Friday

large families as status symbols?

About eight years ago, a friend and I sold a book prposal about the new trend toward larger families. Some events beyond our control meant the book never got published, but the idea was apparently somewhat prescient.

Now I see MANY more families choosing to have more than the previous middle/upper middle class norm of only two kids. Anecdotally, it appears that more of the educated women I know are choosing to have three, four or even five kids (I am pregnant with #4). My little brother and his wife (both lawyers) also have four children.

Today I read this article suggesting that bigger families are "THE NEW STATUS SYMBOL". (hat tip to BLOGGINGBABY.COM").

The Boston Globe ran a similar (and much better researched) article ON THE SAME TOPIC last May.

What do you think? Is it environmentally irresponsible to have a big family? Or do big families help nurture the kind of empathetic, cooperative human beings who will better address environmental problems?

And with free access to birth control, why are more women choosing to have more kids? After all, they're really expensive, hard on the body, and on bad days, can make you feel insane.

Do any of you with lots of children wish you had fewer? And what about you mothers of only children or only two, do you wish you had more? Any regrets from moms who are done having babies about the family size you chose?

The MSNBC article links to a wonderful website run by my writermama pal, Megan Francis called LARGERFAMILIES.COM.

By the way, I always, always wanted four children. After my divorce, I wasn't sure it was meant to be for me. But now I get my bigger family. And if four goes okay, we may consider a fifth ;-)

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am done having children. I had two and I really do wish we had had at least one more. At the time, no one I knew had three children. It was considered "weird" if you had more than two. Sort of tacky and declasse.

Meagan said...

Thanks for the mention, Katie! I do think there is a growing acceptance of having larger families today, as overall there seems to be a trend of moving back toward "home and hearth"--not just kids, but with the whole renaissance of various homearts and "homemaker chic".

The Boston Globe article mentioned that historically, one obstacle to having that 3rd child is the cost of child care, so the "opt-out revolution" could also be part of the reason for the trend. And I think in general there's a backlash against the idea that in order to raise healthy, happy kids you have to heap them with undivided attention, material goods and expensive activities and opportunities. I think more and more people are re-discovering the simple value of children, family, and (sometimes messy) togetherness. Of course, you can have all that with a smaller family too, but I think some people have always been drawn to having more kids and are less likely to feel pressured out of it the way they might have ten or fifteen years ago.

It makes me laugh that larger families are being referred to as a "status symbol", though--because that's about the LAST thing the moms-with-more I know were thinking about when they decided to have a larger family! Who knows, though--maybe it'll give "keeping up with the Joneses" a whole new meaning!

Katharine said...

I have three children—23, 12, and 5—and am done because I'm 47 and don't think that I could physically go through pregnancy and childbirth again. The first two are spaced so far apart because there was a divorce between their births; the middle and last child are as far apart as they are because the middle one has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and was more than a handful as a small child. But if I'd found my second husband before I made the mistake of marrying the first one, he and I would have wanted one more child. We make sweet, smart, adorable children. :-))

Anonymous said...

when my oldest was born, i wanted lots of kids, like 4 or 5. my partner not so much. but i always assumed that at the very least, i would give birth to our second (my partner gave birth to the first) and that we would adopt #3 as an infant. infertility messed with that plan, and we ended up adopting #2 about on the schedule that i had hoped to adopt #3.

for awhile after #2 joined our family, i was sure i was done. then when he was around 2.5, i really really really wanted to adopt another infant. and then suddenly i didn't and was really happy with two again. now my son is 3.5, and my desire for another is creeping back. i just can't get over this sense that i'm meant to have more than two kids, that our family isn't done. sometimes it feels like a deep part of who i am, to be the mom to more than two kids. other times i worry that i just have an image of some really "real" mom, some sort of quintesential MOM/super mom that i can only be if i have more kids. it's not exactly a status thing, but kinda, i guess. i'm not sure that's my motivation, but sometimes i worry about it.

what i'm sure of is that at age 41, i'm done with babies. i love love love babies, actually -- it's the toddler years that i think would send me over the edge if i had to do it again a couple of years from now.

right now we're exploring the possibility that we might adopt a 3/4/5 year old in a couple of years. we're both very open to that possibility. we're also very open to the possibility that we'll adopt a teen when our kids are out of the house or near. so who knows, maybe one day i will have the passle of kids i dreamed of when my first born was a baby!

mamamarta
www.thewidetent.blogspot.com
(still can't log on using my blogger account for some reason...)

dewi said...

Large families have always been either a status symbol or the other side of the coin a sign of poverty or lack of education. There seems to be no middle ground with the perception.

My decision was to have only one child.
I was shocked that I even had a child. I never thought of children or marriage, I only thought about my career and striving to do better on my own. I got pregnant at 29 and decided not to have a third abortion.

One child is just right for my husband and me. We feel complete as a family. My daughter liked being an only child. The weirdest thing is all her best friends and boyfriends are only kids (not hard to find in Manhattan).

Some other ironic thing is that I changed my career when my daughter was three and went to midwifery school; I'm now a lactation consultant and doula service owner, so go figure that one out. I have a deep desire to help other families but never felt the baby lust and desire to have more kids.

My husband would have agreed to more but it was up to me!

Anonymous said...

I like what Meagan had to say. I have 2 children from one marriage and I usually think that I'd like at least 2 more if I have another marriage. I do a lot of wondering why, and I think that if I met a wonderful partner who did not want more, I would be okay with that. Most of what holds me back (after the partner thing) is that I am uncertain that I can do what I want to do with my life while also being a mother and adding more babies and then children makes me feel more uncertain. I'm part of a "2 generation" family (same 2 parents for all) and painfully aware of the downsides too though.

Just throwing this into the informal poll. I am in the younger part of the "mid-thirties" demographic and my first 2 were born in my mid-twenties.

Anonymous said...

I think it is part of the whole "competitive mothering" mindset. someone somewhere started breeding like a rabbit and everyone had to keep up. we have waaay too many people on this planet already. I got sucked into the whole "full quiver" business when I first got married. fortunately my husband was more rational than I. we have two kids and thats just right. I have a friend, a teacher, who says "never have more kids than you have hands"...good point I think. most of the families I know that have more than three kids I see a degree of neglect. in this day and age with all the stuff around it takes all I have to keep track of two kids. there is a psychological diagnosis called "hoarding" that is applied to people who keep acquiring pets. I think it can apply to people who just keep a goin like the ever ready bunny on kids too, whether by birth or adoption. I used to think it was sooo cool when I saw people who adopted like twenty kids until I got a gander at what actually went on. nine times out of ten the people were doing it for their own self serving ego reasons. just like these "cat ladies" who get busted with about sixty neglected cats, I think if you have too many kids, it may massage your ego that you are such a nifty person to do this but its not fair to the kids.
I think also when these highly achieving women opt out of the work force, they have to do their mothering with the same driving achievement that they used to apply to their job. this is why in this day and age its not OK with a lot of people to be a "good enough" mother...you have to do EVERYTHING just right..breastfeed, co sleep (assuming you believe it to be beneficial and not dangerous) discipline just right, do everything to raise their precious little IQss (never mind that giftedness is not a curse I would wish on my worst enemy, most of us are just fine with average IQs).
and I dont buy the crap about "cooperation". there are plenty of ways to learn cooperation and they do not have to involve siblings. I was an only child and I think part of my "need' at first to have more kids (thank GOD I didnt) was because of the shame I carried from all the only child BS I have heard throughout my life. there was always some ignoramous around to blame whatever ailed my psychologically on being an only child.
yeah, I think its a status thing.

Laura said...

5 kids here so i guess i have no room tp talk.
rest assured though every child is very much wanted and came to thbis family because of love whetehr conceived by us physicakky or in our heart
in the bay area of cali we were freaks of nature but here in the central valley of cali we are an average sized family.

djuggler said...

As a father of 5, I can assure you it has nothing to do with status. It has everything to do with love.

karrie said...

One child is the right number for me, for a variety of reasons. (My husband would like to have more.)

If I recall correctly the families featured in the Globe piece were all affluent, and the mothers had a good deal of support. If you can care for several children, and raising a large family makes you happy, then I'm all for it. For other people though.

