Occasionally I hear negative comments
about how I have too many children and about how I will
probably "brainwash" my children into wanting
lots of children too. I do not believe that I have
brainwashed my children into wanting lots children. I
have never told my kids that it is "best" to
have lots of kids or even "better" to have
lots of kids. I have never told them it is a
"sin" not to have a big family. I have never
tried to make them feel guilty for not automatically
wanting lots of children. If they do have a desire
to have a large family once married, I want it to be a
genuine one, not one that I coerced them into.
What I have done is shown them all the joys of
being part of a large family. I enjoy having many
children, and you just naturally want to share what you
enjoy. I do not force them to think the way I do, but I
do share my own enthusiasm for the things I believe in
and have been blessed with. I have also shown them
how much I love all of them and don't regret having many
children. I think they are entitled to know that at
least some mothers love having large families. The
world is full of mothers who don't, and if they want
that point of view they can easily get it everywhere,
from almost every woman they talk to.
Whereas many mothers complain about how hard it is to
have more than one or two children, I have never done
this because I truly have never felt that way. Yes, my
children all know that I highly prize each one of them,
and they know that I would welcome as many more as God
would choose to give me. I am also honest enough to tell
them that I have never been too crazy about being
pregnant. However, I sure am crazy about those sweet
little babies when they finally arrive.
I have also taught them that God's word is true, and
that according to God, children are a
"blessing", not the curse that some parents
make them out to be. If they don't seem to be a
blessing, perhaps it is because of the way they are
being raised, not because they were born that way.
I have also told my sons and daughters that sometimes
God does not always give many children, or sometimes any
children, even if the parents want them. They should be
willing to accept whatever God gives them, many children
or no children.
If my children do not want to have lots of children,
then I would not want them to have lots of children.
There is no redeeming value in simply birthing a large
number of kids. Yet I do believe that they should want
God's blessings, and that's what He says children are.
God valued his own son more than anything else. We are
also His "children" and He valued us enough to
die for us, so I'd say that's an awful lot too. God
wants us to value our own children as much as He does
His. If we don't value our children more than our
career, more than our independence, more than any
particular lifestyle, more than virtually every other
thing besides our husbands and God, then I don't think
we ought to be forced to have children. (Of course no
one is really "forcing" anyone to have lots of
children, are they?) I don't think that's the way God
intended it. I do believe that God does ideally want us
to want to have lots of children. I believe he
puts a natural desire in the heart of a good woman to
have children, and the desire to have lots of children
is often there too (if it has not been
"brainwashed" out of her).
Number of children and
I believe that the number of children
you have often plays a part in your choice of
"parenting style". When I had only one
child I managed to get by for some time without spanking
him. His natural personality was pretty cooperative, and
I had plenty of time to devote to thinking up ways to
gently persuade him to obey, or to gently manipulate him
into obeying. I could give him my undivided attention
all day long, so I didn't have to "trust" him
to obey in dangerous situations either, I could just
shelter him from danger without teaching him anything. I
was also never dealing with 2 or 3 other demanding
children whilst dealing with his demands at the same
time. I'm sure there were many other aspects of one-childness
that made it easier to avoid spanking. Please note, that
my firstborn son wasn't all that well behaved in his
heart, but I had managed for the most part to keep him
acting tolerably well on the outside in most situations.
However, a little disobedience, and a few bad attitudes,
and a certain amount of wildness, some slight mouthiness,
an occasional deception or lie, multiplied by 3 or 4 or
5 children, can quickly get to be pretty unbearable.
Often, mothers of many come to realize that they must
find a better way to parent. I did, and it's been so
much better ever since.
Personally, I believe we are designed to have large
families. If we weren't, we would not ovulate for years
and years, and our husbands would not desire us for
years and years. God would not have urged us to "be
fruitful and multiply and fill the earth".
Therefore, it seems to me that it is far more natural to
adopt a parenting method that works with one or many
children, as opposed to a parenting method that only
works with one or two children.
Children immediately after
Question: My children are
getting older and marriage won't be too far down the
road for them. I often hear other parents of young
adults tell their children that they should "wait a
year or two" after they marry before having
children so they can "adjust" to each other.
