forced to share their possessions and their space. Ellen Peck,former educator and author of the book, THE JOYS OF THE ONLY CHILD, reported that contrary to myth, children from large families because they grew up with very little, when they saw toys, they hoarded them. She further remarked that they are not generous and sharing with other children at all as has been supposed.
Studies further authenticated that the larger the family, the higher incidences of increased sibling rivalry as there are more children vying for parental attention. Also in large families, there is a greater percentage of sibling abuse and bullying. In addition to those components, there is marked favoritism and greater incidences of parental neglect in large families.
In large families, it is the youngest or next to the youngest who often receive the most parental attention. They also have no familial responsibilities. They are also pampered and spoilt by the parents. One noted actor reported that as the youngest of 16 children, he was known the brat. He indicated that he was very indulged by his parents and older siblings. He reported to never having to do anything at all.
Middle children, for the most part, are either ignored or consigned in care-taking duties for their younger siblings. They also have to learn to navigate the environment and for the most part, raise and teach themselves.They learn quickly to either swim or sink. One renowned singer stated that as the middle child of 8, she was consistently ignored by her parents. She reported that the only way to get parental attention was to act out and become more aggressive. She further reported that the ways she acted out to get attention were not always positive. Another actor, the middle child of 7, indicated that she was always ignored by her parents. She maintained that she parented herself.
All in all, it is the oldest children who assume the brunt and/or onus of the familial responsibilities. They are THE TRUE parents of the family. They are the ones who spend their formative childhood and adolescent years raising their younger siblings, not having a normative childhood and adolescence. Oldest daughters in large families are the ones who are pressurized into becoming parents to their younger siblings.
In a magazine article, a woman, oldest of 7 children reported, that at eight years of age, she was the actual parent to her younger siblings. She stated that she changed diapers and fed her younger siblings. In 2004, two parents of 10 were reported and cited for inhumane treatment for forcing their oldest children to parent her younger siblings. In the Duggar family, the older daughters, the parents, parent their younger siblings.
Dr. James Herbert Siward Bossard, sociologist and author of THE LARGE FAMILY SYSTEM: AN ORIGINAL STUDY IN THE SOCIOLOGY OF FAMILY BEHAVIOR, did research on families where there were six of more children per household. Dr. Bossard confirmed that in large families, oldest children are routinely forced to assume parenting and care-taking responsibilities for their younger siblings. There is a phenomena which describes the oldest child in the large family-the parentified child.
The overwhelming majority of oldest children in large families are parentied children. They do the real parenting job of raising children that are not their own. One actor, the oldest of 10 children, reported to always having a child with her whenever she went someplace. She indicated that she had to take younger siblings with her,even on social gatherings. She indicated that she never had time to herself. In large families, oldest children are on call to their parents and siblings 24/7/365.
IV. CHILDREN IN LARGE FAMILY AREN'T VIEWED AS INDIVIDUALS
Children raised in large families have little sense of individuality. They are routinely inculcated by their parents that they are part of group. They are told that they uniqueness is of no consequence and nothing. They are not taught to have a high regard for themselves. They are told that self-love and self-esteem is wrong and selfish. Studies have endlessly attested that children from large families have little or no self-esteem, believing themselves to be insignificant. They are constantly reminded by their parents to always put themselves last.
The average child from a large family has little or no sense of individualization and self-worth. The concept of individualization and self-wroth are total anathemas in the large family environment. Such things are considered to be totally abhorrent in the large family environment. In the large family, the concept of self is considered selfish. Children in large families are taught never to think of their own goals, wishes, and needs. What is normal self-assertion by children is totally frowned upon in the large families. Children in large families are thoroughly instructed to always put other people's concern and needs before their own. They are constantly told that they themselves do not matter.
Many children in large families report that their parents never paid any individualized attention to them at all. Parents of large families are of the school that to give their children individualized attention is spoiling them. They believe that the less attention paid to children, the better. They contend that children do better with less parental attention. One actor, the youngest of 6 children, recalled his mother saying that benign neglect is good for children.
