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Fed up with the "multiple" frenzy

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I'm talking about "John & Kate Plus Eight," "18 Kids and Counting," "Table for Twelve" and the many other shows on TLC and Discovery Health, not to mention the attitude in this culture at large, that champion and reward people who have children in litters.

Am I the only person on the planet that finds these shows, more specifically the philosophy behind them, borderline evil? These poor kids don't stand a chance. They will never know what it's like to have a parent's undivided attention, the financial means to pursue hobbies and tastes individually, and the pride of ownership. Instead, they are thrown into a heap of constant screaming madness, bitting and hitting for the first three + years of their lives. It makes me sick to my stomach, almost.

Don't get me wrong. By no means am I saying that choosing to have a large family can never be a value. But there is something to be said for having a mother's (or father's) undivided attention during critical periods of one's life; from say at least birth to five. Twins and even triplets are a reasonable acception... but eight?! I wish I could ask these parents, honestly, how would you like to be one of eight?

What kills me is that these parents get heralded as "self-less." Yeah, I'll say!

Edited by Tabitha
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My view of it doesn't get me quite as worked up as you (:)), but I think you make a good point. Having grown up with only two siblings, I can't relate at all to family life with seven or eight siblings. That may have advantages that outweigh the disadvantage of lessened parental attention, but I rather doubt it. From my very casual observation, there seems to be a happy medium of 2-5 kids for a family.

I've known many numerous large families, and they always seem to have a crazy family life, and the parents run around like madmen. The five strong personalities in our family was plenty; I can't imagine one of much more.

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The only one I've watched is about the Duggar family in Arkansas with their 18 (or whatever) kids. I was very pessimistic and skeptical about them, but after watching the show, I was quite impressed. They are totally self-sufficient, organized and seem to get along great. Their shows are one-time type documentaries rather than reality-show type series, the family is quite organized, the children are home-schooled and learn to play an instrument, they built their own home, etc. Less their religious beliefs, I have no problem with what they're doing because it's their right to have as many children as they want as long as they don't expect others to pay their way, and they don't. I was very surprised at how impressed I was with them.

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I agree that the Duggars seem to be the most solid of the bunch. The kids come off as grounded / calm in a sense, and I'm a fan of home schooling. However, I chalk their relative centered-ness up to their lack of television and video games (which I think is great), as opposed to their 'moral' upbringing.

My gripe with the Duggars in particular is that I have a huge problem with children being forced into caregiving roles that go beyond the occasional babysitting. My observation of the Duggars is that the older ones are expected to all but rear the younger ones. I mean, they didn't ask for that. Teenagers should be encouraged to develop themselves through productive work that benefits them... not spend much of their day "counting the troops" and preparing meals for legions. To me, this reaks of collectivism, and I don't think it's healthy for their developing psyches.

It's one thing to expect children to clean up after themselves and pitch in with reasonable tasks, but there's a line between giving children simple, age-appropriate chores... and expecting children to bathe, feed, and clothe other children on a daily basis. YOU (parents) chose to bring all these kids into the world, YOU raise them yourselves.

As for expecting others to pay, to my knowledge none of these families do. They get so much money through their TV show, which in the Duggars' case is hypocrasy because they're supposidely against capitalism / marketing / media.

Edited by Tabitha
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I've watched many episodes of "John & Kate Plus 8," and I think the show and the family are great.

Am I the only person on the planet that finds these shows, more specifically the philosophy behind them, borderline evil? These poor kids don't stand a chance. They will never know what it's like to have a parent's undivided attention, the financial means to pursue hobbies and tastes individually, and the pride of ownership. Instead, they are thrown into a heap of constant screaming madness, bitting and hitting for the first three + years of their lives. It makes me sick to my stomach, almost.

There is no inherent value in having a parent's "undivided attention." Attention is only good when it is constructive. And attention can still be given, even if a parent is busy with other children (or other activities in general, like work). Clearly, these kids won't have trouble with money. The show itself is a huge source of income. As for doing things "individually," this can still occur, even with many kids in the house. For example, John & Kate take each kid out individually for a day of fun once in a while. As for "screaming madness," there are many other sources for this, not just from other children. Creating a healthy and positive environment is what is key. If a parent can do that, then that is what is important.