The thought of being pregnant again and possibly having more high needs children, makes me tremble with fear. I have a hard enough time keeping my shit together with one child.

sista smiff said...

I always wanted a big family and have three kids. (14, 13 and 8). I would've had another one probably, had it been realistic financially for us and if I hadn't had to work.

Bonny said...

With my husband being the oldest of 9, and myself being the youngest of 4, it probably wasn't a huge surprise to anyone that we ended up with five kids of our own (not sure what trend we're bucking there? LOL).

There is so many myths and so much hostility surrounding this topic (mainly by people who don't own their words and sign their name to their rantings). I just don't get this idea that we are all called to do exactly the same thing, exactly the same way, and that doing anything differently than how *I* do it is somehow selfish and inferior.

Anonymous said...

I have one and one on the way. We will probably stop at 2. Yes, I am conscious of the overpopulation problem, and even though we are simple livers, I did a quiz that said if everyone in the world lived like I do, we would still need 4 planets. I also don't know that I have the energy to give adequate attention to more than two. And with our modest income, the more kids, the harder to help pay for college, etc.

Anonymous said...

I agree with djuggler. It is soooo not about status. Parents of many deal with soooo many snidely negative and downright pitying comments.

But all the harassment in the world does not negate the joy I get from even one of my precious kids

Mary, mom to many

http://owlhaven.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

what I dont get is why if these baby collectors love kids so much why they dont just go out and help kids who need a hand. I am not neccessarily talking adoption because a lot of kid hoarders bypass helping struggling families so they can take their kids, ostensibly to "help" them. and no this is not confined to overseas adopters like Madonna. third world country conditions are such that this issue may be more complex than that. no I am talking about domestic adoption. this is about poor people who have made bad choices who with some serious help could raise their own kids. but things are stacked to help people who want to feed their own selfish needs take their kids. yeah, there are people who dont want their kids and gladly give them up to social services but there are a lot of others that with the right kind of attention would be able to keep their kids instead of having to fork them over to some do gooder who wants to pat themselves on the back about how many kids they can stuff in their house.
if you care about kids so much why are you not out there as a big brother or big sister or mentoring kids who need it instead of doing the ole "I me mine" mindset??? does it make you feel good to have more kids than the neighbors? maybe some sort of new age version of "my jobs better than yours and I make more money"??? some of the most selfish people I know have big families. thats because they are so freakin involved in their own little world taking care of their own little litter that they have time for no one else, at least as far as any significant investment of energy goes.
the people who have tons of kids minimize what kids need emotionally and pooh pooh things like music lessons or sports or a private school to justify their decisions. well I know some of those kids that felt horribly deprived...not because they didnt get to go to Europe as toddlers or some other such nonsense but because of something perhaps more intangible. further I can assure you these parents totally justify taking their older daughters childhoods to help parent the others. they rationalize it that they are "training" the daughters for being their own parents someday. sometimes it works but sometimes these girls end up feeling their only purpose in life is to take care of others. I have a friend who is the oldest girl of ten and she and the other girls had to do a LOT of caretaking. even though there was no alcoholism in the family every single freakin one of the girls married an alcoholic. what does that tell you? they were unable to take care of themselves emotionally and set proper boundaries because anything they may have wanted for themselves was "selfish" against the greater good of their parents churning out babies. this often gets couched in terms of "teaching them the world doesnt revolve around them" but really it often doesnt teach them anything except that they are only valuable for what they can do for others.
personally I think that a lot of this excess breeding is reactionary. our country rarely toes the middle line of moderation. the first generation of feminists felt that children and families tied them down. later here are people practically making a religion of "homesteading" and singlehandedly producing a baseball team by themselves. I think people feel uncertain in these times and returning to what they perceive as "kinder and gentler" times where everyone knew exactly what they were doing when makes them feel secure. recreating the Waltons isnt going to make people feel secure.
I think anyone who has more than four kids max is tweaked. there, I said it. in this day and age I think you have emotional problems if you go above that. I was going to say more than three but I do know a few people with four who do quite well. after that, they are either old school Catholic, Mormon or some other weird sect. or they are hugely insecure people who are trying to hold up their egos by how many babies they can pop out.
as for the California woman...DUH...in San Francisco you have mostly gays...who despite their public face that is pushing to adopt kids for the most part want to party party party and not be encumbered by that responsibility. and in the central valley all the illegals are breeding like rabbits so they can reach as many tentacles as they can into our country. plus none of them believe in birth control anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wow Anon, I don't think I've ever seen so many incorrect assumptions in one post!

nutmeg said...

I'm with Meagan, "status symbol"????

In order to have our 5 kids and live on one income, we sacrifice a lot. But it so worth it to have the honor and priviledge of raising these awesome kids!

Do they (my kids) suffer? I don't think so. If my house is so unbearable, and my kids so underpriviledged and slaves to the family, then why are the neighborhood kids constantly coming over? (it's NOT the material stuff here, trust me!)

kayla said...

I stopped at two, though after my last, which was a fantastic homebirth, I wanted a third. However, I had to be honest with myself about my limits and felt it would be extremely unfair to the two I already had to add any more to the mix. I do not thrive on noise and/or chaos which my two boys already create in abundance.

In retrospect, what I really wanted was another homebirth - NOT another child.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, thats good, have another kid that will be a responsibility for the next 18 years just for
"the birth experience". what if it turned out to be an emergency c section nightmare with both of you clinging to life??? boo hoo...you'd miss that "perfect experience'...this just fries me, people worshipping their birth experiences. its all about getting the kid into the world in as good a shape as possible,not about having some ephemeral experience that you can, uh, scrapbook about or something....

Anonymous said...

Don't feed the trolls. Ignore them.

rachel said...

I have 3, which seems like a normal family size to me, but seems large to others. I always envisioned 4 or 5 kids, but my husband (and our finances and my health problems) decided to stop at 3.

I know many, many families with more children than we have, and they are all loved, most get by but aren't wealthy, and the children love eachother deeply.

I've noticed that most larger families (including us) use more items in bulk, and less overpackaged stuff, so the impact on the environment is less than you'd expect.

I hope you have a wonderful pregnancy!

Jill said...

Ah, the 'ol "I know a large family and they're lousy parents" argument.

'Cause I don't know ANY parents of just one or two children who are lousy . . .

a mummy losing it said...

I have three now, after pausing for several years with two. My husband really wanted a third and after a few years I found so did I. My baby is only 6 weeks old but I'm thinking I'd love a fourth already. I am a professional, tertiary educated woman so my concern is how to fit both our careers and our kids into an effectively functioning family.

And I'm with some of the pp, most of the large families I know are far more environmentally conscious and frugal than the smaller families we mix with. I would expect, that despite having the 'footprint' caused by numbers alone, that their simpler, cleaner lifestyle will see them have less environmental impact than those who are raised in families where excess occurs (not all small families of course, but I do know a few i.e. 'the Jones').

Anonymous said...

I guess I will step out and be the really strange one here. My husband and I have 11 children, eight of them by adoption. We also have a 19 year old cousin living with us, who was having trouble at home (he is doing great). All of our kids except the youngest one is a teen (and HE is what he calls a "ten-ager"). So there you have it. Verifiably crazy, right?

We were done with three, after my very difficult pregnancies. Then we were done after adopting two from Russia, then after adopting three more (both sibling groups of older children).

After our next adoption (domestic adoption of a Vietnamese girl previously adopted by another family) we stopped saying we were done. Now, with a household of 15 (my mother in law lives with us), we are at least in a holding pattern, due to space limitations.

Are our kids deprived? Well, they certainly are not overflowing with material goods, but I would not call having a dad who stays up until 1:00 am talking to a struggling newly adopted teen, deprived. They are all well clothed, fed and educated. But more than anything, they are well loved, and they know it. Sure, they have chores to do and the are not all enrolled in multiple sports programs, but according to the opinions of most "on lookers", they are thriving.

The backgrounds they come from are horribly traumatic, for the most part. We know families who have adopted older children, only to have them molest or abuse other members of the family. By God's grace, we have not experienced that. Our kids are mostly well behaved and my husband is having a talk with them all right now regarding college options.