Some children react to this lack of individualized attention by becoming anonymous, going even further in the background. Others become loud, pushy, and brash in order to seek individualized parental attention. A father of 9 reported that he is clearly unable to give all his children the individualized attention they need. The abovementioned renowned singer, one of 8 children, reported in a biography and interviewed that she had to adopt aggressive and brashy behavior in order to even the slightest attention from her parents and not to be overshadowed by her siblings. She further maintained that by adopting this aggressive behavior, her parents started to pay individualized attention to her.
Many children from large families are attracted to gangs because they do not receive the individualized parental attention that they need. To them, being in a gang represents a sense of family and belonging. They also receive the attention they do not receive in their immediate families. That is the main reason so many children from large families run away from home as there is lack of individualized attention in the home. In a 1970 Reader's Digest article, one woman, the oldest of 6 children, reported running away from home because her parents paid little or no attention to her.
V. HIGHER STRESS LEVELS AND HIGHER INCIDENCES OF CHILD ABUSE IN THE LARGE FAMILY ENVIRONMENT
There is a direct correlation between stress levels and family size. There is a correlation between the rise of the stress levels and family size. The larger the family, the more stress. Stress levels in large families are high for myriad reasons. Many times, parents find the raising of a large number of children to be quite taxing and daunting. They can be overwhelmed with the day to day events surrounding child-rearing. They have more children than they can effect exercise a span of control over. Many parents find that raising a large family is extremely stressful both physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.
As a consequence of this, there is a greater likelihood that there is going to be child abuse and the implementation of regular corporal punishment in the large family household. In large families, children are routinely disciplined by the use of corporal punishment. A study done by The Study of National Incidence & Prevalence of Child Abuse confirmed that in families where there are 4 or more children, it is twice as likely for children to suffer physical and/or emotional abuse than it in 1 and 2- child families. The study further authenticated that in large families, parents are more likely to neglect their children than in small families because economic, emotional, and/or psychological resources are stretched thin.
There was a news story that Gary Staton, father of 10, abandoned his children because parenting them was too daunting a task. Sociological studies show that in large families, the parents are not as caring, protective, nor as nurturing of their children as their counterparts in small families. Parents of large families oftentimes have children without thinking about the ramifications of having a lot of children have upon the children they already have and the family structure. As a result of their parents' unthinking and irresponsible behavior, children growing up in large families often have a very low quality of life in terms of emotional and psychological time spent with their parents.
Three of the 9 Jackson siblings reported how it was commonplace to receive corporal punishment. Another celebrated person, one of 13 children, concurred that his father would regularly beat and his siblings until they bled. As a result of the lack of parental nurturing and regular use of corporal punishment in the large family environment, people from large families, on average, are less loving, involved, and nurturing parents. They are also harsher and more distant parents. People from large families favor the use of corporal punishment than parents from small families who are more likely to talk to their children as a form of discipline.
VI. LOW ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN LARGE FAMILIES
Psychologists have repeatedly substantiated that the intellectual environment decreases with each additional sibling born into the family. Dr. R. B. Zajonc, a social psychologist, in a 2001 study cited that the larger the family is, the less mature the intellectual environment is. A study showed that oldest children from large families scored lower on IQ tests and performed significiantly power on performance tests than their counterparts from small families. Other social researchers indicate that as families become large, school achievement dropped significantly. This is because parents of large families have less time and economic resources allotted per child. There is more dilution of economic resources for educational and intellectual activities as families become larger.
Another factor in the low academic performance and achievement in children from large families is lack of parental attention and involvement. Parents of large families do not have the time to spend individually with each other, especially assisting and/or helping them with their homework. Children in large families have to teach themselves and/or each others as their parents are not around to do for them. In the large family, children are on their own very early in life. They have to swim if they want to thrive or simply sink, letting their environment overcome them. Many parents of large families admit that in their homes, there are no books, computers, and/or other forms of intellectual stimulation as there is barely enough money allocated for the rudiments of food, clothing, and shelter.
