Dec
31
2009

How Do You Deal With the Negative Comments?

People are genuinely interested in large families, but every once in a while we get the snarky attitude. Here’s how we respond to such attitudes.

Wendy Reading

We receive two kinds of questions:

  • How do YOU deal with negative comments about YOU?
  • How do you deal with a culture that looks down on big families?

First answer: we ignore them. There are TV gossip sites that enjoy judging everyone and anyone that appear on television. I guess we’re of the crowd that gets judged. We pray seriously about every media opportunity that comes our way, and we’re confident that God has used those opportunities to touch people’s hearts. We live transparent lives. Sure, this gives some an opportunity to judge us, but it gives us the opportunity to live free. Why fear the words of judgmental men and women?

Second answer relates to any family who has more than, say, two kids. “How do you deal with a culture that looks down on big families?” Answer: We don’t believe in this presumption. This isn’t just an opinion; we really don’t think we live in such a culture. Who says the culture looks down on big families? Hollywood, maybe, but not regular people we run into. When we venture into Wal-Mart with a dozen-plus kids in tow, without exception we get asked if they are all ours. Daring ones ask us more valuable questions like how we manage them all, how we feed them, etc. Again, this gives us an opportunity to be transparent and share honest answers. This FAQ section is an example of our transparency, and it is one of the most popular areas of our Web site.

People do not “look down” on big families. People are curious. Since we live transparent lives free from others’ snappy judgments, we’re more than happy to share our experiences. We’re “live and let live” folks. If God is calling you to have two kids, by all means, have two kids. You’ll be like most couples in the world, and that’s fine, and our family of 15 children will continue to marvel you. God’s calling for you–how He convicts you personally–is what is important.

“Conviction” is a beautiful concept for followers of Christ, and our obedience to allow God to bless us with children stems from a personal conviction. Here’s the kicker: this question is asked by parents who are experiencing the same conviction. This FAQ is for them. How will YOU deal with the negative comments? Here’s our suggestion: ignore them.

You see, there really is no criticism that can penetrate genuine godly conviction. God is love (1 John 4:16), and he loves you and me and convicts us to follow his calling. What is so bothersome about that? The only bother is when we listen to the presumption–the so-called “culture”–and how we should look and act and live like everyone else. If we all listened to the culture, we would have no leaders, no innovation, no heroes, no martyrs. Do you want to have faith like that of a martyr? Walk in God’s path, even if it means walking into condemnation from the culture.

We hesitate to equate ourselves with martyrdom, or claim that we are persecuted. We can hardly call the joyful life of 15 children “persecution.” Our life is filled with unfettered joy–and it’s nonstop around here. This joy is the direct consequence of having so many blessings running around the house, which is, frankly, a direct result of following our personal convictions. If God is calling you and your spouse to have another child, go for it. Be honest with yourself: you’re on this Web site for a reason, and if you need validation to break from the norm and have another child, you just found it.

The snippy comment from a gossiper rolls off our backs, and they should roll off of yours, too.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Nicky

    I agree I only have 6 kids but people are always saying things and I just give them the standard reply “I would have 20 if I could”. THey usually just walk away. I do have a question to add to this was there ever a time when you (Chris and Wendy) did feel on the sme page with having another child? I would obviously LOVE many more children but my husband says he is DONE, I pray all the time that he opens his heart to more, but my baby is now 3.5 and nothing has changed. :o(

  • Heather

    Excellent answer to the question. No man on this Earth is authorized to judge another man. You are right to ignore such comments from those who simply look to judge others. You are following God’s call, and there is no shame in that!

  • sandra

    Yes,it’s truly impossible to say anything bad about a family who loves children,whether they have one or many,or very many!

  • http://dragonfryemeadow.blogspot.com Tina

    Good post!
    We have a large family and we do not seem to get a whole lot of judgement. We do receive a little negativity from our neighbors,though. I guess we are kind of loud. I think we received the most negative comments about our family choice when we were going from four children to five. That seemed to be hard for many to understand,mostly extended family. Although we knew we were folowing God’s plan for our family,that judgement got me pretty worked up and I would think ‘do they know something about me that I do not’? I was quick in my weak moments to forget what God was showing us. I am SO glad that we did not let the judgement of others override where God was leading us! Once we were expecting baby number 6 those same people who were hard on us before were just fine with our growing family. Now with fourteen children (eight bio and six adopted) we are so glad we did not cave in to the judgement of others.We would have missed out on SO much.