Having a large family is by no means a status symbol for us. We do not seek the limelight. I shop at Wal Mart and thrift stores and I am always thankful when folks stop by our home and drop bags of clothing or food off. They also, just as often, stop by to ask if we have a kid who can help with one odd job or another.

My husband and I are devoted to each other, and to the raising of our kids - all of them. But most of all, we are devoted to serving the Lord in the way He has chosen for us - by raising a large family. This life is by no means for everyone, but it is perfect for us.

spiney said...

We decided two was good - one for each parent to watch when we're out. We prefer not to be outnumbered!

Then - snip! for me.
Much easier than having major surgery for her.
Very, um, liberating, too. ;)

Anonymous said...

You fail to mention your ex-husband as part of your "large family". Didn't he have some part in it?

Janice said...

First, congrats on your pregnancy, Katie. What wonderful news!

You ask about whether we're happy with the number of children we have. I will say something that's hard to admit: that from the time I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to have one child. Part of it was knowing my own strengths and limitations, but part of it can't really be nailed down. It's just how I saw my life unfolding.

My three children are almost 14, 10, and 4.5, and to this day I sometimes look at the younger two and try to recollect how it ended up this way. I sometimes feel sad that I went beyond the place where I was the best parent I could be; I was a fantastic parent of one, a so-so parent of two, and ... well, I am a pretty harried parent of three.

This is NOT to say that I regret having my other two children or I love them any less. I love them fiercely and am glad they are here. They have made me happy in ways I never could have expected. But if I am very honest, I have to say that this is not the family size I dreamed of.

Leslie said...

We have five children and would like to have another one. It's true that we get a lot of attention and admiration for having a larger family. When you have four, people make cracks, but when you have five, they seem to feel you have moved onto some kind of different plane and they are impressed because they can't imagine having five kids.

Granted that there may be some "status" involved, I can't imagine anyone being pregnant five times, giving borth five times, and dealing with the stress of a large family just for props from others! I always wanted lots of kids--ten was my original goal. I grew up around a lot of big Catholic families and I was attracted to that. My husband and I both happen to love babies. And I think the whole process of pregnancy, birth, and the creation of another unique human being is so amazing that I could never stop at two!

As far as the environmental thing goes, I think those families living in enormous McMansions with their one or two kids are probably doing more to hurt the environment than we are. Plus I like to think of well-raised, good, smart kids as natural resources themselves.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see some analysis on the issue of 'one kid in a McMansion uses more resources than 5 kids in a modest home' argument. I wonder where such information could be found...

Sorry about all of you who have a bunch and love 'em to death, but I do think having more than 2 is not a good idea, for the kids, the parents or the planet. Maybe because I was brought up in the zero population growth days, or because I'm the youngest of 6 and there just wasn't enough of Mom left for me to get much 'mothering' AND my older sisters were stuck 'mothering' me and #5 because Mom was sick and had too many other responsibilities running such a large household. (Dad of course was always unavailable because he had to work his a** off just to put food on the table and clothes on the backs of 8 people. They were never able to pay for college for any of us.)
My sisters do still resent having part of their childhoods taken away, and I resent having older parents who had no time for me.
I think part of big family phenom that I think KAG did not mention is her situation...you have 2 kids with spouse #1. Then you meet spouse #2 and it's natural to want to have a baby or two with the new spouse. This is probably pretty common, since 65% of marriages end in divorce.

BTW I have 0 kids. I like sleep, I like to be alone, and I have plenty of nieces, nephews and friends' kids to lavish attention on.

Anonymous said...

I dont know..I just cant imagine someone having energy for ten kids. I thought about this a lot because a woman I know shared how she was adopted into a family of 19 kids. three bio...the rest adopted by "do gooders". it didnt sound like she was "rescued" at all..maybe gone from a horrible situation to a moderately bad one. I am all for helping out needy kids...BUT I dont get the big numbers. it seems you would be able to make an impact more with fewer. small is good. I hear people saying "I" couldnt stop. "I" wanted. not what was best for the kids but to seem to fulfill some interior need. its not a matter of some large familes having lousy parents. I just havent seen any non blended big families that dont appear to have some ulterior motive on the part of the parents. its never about what they see as best for the kids they already have. its always about what the parents want and how to satisfy their own needs. and needs does not have to refer to material goods. I mean their needs maybe to swim against the tide just for the sake of doing so or that they maybe like being seen as capable of doing something most cannot. or the big rush they get from babies. or the codependent rescuing of needy kids. to be honest re the molestation issue lucky or no I am not sure that bringing a deeply troubled child into my family would be worth risking my kids for. I know too many cases where it has happened that an adopted older child has caused chaos. now I know there are cases where it has all worked out well and been a godsend but I seem to hear more of the other kind. I wonder if, just like those who are bashing Madonna for bringing this kid from Africa, if perhaps those who are TRULY concerned about underprivilaged kids rather than massaged their own egos about what nifty parents they are to take on so many hard cases...if they wanted to truly get involved to help break the cycles that beget these kids in the first place. or are you secretly glad there are fuckup parents in social services so you can "rescue" their kids??? if you REALLY want to help underprivilaged kids rather than just "saving" what you can by cramming them in your already overcrowded house to feed your ego, why dont you pray about doing something with the addict parents to break the cycle???? I am not against adoption but I see adoption as being all about feeding the needs of adoptive parents for children rather than truly what is best for the children. I will say upfront I am against abortion BUT if people who run crisis pregnancy centers truly succeeded in sending an abstinence message and truly stopped the problem in the first place rather than providing an imperfect band aid solution then the well of babies to be adopted would just dry up. see its not about the kids....its about providing babies . and in the case of social services kids, far far more is expended in farming kids out to do gooders than in attacking the problem that led to them being in that situation in the first place.
to be honest I am very mistrustful of the motives of people who want more than a few kids. most of them bleat about how much better they are than people who stop at a normal amount...how much their kids share, how much healthier they eat. they even turn the negatives into positive sounding ones: kids get spoiled by all that attention anyway. I have two kids that I love dearly but I am DONE. I am very environmentally aware. most people that have tons of kids Mc mansion or not, have a huge van to ferry them around that is sucking gas. they are also using tons of water, electricity, etc etc etc. I dont think you can rationalize this away. most people whatever the number of kids dont live in mcmansions. maybe among a certain social class, but not many I know. okay so maybe the two kid family has a spare bedroom to use as an office but the big family doesnt...I still dont see a whole lot of mcmansions around here.

Anonymous said...

No matter what you think, overpopulation IS STILL A PROBLEM. The fact that some of you want to breed like rats, IS my business.
People with large families should be treated like lepers. The wives are nothing but breeder sows. Any animal can breed. There's nothing magical about it. Only humans have the knowledge and understanding to avoid breeding like dogs and cats in heat. It's not whether or not YOU can afford them. It's whether or not the EARTH can afford them. Every time you breed, it's another consumer. Another strain on resources. If you love children so much, adopt. Do you really have to keep shoving out little replicas of you and your husband, just to satisfy your selfish need to breed.

Anonymous said...

Some of you seem to think science or government will solve all these problems. Wake up people. A good example of a problem that needs to be solved NOW, is not enough fresh water. Over a billion have no access to fresh water. Stop breeding and the problem will eventually solve itself. Keep breeding, and one day we'll see wars being fought overwater.

Anonymous said...

All of you that are freaking out about overpopulation and the environment, what are you worried about? Europe and the US, Canada & Japan are not even at replacement levels. Overpopulation is a myth.

Anonymous said...

For the anon who thinks overpopulation is a myth,
check this out.
http://www.overpopulation.org/USAFactsZPG.html

Troy & Tara & Tribe said...

Wow. It has been a long time since I had a chance to see such ignorance displayed ... talk about generalizing. The anonymous posters with their big ideas for ALL people to follow. Nothing like making sweeping statements and presenting them as the rule.

My personal favorite was the one who said anyone with more than four kids has emotional issues. Because she thinks so.

If you believe so strongly that anyone with more than 1 or 2 kids is ruining our world, maybe you ought to have the guts to stand behind your comment with a real name.

I don't walk around expecting that everyone should want five kids, you should get over thinking you have the right to tell me to have two. Different strokes for different folks.

Still shaking my head at the ridiculous generalizations about both adoption and large families.
-Tara Livesay

Anonymous said...