A third factor in the low academic and/or intellectual achievement in children from large families is not it is not valued. Average parents of large families do not take their children to cultural and intellectual activities. Because parents of large families are concerned with providing only the bare rudiments as far as their children go, books, computers, and/or intellectual paraphernalia are viewed as unnecessary. Studies have shown that when there are no books and/or other forms of mental stimulation in the home, children are more likely to be low academic achievers.
VII. CORRELATION BETWEEN LARGE FAMILIES AND DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR
There is a relationship between large families and delinquency. The larger the family, the higher probability that a child or children within that large family will become juvenile delinquents. A study by Lipsey and Derzon (1998) has shown that in large families, there is little or no parental supervision hence the children are left on their own. When children are unsupervised, they are more likely to indulge in delinquent behavior.
Another factor in children from large families being more predisposed to delinquent behavior is that they are found to be lacking in educational success which translates to a lower IQ. It has been authenticated that the lower the child's IQ, the more likely that he/she will become a delinquent. A noted actor/producer who was the youngest of 9 children admitted that as a teenager, he indulged in delinquent actitivty as a result of parental neglect. He relayed that he would roam the streets at night, indulging in various illegal activities. He indicated that he served some time in juvenile detention. He added that many of his older siblings were also involved in delinquent activities for the aforementioned reasons.
Girls from large families are more likely to engage in negative attention seeking behavior including promiscuity. Oftentimes such behaviors lead to dire consequences, counting pregnancy. This is the result of lack of parental attention and involvement in their lives. Furthermore, in large families, daughters see their mothers pregnant most of the time and follow that example, knowing no other choice. Because of a lack of parental attention and love, many girls from large families get into oftentimes negative relationships with the first boy who shows them any type of attention. Many oldest daughters from large families, because they are forced to become surrogate parents, get involved in relationships just to get away from their environment.
VIII. EDUCATIONAL LEVEL OF PARENTS, ESPECIALLY MOTHERS, AND LARGE FAMILIES
Studies have confirmed that the lower the educational level, the larger the family. According to a study by Alley House, women who do not complete high school tend to have large families. People who have lower education levels do not understand the importance of effective family planning. People with lower educational levels oftentimes do not have access to effective health care because they do not know that such health care exists.
Less educated people tend to be more traditional in their mindset. They also tend to be more religious. Because of these components, many parents of large families tend to be virulent anti-contraception, eschewing all forms of birth control. Furthermore, combined with lower levels of education and religious beliefs, they adopt a more passive view of parenting, refusing to take personal responsibility regarding family planning. They also believe that to be proactive regarding family planning is unnatural and not preordained. They are of the school to let God decide the number of children that they have.
IX. LARGE FAMILIES AND POVERTY
Typical large families are in the lower socioeconomic classes. They are either poor or impoverished. The larger the family, the more dilution of economic resources. In a NEW YORK TIMES article discussing large families, a father of a very large family indicated that he could not afford to take his anyplace as it was too expenseive. Many large families purchase things at Goodwill and other secondhand stores and eat less nutritious, lower quality foods. Children from large families seldom eat meat, chicken, and/or fish as such food products are too expensive for the large family.
A mother of a famous comedian, the latter who is one of 7 seven, related that they seldom had money for nutritious food and had to cosume sugar sandwiches with soup. In an NBC Dateline segment 18 years ago, a father of 14 children inquired to the news reporter as to how he was going to feed his children. He stated that he could not afford to purchase meat and other nutritious food. One of the nutritionists interviewed, suggested that they eat cheaper quality foods so they ate millet, and discarded frutis, breads, and vegetables. Statistics have authenticated that poorer people tend to have more children than middle, upper middle, and upper class people. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation stated that the overwhelming majority of poor families consisted of families with 5 or more children.
