- Tuesday, 18 February 2003 19:35
Family Size and Neglect
I have been thinking about the article from Crisis magazine about large family size and neglect. I know this article has been commented on ad nauseam in St. Blog’s, but some things I have seen in real life lately had me thinking about it.
For whatever reason people are willing to believe it is easy to forget a child when you have to keep track of a number of children. I suppose this can be true. I have also seen people lose track of a child very quickly with only two. Children tend to wander off. I am inclined to say discipline comes into play here, but I will share a couple of stories.
My husband and I are very paranoid about people getting into our business in regard to our family life. We homeschool, we are very selective about vaccinating, we are minorities. we have a few more (and probably will end up with) children than the norm, and of we did get into any kind of trouble with child services, we certainly do not have the money to hire expensive attorneys. Now, I am fully willing to admit that it may just be paranoia on our part, but regardless, the result is we are pretty OCD about knowing where are children are at all times. We fall short of making the kids hold on to a long string to stay together when we go out in public-LOL. With all this paranoia, I can think of two times when a little one got away.
The first time, Rosey Posey was 4 years old, Posco was a baby.My husband, the two little ones and two of my younger brothers decided to make a day trip to the NJ shore. I was sitting on the beach keeping the baby from eating sand, and Rosey Posey was enjoying the water with her father and uncles. At one point she got turned around on her way to the water with her uncles, and instantly found a lifeguard for help. The second we realised she was missing, we heard her name being called over the intercom for her parents.
The second time was simply Fastolph, who I thought was unable to unlock the locked front door, was looking out the door waiting for his father to return home from work, escaped. A neighbor returned him.
We have also returned stray children-it happens.
If there is a prejudice against larger families, I think it has more to do with economics rather than family size (although to say large family discrimination does not exist is not true either). Child neglect in the form of daycare, after school programs etc. is very commonplace, the difference is it’s expensive neglect-therefore acceptable. People do not understand the notion of having more children when it would mean the children you have will have to go without Gap Kids.
But the fact is, when it comes to family size, and particularly to Catholics who are supposed to be open for life, I think the focus on whether or not children are neglected, lately the bottom line is “how many” children there are in a family. I think this is arbitrary. Neglect is neglect and if you are “burdened” with only one, or twenty, the problem isn’t the number of children, but parental responsibilty.
I tire of everything being an excuse for people to stop having children, when it seems to me having more or less children is not what constitutes good parenting-good parenting does.