So I think that these situations need to be assesed on a case-by-case basis. I certainly would not say that John & Kate are doing anything wrong. They did not plan for 8 kids, it just happened that way due to the nature of in vitro fertilization.

I have not heard anybody refer to these parents as "selfless," but I could be mistaken. I definitely think this is a minority, though. Most mothers would not call Kate selfless but instead empathize with the tremendous stress she endures every single day.

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New additions to the family should be done with the current child(ren) consent. A new child should be a new value worth adding to the family. Everyone in the family should get more individual freedom from this choice, more of what they want in life, not less. It should never mean sacrifice and it should never mean learning how to share, with each person's life being about having to be content with less so another person can exist.

Edited by Jill
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New additions to the family should be done with the current child(ren) consent. A new child should be a new value worth adding to the family. Everyone in the family should get more individual freedom from this choice, more of what they want in life, not less. It should never mean sacrifice and it should never mean learning how to share, with each person's life being about having to be content with less so another person can exist.

I don't agree that the current children need to give consent, necessarily. If a set of parents wants a couple of children spaced by two years, a two year old cannot "consent" to his parents having more children. Nor should he be asked. It's up to the adults to have enough sense to not have and raise a bunch of children in a self-sacrificial heap, which you so aptly describe. I'm reminded of Montessori's description of the problem with modern education.

I've watched many episodes of "John & Kate Plus 8," and I think the show and the family are great.

There is no inherent value in having a parent's "undivided attention." Attention is only good when it is constructive. And attention can still be given, even if a parent is busy with other children (or other activities in general, like work). Clearly, these kids won't have trouble with money. The show itself is a huge source of income. As for doing things "individually," this can still occur, even with many kids in the house. For example, John & Kate take each kid out individually for a day of fun once in a while. As for "screaming madness," there are many other sources for this, not just from other children. Creating a healthy and positive environment is what is key. If a parent can do that, then that is what is important.

But can you honestly argue that it isn't significantly more ideal to be a "set" of one or two?

So I think that these situations need to be assesed on a case-by-case basis. I certainly would not say that John & Kate are doing anything wrong. They did not plan for 8 kids, it just happened that way due to the nature of in vitro fertilization.

The pregnancy itself happened through in vitro, but they still chose to bring them into the world. At least these other large families have enough sense to space their children apart. Octomom didn't plan for 8 kids, either. (Or did she? My facts might be rusty on that one.) Regardless, the difference between Jon & Kate and Octomom is that the former got lucky and got a reality show. Without that, where would they be and how would they be living? I'm not saying they would most definitely end up on welfare, but those kids wouldn't be living without some strain, to say the least.

I have not heard anybody refer to these parents as "selfless," but I could be mistaken. I definitely think this is a minority, though. Most mothers would not call Kate selfless but instead empathize with the tremendous stress she endures every single day.

Yes... stress she put on herself.

Edited by Tabitha
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I don't agree that the current children need to give consent, necessarily. If a set of parents wants a couple of children spaced by two years, a two year old cannot "consent" to his parents having more children. Nor should he be asked.

Children should consent because they are individuals too. The artificial boundary lifted between adults and children is a prejudice that should not be left unquestioned as the parochial mistake that it is. If a child is too young and communication limitations make it impossible to seek their consent, the default should to wait until they are older, not to disregard them.

Edited by Jill
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Children should consent because they are individuals too. The artificial boundary lifted between adults and children is a prejudice that should not be left unquestioned as the parochial mistake that it is. If a child is too young and communication limitations make it impossible to seek their consent, the default should to wait until they are older, not to disregard them.

Absolutely, I agree 100%. And that principle should apply to all choices, including elections. We should not hold elections until every newborn in America is able to communicate its wishes. If that is not possible, Obama should stay President until he dies of old age, at which point whoever he chooses as VP should become the next Pres for life.

