Over the years we have gotten many inquires about the various aspects of the Lotsofkids website, as well as questions about general large family thinking. Since a lot of the same questions keep coming up again and again, we decided to put together a list of frequently asked questions.
To help you what you're looking for, the questions are broken up into several categories. Some questions could actually work well in more than one of these sections, so we have done our best to place them where they are best suited:
Questions about website operation, navigation, terms, and its owners.
More personal questions about Lotsofkids' owners and beliefs.
General questions about large families and the Lotsofkids site philosophies.
Questions about website operation, navigation, terms, and its owners.
- Who are you?
Lotsofkids.com is a husband and wife team who have 8 kids. We are not your traditional family. We are both computer geeks and our kids have inherited our love of technology. We both enjoy comics and cartoons. It's sometimes hard for us to believe we have so many kids, , since we often feel like kids ourselves. We view parenting as an adventure that does not keep us from pursuing our dreams, but giving us 8 wonderful little lives to inspire and help make all of our dreams come true.
- Why did you start Lotsofkids.com?
This question is best answered in a article I wrote for the site on its first anniversary, and which can be viewed here.
- Do you really do the site all by yourself?
For the mostpart, yes. We solely do the adminstration and website building/design. We are fortunate to have a group of staffmembers who help us maintain our ever-growing message boards. Articles are written primarily by us, though we do get (and appreciate) contributions from staff and visitors. We have reprinted some works from other sources with permission and/or crediting of the original authors.
- How and where do you get all the information put in your articles?
Life is our greatest resource. We have learned a lot over the years simply by trial and error, and we share many of the gems with our visitors. An even more important resource has been the visitors of Lotsofkids and the large-family community as a whole. We have gained invaluable information, hints and tips which we have passed on to our visitors. Lastly, we also do it the old fashioned way...research. We plan out our features ahead of time, sometimes months in advance, then do extensive research on the subject, composing articles with our findings.
- You have such great graphics on the site. Where do you get them? Can I download them?
Thanks. I do a lot of my own graphics work, especially on the icons/smilies used on the message boards. For the main site, I have created many backgrounds, as well as drawing the comic, "Just One More..." I haven't done it in the past, but to avoid confusion, I plan to place a logo for my graphics on the various pages.
As for downloading the graphics, we ask that our visitors refrain for doing so. The graphics are here site decoration, not for your taking. Occasionally, I will offer some graphics for visitors to take, but those graphics will be specifically marked as so. If you like the graphics displayed on LOK, visit the sites of the various artists. As for LOK originals, please be respectful and do not copy the graphics. If you truly want something for your site, send us an email and we may be able to work something out.
Note, because of the problem of theft of graphics, many of the artists require a "no-right click" be placed on all pages. We are in the process of updating all pages on the Lotsofkids site for this purpose.
- What resolution is your site best viewed in?
No idea. ;O)
- How do I get around the site?
You just surf! There are navigation buttons on the front page, and navigation links at the bottom of each page. If there is just to much to do and see from the get-go, visit our Welcome Center. It tells you a little bit about the various sections of the site and what you might find there.
- The site is so big. I keep expecting to run into an ad somewhere. How do you do it without ads?
We don't like to see bunches of ads on a site, and we figured our visitors wouldn't either. So, we simply pay for the webspace ourselves. This site is truly a labor of love. We have been approached about advertising in the past, but feel that the site is best served if it is ad-free and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
- Do you accept advertising for the site?
No, and we have no intention of doing so. See the answer to the question above.
- Where's the Paypal button? I want to make a donation.
We have had offers for donations, but at least at this point in time, we have been blessed with the means to pay for the webspace and therefore we do not accept donations. We have started some other ventures to help us defer the cost of the hosting, so we hope that we will not have to ask for donations in the future. However, we do have a "never say never" approach. If it meant asking for assitance to avoid losing the site, we would. Thankfully, at this time, it's not necessary.
We have been very grateful for all the offers to donate to the site, and appreciate that people love Lotsofkids enough to help out in a monetary fashion. If you would like to still help, perhaps you'd like to volunteer some time or write an article. We can always use help in that area.
- I have a family business making handmade items. Nothing fancy. I'd love to advertise on your site. How can I do that?
I'm sorry, as stated above, we do not accept advertising on the site. However, if you are a small family business and have a product you'd like to offer to our visitors, we do have a Marketplace message board where you can post your information for free.
- Hey, I saw an ad for something on your front page. What gives?