Way too many comments to answer each specifically, but I will address a couple of them.

Regarding the comment that bringing more kids into a family is not fair to the existing children:

My husband and I have seen that adopting our first two, while having three at home, was the best thing we ever did for those three. When we suddenly had five kids, we had no choice but to become better parents. We no longer put up with the misbehaviors we had before, that would have eventually escalated into rebellion and spoiled kids. Their horizons were expanded as they saw kids from across the world come into their lives, and even things as small as their culinary habits improved. Seeing kids slightly older than then consuming vegetables at a huge rate was fascinating for them, so they began to wonder what that was all about!

Over the years, as we have brought more kids into our home, they have learned to deal with all kinds of people in different situations. Diversity is a part of our lives, and geography is a daily discussion rather than a subject in school. Many of these kids came to us from orphanages, where they had been around only other children the rest of their lives. Over and over we have seen cases where post institutionalized children do better in large families than they do in small ones, since they are much more used to that environment. They still get the love of the parents, but they are eased into the relationships rather than having demands made on them that they cannot fulfill.

More resources used? Well, when I recently called about our water and sewer bill and the receptionist found out that we had 15 people in our family, she commented that we must be great conservators! I sure didn't think so, but maybe she is right. After all, moving a child from an orphanage or a foster home does not increase the overall consumption of resources - it simply redistributes them to another location.

Regarding those who say the parents "couldn't stop" - well, I agree that adopting or having children to feed a parents need is detrimental to the children. If and when the parents get their needs filled, then the children will miss out on what THEY need - the love and compassion of parents. Rest assured that there are plenty of parents of large families who do not do it to fulfill their own needs, though. We, and several other parents we know, have chosen to only adopt children that no one else wants. The moment another family comes forward for a child, we back off. One of our Russian daughters was two years away from being on the streets when we brought her home. Now she is engaged to a wonderful Christian man.

As for having the energy for our dozen - I have to admit that is a challenge, since I have medical issues. However, it has slowed me down to the point where I cannot do everything for the kids. Rather, since they are teens, they have to learn to do their own laundry, clean up the kitchen, do household chores, etc. Divided between 12 kids, no one does more than they can handle, but they learn life skills that they will need. Our lives are very organized, out of necessity. The have also thrived in a homeschool environment, rather than having been made fun of for not speaking English in a public school setting. Our deaf Russian daughter has access to assistive listening devices she never would have had in Russia. I have taught her to speak, read and understand English, and she is eager to get her driver's license and a part time job, now that she is 16.

Parenting a large family is indeed rewarding, but also challenging. Most of the parents of large families I know do not do it for selfish reasons, although I am sure there are some that do. Just like "normal" families, there is a great amount of variety in large families. We are as different as families with two children are, in make up, ideals, goals, and beliefs.

One last comment. Those who condemn the parents who do continue to have more children to "feed their own needs" might want to examine their own motives for staying childless. Is it not as selfish to close your heart to the possibility of helping a child in need in a situation like this?

Lori B said...

I think that folks need to consider the environmental impact of having so many kids. And think about it seriously. I am one of four kids and I have two. Don't want more, but have quite a few friends considering more than two. Not a whole lot have done it, though.

Anonymous said...

did I say I was childless? no, I said I had two kids. and thats enough. I am reaching a point in my life where I am starting to look into some volunteer and/or paid stuff involving child welfare.
so I dont choose to make my name known on the internet..WAAAAH. some of us are smart enough to not make ourselves known to strangers.
if I knew you in real life I'd say it to your face.
wow, it really says a lot of kids in an institution are doing better in big families because it resembles an institution more than a smaller family does.
it also does not say much for your parenting skills that you were unable to set appropriate boundaries for your children without breeding up a storm. I had boundary issues with my kids too and I managed to deal with them without adding more children.
I had a lot of control issues when I had my first kid. I cant count the dingbats whose unsolicited advice was to tell me to have another one. riiighht. maybe better to deal with the core issues that are leading to the control in the first place.
your post has only proved my point. like I said the fact that you had to have more kids to get control over the ones you already have is very telling. the big family brigade always makes out like all these great moral qualities can only be inculcated in their children by having a litter of them. the problem is, that there are plenty of ways, far less dysfunctional to place these qualities in any child (even an only one, imagine that) than breeding rampantly. you chicks all need to have your tubes tied. I am also further amazed that adoption agencies dont have cutoff points after which they tell people they have enough. but then I have never thought that social services has a whole lot on the ball. they are masters at throwing the wrong solution at the problem. the whole thing reminds me of cat ladies who cant stop collecting cats and rather than do a great job with a manageable number they neglect a whole bunch and make it sound like they are just a bunch of bleeding hearts who cant say no to anything in need. except of course we are talking about human beings here, not an expendable creature like a cat. (hey if you have too many of THOSE, you can always fire up a wok!!!)

Anonymous said...

I am sure some nutcase will take my wok comment seriously. I actually like cats a lot but they and other animals are NOT people and it really pulls my chain when people get as worked up over animals as they do about people.

Anonymous said...

yeah I checked out Megans website. in it you can treat yourself to a bunch of her babbling about how she fucks up doing stuff for her kids because she's just so freakin busy with her "big family". we are not talking producing a Martha Stewart holiday here....but maybe something that shows the kids they matter? letting them down all the time because you have too many kids doesnt sound like good parenting to me. but hey, its all a joke to her. ha ha.
I mean what...do you get brownie points for each kid you pop out regardless of how much you actually do for them???
this is the typical big family drill...turning the things that are wrong and dysfunctional about big families into no big deal and making out like its better for your kids anyway to not do anything so fawning over them as you know, like remember to get them halloween costumes. I have handmade a couple of costumes for one kid. the other we go around the beginning of october and buy his costume. I tell him he cant change his mind and if he thinks he will we need to wait. my daughter and i sometimes make a few trips to get various accessories or make them.(believe me we are NOT talking picturebook holiday here but it involves TIME and attention) but ya know, I can do this because I dont have a litter so I have time for those individual things that say "I love you". I wonder what Megans kids REALLY think.

Meagan said...

Anon, the story on my site was called "humor", but it only works if you have a sense of, well, humor.

I, for one, think this thread is hilarious. Don't worry about my kids...they are loving life and far from neglected, whether I pull off every holiday with a huge flourish or fake my way through it. By the way? Most parents I know bumble their way through at least one holiday a year...and most of them don't have more than two kids. It's called being "real".

Have a nice week!

Anonymous said...

*You* are the nutcase. Go away.

Anonymous said...

Nothing selfish about being childless, or only having one or two (or adopting). We do it because WE CARE about the planet, not a selfish need to breed. You get something out of breeding, or else you wouldn't do it. It's a selfish act, no matter what you say.

That's why some of you ignore the facts on overpopulation and claim there's no such thing. There's plenty of info out there, if you'd just pull your head out of the sand, or take the rose colored glasses off.

Hell! Get a hobby, do volunteer work. Do something to make the world a better place (breeding aint it)

BTW. I post anonymously because it's easier. But if you must know: Alan aka shamgar50 -shamgar50@comcast.net

dewi said...

Wow, this turned into a hot topic!

Reading all the myths tossed around about big families by the anonymous posters I see from their comments that the exact opposite is said to me about the hazards of having an only child. It is all bullshit; maladjusted children and neglectful parents, and wasted natural resources come from every size family for all types of reasons.

Some Anonymous people who gather on Katie's blog will never find it acceptable what anyone else does or believes that is not exactly what they have chosen.

Sarada said...

For whichever anonymous said that crisis pregnancy centers are just about providing babies to adoption addicts, and are not really interested in helping needy familes . . . I just wanted to point out that the crisis pregnancy centers in my area offer parenting classes, free cribs and carseats, as well as gently used clothing (not just for newborns), diapers, bottles, etc.

Anonymous said...

i think its an ego trip AND environmentally irresponsible.

Gretchen said...

I'm thinking it's not so much an overpopulation problem for this planet, as an overconsumption problem, as well as a political one. Are the people who are suffering doing so because there really isn't enough to go around, or because they can't get to it, or it can't get to them?

