Thursday, October 14, 2010

Frum, Fruitful, Faulty

I know a lot of people are gonna get in my grill about this one, but I need to talk about it.

Birth control is frowned upon by many rabbis in the Brooklyn community. Especially the Chassidish ones. As a result of this we see couples with 8, 9 sometimes 12 children being a standard. I myself grew up as one of 8 and have seen certain common denominators in large families that compel me to be against this concept. I don't know what the exact cap would be so far as how many kids is the limit, but I know 8 or more is too much for anybody. Even if the woman has full support of her husband from every aspect of the marriage (which is not always the case) its just not doable. There are a few factors to consider.

Financially, if you're in the frum community and can afford to have that many kids (most probably not), you're doing really well. Your'e paying on average $10,000 give or take in tuition alone. Not to mention rent/mortgage, food, utilities and any other expense a family of 10+ people would have. Lets say you hire help to raise your army of kids, well then you're not really doing the raising, are you? I personally am against having kids raised by nannies. Its a substitute for something that if could be done by the parents, should be. (I'm not talking about a babysitter who watches your kid for a few hours a day. I'm talking about a live in nanny who feeds, changes and teaches your kid the ABC's. A friend of mine was a teacher at a Jewish school with mostly kinder-gardeners from well to do families. Most of these kids were dropped off and picked up from school by their nanny in a limo and talked about how they're bored with their 12th trip to Aruba, what kind of childhood do you think they're having? The ocean of money isn't helping... I'm going off topic...) Point is, even if you can afford to give 8+ kids everything they need financially, it still means you shouldn't have 8+ kids because...

A person has only so much time, patience and energy in their day. Children need to get attention from their parents. They need to know that their parents are there for them and that they're important. I can attest to this. When living in a household of 8 or more, kids get lost in the shuffle. Growing up and being used to this "brushed off to the side" situation can seriously effect a child's upbringing and development (both emotionally and psychologically) for the worst. We hear about this "middle child syndrome". Well the more kids a family has, the more "middle child" the less needy kids feel. If one of the kids G-d forbid gets sick and needs more TLC, someone is going to suffer. Either it'll be the sick kid since mommy has to tend to everyone, or it'll be the non sick kids because Mommy is giving them less attention than the sick kid. Its like this with every aspect of their lives and shapes kids into being confused, angry or resentful adults. In every 8+ family, theres always a child or two who grows up with an issue or two as a result of this. (To add insult to injury, imagine a woman who doesn't know anything about the world or how to raise kids. Married for 8 years, the most of which has been spent being pregnant, trying to tackle a house full of wild/needy/neglected children on her own without the help of her "Women belong in the kitchen" husband...okay, maybe a bit extreme. Maybe not.)

I know some of you are thinking (as you usually would). Stop being so judgmental! Who are you to say how many kids a couple should have? What makes you the authority on the subject? Well the results speak for themselves, I have first hand experience with the subject and again, two people can only handle 8+ kids so much before something bad eventually happens.

Children need to be nurtured. The raising of ones kids shouldn't be done in a half-asked manner. Kids thrive when they get the full parent experience. If they feel like just a number as a child, they'll feel that way as an adult, along with all the issues and complications that go with that experience...and the reality is, the more kids you have, the less time, energy, patience and money you have for them. I believe having too many kids is, in part, why so many child therapy agencies (government sponsored of course...) in Brooklyn are packed to the gills with frum Jewish clients...(the topic of the next post) along with  being the source of many other problems...I'll discuss some of these in the next post.


  1. i think you have a point, i wont deny that. With that being said don't disregard the families that do it and succeed. Personally i have an aunt and uncle with 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls, they live out of town so cost of living is significantly lower yet you would never know by meeting them. They have such simchas hachaim and raised their children beautifully. I guess each individual family is its own specific case.

  2. Agree with Anon. You have a point...but there are those who do it successfully! I know many with 8+ and the kids are doing wonderfully- happy, content, organized, name it.
    Now, if a parent feels that he/she can't handle so many kids, he/she should be allowed by a rabbi to have birth control and not have that many. But if a couple feels they can handle it- why not?