What you saw was not an ad, but a personal endorsement for a product. Part of running a large household is finding and using products that will help you. Every now and then we find an item that we enjoy so much and feel is so beneficial, we want to share it with our visitors. These endorsements are not solicited by a manufacturer, and we receive no compensation for the recommendation. It is done simply as a service to our visitors.
- I am on dial-up and was wondering if there is a text version of your site available?
Not at this time. However, though we do have graphics to ornament our site, we make a very conscious effort not to overdo it; we want our pages to load quickly for everyone. We also optimize our pictures so they load faster. If you're still having problems, since most of the graphics on our site are page backgrounds, if you disable backgrounds through your browser, that may help speed things up for you a bit.
- My daughter tried to get into the kids' forum but couldn't.
All children are welcome to visit our Kids Only section, where they can find games and other goodies. For the safety of our children, the kids message boards are password protected. All participants must have an account set up manually by LOK staff. To request access, visit this page for more information.
- How often is the site updated?
It has varied. Our goal is to update monthly, on the first Tuesday of the month. Sometimes we will do a mid-month update as well. However, having a large family plus full-time jobs does hinder us a bit. We are notorious for falling off schedule. It usually takes a bit of work, but we eventually get back on track. That said, you'll usually find *something* new on the site at least once a month. We make it a point to post annoucements of new content and messages about update delays on the home page, so it's a good thing to check there occasionally. You can also find more detail information in our Webmaster's Corner page.
- How do I find out what's going on with the site and when?
Check out the LOK Calendar.
- I don't have a large family, but I think it's neat that some people do. Can I still visit your site?
First of all, the site itself is open to everyone who has web-access. Anyone is free to browse our articles, features, games, and more. In fact, many small families find the tips and hints helpful when running their own households.
Our messageboards are open to all individuals who are supportive of large families. The majority of posters are parents of large families themselves, but we welcome all others who, for various reasons, do not or cannot have numerous children. The only criteria is that we ask those visiting the boards to be respectful of each other and the idea of having a large family. We ask that if a visitor has views and beliefs contrary to the general beliefs of this site, that they refrain from negative behavior and find another site that is more suited to their comfort level.
- Why isn't your site more religious-based?
When I was searching for sites that supported large families, I actually found quite a few who did so from a religious angle. These sites are wonderful, but I realized there was a more general need. Not all large families are religious, and not all religious have large families. I realized that a general gathering place was needed, where the common element was first and foremost family size. For many, even the deeply religious, the size of their family is not totally about God, but their desire and love of life and children. I wanted a site that would focus on everyday things, like cleaning and cooking and managing your household from a large family point of view.
More personal questions about Lotsofkids' owners and beliefs.
- What do you do for a living?
By day, Jim is a computer programmer for a major newspaper and Michelle is a legal secretary for a lawfirm in downtown Chicago. We also administer about a dozen different websites. In recent months, we have also started our own webhosting business, to help defer the server costs for our various websites.
- How do you manage to run this website with 8 kids?
We get up really early in the morning and drink a lot of coffee! Despite what people think, your life does not end when you have a large family. Granted, we are probably busier than most families, but we still get free time. My kids have a built-in support system and playgroup, and can occupy themselves for long periods so we can get web-work done. Plus, the kids love sitting on our laps while we work on the computer. Of course, while we're working on webdesign, we'll periodically switch to Pokemon.com or another kids site so they can play for a while.
- What one thing do you love the most about being a parent of a large family?
Just one? As you can imagine, there are so many. But, if I had to pick one, I would say it is marvelling how unique each child can be. You would think that when you have 8 kids that there wouldn't be that much variety, that the kids would be somewhat similar. Truth is, I am staggered at how different they can be, how they develop unique interests. Watching how the kids interact with each other, show affection in different ways, take different roles in the makeup of our family is simply incredible. Every day is an adventure, a marvel.
- What one piece of advice would you give people on how to handle a large family.
Get a good organizational system in place. That doesn't mean you have to be a super organized person, which is often a misconception about parents of large families. But, with some sort of system in place, you can handle most anything. What system depends on you and your family makeup. Find one that works with your family dynamic and then stick to it. Oh, and an equal piece of advice, don't stress the small stuff. Your house will get clean someday. That stain on the couch won't be noticable if you throw a quilt over it, that load of dishes can wait until morning. Children grow up so fast, and even if you have 7 or 10 kids going from baby to adult, that time will fly. You don't want to regret missing it because you were worried about the "details." Enjoy your kids now and worry about the other stuff when they're older and/or have left the nest.