Large families are more likely to receive more outside aid as parents are unable to adequately support their children. Relatives and other relief agencies usually assist large families either by donating clothes and other forms of economic support. I know a wealthy woman who supports her sister and brother-in-law who have 12 children by donating clothes and sending 6 out of the 12 children to expensive private schools.
One woman, who is one of 11 children, stated that as a child, all their clothing came from donations. My mother and her 9 siblings also depended upon donations from a wealthier maternal aunt for even the most basic and rudimentary of items. Large families, on average, are not very self-sufficient and they must have hand outs to help them break even socioeconomically. To this day, most of my maternal aunts and uncles look to wealthier relatives and friends to help them live better. As a result of being raised in poverty, many children from large families adopt a poverty or scarcity mindset, believing that constant economic struggle is a normal lifestyle.
More regarding the pathology of the large family will be addressed in the second and concluding part of this hub.
Books on the Subject
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on September 03, 2020:
This is so true. People who grow up in large families are taught not to have a sense of self. They are taught to put themselves last. They find it strange that people do have a sense of self. Large families have beliefs which are the inverse of normal families. Please read more of my articles on large families.
I have studied large families, my parents are from anaconda sized families so this philosophy is quite pervasive among those in large families. Large families aren't normal. They are very pathological.
palomio on September 03, 2020:
"They're taught to have a sense of self is WRONG & SELFISH."
This is so true it hurts.
Lisa on February 11, 2016:
Especially since we live in Atlanta, Georgia where it's very segregated according to race, class, region, and even religion. People are also extremely snobbish towards others, including those who are more intelligent than they are, especially me. And my dad has totally sabotaged my ability to socialize with others because he hates them. He wants me to socialize with people he wants for me only.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 11, 2016:
NOTHING is ignored in small families, children are SEEN & HEARD. In small families, there is DISCUSSION when something is wrong. Children are encourage to talk things out with their parents as opposed to large families where things are......IGNORED.........SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET.
Yes, people from large families are HIGHLY/EXTREMELY DISTRUSTFUL of outsiders. They are very insular in scope. They only associate with & feel comfortable with those in the immediate family circle. It is akin to emotional & psychological incest.
Lisa on February 11, 2016:
Do you think depression wouldn't be ignored much in smaller families since small families also encourage their children to seek outside help from licensed professionals?
Also, since my dad comes from a large family, he is very distrustful of anyone I meet and socialize with on my own. He always judges them as bad while those my cousin meets and socializes with are good. It's as if he sees me as a bad person and my cousin as a good person. I just wish he'd tell me what a good person I am and what a bad person my cousin is so that way he'd hate her more.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 10, 2016:
I believe that depression isn''t stigmatized, just ignored in large families. In large families, it is the survival of the fittest, strongest, and most aggressive. Parents of large families can't give their children the attention they need so children have to learn to navigate their familial environment EARLY....VERY EARLY. If a child isn't emotionally, mentally, & psychologically fit in large families, h/she will fall through the cracks figuratively, even literally. Also, large families are very clannish & highly distrustful of those outside the immediate family circle. I have written several articles on the large family, check them out.
Lisa on February 10, 2016:
I often wish I had a small, simple extended family so that way I wouldn't be shamed much about who I date an marry. With this large extended family that I have, if I introduce to them a person that I've met on my own and am dating, they would be very mean to him for sure, especially if it's a Southern gentleman from Georgia where I live, for example. But then again, I will not let them see him anymore if they continue with their negative attitude towards him. Most of my dad's siblings are from New York like you are but they see Southern people, especially Whites and Blacks, as narrow-minded, lazy, etc. and they have a disregard for Southern Protestants and Black people as spouses as well since not only they are Filipino and Catholic, but also because they marry non-Blacks and anyone that isn't a Southern Protestant. Another thing is that my relatives act like they're rich and better off than most people that there is competition and rivalry among me and my cousins. And also, do you think depression and anxiety, for instance, is stigmatized more often in large families than in small ones?