And yes, large families drive bigger vans that get poor gas mileage. But how does that explain the number of SUVs out there that get the same mileage but can only carry 3 or 4 kids? Keep a look out and count the next time you go out, and tell me how many of each you see.

I have lots more comments, but really, I can see there's no point, because opinions that have been made are carved in stone and are only being regurgitated here with anger and bitterness, not with an attitude of sharing ideas.

Bottom line, each person has the right to his/her own opinions and to make decisions for his/her own life. Thank God I have no right to restrict birth control from those who want it, and Thank God they have no right to force me to use it.

Anonymous said...

oh I think its ego all right. so to Meagan its HUMOR that she forgets things all over the place. it IS an ego trip else these people wouldnt have special websites for "large families" where they can all whine about all the comments everyone makes to them while they are patting themselves on the back that its, well, because THEY are doing the right thing and all those other slugs are just so selfish.
as for the crisis pregnancy centers..yes they do help single moms. but what they really want is adoption. I do not think that abortion is a solution however all these single girls running around having sex HAS provided a lot of babies. instead of driving home the problems caused by premarital sex there is this constant drill of adopt adopt adopt. now I know some adopted kids and they are great, I do not wish they werent here, but they DO have issues.
this is not about unmarried teen pregnancy so I wont digress.
most of what I see spouted off by large family advocates come down to, in one guise or another, ego.
if Meagan wants to write off her comments as "humor" so be it but I suggest she read the post a few up from the grown woman who grew up in one of these big families. it wasnt so great as mommie dearest likes to think it was (come to think of it...Joan Crawford adopted for her ego too...hmmmm)
of course the kids keep their mouths shut. they know they better. I know plenty of adults who would never have dared tell their parents how deprived they felt because they knew perfectly well they'd get a good guilting so why let themselves in for it?
we may pare down our holidays because I dont want to be Martha Stewart, but I have never failed to get a kid a halloween costume because I had too freakin many of them to keep track of. whether its fodder for your humor writing or no its still pretty pathetic.
and incidentally all you "writer mommies" seem to use your kids shamelessly to further your own aspirations. can anyone say "selfish"??? can anyone say "Kathie Lee"????

Kristin said...

Ok - well, I came to this post to chime in on "big" families and then I got an earfull about overpopulation and selfishness. I have 4 children, and we don't think that's a big family. We know plenty of others who have more kids than we do. Having lots of kids is so fun, and actually pretty simple. When you don't have 300 things on your to-do list life can be pretty simple.

First of all - everyone is going to defend how many kids they have b/c that's how many kids they have. They have to say "THIS IS WHAT'S BEST FOR ME" b/c that's what they are doing or have chosen to do. They have to rationalize it somehow to live a sane life.

It takes guts to be introspective and say to yourself, "What's best for my child? What's best for my family? What's best for my husband?" Then to take the plunge and do what's best for someone else instead of what YOU want - well that's real selflessness. Instead of saying, "This is what I always planned." How about asking yourself WHY you always planned it.

Which is better - to have empty landfills or a world full of self-centered people w/ an only-child complex?

I am a far cry from where I started this family journey. My college friends think I'm nuts b/c I'm so different. But, I've grown and changed for the better.

For those of you worried about overpopulation - just chill. Do some math.... add up all the people in the world and fit them in America. It can work. There's plenty of room to go around. Besides, for those of us choosing to populate the world, there are just as many choosing to remove people from the world either through abortion, genocide, or war.

We'll be allright - and those of us w/ big families will have lots of decendants to tell stories about it.

Anonymous said...

Ok Kristin. I've heard that same dumb argument a million times. All the people in the world will fit in such and such space. America, Texas, some county in Texas, etc. That argument shows you don't understand the problem. It's not just about space. It's about resources, pollution, starving people, etc. Already in this country, people are becoming territorial about water resources.
Around the world, over a billion people have no access to fresh water.
Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General said “Water is likely to become a growing source of tension and fierce competition between nations, if present trends continue, but it can also be a catalyst for cooperation.”

This country consumes more resources than any other country. Now countries like China, India and others, want to raise their standard of living. Cadillac predicted that China would become one of it's fastest growing markets. Just think about what that means. Imagine over a billion Chinese wanting our standard of living. If they only half of them, make it halfway to our level, it'll be a disaster.

Now to this and other problems, add climate change. Now I know you probably don't believe in climate change. But it IS happening. It's normal for it to change. It's changed many times in the past. Things could get very bleak as far as agriculture is concerned. Your children, or grand children could live in a very different world. Can you hear those future generations cursing us?

But who cares, right? As long as you and others of your ilk, can satisfy your selfish need to breed, who cares? They'll work it out somehow. After all, we can put all the people in America and grow food every where else in the world.

I suggest you do a little research on the web (and not pro-growth, pro-breeding pie in the sky sites).

We don't need to lighten up. YOU need to get a clue. Try reading a book on the subject.
Of course your not likely to do anything (but breed), because if you became informed, you might have to admit you were wrong, and fight that need to breed!
Alan

t in hd said...

Overpopulation is a MYTH. This planet is more than capable of feeding its inhabitants. War, corruption and mismanagement are the reasons for hunger. It is just another lame argument used to bash people who make choices one does not understand. Here in Germany the population growth has slowed down to the point of concern. In Munich, IIRC, the population growth is actually negative. That's a BAD thing for this country. But does that stop people from criticising parents of large families? Does it stop them from making their lousy comments--right in front of the children? NO. They just see something they don't understand so, human nature seems to be to bash it. The fact is, those of us who are having larger families here are doing those people a favour by providing working tax payers to support them in their declining years while they choose not to have children or only have one child because "children are too expensive". Yes, that's right, people want more money and aren't willing to make any sort of sacrifice of their time or money for children. So, they should be thanking those of us who are.

For every crap mother of many you see, I'll show you a crap mother of one or two. Trust me, crap parents come in every size, colour and shape, every income and education level and in every family size. Since you know kids who were miserable in a large family or parents of many who were crap at parenting, all large families should be tarred with that same brush? Well, by that reasoning, I could just as easily attack parents who choose to have only one or two children because I've known plenty of miserable only children and plenty of pretty lousy parents of one or two.

It's very interesting how I so often encounter hostility from childless people or parents of one or two children towards families of many children or even just against the idea of many children BUT I can't remember having ever come across a parent of many who has been hostile towards people who choose to have only one, two or no children.

The fact is, those of many have all been there--childless, then the parent of one or two children before moving on to three, four, ten, etc. Those with no children or only one or two seem to me to be passing some pretty hefty judgements on people in whose shoes they've never tread. This is kind of like discussing the appropriateness of homeschooling with people here (in Germany) who have never even heard of the concept before, let alone have a clue in the world about it, know anyone who does it, etc. They sure are opinionated about it, but their opinions are based on their imagination because they sure as hell don't have any information on the subject!

As far as I'm concerned, make your own choices about your own family size for your own reasons. I'll respect them. I really don't care how many kids you have or if you have any at all. I'm not in your shoes. But please do show that same consideration towards others.

To all those out there who have made the decision of family size based on their own personal reasons, good for you, whatever your choice is. It is really no else's damned business! And to all those who want to continue to bang on about the damage large families MIGHT do the world, get a grip. The fact is, having more than the average two kids is just not that easy for many time-wise, money-wise, career-wise and in so many other ways. For many--most!--the sacrifices just aren't worth it. That is not going to change. So, if larger families are a growing (pardon the pun) trend, fine. They still aren't going to increase in any sort of numbers which will make any impact on the planet. Dealing with war, poverty and corrupt governments and tackling world polution problems with workable solutions WILL impact the planet.

Oh, and Alan? You might want to brush up a bit on your English if you really want to be taken seriously as someone who is educated on the topic on which he writes.... But hey, you get some points. At least you identified yourself. I don't think a single other large-family-basher-the-world-will-fall-apart if-you-have-more-than-two-kids poster here has had the guts to do that. Maybe that has something to do with the reliability of their "facts"...

Tracy

Anonymous said...

Alan-
How can you possibly be this angry at everyone?

How do you have time to post comment after comment ... should you really be using that much electricity? Turn your computer off and save the earth man.

I don't give a shit how you live, be the opinionated, self-righteous jerk that you are ---- it entertains me.