- Oh my goodness, 8 kids! You must love being pregnant, right?
Actually, I really do not like being pregnant at all! There are women who enjoy being pregnant and love every minute of it. I am usually sick and tired and have few truly good moments. 9 months is a long time, but relatively short when you realize at the end you will have this precious little one in your life for years to come. Pregnancy is a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. I do not have a large family because I like being pregnant, but because I love having children.
- My goodness, 8 kids, you must be a saint. How do you do it?
Well, from a purely technical point of view, I don't believe anyone has ever been canonized simply for having a large family. Seriously, though, while it is true that parents of large families do have to learn the virtues of patience, selflessness, and unconditional love, simply having more than 2-3 kids does not make someone superwoman. I handle it like most parents do, one day at a time. I have my moments of weakness, and those times when I simply lose it and can't handle it anymore. Most moms of 1 or 2 kids I have talked to have those types of moments too. I personally believe when one gets overwhelmed, it has more to do with the stress of society and the unrealistic expectations put on parents rather than family size.
This question/comment is presented quite often to large families. I think one of the main reasons is that it's hard for many people to truly believe they could handle a lot of kids, so they presume that those parents must have extraordinary personality traits. Truth is, we are normal people, just like they are, and there is a chance that if they really wanted it and put their minds to it, they could have and handle a large family just as well as we can.
- What is the biggest chore in your household?
Laundry. I know some large families would argue something else, but I think the general consensus of LOKers is laundry.
- It must cost a fortune to raise those kids. You must be rich.
One of my favorite sayings is "lifestyles cost money, not kids." While it is true, raising kids, feeding and clothing them, and providing their basic needs and education does cost money, it hardly means one has to be rich to do it. Large families often live on the same income that many smaller families live on, but through frugality, inventiveness, and learning to separate needs from wants, they are able to raise their children within those modest means.
General questions about large families and the Lotsofkids site philosophies.
Having a large family is not very popular in today's society. Sadly, some parents are ostrocized and verbally reprimanded for their decision to have more than 2 children. The choice to have a large family is often challenged or criticized. Below you will find examples of real questions and arguments regularly presented to us and to other large families. We feel that addressing some of these types of issues in this FAQ will help others have a better understanding of why we and other parents choose to have lots of kids, and perhaps dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings surrounding that choice.
- Why do you think everyone should have a lot of kids?
Actually, we don't believe that. Most of our families and friends have small families, and we're fine with that. In fact, we are of the belief that there are certain people who are probably better suited for a small family and would not do well with lots of kids. This site is not meant to push people into having more kids or place guilt on anyone. Its primary goal is to be a place where families who choose to have numerous children can come and find support. Because there is such an anti-large family sentiment in society, our goal is to create a safe environment where large families can find resources and information. We also try to provide a place where those curious and perhaps considering having lots of kids can see what our lives are like and know that it can be done. We try to show that children are an incredible blessing, and despite the challenges of having lots of kids, the rewards and enrichment are far worth it.
Isn't it irresponsible to have a large family because...
- ...no one could possibly care for that many kids?
They can and they do. Quite well, too. Now, it does take some work, and wouldn't be considered the easiest job, but it's certainly not an impossibility. Feeding a crew simply means making more food and setting out more plates. Bath time just takes a bit longer and is in shifts. Reading a story to a group of your children is just as easy as reading it to one. Sure, you have less time to devote to each one daily, but you find quality time, and your children learn how to deal with less serious matters by themselves. While there may be a limit on time, despite misconceptions, there is not a limit on love. There are enough hugs for everyone.
There are many parents with 2 kids who have a hard time keeping up and caring for their children. In many ways it really isn't about how many kids you have, but how you parent, how you organize your time, and other factors. Another thing to consider is that large families were not uncommon 50 years ago. 50 years ago they had t.v., had telephones, and lived life very much like we do now. It was possible for people to care for 12 kids back then. With our advances and technology, theorhetically, it should be easier now. Of course, things moved at a slower pace back then, but that really doesn't change the fact that from a physical point of view, humans are very capable of caring for many young.
- ...they are a drain on society and the government?
There is a grave misconception that large families sit on welfare rolls, shelling out children to get more money. This is far from the truth. Large families are just like small families. True, there are some large families who receive government assistance, just like there are small families who are on welfare. For the vast majority, that is not the case. Large families have working parents, contribute to charity, and purchase goods with their own money. In fact, most large families are very efficient, and due to lack of support from society, tend to take on and do more for themselves. In general, they tend to ask for help less often.
