Are you one and done but wonder if they will be lonely? Maybe your dream is to have 4 kids but are concerned you will be spread too thin?
Rest assured, there is an answer, but it may not be what you think. Read below to learn about the best number of kids for a family.
Spoiler! There is not one set answer. I’m sure research exists that tells you what’s the best number of kids to have but I don’t care. Do you know why? Because it is not about what anyone other than you (and your partner) decide. Your family will be the perfect size for you. Of course, I am very sensitive to people who are unable to have the number of kids they desire due to infertility or other medical issues/life circumstances. That is a different topic. This post applies to those who are debating how many kids to have presuming they do not have obstacles to having children. However, people who have smaller families than they wanted may find some solace in some of the information below, as well.
Each of us has a vision for what type of family we want. It may involve zero children or 10 kids. Maybe the children are spaced far apart or are as close as possible in age. These ideas are influenced by multiple factors. We explore them below.
- 1. Where did your ideal family size come from? Some people may be able to clearly identify this. Large families are common in some religious communities. Conversely, I have found that “only “ children tend to be quite happy to stop at one child. Maybe you don’t know it’s just a “feeling”. That is ok too!
- 2. How many siblings did you grow up with, how was that experience? Some people cherish their childhood and have strong bonds with their siblings. However, this is not true for all. How did your family function? Were your needs met? Siblings can be a source of lifelong friendship, or animosity.
- 3. How does family size change your image of parenthood? In other worlds, what does it mean to you to be the mother of X number of children versus Y number? Does it make you feel maternal to have more children? Conversely, do you fear you would be spread too thin with too many kids? Therefore, not enjoy parenting as much.
- 4. What is your dream for your family? How does size affect that? If you travel extensively, how will having a lot of kids impact that from a cost and stress perspective? Can you still do all the things you want to do and parent a large number of children? On the other hand, maybe your dream means being surrounded by lots of kids regardless of what you are doing.
- 5. When your child is an adult, how do you want them to describe their childhood? How does family size affect that? For example, if you want your child to say they felt supported and had a lot of fun does it matter if you have two kids or seven? Some people feel they can provide love and support to a larger number of kids whereas others know they need to be able to focus on a smaller number.
- 6. What do you value as a parent? One way to figure that out is to imagine your funeral. Morbid, I know! However, picturing your eulogy is a great way to determine values. What do you want your kids to say about you? Does the number of children change that? For example, maybe instilling a love of learning in your children is a value. You may not be able to send a large number of kids to college. However, there are other ways for kids to learn to love learning.
Many people assume they will have a certain number of children. They often go into marriage with this idea. It is not uncommon, however, to question that number. Like any major life decision, it is important to ponder it carefully. Discuss these questions with your partner. You may find it a mutually beneficial growth experience.
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