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<_<

Now, seriously. I don't think a toddler cares to vote. Do you? I was talking about a situation that directly impacts a toddler life. A toddler will care if his parents do not give him the help he needs, because they are sharing attention and resources with the new baby. It can be bad for him and the new baby. A better analogy is having an affair while you are married without the knowledge and consent of your spouse. Although in the case of a dependent child, it's morally worse, because the child can't leave if his parents are horrible.

Edited by Jill
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Raising a child as Jill suggests *would* be selfless.

There's nothing wrong with having a lot of kids. Proper adults don't stifle their children with "undivided attention", they provide for the physical needs of the children and assist the children in learning about the world. But the children have to think and act for themselves to grow and develop.

From my experience, expecting older children to take care of younger children is a null issue. In a healthy family, older siblings do this anyway because it means they get to live in a calmer and more functional household.

There's no one single ideal sort of family with so many kids, so many bedrooms, such and such size yard, and so many dogs. There are only families which exist, and the principles that turn them into happy, healthy families as opposed to messes.

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There's nothing wrong with having a lot of kids. Proper adults don't stifle their children with "undivided attention", they provide for the physical needs of the children and assist the children in learning about the world.

But that's just it. Have you seen the show? Everyone is just so miserable. This isn't to say their physical needs aren't being met, but the more "tuplets" one has, the less likely everyone is getting what they need. Or if they are getting their physical needs met, there's no energy leftover for the emotional. Yes, each child gets a "special day" with the parents once every other month or whatever it is... but so what? Seven "turns" at this later, the kid is all but back to the drawing board with the parent. In the meantime he's living the horrors of forced sharing and other nightmares of collectivist child-rearing. It's not so much about "undivided attention" as it is having adequate physical and emotional reserve to get to know this new being you brought into the world... not to mention protecting him from a flood of constant irrationality.

The problem with this family is that the 6 children are the same age. Children of toddler age need exposure to adults and older children to help guide them. Being surrounded by other screaming babies just as confused and developing as they are does nothing for their cognitive development. They might as well be living in a day care 24/7 with no escape. This sort of reminds me of "A Brave New World" in a creepy way. I dunno, maybe I'd think differently if the family (ie: the KIDS) wasn't so miserable the majority of the time. One starts screaming, they all start screaming... and the cycle continues. How is this healthy?

Edited by Tabitha
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Multiple births is a different situation from just having a lot of kids, but unlike choosing to have 12 kids one after another (it happens), a multiple birth like that is generally a surprise. The birth itself is a non-ideal situation, so of course it's going to lead to a non-ideal child *raising* situation.

It might be possible to choose to abort *some* of the fetuses to solve the problem, but I think the procedure itself would be dangerous and put *all* of the babies at risk, so I can see why someone would avoid that option. It would also be possible to give *some* of them up for adoption, but how would you choose? That's a tough call.

Sometimes in life you have to do the best you can with what you have. I think the Octo-mom is insane because reportedly she chose her situation and is completely incapable of handling it, but there's nothing immoral about having sextuplets and deciding to make the best of it.

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Yeah... those are all good points. If their multiples "just happened," that's a different story. Though it is a shame many of them were born at low weights with poor vision, it's not the parents' fault; especially if aborting was not a safe medical option. It's just odd to me that this culture reveres multiple births the way it does (given the number of shows there are).

Edited by Tabitha
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But that's just it. Have you seen the show? Everyone is just so miserable.

I have no idea where you are getting this from. From watching Jon & Kate, everyone is perfectly happy on the show. Yes, the kids fight, but so what? When do siblings not fight? To say that misery is inherent in having many children is absurd.

And the reason there are so many shows today about families with many children is because it is interesting. People love kids and they especially love kids that look alike. It is also fun for parents to see how other parents handle situations much more stressful than their own.

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I have never seen John & Kate, but they are all over the entertainment news right now with stories and pictures claiming infidelity, possibly on both sides, and they say the two have been quite snippy with each other on the show, in front of the kids, in the store, etc.

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It's not selfless to have regard for the preferences of a person you love.

Having regard for their preferences is not the same as letting them tell you what to do, esp. when they're too young to have anything other than whims.

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