We’re currently in family therapy, all nine of us and two parents. Even with sessions being 90 minutes long, that gives each of us 8 minutes a week to talk about what is most important to us, assuming the therapist doesn’t talk at all. (spoiler: she does)
The best possible scenario for people to be seen and heard, and you end up with 8 minutes. If you tried to call one kid to check in on them weekday, it would take you over two weeks.
All this to say, we did not get enough attention growing up. Part of this is who my parents were specifically, part of it is the basic facts of nine people competing for the attention of two.
The narrative that religious extremists like to use for having many children is that they value life. If you really valued lives, you’d ensure that each life got what it needed. Got the attention and nurturing it deserved.
Making babies is the easy part. Raising them is a lot harder.
This is similar to the point people have made about how conservative often fight against abortion on behalf of the unborn – while neglecting the living.
One of the responses one hears is that in larger families, the older children parent the younger ones. Not only is this a completely unsatisfactory alternative to actual mature parents, but forcing an older child to care for a younger one, to be a parent to someone they did not choose to have anything to do with, is, in my opinion, a form of child abuse.
I believe parents should only have their children do chores as a learning lesson for the child about responsibility. Parents should never need their children’s help; if you need your teens to help you clean the house or watch the kids, get a cleaning lady and don’t have more kids.
It’s worth mentioning there are multiple studies that show an correlation between family size and educational achievement, some research specifically having been conducted on Israelis. Without diving too much into the studies, it seems that having a smaller family means there is more attention and resources available to children to allow them to reach excellence.
How I ended up so goddamn smart, well-adjusted, and good looking is anyone’s guess.
So, if you really value human life, produce less humans.