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on January 20, 2016:
Yes, in large families, there is A DOUBLE STANDARD, particularly for girls & women. Girls & women are considered to be subordinate to boys & men. They are inculcated early that their proper role as that of wife & mother. That is why education for girls in large families are not stressed. The large family is a far different world from the normal world. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
Lisa on January 20, 2016:
This is also common in large extended families as well. I find myself walking on eggshells with my dad's many siblings as far as dating goes. I feel a lot of pressure to date a guy that I can marry only, in other words, marriageable like my cousin's current husband and that I can't have guy friends and/or date many guys or I look like a whore to them. One of my uncles said I was a whore compared to my cousin who is less attractive than I am even though she got married and he told my dad about it because he knows I'm more attractive than my cousin. My oldest male cousin can have a lot of female friends and date a lot, including girls who are married, engaged, or in relationships with other guys, with no shame from my close relatives but I can't. Even if the guys are very handsome, they would still see me as a whore, especially for going to male strip clubs. I mean, there is a lot of pressure for girls to marry in families like this as well as gender double standards of enjoying life. My family teaches me that having a bachelorette lifestyle is slutty for a girl while my oldest cousin can have a bachelor lifestyle with no shame.
vishakha on September 30, 2015:
And also, my children have video games systems, computers, laptops, my 16 has the brand new galaxy Edge, and received a brand new Movado watch for her birthday- which was not cheap nor the only nice jewelry she has. My 9 yr has a cell phone not brand new, but with 4g and plenty of apps there were not free either. Again I am not saying abuse and neglect doesn't happen but not every Large family does. My best friend was one in 8 and loved having a Large family as well.
Vishakha on September 30, 2015:
I am a mother of a "Large Family". Unplanned , blended family of 10. 8 of which I conceived and delivered, between two marriages. I am not saying, these things don't happen in Large families, but they also happen in families of 2-3...even 1. If you are a bad parent, then you are. We have a 21, 16,9,7,6,4,3,18month twins and 4 month old. The two oldest, do not change diapers, or take their siblings everywhere or feed them. The 16yr old gets paid 10.00 an hour to help by babysitting for a date night, or if I am running to the grocery store. All of my children are A-B students, and my 9 yr just got her first C in math, and has been made to bring it up. They have very basic skills, and toys pouring out each room. Each have their own identity and we praise our children for different things and understand how each have different needs.
My problem with this article, isn't that is negatively painting large families. It is the way the article states it all like fact, for every family. If you wrote an article saying if you are catholic, than a priest molested you, or if you are a Muslim than you are a terrorist, or if you are Mormon than you are polygamist.
To state middle children are ignored and younger children are entitled and spoiled and older children are the real parents. It is just in bad taste, because there are many large families that do not abuse their children, have plenty of sex in their marriage, have their kids in honor class, extra curricular, and the children are not treated like slaves.
gr on February 19, 2015:
I got to say a lot of these comments are terrible and heartbreaking. I am a mother of 5 children and I am quite conscious of all these possibilities of neglect ect! Of course my husband and I consciously make sure our children's needs are met, economically, socially and emotionally.
My husband and I are a team and we try to provide the best environment we can for our children. Each of my kids has their own interests and personality and we support their individuality and take joy in each one of them
I have been often told if we would have more children and my answer is no.
We are happy where we are, my kids are happy, and we are at a place where everything is organized and everyone is taken care of.
I have made sure we can no longer have anymore kids because I think any more wouldn't be fair to my kids. Right now everyone is gets attention, I do projects with them, homework, school activities ect
and we enjoy family time on the weekends.
