The Home Front

Large Families Have Health and Social Benefits, Are Not as Expensive

Colin Brazier, the British author of an upcoming release — and father of six himself — teamed up with a Swedish researcher to test some of the old theories about large families.

Not only did they find that raising children was much less expensive with each addition, but there were many health and social benefits as well. 

[R]ecent studies showed growing up with a sibling was a shield against some food allergies and serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and some cancers, but did not explain why there was not more protection for children who spend a lot of time with others in day care or school.

In a previous piece for the Daily Mail, Mr Brazier said: “One study, of half a million Army conscripts, revealed that one in ten only-children developed asthma. In the largest families the figure was closer to one in 200.”

He argued that children in larger families learned to walk and talk earlier than only children because they are encouraged by their siblings, and show greater emotional intelligence. He also said they are better at waiting their turn.

“Some of the most recent evidence even suggests that a child with a brother and/or sister will have more evolved language skills and do better at exams,” he wrote.

As a mom of seven, I am clearly biased on this one. And I sincerely believe that everyone knows what number is right for them, whether it be zero, one or 19. I also sincerely believe that too many parents buy into the prevailing sentiments that having a large family is too expensive, or that children from large families don’t get enough attention. As Clare Halpine wrote so accurately on The Corner today, we have to “re-think our negative assumptions” about raising children in today’s world.

Obviously, large families present certain limitations and have their own challenges, but if parents feel a calling to expand their family — either through another pregnancy or through adoption/fostering — they should consider letting go of the conventional constraints. They should follow their hearts.

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