Have you ever visited an orphanage? Have you ever visited the developing/third world? Once you have done that, then tell us more about how wrong it is for people in the USA to adopt more than a few kids ... you are one short-sighted, small-minded dude.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the whole world population could fit in Texas...but we'd all be drinking each other's waste.

Anonymous said...

To anon When did I ever say it was wrong to adopt more than a few. Hell I wish some of these breeders would adopt 20 or 30. I have no problem with adopting. It's unrestrained, selfish breeding that bothers me. Perhaps you could use a few lessons in reading and comprehension

Anonymous said...

Tracy. My facts are very reliable. As for my english-when you've perfected yours, come see me. It's been my experience that those with the weakest arguments, criticize spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.

According to you, only those who have experienced a certain situation are fit to judge that situation. What a mindless argument. So I guess only murderers should be on juries for murder trials. And I guess the judge needs to be a murderer also.

Overpopulation is not a myth. Either you're ignorant or a liar. Which is it?

You say this planet is more than capable of feeding it's inhabitants. Then why doesn't it? You cite this and that reason, but offer no solutions. I at least offer a solution. But you just want people to keep popping em out. Who cares if thousands of children starve to death. We'll solve the problems someday. In the meantime-LET EM STARVE!

Family size is everyone's business. Every child is a consumer. More strain on this planets limited resources. More conflicts.

You sure seem pretty defensive about being a breeder. And pretty down on those who choose not to be as selfish as you.

As far as showing consideration for you and your ilk. You don't deserve any. You're selfish, ignorant and self-centered. All you care about is you need to breed. Then you try to pass it off as some grand humanitarian act, that's saving retirees and the elderly. Give me a break!

Alan

Anonymous said...

you are right about a lot Alan. both from a population point of view (and a lot of that depends on who you listen to..it may be a "who knows" thing) BUT you listen to what the litter spawners say: "its so simple"..REALLY now...raising kids is NOT simple any more than any relationship is. there is such a thing as being spread too thin. maybe if you just leave your kids to raise themselves and each other (like most of the catholic families in the neighborhood I grew up in did)or maybe if you pooh pooh as needlessly selfish what a lot of other parents are able to give their children as far as time and attention (which is exactly what these buttheads do to rationalize their actions) but if you are giving real time, well...you only have so much of it. I have yet to see an ultra big family where the older kids were not employed as extra parents. heck most of the big breeder mommies boast about how beneficial it is for their girls to act as surrogate mommies to their sibs so they can prepare to have litters of their own when they grow up.
as for the person who said that no one with big families makes comments about only children...PLEASE....I have had several folks say stuff right in front of my daughter before her brother was born. about how messed up she would be if I didnt hop to it and squirt out another one real quick. it helped my post partum depression incredibly. that and the titty terrorists. a lot of times the titty terrorists were the same people as the litter spawners. hmmm I was an only child and people said shit like that right to my face too. someone actually asked me if I thought my problems I had as a kid were from being an only child. puuulleease. I have heard plenty of testimonials from people raised in dysfunctional large families and the problems multiply the more kids there are. having more kiddos isnt going to erase basically dysfunctional dynamics in how people relate to each other. perhaps they will come up with different forms of dysfunction in different situations but you dont get rid of dysfunction by producing more kids.
and assuming the overpopulation stuff IS true...how flip to say that polluting the planets for future generations is of less importance than producing self centered only children (which is a myth) I might add on the selfishness note that the most selfish people i have ever met are without exception that way NOT because they were only children but because they felt they didnt get enough as kids, either through family dysfunction or in many cases because there were too damn many kids and not enough parental attention (note I did NOT say money or material goods) to go around. I think these idyllic big families, while I dont doubt they exist, are the minority. most are people who had too many kids so they could massage their ego and I suspect when these kids are adults, if you can get them to really be truthful and not say what they think people (esp their parents) want to hear, they will have a vastly different perspective on this.
the adoption thing came up because I think people can collect adoptive/foster kids the same way the rampantly breed and for about the same reasons. I am just suspicious of anyone who has a whole mess of kids for any reason.
yeah, I can see blended families because the kids are already there but besides that.

Anonymous said...

Tracy
One more thing. Breeders in America make the same argument as you. They claim the we don't have enough people paying into Social Security. We need more people to pay, for the ever increasing number of retirees.
Just one problem. Where does it end? When those increased numbers retire, you'll need even more people to pay for them. Then you'll need even more to pay for that increased number, who were needed to pay for the previous increased number-on and on, ad infinitum. It's a stupid solution. There are better ways.

The difference between us is, I truly think about these things. They worry me. I care what happens to my grand children (2) and this planet. You just have a knee-jerk reaction to any calls for a sane approach to overpopulation. Even to the point of lying about the problem. It's selfish people like YOU, that future generations will curse, not me.

Alan

Anonymous said...

you are right Alan. and these litter spawners are sorta like defense attorneys...they try and distract with nonissues (grammar, anonymous postings) to deflect from the real issue and make it look like they are right. neither is a valid point. you see people on all sides of all issues using bad grammar. a lot of it sometimes is when people type stuff online they just are not going to be proofreading it the way they would something more formal. I mean why should they? sometimes people get all heated too and that comes out in carelessly worded or punctuated statements. but the thing is, when you cant think of a rational argument then find the technical errors to deflect. as for the anonymity (sp???) some of us do not want to be known. that has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness or cowardice or lack thereof. it is prudent to not be known to people on the web. particularly people you might tick off. you are strangers to me. you are not people I know. why should I make myself vulnerable? not wise at all. I notice the people who bray the loudest for anonymous posters to IDENTIFY THEMSELVES or be forever labeled a coward; they are almost always people that in my opinion are extremely careless with online security issues, posting pictures, locations, etc etc of their kids for all to see. no thank you. if anything this points to the fact that I am excercising greater wisdom rather than tossing it out so I can use my kids to feed my ego online.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon.
You are so right about the security thing. There are so many nuts out there in web world. You don't want to have to open your mail with a remote robot. I've had many threats.

This will probably be my last post to this topic. I don't really expect to convert anyone, but I just might make them think. Thats a start. If anyone wants to keep the debate going, I'm at >shamgar50@comcast.net<
Fight the need to breed!

Alan

Samantha said...

I know that there would be many different people reading this blog, but for the meantime I'd like to address those who are of Euoprean descent.

At the end of August, 2000, white people became a 49.8% minority of the population of California, USA. Back in 1970 eight out of ten Californians had been white.

White people are currently about 60% of the population of London, UK, but on current demographic trends they will be a minority by 2010.

On current trends the white, founding population of Australia will become a minority by about 2050. (Leading demographer Dr Charles Price predicted in People & Place, Vol 4 No 4, that Anglo-Celts would make up only 62.2% of the Australian population by 2025.)

According to the US Census Bureau, whites will become a minority in the US between 2055 and 2060. By 2100 indigenous white people will be a minority in the UK.

According to the accompanying article, the population of Europe by 2050 will be just 7% of the total world population. By then, however, whites will be outnumbered in many parts of Europe.

Why does all this matter?

It matters because ethnic minorities in predominantly non-white nations are almost invariably dispossessed and seriously persecuted. Think of the poison gas attacks on Kurdish villages in Iraq. Think of the treatment of Indonesian minorities like the West Papuans and East Timorese. Think of the dispossession of white farming families in Zimbabwe. Or the genocide of Tibetans and Uighurs
by the Chinese. Or the white women in Africa gang-raped by blacks who apparently believe this is a cure for AIDS (see, e.g., The Australian, 9 Feb 1990). If you do not do something NOW to stop this happening, you are condemning your own children and grand-children to be dispossessed, and putting them on the path to eventual extinction.

But what can one individual do?

The first step toward solving a problem is to acknowledge it. In this case, all white people around the world must be made aware that their entire race is facing extinction within a few enerations. If you do not want this to happen you must alert everyone you know to the seriousness of this problem.

How much of my time would be needed?

At most, half an hour. Just half an hour out of your whole lifetime! Surely you can afford thirty minutes to help save your own children and grandchildren? Remember, extinction is FOREVER.

So what can I do?