That said, there is nothing inherently wrong if a large family is forced to go onto welfare for a while. Good people have found themselves in a position where they have needed to depend on assistance in order to get back on their feet. Just because a family has lots of children does not mean they are less entitled to this. It is unfair to view a small family that needs assistance as warranting compassion and pity, whereas if a large family goes on welfare it is presumed they caused their own problems and are sucking off the system. Unemployment and hard times can hit anyone, regardless of family size.
- ...the world is overpopulated and you are worsening the problem.
This is actually a myth. Many countries are struggling with a shortage of births and are offering incentives for people to have children. Granted, the United States is not in this situation...yet. Currently, we are at 0 population growth, meaning we are having enough births to replace those dying. However, birthrates have been declining for years, so it is conceivable that we will be in the negative birthrate soon and will be faced with problems in a few generations where there will not be enough young people to care for and support the elderly. This is not even to mention the problems it will cause for the already struggling U.S. Social Security system, which depends on the young paying in to support the benefits for the old. For some actual statistics on this issue, and to refute the idea large families are a serious threat to overall population, check out this LOK article.
- ...you are a drain on natural resources?
There is a strong argument that the greatest natural resource is the human mind. Many of the apparent shortages of the past were dealt with and eliminated by the advancement of technology, as individuals tackled and created solutions to looming problems. Large families simply expand on what every parent hopes and dreams for: that our children will contribute and help make the world a better place. It's much easier for a group of people to tackle a project than one person alone. Having lots of children gives the world a bigger pool of knowledge to help address those issues.
From a more immediate viewpoint, charging that large families are a drain is again a misconception. Most large families are very frugal. There is little waste, simply because less has to go a longer way. Food has to be stretched farther. Clothing is usually recycled through several children. Many cannot simply afford to use paper products, and thus cloth-diaper, use real napkins, etc. Some even supplement by growing their own food. If you were to compile 2 separate families of 4 and compare them with a single family of 8, in many cases you'd be surprised just how much less the family of 8 consumes as opposed to the 2 smaller families.
- ...because people should be in charge of their reproductive systems?
In an age where choice is touted, this question is one of the most curious. It is also one of the most presumptuous. Being in charge of your fertility is not exclusive to using artificial birth control. Many large families use one means or another to space pregnancies. Having a large family is a well-discussed, planned, and conscious choice, not simply a lack or failure of birth control. While it is true that some families do not do anything to impede fertility, there are many who use fertility charting and natural family planning, as well as those who use artificial means like the Pill or condoms. There are also parents who have taken measures to permanently prevent future pregnancies, but only after having made the choice to have 6 (or even 10) children. To say that most large families are not in charge of their fertility, and suggest that large families are the result of a series of unplanned pregnancies, is totally untrue and unfair. If one truly prides themselves on choice and freedom, it is absurd to criticize one for exercising their right and choice not to limit their family size.
- ...your children will not receive the attention they need from you, and they will be neglected?
The term neglected is pretty harsh. It is true that children in large families oftentimes do not get the one-on-one time their small family counterparts do. That hardly means they are being neglected. Again, this is yet another issue that is attached to large families, when it is actually an individual problem. Having a small family does not guarantee success. There are many parents who brag about how they provide for their children, yet in the pursuit of career and wealth, spend little time with their kids. From the outside, it may appear that that child and his one sibling are in a perfectly size family, yet the reality is they are receiving less attention than a child in a large family.
Another aspect that has to be considered is that not all attention need come from a parent. Certainly, a mother and father need to be involved and interactive with their children, but siblings play a big part in a large family dynamic. In fact, there are times when our own children do not want us around and would rather be with their sisters and brothers. The majority of children in large families are provided with loving homes, their basic needs, and parents who make every effort to spend time with them, even if it's not as much as a child in a small family would get. Children in large families learn that everything has value, including time, and they get a sense of how truly special it is when their parents take that time to spend with them.
- Do you really think it's wrong that I limit my family size so I can give my children nice things?
There is nothing wrong with giving your children nice things. Though, it has been documented that overindulging your children could have negative affects on them. That said, I'm assuming you're a conscientious parent and don't do that. So, from a purely straightforward standpoint, no, you have the right to limit your family for whatever reason you feel fit. The problem is when people criticize large families because they do not feel material things are as important. There is the misguided belief that a child who has more stuff is happier and more well-adjusted. That is just not true. If you feel its best that your children have the best of everything, while I may not agree with that, I accept that as your decision.