For those with larger families, I often see neglect, older children parenting and the kids just seem to be there but taking care of themselves. It seems unjust to bring children in this world without reason or love. When a child is a child there is no greater reward than the undivided, unconditional love of a parent and it is unfair that some children never receive it.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on January 06, 2015:
Quite welcome indeed!
MaddyEK on January 06, 2015:
Grace, thank you for this article...it is my life in 20/20. I am the second eldest of 11 children and was emotionally, physically with sexual overtones abused by my father. My mother neglected me and I have suffered terribly from childhood memories of this abuse. I have a scar on my head from, as my mother says, "you fell down the basement stairs and landed on the cement floor when you were an infant." My first memory in life was when I was around 4 years old and my mother and elder sister went grocery shopping...I wanted to go but was told NO. My father was left to care for me at home but I somehow sneaked out and walked more than a mile to a main highway to go find my mother. A neighbor thank God picked me up and brought me home crying my eyes out. My father acted like he didn't even know I was gone! It must have taken me at least half an hour as a young child to walk that far. Anyways, as I got older, my father sexually beat me from the ages of 6-8 years old. They were French Catholics. Though my father was intelligent and had a good job as a chemist, we still had to accept donations of clothing from neighbors. It was quite embarrassing to have a neighbor say, "oh that was my shirt" to me when I wore it. We ate low grade food like powdered milk and cheap white bread with sugar on it. If we had meat it was more often unhealthy fatty chuck meat. We ate canned vegies sometimes...very rarely fresh ones. I remember coming home with a skinned knee one time, crying my eyes out and showing my mother. All she said was, "oh, its not that bad, go back out and play". I still have the physical and emotional scar to this day! My elder sister was a complete bully to me and was always the narcissistic one who kissed my father's ass to get attention. I had to help raise the younger children, bottle feeding them and changing their diapers sometimes. I remember the way my mother used to tell us she was pregnant again was to take us clothes shopping and she would end up in the "pregnancy section" of the store. I would scream, NO NOT AGAIN!!! She had 9 girls and 2 boys and was always wanting to "have another boy". By the time my elder sister and I were in 8th-9th grade we were acting out. My sister became a thief. I was raped by a man 5 years older than me that lived a few miles away from us. They just didn't care or have the energy to stop it. They sent me away to a "home for unwed mothers" never prosecuting this man. I had just turned 14 and he was 19. I now think it was a way to get rid of me so they would have more room in the house for more kids. One room had 5 kids sleeping in it. I became pregnant from the rape. I was told I had to marry the man or give the baby up for adoption. I married the man who later turned out to be a pedophile (his mother told me many years later that he had raped his 5 year old sister when he was 16). My life has been difficult to say the least. I never got enough love and attention from my parents. My self esteem was always allayed by being indoctrinated into "sacrifice yourself for others." Now in my fifties, I have a sibling that is the "golden child" and I am scapegoated as the "rebellious" one. I am the ONLY one that tells the truth and they all don't want to hear it! I am ostracized because of this by all of them. It is a living hell. My parents were irresponsible and IMO should have been prosecuted. I have no contact with any of them now. A true shameful existence. Large families are pathological and should be outlawed when overbreeding occurs. The state should step in and stop it. The harm caused to me is irreversible and quite expensive to me now with constant therapy and difficulties in earning a living. THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE!!!!
LR on August 06, 2014:
And you should know that boys in large families also indulge in attention seeking behaviors such as being involved in relationships with undesirable, sleazy bad girls, or girly douchebags, that they end up subjugating and abusing just because they never got any love nor attention from their parents, including their mothers, and also because these bad girls treated them badly by abusing them, etc. You said boys are trained to subjugate women in an article about large families.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on June 07, 2014:
The average large/very large family is not well-provided for in the slightest. Children in large/very large families often subsist at the poverty level or below. They do without even the basic rudiments. Many have to work from childhood to get the extra things that they need. Some even work to help out their families. It is not unusual for children from large families to go without food or medical care. If it were for school programs, many children from large/very large families would be without nutritious food and/or medical care. Children from large/very large families lead an uphill life of constant struggle. These are the facts.
leara on June 07, 2014:
Must be yet another ONLY IN AMERICA phenomenon. I'm in Australia and my husband and I have 9 children, all are well provided for, all have unique abilities and talents, all are valued for being themselves and none of the older ones 'raise' the younger ones. This article may apply to your country but it cannot be 'generalised'.