Simply send this alert and the accompanying article to ten other
people, plus one politician who represents you at any level of government. If the first ten people who receive this alert forward
it to ten others (plus one politician), and if all the later recipients do the same, then within 20 days it will have been received by 10 BILLION addressees and by many, many white politicians.

How can I send it?

You can email it, post it, hand it to people, or letterbox it. There
is no need to identify who you are, unless you wish to. Either way, JUST DO IT within 24 hours. Pass this alert on to ten others, plus
one politician who represents YOU at any level of government.

Can I do more to help?

Of course you can. You could send this alert and the accompanying
article to more than ten people and more than one politician. You could seek to have them republished in a journal or newsletter or some other publication to which you have access. If you have access to the Internet, you could post them in newsgroups. If you are a webmaster, you could create a site devoted to this subject and promote it!. If you are bilingual, you could translate this alert and the accompanying article into another European language, then send them to at least ten speakers of that language, and be sure to ask those ten to do likewise.

The last days of a white world

We are near a global watershed - a time when white people will not be in the majority in the developed world, Britain included. The
Guardian's Anthony Browne reports

It was news and no news; the most significant milestone in one of
the most profound changes to affect the US in the past century, and
yet a non-event. Last week the US Census Bureau issued figures showing that non-hispanic whites made up 49.8 per cent of the
population of California.

Anglo-Saxon whites are already a minority in Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Now they are an ethnic minority in the country's most populous state, the one most usually identified with the American dream.

As recently as 1970, eight out of 10 Californians were white.
Fuelled by immigration at its highest rate since the start of the
last century, and higher fertility rates, the Asian and Latino populations of California have risen by almost a third since 1990. At the same time, with limited immigration and low birth rates, the population of mon-hispanic whites has fallen by 3 per cent. By 2040, hispanics are expected to be the overall majority in the state.

Where California goes, the rest of America is predicted to follow. At present 72 per cent of the US population is non-hispanic whites;
the US Census Bureau predicts they will become a minority between 2055 and 2060.

The shifting sands of the US reflect wider - and highly controversial - changes elsewhere in the world. It is an area in which few demographers dare to tread for fear of being accused of racism.

'You cannot quote me - a word out of place and I get crapped on from a very great height,' said one academic. 'Whatever you say you are deemed racist'.

The past millennium was more than anything the era of the whites.
Just 500 years ago, few had ventured outside their European homeland. Then, they settled in North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, southern Africa.

But now, around the world, whites are falling as a proportion of
population. The United Nations collects and produces a vast array
of statistics on population, but produces none relating to race or
ethnic origin. Indeed few countries collect their own figures on
ethnicity - in Europe, only the UK and the Netherlands do.

However, the UN's State of the World Population 1999 predicted that 98 per cent of the growth in the world's population by 2025 will occur in lesser developed regions, principally Africa and Asia. The most significant reason for this is lower birth rates in rich countries: in 61 countries, mainly the rich ones, people are no longer having enough babies to replace themselves.

In its World Population Profile 1998, the US Census Bureau predicted that by the second decade of this century all the net gain in world population will be in developing countries. 'The future of human population growth has been determined, and is being determined, in the world's poorer nations,' it said.

The global centre of gravity is changing. In 1900 Europe had a quarter of the world's population, and three times that of Africa; by 2050 Europe is predicted to have just 7 per cent of the world population, and a third that of Africa. The ageing and declining
populations of predominantly white nations have prompted forecasts of - and calls for - more immigration from the young and growing populations of developing nations to make up the shortfall.

In Britain the number of ethnic minority citizens has risen from
a few tens of thousands in the 1950s, to more than 3 million - or
around 6 per cent of the total population. While the number of
whites is virtually static, higher fertility and net immigration means the number from ethnic minorities is growing by 2 to 3 per cent a year.

One demographer, who didn't want to be named for fear of being called racist, said: 'It's a matter of pure arithmetic that, if nothing
else happens, non-Europeans will become a majority and whites a minority in the UK. That would probably be the first time an
indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority in its historic homeland.'

Lee Jasper, race relations adviser to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, predicted a similar future, telling The Observer: 'Where America goes, Europe follows 30 years later. There is a potential for whites to become a minority in some European countries.'

In Britain, that is almost certain to happen in London, and in the
relatively near future. 'At the moment ethnic minorities are about
40 per cent in London. The demographics show that white people
in London will become a minority by 2010,' said Jasper. 'We could have a majority black Britain by the turn of the century.'

In the United Kingdom, the number of people from ethnic minorities
has risen from a few tens of thousands in 1950 to more than 3 million now.

In Italy, the birth rate is so low that, without immigration, the
population is predicted to decline by 16 million by 2050.

The United States government predicts that non-hispanic whites
will become a minority in the country by 2055.

The United Nations predicts that 98 per cent of world population growth until 2025 will be in developing nations.

The population of Europe is expected to drop from 25 per cent of the world total in 1900 to 7 per cent in the next 50 years.

t in hd said...

Alan, along with working on your writing skills, work a bit on your reading skills (perhaps that explains your misinformation--you seem to only skim what you read). This planet is capable of supporting the life on it, it is how we are managing our resources (pollution, war, etc.) that is killing so many people and our planet--and I said as much in my post. I also pointed out that better management of those resources is the solution. Not calling parents of large families "breeders" or spewing your anger and hatred towards them. Neither will it save our planet if loving parents limit themselves to one or two children because they buy into this myth of overpopulation.

But kudos to you. You are already doing this planet a huge favour restricting your own breeding. You are doing your part to clean up the gene pool. Good for you. :-)

And to one of the many "anonymous" posters: posting your name will not do anything to compromise your security on the internet. It is just an indication of your ability to stand by your words. You will not find anything about my family or me on the internet even if I gave you my full name. Assuming I post my personal information online is just one of many assumptions you seem to have made.

And interestingly, my comment about the poster's poor writing skills was just an aside, not a basis for my argument, but it certainly has given you something to concentrate on in your posts. It's very telling when one's arguments are based on assumptions and the nit-picking of a single (if valid) comment.

Tracy

t in hd said...

One last post to all those who feel the need to accuse parents of large(r) families of selfishness and irresponsibility:

Do you recycle everything? I mean glass, plastic, paper of every kind, tin foil, metal cans, styrofoam, etc.?

Do you properly dispose of things like batteries, medications and hazardous/toxic materials?

Do you compost your compostable refuse?

Do you use an energy-efficient washing machine and hang your washing to dry?

Do you pay attention to how much soap you use and avoid chemical cleaners in favour of natural cleaning agents (such as vinegar, orange and lemon cleaners, etc.)?

Do you run all your errands on foot or by bike? Take public transportation even when it adds an extra 30-45 minutes to your commute or bike to work even when it is raining?

Do you obtain the vast majority of your and your family's clothing and your household goods where possible second hand? Do you repair what is broken and reuse it or make what you can where you can?

Do you cloth diaper, washing your own, using natural cleaners where possible and hanging them to dry? How about cloth baby wipes with water instead of disposable with chemicals?

Do you or the mother of your child(ren) breastfeed (saving a great deal of resources and rubbish)?

Do you garden to supplement the food on your table?

Do you avoid using pesticides and other hazardous materials?

Do you put on a sweater in the winter instead of turning up the heat? Do you pull the shades or blinds in the summer instead of turning on the air conditioner?

Do you buy whole foods and supplies in bulk instead of prepackaged and convenience foods and smaller packages of household supplies and toiletries (as small families and singles often do)?

Do you switch off your television, computer, media, etc. when it is not in use instead of leaving it on or in "stand by" mode?

Do you turn the water off in the shower while soaping and shampooing and only run it while rinsing instead of leaving it to run for the duration of your shower?

Do you avoid preheating the oven whenever possible (it is rarely necessary) and switch off the stove top just before the cooking is done (there is enough heat to finish cooking unless you use a gas stove)?

Do you use rechargable batteries instead of always buying (and disposing of) single-use batteries?



I do. My family does every single one of these things and more. And our children are learning that this is normal and responsible. (And no, we do not live a "country life". We live in a modest flat with garden in a relatively urban area.)

Before you judge my intelligence or commitment to this planet based on my family size, ask yourself the above questions.