  • Sarah

    As for myself I think I’m my biggest judge, if that even makes sense. I have four and most days feel out of control and I think there is no way I could handle another. That is probably a common feeling for all larger families when their children where all still very young. I don’t like it when people tell me how many kids I should have so I don’t tell people how many they should have. However, for me it’s not just about personal conviction. I believe the Bible is clear about children and their part in the family. So if you are married, of child bearing years and physically able I find it hard to justify not having more kids and believe me I have tried. I’n the end we will all be happiest with the family God has given us whether it be two or ten children. Thats what I try and think about on those not so great days! Thanks to the Jeubs for being transparent. It’s an encouragement to me to see a real family that just happens to have fifteen kids.

  • Gaylene

    Excellent reply to a question that I get frequently and we only have 3 girls! I pray daily that God will bless us with more. Your family is such an encouragement to us and we pray for your family often.

  • Deanna

    What I find interesting is that my husband and I have never complained about the number we have, or talked about it like it is a heavy burden. Then, we get a reply like..”oh, you must be tired” or “you sure have your hands full”..with a concerned look. Sure we get tired, so do parents with one child. My husband loves to say, “we would rather have our hands full than empty”. We don’t say that to say that our life is better than a couple that isn’t able to have children, just letting folks know that it doesn’t bother us to have our 8. Our children are not a surprise to us, they are blessings. Each one with different needs, and opportunities to minister to. Lord bless you all and strengthen you daily!!!!

  • lorrie

    i was very excited to see the show,I called my mother the next day and said i found people like me . my husband and i have6 sons and he has 2 other children from before we met!most people dont understand, it was so wonderful to find out about faMILIES LIKE YOURS!

  • http://Angela_d@6086charter.net Angela Beltan

    I have seven wonderful children. My question always is which one of my children shoud I not have had. I can honestly say my life is fuller with them in it. Even if thier are days I can picture God laughting at me.

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  • Tammie

    It took me a VERY long time in general to just get over what people would say to me, this was before we even started a family, while I was growing up. I guess I am overly sensitive and take everything to heart .. I still do let some of it bother me at times, to be honest, but I have grown in the fact that now I do not let it bother me as much as it used to. Now most of the time I just sit back and laugh at whoever said what to me.

    I always suspect that God had me go through the trials I did when I was younger to make me stronger. Who knows what I will face as the years come .. but God already knew.

  • Peggy

    My question is how do you deal with negativity from family members? I’m currently due with my first (my husband’s second) and my mom has already told me “You better not get pregnant again right away” and that “I don’t want to see you broke just because you want kids” I wasn’t sure how to reply, so I didn’t. I just know I’m in for a future of lots of harsh criticism from my own mother because we are willing to welcome as many children as God sees fit. She is very money-oriented and would absolutely not agree with having “more children than I can afford” Do you guys ever get negative comments from close family members? How do you deal with it? It’s hard to ignore someone who you talk to several times a week.

  • Katy

    So are your parents and in-laws supportive of your family? Have they always been? I can see letting strangers’ comments roll off your back but hearing it from your parents is a different matter, imo. We just had our 4th (1 mo) and my dad offered to pay us to have a vasectomy. Every time we tell them we are pg, they try to punish us in one way or another and tell us how horrible it is and are we done yet, etc., etc. My dh just says we need to space ourselves from them but it’s hard for me b/c I have always been so close to my mom and they live so near…anyone btdt? We know we are doing what God wants us to do and it saddens me that the only thing that makes me hesitate to not want another are the horrible comments of my father…

  • Rae

    I feel lead to give our family planning over to God but my husband doesn’t. He wants to be done with three. Both sets of parents want us to be done with three. What should I do?

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      This is an all-too-common marital strife. Wendy will be posting on this soon, it takes a bit of thought. 

      Real quick answer: You and your husband need to be in agreement on this one. Nothing wrong with sharing your heart’s desire with him, but it has to be a decision the both of you make together.