Oh and "New York.. the greatest city in the world" MY ASS.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on April 07, 2014:
Of course THEY are religious, to the quite conservative, traditional, or fundamentalistic degree. Over 50% of large families can be classified as such. Of course, there are large families who do not fit this description. There are parents who just UNTHINKINGLY breed without considering the emotional, financial, and psychological ramifications of their acts on their existing children.
Amanda, the large family have a quite different perspective, psychology, and milieu from normal families. People who are normal have small families; they have the amount of children that they can provide for emotionally, financially, and psychologically. There is no way in heck that parents can do this for 6 or more children per household. Something has got to give. Oldest children are relegated to raising younger siblings, even parenting them. They are oftentimes parentified children. Children in large families have to learn to support themselves from early childhood since their parents aren't there to do the job.
In large families, the roles are reversed. Children in large families have to be THE ADULTS, doing things that adults do such as working and raising themselves and/or each other. Their parents DON'T care about them, figuring that if their children succeed or fail, that's fine with them. They really do not care about their children beyond the rudiments if that.
You are right that discipline if it exists in large families tend to be of the harsher kind. Punishments in large families are more harsher and punitive, corporal punishment is a fact of life in the large family environment. Parents seldom talk and interact with their children in large families and the only way correction and discipline is done is through harsh, corporal punishment. Michael Jackson reported being regularly beat by his father. That is the way large family life is Amanda.
Children in large families receive no or little parental attention. To reiterate, they MUST raise themselves and/or each other. Many are left unsupervised, gravitating towards deleterious and delinquent activities. Many girls from large families become teenage mothers because they never received parental affection nor attention. Large families are pathological in more ways than one.
Amanda Roddy on April 07, 2014:
I wish people who support clans like the Duggars would come see the above comment. I am not claiming all larger families are like Connie's. I am saying there is no way a family of multiple kids stays squeaky clean without some serious indoctrination and harsher discipline. IMO it seems most larger families are religious.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 11, 2014:
Thank you for stopping by and for your intelligent response. The large family has so many pathologies that is wholly absent in the small family environment. You are correct in stating that drug addiction, felons, teen pregnancy, bullying, and esp. teen pregnancy are HIGHLY PREVALENT in the large family environment. It is also unintelligent for people to have more than 4 children per household. I agree that the 1-2 child family is THE BEST.
Connie on February 11, 2014:
I read this article this evening with 2 of my sisters. We are from a family of 13 siblings and agree whole-heartedly with everything written here. It's right on the mark. My 2 sisters were among the oldest 4 and I was a middle child at #9 of 13. We are almost at retirement age now with grandchildren of our own, and only now realize the HUGE negative impact that being raised in an extremely large psychopathic family had on our lives. Our lives were for the most part riddled with emotional pain, turmoil and chaos. We were never able to have "normal" relationships of any kind. Whether romantic, social, or work related, our ways of relating to the outside world were inadequate to say the least....completely neurotic and always extremely painful would only start to describe our life experience. Out of our 13 siblings only us 3 are ready to admit how badly we were damaged. 2 of our siblings are dead, and the rest are pretty much still clinging to complete deep denial and our 85 year old mother's agenda. My 2 sisters and I have cut off contact with the rest of the family which was the only way we could protect ourselves from the toxicity and dysfunction that only grew worse in our family once we were all adults. Drug addiction, felons, teen pregnancy, child abuse, child neglect, bullying, gaslighting, severe mental illness are just a few of the things that large families produce. There is no reason to have more than 1 or 2 children that is not driven by selfishness or stupidity. I speak from painful experience.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on July 30, 2012:
John, the average parents of large families tend to raise children in the way you have described. Parental interaction with their children is often nil in large to very large families.
