The More The Merrier: Big Broods….They’re Baaaaaack.
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
Thanks perhaps to certain sexy and high profile celebrities, parenthood is not only back in popularity, but so are large families. And, despite the difference in salary and family dynamics (let’s face it not many of us have or can afford full-time nannies, chefs, housekeepers, etc, to help with our loads), it seems the trend of bigger broods is on the rise.
Still, others suggest that while folks may be more vocal about wanting to pursue parenthood in lieu of career; the big trend back when most of us graduated college, sociologists suggest that that the number for families with three or more children was at 29 percent 10 years ago, a whole percent higher than it is currently.
They (the sociologists) note that in actuality, larger families never really went “out of style” in the first place and that in general for every 34 moms with two children, there are 28 who have three or more.
Still, they do that our perception of large families may have changed and also that there may very well be prevalent clusters of behaviour in certain areas making the “trend” more apparent.
But, they add that they are doubtful, that except for a select few, it’s unlikely that North America will experience a baby boom similar to that of the 1950s where four (sometimes more) children was quite common, especially with mom staying at home.
The “only” difference, note experts, is not in the amount or percentage of women pursuing big families, but instead who these women are. In fact, today, it’s not the average mom (customarily poor, stay-at-home ladies with not much of a career of education) who has more kids, but rather the successful, working mom. In fact, statistics suggest that today’s professional moms have twice as many children at home, generally, as high-powered women of the 1970s. Plus, ladies who waited longer to settle down and be settled in their careers are often eager to catch up with their female counterparts who started have babies “young” and are having just as many children. In fact, it is BECAUSE of their career success and “financial freedom” that they are opting for larger families.
Still, it’s not just a money factor but, according to some authorities, something that runs in families. Ladies who grew up in large families and who had a positive experience and remained throughout their life close to their siblings, ten to want more children of their own. Although, other studies suggest that women who were only children, or had only one sibling, show equal inclination toward larger families.
While most of us wonder how these moms (and dads) handle it all, most would agree that it’s not as hard or as costly as we may think. Plus, many parents of big families note that despite the fuss there’s also lots of love, and that’s something they wouldn’t trade for a smaller, “more manageable” family.
Parents also persist that having plenty-o-siblings helps kids grow and teaches them about sharing, delegating, and many other responsibilities. A school study, even rated children with more than one sibling as more social, more empathetic and more inclined to help others. But, the study further revealed that this was also true of children who had just one sibling.
Still, other studies that looked at large families over a one-hundred year span found that on average, the larger the brood, the lower the intelligence to the children, and some (experts) speculate that, that may be a result of parents having less and less time for each child as they add to their brood, plus, they may also have fewer finances to invest in their intellectual development.
Still others suggest that IQ scores are more closely correlated to socioeconomic status than to the size of the family and is more closely related to the quality of parenting than to the quantity of family members.
And, for those with large broods or thinking of one, here are a few helpful hints:
1. Get organized: From making a daily, weekly, and monthly list of what needs to be done and when, to assigning everyone a specific duty, having a schedule you can stick to (for the most part) is important.
2. Quality Time With Kids: Make sure to include your kids, even in daily duties, giving each some quality time with you. And, make sure to “rotate” with your mate. Don’t forget to engage also in family activities, such as discussions at the dinner table, family fun outings, bedtime rituals, etc., even if it’s 5 minutes with each.
3. Kid Gloves: Refrain from making the mistake of turning older kids into second parents. While teaching children about responsibility and delegating responsibility is commendable, “robbing” your kids of the opportunity to be kids, so that they can free up some time for you is simply a well-intentioned faux pas.
4. Use Your Imagination, Especially To Meet Your Kids Needs: Get creative with your home and space. How about musical bedrooms to give each kid a time for having their own room and space or a special time alone with mom or dad one a week, month or year for each of the children on a rotation basis.
5. Keep Your Relationship A Priority: while its easy to lose sight of yourself and each other, it’s imperative, according to experts that you make time for your (adult) relationship, even if that means the kids have an early bedtime one night a week so you can enjoy each other, a nice home-cooked dinner and conversation or a movie.
6. Identify Wants From Needs: Just because you have many kids doesn’t mean you have to stop living. You can still dine, out, just perhaps not as often, and not in such posh restaurants, and clothes can always be handed down, and the family can drive to vacation destinations rather than spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on airfare.
7. Give Up The Idea Of Perfection: Especially if you’re one of us “perfectionists” the idea of anything left “incomplete” or being out of place seems catastrophic. Children and lots of them will mean YOU having to change your attitude. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to live in complete chaos, but it may mean adjusting your time-table and schedule and getting things done in “due time:
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