We won't save the planet by brow-beating a small percentage of the population into having fewer children. The real difference is in how we manage our resources.

Tracy

Anonymous said...

i'll make katie a deal..she can have all the kids she wants as long as she doesn't bitch about them being in bad moods or having to drive them all over the countryside to school or the little amount of time she gets to spend with them because she has to work.

t in hd said...

And here's an idea for you: don't read her blog. Geesh, that was easy.

BTW, if you are in a relationship, be sure never to bitch about your partner because, after all, it was your choice. And please, don't bitch about your job because, after all, no one forced you to take that job. And please don't bitch to anyone about your friends, your car, your landlord or any other aspect of your life that you have any control of because, after all, these were your choices. Think you can do that? Thought not.

Anonymous said...

Tracy
The real horror that over-breeders bring to the world is, they produce more breeders. In time, your blight of ten offspring can increase at an alarming rate. More little breeder sows, popping out little consumers and polluters.

You and your ilk are a stain on the earth. Your like some kind of horrible plague, destroying the planet. You're too ignorant to understand what your doing. You live in La La land. Totally out of touch with reality. You think everything would be wonderful, if we'd all just breed more and try a little harder. If everybody had a compost pile, grew their own veggies and recycled, the world would become a perfect place. Climate change, Global warming, War, Hunger, everything bad would just flit away on baby butterfly wings.

In "Bunny Rabbit World", where you and the rest of the sows live, there's not a single problem that can't be solved by increasing the litter!



Alan

Anonymous said...

BTW. Ten was an example. I don't know how many you have.

Alan

t in hd said...

Yup, just like so much else you don't know about me but that doesn't stop you making your *ass*umptions. Your arguments just get weaker and weaker.

BTW, you haven't been very forthcoming about your own planet-healthy lifestyle. Hot air.

Anyway, I thought you were done here. I guess that was just more hot air. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I agree the earth could support a lot more people if people would just consume less. But this doesn't seem like something many people will voluntarily do, particularly in America.

Anonymous said...

Tracy
I wasn't going to post anymore, but the level of your ignorance makes it hard to leave.
As to what I do for the planet. I don't over breed. That's does more for the planet, than all your pathetic attempts combined.
You think your feeble efforts outweigh the added strain you place on the planets resources? Get real!

As for what I know about you. I know your ignorant, selfish and self-centered. I know you only think about your own personal gratification. I know you care nothing for the future of the planet. I know you can't control your need to breed. That it controls you like a drug. If you don't have your baby fix often enough, you feel empty and depressed, just like a junkie. You think the highest calling for women is to be a breeder sow. Traipsing around the house, with a baby hanging from each breast (which by now probably hang down to your knees) while day dreaming about your next pregnancy. I bet you get giddy just thinking about it.

In short, I know everything I need to know about you and your kind.

Alan

MOM TO 7 said...

Wow! Some of you are really freaking selfish and crazy...I love kids and have never thought of my family with seven children a status symbol! My children are bio and adopted...and I plan to adopt more. Children deserve a family!

Samantha said...

Wow, Alan, you sure do have a lot of hate for these families. Out of interest, do you have the same hate for, say, Africans and Indians pop out truckloads of kids which they -- in direct contrast to families such as Katie's -- can't clothe, feed or educate? Or is your hatred only limited to large White families who are behaving responsibly?

For the record, I don't hate either group. I am just saying things how they are -- which may not be "politically correct" but sure is FACTUALLY correct. Over-population is a problem of the developing world, and it is easing through better education and access to birth control methods. Over-population is not a problem of the developed world where the White race is hurtling towards extinction.

And before you say it, no, you can't supplant one with the other. That is called ethnic cleansing and genocide and is generally considered repugnant in most civilized places.

It's funny, everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY White country and ONLY into White countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are more crowded than Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries to "assimilate," i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-Blacks were brought into EVERY Black country and ONLY into Black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I'm not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane Black man to notice this and what kind of psycho Black man wouldn't object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the White race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

Anonymous said...

Our contribution to overpopulation is not that we are having more babies than people in Third world countries, but that our babies suck up so many more resources than theirs do. If everyone there lived like we do, the planet would choke on its own crap way sooner than it is going to already.

The average American consumes 20 times as much in natural resources as the average African and if all the people consumed at the level of high-income countries, the planet could support only 1.8 billion people, not the actual 6.5 billion."
from overpopulation.org

Anonymous said...

excellent points. and Alan, I think you are right about the "baby addiction". these women (and I used to be one of them but mercifully my husband had some common sense) are in fact thinking about the next baby while they are pregnant. its like a fix. pregnancy, nursing, babies makes them feel some big rush. looking back, pregnancy and birth and babies were hellish but I sure do have a couple of cool kids to show for it. the older they get, the more I like em. I notice a fair number of these baby addicts dont "get' their teenagers. to me, thats a far more important age to be influential. as long as you dont abuse them, babies are pretty flexible. teens..you have to have a lot of finesse. maybe thats the thing with baby addicts. just like people who overinvest in animals, a lot of them dont really have skills to communicate with adults and get along with adults so something nonjudgemental that needs them 24/7 fits the bill just right.

katie allison granju said...

...a lot of them dont really have skills to communicate with adults and get along with adults so something nonjudgemental that needs them 24/7 fits the bill just right.

Personally, I plan to teach my teenagers how to spell "judgmental."

-kag

Anonymous said...

gee count on Granju to pick out the spelling error to deflect. excuse ME...nonjudgmental...guess I wasnt an English major sweetie pie.

Anonymous said...

I agree about teens needing more help. In my case (Im the 'youngest of 6' anon) by the time I was a teen, my parents were consumed with dealing with the early marriages of their older kids and helping them out with their grandbabies!

Anonymous said...

Good grief, that's some insane racism, samantha. Maybe if you're worried that some children will be discriminated against, the best thing to do would be to take some action against ALL racism, by those of any race, instead of worrying that the inevitably unfortunate few will be carrying YOUR special genes. Who the hell cares whether most people in a given region have lighter or darker skin?

I expected an interesting discussion on this site, but I didn't expect a message exhorting a "white people, breed now so my grandchildren won't be a minority" chain mail. Yuck. Your views truly disgust me.

To answer the original question... I was raised with a very ZPG mindset. World population is still growing, and yes, I consider that a problem. I believe it is irresponsible to have more than 2 children, especially with lifespans increasing (driving the death rate down, so that it's not as certain that two old people will die during the time it takes you to raise your two children).

On the other hand, in developed nations it's becoming more accepted, and more common, to remain childfree. And, if birth rates and death rates are equal, then for every childfree couple, some couple out there (probably a couple much more suited to parenting) can have 4 kids. It makes sense for large families to increase even as more couples remain childless. It MIGHT all be balancing out.

This is my first comment... you can call me RJ if you need to refer to anything I've said. :)

Anonymous said...

okay, ya got a point about the evening out. but a lot of these people its not about four kids..its about keeping going and keeping going. and all you people who have a lot of kids need to read what the woman who is one of six said.

Samantha said...

"Insane racism"? Hello! I am not the one advocating for the genocide of White people!

Each society has its own word for HERESY!

Communists called all HERESY! fascism. Fascist Italy called all HERESY Communist.

Today, under the Politically Correct tyranny, HERESY! is called HATE! or "racism." Nobody wants to try to deal with a point like the one that I made, so they start demanding that nobody say it, just like any other tyranny does. They call people who speak HERESY! names.

You Political Correctness fanatics are playing a very old game.

When you call people names who disagree with you or scream Hate or racism, a.k.a., HERESY! it says nothing about the point we heretics make.

But it tells us ALL about YOU.

Anonymous said...

Keeping going and keeping going is completely wrong. Those people are letting their hormones rule them. And it is my business... I live on, and care about, the same earth their children and grandchildren do. --RJ

Anonymous said...

like I said, most of the reasons people have for having more than about four kids are when you come down to it, about them. not their kids. them. they may make excuses for their selfishness about how they are "developing character" by spreading themselves too thin and opine on about how "spoiled" modern kids are with the various types of lessons they are unable to afford because of the number of their children but when you look at why they have so many kids you can always see its about some inner need to breed. if they really cared about kids they would be volunteering with kids who have no one instead of just breeding more and more.