A mom posted her thoughts: “I think the problem that society has with this issue with large families is when it seems as if the children are raising themselves – the older children acting as surrogate parents to the younger ones.”
Wendy and I have heard this before. The idea is that the oldest children in families end up doing the job of the parents. Critics of large families witness the oldest help out with children, change diapers, wash dishes, essentially doing more than the little ones. They then judge that the oldest are, in reality, “acting as surrogate parents.” The parents, they reason, should be taking care of their children, and the older ones should be — I don’t know — running around with their friends, I suppose.
This perspective is misguided. We hang with a lot of other large families, and we don’t see older children treated like “surrogate parents.” Critics see large families working together and assess, “Gee, the older children didn’t get to live the secluded, self-absorbed life I got to live,” then judge that they must be secretly miserable. Reality in a large family is different.
I will be skiing today at Monarch with a group of homeschool families. I’ll be hanging at the bunny hill with Josiah, Hannah, and Keilah while the rest (Cynthia, Lydia, Isaiah, Micah, Noah, Tabitha) will ski off to the tougher hills. The older ones will come and give me a break so that I can enjoy a few blues myself. This has been our routine when we go on our yearly skiing trip. Is this wrong?
I don’t think so. It’s life in a big family. We’re going to have a ball together.