I remember when I visited my maternal grandparents in South Carolina during the summers. They never once hugged nor showed affection towards their adult children. In turn, those adult children(10 altogether) showed no type of affection to their own children. Even time I hugged them, they were quite unresponsive.
You are on target that children from large to very large families receive little or no parental affection to their children. That is why children from large families when they view the affection that children from small families receive from their parents, they portend that such children are spoiled.
There are more hubs on this subject. Children from large families are often treated more perfunctory and harsher by their parents because they are usually viewed to be obligations by their parents, instead of the joyous soul entities they actually are. Yes, there is a MARKED difference in the treatment between children from large families and children from small families. God bless you, John,and have a nice night!
Johnthebaptist1 on July 30, 2012:
As I became an adult and took notice of how parents were raising their children I was struck by how they spoiled and how protective they were of their kids. It seemed really odd. For a long time I thought that I must be noticing only exceptions, that that's not how most families were. And really thought no more about it. But as the years went by and I observed more and more people interacting with their children it finally dawned on me that what I was seeing was actually the norm, that this is just how parents are. When you are indoctrinated at a young age its hard to see things any other way then what you were taught. But now I see that how I was raised was the exception, that most parents do everything they can to feed and clothe and educate their children properly, not treat them as little pest to be ridiculed ,screamed at and belittled.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on July 26, 2012:
You are indeed welcome, mythbuster! Have a lovely and blessed night!
mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on July 26, 2012:
Very interesting reading, gmwilliams. I think you present some pretty clear and difficult to dispute arguments here (foot-stomping and saying, "but I turned out alright in my big family" isn't an argument - it's a reaction). There used to be a need for attempting to bring more children into the world during times when infant survival rates were low but, for the way most of our world is now, I think it's a good idea to re-examine the reason we're bringing children into existence. I've learned a lot from this article. Thanks for writing, gmwilliams. Voted up.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on July 26, 2012:
Johnthebaptist1, I have told you that these often "delusional" folks are IN DENIAL. Many people who are subjected to adverse circumstances learn to explain away the negativities of their circumstances and schizophrenically portend its so-called positiveness. That is what I call inverse logic. Many people from large families are so adept at using inverse logic. How such logic is flawed and is totally unrealistic to say the least!
John, Damn straight I am telling the truth and sadly, most people are QUITE AFRAID of the truth. So myopically sad, do you think?
johnthebaptist1 on July 26, 2012:
Ive read a number of responses to your posting and most seem to be along the lines of " well I was raised in a large family and I turned out perfectly fine, so you are completely wrong". What these folks can't seem to understand is their story is simply an anecdote and doesn't counter your point at all. Its simply an isolated data point with very little real meaning relevent to your contention. The fact is for most people, most of the time, what you've written is very accurate.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on July 22, 2012:
Johnthebaptist1, you have succinctly acknowledged the pathologies of the large family system. Children in large families get shafted so to speak in every way. At least you are honest in admitting this. The majority of those in large families are unhappy but they portend on defending their pathological family situation as to really acknowledge their dire situation would be too much to bear. Many a child from large families end up in dire straights because they did not receive the adequate parental attention. This is par for the course in large families. Thank you, John, for admitting this. It is good that someone has accepted the truth of this pathological family system.
Johnthebaptist1 on July 22, 2012:
I come from a large family and I am in 100% agreement with the article. Everything she wrote hit home exactly. In fact, if anything it was worse than she described. I was under fed, under clothed, and they only way for me to get attention was to get in trouble . And I did. They made me the sociopath I am now. Thanks for nothing mom and dad.