What do you think of this?
Answer: I know that many people tend to think
that way; we did too when we first got married, but now
I think otherwise. I don't think putting off having
children helped us any. In fact, it caused some
bitterness that I am still tempted to revisit now and
then. It also didn't help keep us together. When we
first got married we both agreed that although we would
live on my husband's wages alone, I would work
"until we had children" which we agreed would
be after the first year. The "having
children" part kept getting put off until one year
turned into three years, and I continued hating my job
and wanting something else. Every time I was angry the
thought would briefly cross my mind: "What am I
married for? I am working full time, and I don't have
any children, and I'm not happy, and I might as well
leave." Of course I didn't leave, because I
believed divorce was wrong, but it was a thing that was
much more tempting to think about before I had children.
On the other hand, after having my first child I was
suddenly far more motivated to work out any problems
that came up. I wasn't going to do anything to mess up
life for my beloved and helpless child.
Then of course there was the tremendous joy of having a
child. I was never that crazy about children before I
had my own, but when I did have my own they were
wonderful. I felt this is the way it was meant to be.
Anyway, now I teach my own children that having their
own children is part of what God intended marriage to
be, and if they are not ready to have children, then
they should not be getting married yet. Of course, God
does not bless everyone with children, but I believe we
should be ready and willing to accept them if He does.
(And remember that they are a "blessing" from
God. Should we not want a blessing?)
So when are you going to stop?
Question: I'm expecting my
fifth child and I'm so worried about what people will
think when they find out. I know the remarks and
criticism will start. What do I say to these people? How
do I convince them that I really don't mind having lots
Answer: I really don't waste any time worrying
about what others will think about this matter. Of
course I'm not getting any flack from our parents, and
nobody else matters to me on this subject. To me, I view
it as their choice if they don't want any more
children, and my choice if I do.
Not only do I "not mind"
having lots of children, but I want lots of
children! That attitude really helps when it comes to
being confronted by people who pity me for having so
many ("the best defense is a good offense").
When people say, "When are you going to stop?"
I laugh and say, "NEVER, I hope." When they
say, "How many more are you going to have?" ,
I grin and say, "As many as God gives me!" If
they say, "Is this your last one?", I look
aghast and exclaim, "I HOPE NOT!" That usually
ends it right there. Most people just say,
"Well you're a better woman than I am, two are
enough for me!" or something like that.
I try not to get in long, serious
conversations with any of these people on the subject,
especially if their basic motivation is a belief that I
am overpopulating the earth. The farthest I'll go is to
say to them, "I think my children are all
wonderful, and I hope I have another 10."
Now my own mother loves children and
has never discouraged me from having many. But,
supposing she thought differently. If I got pregnant
again (with number eleven), I'd cheerfully tell my
mother without hesitation. If she started scolding me, I
think I'd say this, "Mom, I appreciate your opinion
and concern, but I love having lots of kids, and I am
thrilled that I am pregnant, and I hope I am blessed
with more after this one." Then I'd drop the
discussion. If she pushed me, I'd just keep repeating
the same thing and do my best to stay out of an
Parents who worry:
Question: I'm pregnant again
and I dread telling my parents. I'm sure they will be
very upset and critical. It's not that they dislike the
idea of large families, it is just that they worry the
whole time I am pregnant. I want to handle this the best
way possible because I really do want to spare them the
pain and worry if I can. Any suggestions?
Answer: My mother is a super
worrier (she will admit this herself). She has never
complained about me having lots of children because she
had six herself and loves babies. But, she too
worries all the while I'm pregnant, and all the rest of
the time too, about everything possible and impossible,
so I guess I've finally come to the conclusion that I'm
never going to stop her from worrying. I avoid telling
her things that I don't have to tell her that might
worry her unnecessarily, but when I can't do that, I've
found that sometimes the best way to encourage her is to
be brief, logical, honest, and direct.
What would happen if (when your parents react
negatively to your announcement), you just sincerely
say, "Mom and Dad, I appreciate your concern, but I
love children and I love having children, and I am
thrilled that God has given me this child, and I hope he
gives me many more." (Then just keep repeating that
if they continue to hassle you.) How can they argue with
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