- I understand not overindulging your kids, but isn't it wrong to deprive them of some fun and things that normal children should have?
I am continually amazed by how much most large families are able to provide their children with. Video games, toys, nice clothing, outings, vacations, and more. The difference is, most large families view these luxuries as extras. Giving your children toys to play with is something all parents feel is important, but does a child truly need a whole room full? Do they honestly need so many clothes that they grow out of some before wearing them? Isn't it true that in many ways, camping can be just as exciting as spending a week in a nice hotel?
One of the points of contention between large and small families is what constitutes an adequate lifestyle. For one person, having their own room filled with video games, electronic equipment, and toys is a child's right. Others feel that providing food, shelter, comfort, emotional support, and an abundance of love is all that a child truly needs, with the rest being optional.
It is a proven fact that children who are given everything they want, without limitations, have a very difficult time in life. It is not wrong to want to give your children nice things, but many large families understand that not everything that is beneficial costs money. Having siblings to play with and form relationships with is a very important thing. Teaching a child that things cost money and need to be earned helps build their character and integrity. I do not think most large families feel their kids should do without fun stuff. They are simply more aware that when child has to do without a luxury, they learn to appreciate what they have a bit more.
- So, you think it's okay that people have a lot of kids when they can't afford or don't have the time to take care of them?
Again, this is an issue that is directed at and made to look like a large family issue when it's more of a general question. It is not our place to judge who is fit or unfit to have a family. However, having children is definitely an important thing and one that should not be taken lightly. It is certainly adviseable that if a family truly cannot care for more children that they consider holding off on becoming pregnant. On the other hand, financial situations, such as most things in life, are subject to change. It is wrong to say a family should never have more children just because they can't afford it now. Just as it is equally wrong to judge someone as irresponsible for having a large family when in the past they did have adequate means, but perhaps suffered a job loss or other tragedy that put them in an adverse position.
All families, irregardless of size, should be mindful of their limitations when adding a family member. But, again, not being able to afford a child is subjective. Feeding, clothing, educating, and providing adequate love for a child is really all that is necessary. Many people would be amazed how affordable raising a large family can be if they looked at it from what is needed, as opposed to the wants and luxuries which can be costly but are not required to raise children.
- I have dreams for my children. I want my son and daughter to succeed. If I had more than 2 children, my kids would not be able to attend college and excel in life.
This is yet another misconception about large families. The cost of college is often used as a benchmark of how affordable a child is. There is stress on starting a savings account when a baby is born. While this is all very honorable, and certainly benefits a child, the absence of advance planning, or inability to finance a college plan, does not doom a child to failure. First of all, there are many parents of small families that find they cannot afford college, or that their children do not want to pursue a degree. While a large family may not have a lot of savings, or have the benefit of college trust funds for each of their kids, there are still options available for their child to pursue higher education. Scholarship, grants, and student loans provide assistance in the financial area. Not to mention there is nothing wrong with a child working his/her way through college. Most large families that I know encourage their children to be the best they can, be it through college, trade school, or other training. If you looked at the numbers, you would probably be surprised how many children in large families obtain a degree in one manner or another.
- Don't you think it's wrong that large families get tax breaks? It means small families are supporting you.
I honestly do not know one large family that had more kids simply to get a tax break. Even still, the fact that large families get tax breaks might be unfair if they were the only ones getting breaks. Many small families have devices and financial planning in place to limit their taxes. People invest in real estate and other measures to limit their liability. There are different tax breaks for all levels of society, irregardless of family size or status.
That said, large families may get a big refund at the end of the year, but this is usually a small compensation for what they pay out. Consumers fuel the economy. In a large family, there is less expendable income. Their money comes in and goes right back out into the community for food and living necessities. There are also many other taxes and fees which are paid that will not be refunded or deferred, such as sales taxes, municipal fees, licenses, and more.
- Your kids are being subsidized by society because single individuals and small families have to pay taxes to finance the schools.
Again, this might be a valid argument if schools were the only things your taxes went towards. One could argue equally that they shouldn't have to pay for the local park district simply because they never use it. Taxes cover a multitude of services, including street maintenance, police and firemen, and a variety of other things. There are many services that large families pay for that they never utilize, but individuals and small families do. Since it would be impossible for the government to determine who uses what services, taxation is across the board, and when it averages out, we all pay our share.
- I still don't buy it. I don't have any kids in school, you have 10. Even if I use other community services, it doesn't average out. I get no benefit.
