Big families may be all the rage on TLC, but in American life off-screen, they’ve become increasingly rare. More than that, they’ve contracted an air of stigmatization, according to a New York Times article printed earlier this year that addressed public perceptions of “large” families.
Nowadays “large” seems to mean four or more kids, but at least one prominent UK politician asserts that having even three children constitutes not only a big family, but an irresponsible one. Escalating negative views may be driven in part by the people that have emerged (or been selected by the media) as archetypes of families outside the 2.1-kids-white-picketfence demographic. The TLC show Jon (yikes) and Kate (double-yikes) Plus Eight insinuates that large families are a recipe for infidelity and cattiness, while Nadya Suleman—commonly referred to as Octomom, though Tetradecahedromom is more accurate; she has 14 kids total—inspires a mix of pity and confusion at best, repulsion at worst.
Still big families are not without their allies. Websites like lotsofkids.com, founded by a mother of eight, offer support to parents with four or more kids, while contributors to these sites often argue that a larger brood makes families more responsible—they tend toward the economical—and makes parents better at their role of father or mother—they become well versed in paying attention to individual children without having time to hover.
There is no shortage of opinion on this topic and we’d like to hear yours. Are larger families getting a bad rap? Is it fair to ask, how many kids is too many? Discuss below.