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How Many Kids is too Many?

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.

More family, more problems?

More family, more problems?

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, 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.

6 Responses to “How Many Kids is too Many?”

  1. Chris

    Overpopulation is a huge problem. It may sound harsh, but China’s one child policy wasn’t that bad. Maybe we should do something similar here with exceptions for people who can actually afford to have more.

  2. Kevin

    I don’t think overpopulation is a problem here in the U.S., though. I think it’d be a serious infringement of civil rights to impose a limit on how many children a family can have.

    Of course, you can offer tax incentives and such for families with X number of children.

    I think Japan’s having trouble with low birth rates. Since the average couple has only one child, Japan won’t be able to sustain it’s labor force in a couple decades.

  3. Katie

    I think that if people have the means, and are resposible then they can have as many children as they wish. Number of children should never be decided by the govenment, or what anyone outside of your family says. This is the choice of the family and I know plenty of people who have 6+ kids and are far better parents then some with 1 or 2. This is based on the individual family, and no one has a right to judge because someone wants to have a lot of children. If they can love them all, pay for the all, and controle them all then more power to them I say.

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