You do not get a direct benefit from the school system because you choose not to utilize it. If you change your mind and have children in the future, you would then have the opportunity to enjoy that service. However, there is some contention as to whether you receive no gain at all. It is a proven fact that individuals without children do benefit from their tax dollars going to schools. Schools are a major part of a community's worth, and thus a large factor when determining property value. More tax dollars usually equate to better schools, which equate to higher appreciation of real estate. So the argument that paying taxes for schools is not beneficial to those who won't use them is unfounded.
Lastly, it should be noted that a good number of parents with large families choose to homeschool. These people pay taxes towards the schools, without personal benefit, just the same as anyone else. If you consider the law of averages, far more people with small families utilize schools than large families.
- I heard that most large families homeschool because it would be too hard for them to juggle the school schedules of all of those children? Isn't that bad for them because they will not learn how to socialize with other kids?
First of all, more and more families in general are choosing to homeschool. It is not exclusively those with 4 or more kids. Secondly, while some families do enjoy the luxury of not having to juggle multiple schedules and worry about the morning rush every day, I would be hard-pressed to find a parent who would say that was their main motivation for homeschooling.
Socialization is a big sore-spot in the homeschool debate. We're not here to advocate for or against homeschooling-- we simply support a parent's decision to do what they feel is best for their child. That said, if you were to argue against homeschooling on the sole basis that a child would not be exposed to other children, that would hold a lot less weight in a large family. Having lots of siblings gives a child exposure to peers on a daily basis. As for the argument that the child needs to be around children their own age, again we can look to history. In years past, and even more recently in very small towns and communities, schools were small and children of different ages often shared a classroom. Just because we live in a day and age where things are more technologically advanced, that does change human nature. Children were effectively schooled then, and can be schooled quite well in the same type of environment now.
- How can you have a large family when there are millions of children starving in third world countries?
It is a travesty that there are so many children who are neglected and dying in the world. These children are not dying because families in America (or other developed countries) are having more than 2 children. They are dying because of the varied, and often unjust, policies of these particular countries. Wars and other factors beyond our control ravage the lands and their people. Countless agencies try to bring food to these people, only to be thwarted by their own governments.
Politics aside. You cannot save the children of Africa by denying an American the right to have children. Less people using less groceries here will not mean that food will go to one of the starving children. We do have an obligation to help the world, by donating our time and money to these causes. However, for the mostpart, having a large family does not preclude people from doing this. As much as we care for our neighbors of the world, we must also worry about our own country and population. Right now, America, and much of Europe, has experienced a decline in population growth, which could have serious consequences in the future. How can we help the world when a few decades from now we may have too few people to support our own economies, much less other countries.
- What about the children going hungry right here in our country?
Again, if a family eats less, that does not mean that food will go to a starving child. To stomp out hunger, people need to be involved in their communities, donating time and money. Large families, just like small families, give money to charity, donate to food drives, and do other things to help those less fortunate. It is wrong to make the issue of hunger one about large families. Many childless couples and small families choose to spend significant money on material luxuries...money that could easily help feed the hungry. To suggest large families (which make up less than 6% of the families in the U.S.) are the cause of--or a major contributor to--hunger, is ludicrous.
- If you want a large family, why not adopt an orphaned child rather than have more biological children?
First of all, there is nothing wrong with a couple wanting their own children. It has nothing to do with the idea of them feeling they have "superior genes," as some people claim. Children are simply one of the wonderful joys which come from the love and union of two people. Of course, there are practical reasons for wanting your own offspring, like having an available medical history, understanding a child in perspective to their parents and other relatives, as well as simply having a special bond with a child who is yours.
Still, even though most large families have many biological children, you will find that a good number would be willing to accept more children through adoption. The major hurdle is the exorbitant cost. Most families simply cannot afford $20,000 to $30,000 for a child. And this has nothing to do with the fact they have lots of kids, since many childless couples cannot afford this cost. In addition, most adoption agencies are aligned with "small family" ideals, meaning they discourage children not having their own rooms, or will disqualify parents for making too little, even though the family is able to support their other children well on that income. There are many large families that would gladly take in an "unwanted" adoptee, but are prohibited by financial roadblocks and red tape.
That said, there are a sizeable number of large families who have overcome those obstacles and have added numerous children to their households through adoption. It should also be noted that many of those families choose to adopt special needs children who would not otherwise find a home. However, while the idea of families expanding through adoption sounds appealing, most large families that are comprised of a number of adoptees are still lambasted and criticized. The general idea of large families is unacceptable to most, regardless of whether the children are biological or adopted.
