What's One More?

So TLC's super sized family the Duggars are expecting again. I have been surprised at the rather harsh criticism they have received on their news. People are outraged and being very mean in their opinions that enough is enough. I have heard comments that they are using their children to make money off of TLC and that having a large family is easy for Michelle & Jim Bob because the older children are responsible for the younger ones which is neglectful to them. The older children should be let to be children and not such young parents.

I am not sure that I am on the "have 10 more kids if you want them" wagon yet but I do feel strongly that we should step back and think about our criticism for a second. There are millions of children much younger than the eldest Duggar kids forced to be mini adults. In their case it is because their parents FAIL to be parents. The poverty stricken youth whose parents are sometimes so addicted to drugs that children 7, 8, 9 or older are forced to take care of younger siblings and themselves. Or single parents who are forced to work multiple jobs so that they are able to keep a roof over their heads who are also never available are letting their children raise themselves.

Years ago in our grandparents' generation it was expected that the older children take care of the younger ones and no one argued abuse. Other cultures are the same. Here in Amish/Mennonite country is not uncommon to have large families and the older female siblings are most often responsible for tending to the care of the younger children. It goes without saying that I, coming from a Catholic background am surrounded by large families. One of my closest friends is Mormon and has six children. For our parent's generation six children was common. I get exhausted for him just listening to the comments he CONSTANTLY receives from everyone about how many kids that they have. He has a great job and his wife stays home. They make sacrafices to support their family but that is their choice. What business of yours if they decide to have one more. You would be surprised what people actually have said to him.

At the end of the day I feel like we still refuse to acknowledge that we victimize the victim. Women who have multiple children with multiple fathers that are unable to care for them in any way (due to poverty, mental health, drugs, etc) are never told to "STOP HAVING BABIES" because that would be offensive, derogatory, and possibly discriminative. However an extremely large family that is self sustaining (long before TLC ever entered their lives) and yet outside of the "mainstream" is constantly criticized.

I think this touches a nerve for me because we want a big family (not 19 kids but big in today's standards) and yet people volunteer criticism even to us. Good thing we don't give a damn what others think and neither do the Duggars.


Darci said...

i agree. i haven't even seen the show. while i think it's odd to want that many, they seem to manage their family well and have great kiddos.

ps. great new background. i've just been reading from google so i haven't seen it yet =)

LegalMist said...

I really don't have any objection about the size of the family, per se. Some people do, but I don't. Kids can be well cared for and properly raised in a huge family, and a child could be an only child and end up neglected or abused. The outcome for the kids likely depends far more on the parents' abilities, financial situation, and motivation than on the size of the family. If the Duggars can afford 20 kids and want to raise that many, who am I to stand in their way? A large family can offer many benefits, not just disadvantages, to both the kids and the parents.

BUT (and this is a pretty huge objection):

One part of the objection for many folks (including me) is that reproduction at this rate is environmentally irresponsible and unsustainable. Suppose all of the Duggars' kids have 20 children, too. There will be 400 (20 Duggar kids x 20 kids each) grandchildren. If the next generations continue the trend, the third generation will have 8,000 members (20 x 400), the fourth will have 160,000 (20 x 8,000), and the fifth will have 3.2 million (20 x 160,000) ... more than five times the population of Vermont. And the sixth? I'll let you do the math on that one. My calculator doesn't seem to go that high.

Now suppose every family in America were to do this? In less than five generations, the population would have exploded. What is 100 million (about one-third the population of the US, since some folks won't have kids and it takes approximately two of the remaining folks to reproduce successfully), x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 anyway? If we are having trouble now meeting our needs for environmentally sustainable food, energy, and waste disposal options, think what troubles a country that increases its population its population that dramatically in roughly 100 to 150 years would have?!?

Now think about all the children in this world who are wasting away in orphanages and in dire need of a good, loving home. (I started to say "good, loving, Christian home," since the Duggars are Christians, but really, any good and loving home would do.) If the Duggars want that many children, fine! Good for them! I love kids, too, and may well have had a third or adopted one or two if I had started this mom-project a little earlier in my own life. But perhaps they could adopt some kids, rather than "making" more of them?

Or perhaps they could take in some foster kids, to provide a stable and loving home to kids whose own parents are in dire straits or drug addicts or whatever?

I'm just saying, there are many ways to share your loving home with lots of children without reproducing so frantically and, in some senses, irresponsibly.

Just my two cents.

Christensen8 said...

Who is that Mormon guy, I would sure like to meet him!!! Thanks for the kind words, you rock!

Curly Muse said...

People Do tell women who have several kids with multiple men to stop having children. This happens all the time. For the Duggars Its up to them to have as many kids as they want but the parents should be taking care of them, not the older children. You mentioned other kids who have to grow up fast-kids who have drug addicted parents and such its the same, kids should be kids no instant baby sitters.

kim said...

I myself am not a fan of the Duggars, but if they want to have lots of kids, I'm certainly not at liberty to tell them to stop. I do have my qualms about the fact that they have a TV show and seem to be exploiting it, but maybe it just seems that way because I don't know them in real life.

You go ahead and have as many kids as you weant, Adriana!