30 March 2023, by Adrian Tan
At some point in life, couples may wonder how many children they want or even want to have.
Some people prefer to have a big family, while others choose to have only one or two children.
I decided on having more when we had two because I have a sister, and we are not on talking terms.
What if my son and daughter become just like my sister and me?
So I did the silliest thing – I hedged it by having more kids.
That journey from two to four also gave me a lens on what it was like and how it is now.
Let’s start with the Pros of a big family.
Built-in Support System
One of the most significant benefits of having a big family is the built-in support system. With many siblings, you can always count on someone to have your back. Whether it is for advice, a listening ear, or help in a time of need, you will always have someone to turn to. This can be especially beneficial in times of crisis or when dealing with difficult situations.
Always Someone to Play With
Growing up with many siblings means there is always someone to play with. Whether a game of catch in the backyard or a board game on a rainy day, there is never a dull moment with a big family. This can help children develop strong social skills and build lasting friendships with their siblings.
Greater Personality Diversity
A big family often means a more diverse family. With more siblings, different personalities and interests are more likely. This can help children develop a broader worldview and appreciation for diversity, which can benefit all aspects of life.
Learning Important Life Skills
With a big family, children often have to learn essential life skills, such as sharing, compromise, conflict resolution, and teamwork. These skills can help them navigate relationships and situations throughout their lives. Seeing the eldest showing the ropes to the younger ones warms my heart.
One of the most significant drawbacks of having a big family is the financial burden. With more children, there are more expenses, including food, clothing, housing, education, and extracurricular activities. This can strain the family budget and limit opportunities for travel, entertainment, and other luxuries. We have to be more discerning about holidays and the enrichment they need.
Less Individual Attention
With many siblings, it can be challenging for parents to give each child the individual attention they need. This can lead to feelings of neglect or being left out, especially for quieter or more introverted children. Especially when we have already been there, done that for the earlier kids. It may be the first time for the 4th one at USS, but it could be the 20th for us.
Limited Personal Space
With a big family, personal space can be limited. Sharing a room or personal items can be frustrating for some children. This can also limit opportunities for alone time and privacy. My teenage son is at that stage, resulting in his younger brother sleeping in the study room instead.
Increased Stress and Responsibility
Having a big family can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Parents may feel pressure to provide for their children, manage household responsibilities, and balance work and family life. This can increase stress and anxiety, affecting both parents and children. It is self-evident during the Covid-19 lockdown, 3 had Home-Based Learning simultaneously. As the designated on-site tech support, I barely have time for my work.
Deciding to have a big family is a personal choice that depends on many factors, including personal values, financial situation, and lifestyle preferences. While there are many benefits to having a big family, there are also significant drawbacks to consider. Ultimately, the decision to have a big family should be made carefully considering all the pros and cons.