- Having a large family is just wrong. Even if you are frugal now, with so many children, and their children's children, and their children's children, it's gonna affect the environment eventually. The earth simply cannot accommodate that many people!
While I'll agree that every human being is going to impact the earth in one way or another, whether the earth is unable to handle it is debatable. While you can find many people who feel that the earth is at the breaking point already, you can find just as many that believe that the planet could easily support double or triple the population we have now. We personally believe that the Earth can handle it. Our belief is not based on false hopes and delusions, but by looking at the past.
First of all, the idea that the earth was at a breaking point population-wise has been around for years. In fact several prediction dates of doom-and-gloom from years past have come and gone without notice--and without the foretold population distasters ever materializing. Regardless, naysayers continue to argue that the population has grown too much. Truth is, it has grown because it has been able to grow. Advances in technology and medicine have allowed us to live longer and have more productive lives. Looking ahead to the future, scientists are working on ways to provide clean water to every human being on the earth. Agricultural advances have allowed us to grow food in areas which were once thought barren, and future discoveries promise to help us to continue to maximize crop growth. Again, the idea that too many people are a bad thing is countered by the fact that having an ever-growing pool of knowledge from the human mind allows us to come up with solutions to the dilemmas that face us. My favorite quotes in this regard is "People are not a problem. People solve problems."
That said, getting back to the present, I think you are underestimating the importance of raising responsible, earth-conscious, children. Many of those who have examined the issue of overpopulation and human impact on the earth stress that one of the main problems is irresponsible use of resources. Teaching children to consume less and re-use are things that will not only be practiced by the child, but presumably passed down to their own children and grandchildren.
- Isn't it only your opinion that large families are a positive thing?
I'm sure a person could find studies showing large families are detrimental to kids, and you can find studies that debunk those studies. So, ultimately, it boils down to one opinion against another. You're right, it is only an opinion, but one I have formed based on intimate experience. That said, your view that large families are a bad thing is just an opinion too. Again, at Lotsofkids.com we are not here to try to persuade people to embrace a large family mindset. We are here to support the families who do choose to have lots of kids, and to ask others to respect that decision even if they disagree with it.
- I admire you, but I just could not have a large family. How do you feel about that?
You know what, that's okay. Really, we aren't looking for everyone to have large families. What we want is simply to be accepted for our choice to have lots of kids. We don't want to be viewed as freaks. We accept your choice to limit your family size, and we hope you accept our choice to have more than the family average of 2 kids.
- I saw a t.v. show once where a mom of many was regretting her decision to have lots of kids. How do you feel about that?
I'm sorry she feels that way. However, just because one mom regrets how many children she has does not mean that all parents of large families feel that way, nor does it justify society saying that all large families are wrong because this woman proves it can't be done. Personally I have questioned my decision to have a large family, usually during a very stressful time in my life when other factors are weighing heavily. Every time, after the dust settles, I realize it was silly to think such things; I love my kids and life. Most people, big family, small family, no family, look back and wonder why they made this decision or that. I'm sorry if that woman regrets having her large family, but there are lots of people who regret a lot of different things, so as with many issues, this is more about the person rather than having a large family.
- Why do you think there aren't that many large families these days?
Sadly, until just a few decades ago, large families were common. Despite what people say, things have not changed that much in 50 years. Attitudes have. People are more focused on material things. Having a large family does not allow them to have the things they want. Many of the parents of large families are simply embracing the ideas of generations before us, ideals that worked very well for hundreds of years. Nowadays the majority of people don't feel the same way.
- What's the difference between a large family and a mega family?
A mega family is considered "larger than large." In some respects, these families have what would be equivalent to 2 large families. Classically, the term "mega" describes families with 10 or more children. These children can be comprised of biological children, adoptions, blending of families, or a combination. On Lotsofkids.com, we have loosened the definition a bit, classifying those with 8 or more as mega, since that is when the family dynamic changes dramatically for most people (driving a 12-15 passenger van everywhere, needing 3 hotel rooms for vacations, etc).
- I read somewhere that having lots of kids is a status symbol? Is that true?
As is true with many things in life, more is usually equated with a high standard. Meaning if someone owns 3-4 cars, they are viewed as being well off. Own lots of real estate and you are presumed to be very wealthy. So, some people think if a family has 4 or more kids, they must be rich. Well, while it is true that some parents of large families are set financially, that is rarely the reason they have a large family. To the contrary, most people avoid having "too many" children so they can maintain a high standard of living. The majority of parents who have 4 or more kids are not wealthy, and their choice is usually based on personal reasons, not on what society or their neighbors thinks.
