With 6 children, I usually feel as though my family is on the large side (and most of my friends and family would agree). However, after watching ’16 Kids and Counting’ recently, I found myself feeling that my family is small and it isn’t often that I say that!
So, how many children is too many? I know some would say that I have too many. Afer all, six is not the average number of children in the UK. In fact, only 14% of families with children have three children or more (according to the ONS) so I must be in a very small minority that has six or more. Does being in the minority mean that the majority feel that I have too many children? Or do they feel that six would be too many for them?
And that’s the point. What number of children would be too many for one person would not be too many for another.
Personally, I feel that the number of children who the Radfords have would be too many for me. But could I state that 17 kids is too many for the Radfords? No, because the children and parents are clearly happy with their large family. Noel and Sue work hard to support their children financially and emotionally. Their children are well-mannered, well-adjusted and confident. They may not be able to take their children on luxury holidays or expensive restaurants but is a happy childhood based upon financial expenditure or love? So long as children are not living in poverty and have the essentials, surely love is more crucial for the emotional needs of a child than the latest gadget.
Thinking about the emotional needs of a child, some would view that having a large number of children would mean that each child would get less attention and therefore, not receive the individual care and love that they need. I’ll admit that I often feel guilty for not giving as much attention to my children as I feel I ought to. It sometimes feels as though I am focusing on a few children while doing other things, such as the cooking/cleaning or making a phone call, and not really giving anyone my full attention. However, having spoken to many friends of mine, who have a number of children between them (from one child to four children), I know that I am not the only parent to feel like this at times. In fact, I would go as far as to say that all parents feel that they could give their child more attention and feel guilty for trying to juggle children with the other aspects of their lives.
Of course there are differences when you have a large number of children compared to one or two, such as:
And finding holidays that can accommodate 1 adult and 6 children as well as being in price range is a challenge. But caravans and tents tend to solve that one.
Although I am sure that the children would much rather a warmer more exotic place to stay!
No, there is not a huge amount of money to go around but I am proud that I am working and supporting my children, rather than relying solely on benefits as some suggest that large families do.
We may not have the perfect life. My children will bicker and fight sometimes. My house may be a mess most days. But, that would be the same no matter how many children I had.
Personally, I feel that six is enough for me but I would not judge a family who decided to have one child or one who decided to have twenty. If parents can support, care for and provide for their children, who are happy and secure, then ‘how many is too many’ is up to them.
I have been blessed with six amazing children. A larger number than many families but a number that I am happy with.