It should be mentioned that while the idea of 4, 5, or even 6 kids may eventually be viewed as a status symbol by the world, when families start having more than that, say 8 or 10, society still views them as being irresponsible, or just plain crazy.
- Don't most people have large families for religious reasons?
While it is true that many people have large families are religious to some degree, that is not always the case. In fact, there are quite a few families we know of who do not have a practicing religion or are atheist. Children are a wonder and give their parents such joy. People of all races, creeds, and religions have learned and embraced this, and have expanded their families accordingly.
- You people are just having lots of kids in the hopes you'll eventually outnumber those who oppose your beliefs.
I am continually amazed at the number of people who sincerely believe this is the motivation of the large family "movement". There have even been reports in the media that large families are a part of an underground movement to create a religious army of the future. That kinds of sensationalism makes for good newsprint, but it's far from the reality. I think I can safely say that most large families do not adhere to such beliefs.
A very small number of families may have radical religious motivations behind their family size, but the vast majority of parents with lots of kids simply love having a big family. In fact, if asked, a good number would have more children if they could, but because of financial, medical, and other personal issues, they have chosen to stop at a given number. Hardly a practice if you are trying to grow an army. That said, there are some individuals who have large families, and continue to have more children for religious reasons. It is not in the hopes of trying to overrun the earth, but simply adhering to their belief that they should be open to life and therefore accept as many children as they are blessed with.
- If you have lots of kids, you're considered quiverfull, right?
Not entirely. It is true that some parents of large families consider themselves quiverfull, but not all of them. Quiverfull is a religious belief that a person does not do anything to enhance or impede fertility, so that ultimately God is in control of how many children they have. Since not all large families are religious, and many use natural and artificial means to space pregnancies, those parents are not considered quiverfull. For more on this subject, you may want to read this article.
- Isn't it unfair that a family can have 12 kids and some people can't even have one?
Yes, it's terribly unfair. Since large families in particular have a deep grasp of the worth and joy each child brings, I think they often feel more hurtful for the parent struggling with infertility. Yet, simply because a person cannot have a child does not mean it is wrong for another to have numerous children. Many of those suffering infertility can feel resentment towards large families, feeling we are selfish for having so many children when they can't have one. That's unfair too since we are not the cause of their infertility, and therefore their anger is truly misplaced.
- I know a mother who is in her early 40s, and she is trying to have another child. Isn't that wrong since she has an increased chance of birth defects because of her age?
Whenever this question arises, I have to answer with another question: Would the risk be acceptable if a woman was trying to conceive her first child?
In recent decades, many women are pursuing their careers, and thus postponing having children. That means that their first baby is conceived in their 30s, 40s, even 50s. This is despite the fact that the risk of defects due to maternal age are even higher when it's a mother's first child (as opposed to the mother who has had other children). The point is, these women understand the chances of genetic problems later in life. They are willing to take the risks for that coveted first baby--and they are often strongly supported and encouraged by society. To suggest that a mom-of-many is wrong for doing the exact same thing is irrational and unfair.
- Someone on the site got mad because I said I can't have a large family. What's up with that?
Well, we cannot control the emotions of all of our members. However, I do believe that the anger may have arisen from the reasoning behind the word can't. While it is true that some people suffer from infertility or other circumstances where they truly cannot have a large family, the majority of people actually could but choose not to. If a person has a big house, numerous cars, and likes to take extravagant vacations, then says they can't have a large family, that's not really a truthful statement. They choose not to have a large family because they could not maintain their lifestyle. They could afford it if they tried, but they don't want to. We're not judging that decision, but stating a fact.
Manytimes large families are put under scrutiny and their decision to have lots of kids challenged. One of the biggest arguments is that they cannot possibly afford a large family. When people with small families fall back on the whole idea they can't have a large family, it gives our critics ammunition against us. If people were more truthful and admitted it has to do with choice rather than true ability, it would help diffuse those arguments.
We know that we have not covered all the questions that are asked of large families, but we hope we have answered enough to help give you a general idea about the site and our philosophies. If you have a burning question you would like answered and/or think would be a good addition to this FAQ, feel free to complete our feedback form. We can't guarantee we'll add it to this list, but we'll try our best to answer your inquiry and will give it fair consideration for inclusion in this article.
Answers by Michelle Lehmann