Feb
25
2012

Large Families’ Inability to Give to Their Children

There is a compounding magic to a house with many children.

I responded (see here) to an article in TIME about the Duggars’ decision to welcome another child into their home. The TIME journalist couldn’t fathom how the Duggars could desire a 20th child, and my response tried to explain why. Ultimately, the Duggars have Love in the Houseand a house of love often desires another child. I got the following response from someone:

If [parents of large families] really loved their children, they might trying polling their whole brood to see how many of them would appreciate another rival for Mom and Dad attention, time and affection. Love can do a lot of things, but it can’t add more hours to the day, or overcome the maddening distractions of living in a round-the-clock nursery, when all you want is some quality alone time with your poor exhausted parents.

There are a lot of problems with this person’s idea of large families. It’s pretty much this: “Large families must be miserable, and the children don’t get as much attention from their exhausted parents as in small families.” Not surprising, really, that this perspective may be common. We live in a “family planning” world where 1 or 2 children (that’s it!) is considered the perfect family. Love has little to do with it. More children, the idea goes, would be a burden to everyone in the house.

But there is a magic about large families that this criticism fails to see. Large families, as opposed to small ones, find it more difficult to ignore LOVE. In a small family, love may go unnoticed, as the few people in the large home can hide their hard hearts away from the rest of the family in their own rooms. In a large family, there is little way to let those many unloving attributes (bitterness, selfishness, spite, etc.) go unnoticed. A house where everyone loves each other seems to be the unavoidable choice around our home. We cannot hide in seclusion, we need to learn to love everyday. We see this magic come alive in most large families we know.

There is another point in this person’s imagined idea of what it’s like to live in a large family: parental centrality. It is naive to think that the center of the home is the parents. Funny thing, though, is that we all (including Wendy and me!) start out thinking the center of the home is the parents. When we started our family 20 years ago, we imagined our sweet children gathering at our feet to honor and love us who gave them life, all the way through adulthood. Oh my, how naive we were. See, as children grow and move into lives of their own, we either cling to or release this fantasy. Those parents that cling become frustrated, and those that let God bless their children become love-filled, joyful, proud parents.

Our walk with Jesus has had a magical way of steering things back to the most most important commandment of LOVE. Our home of 16 is awesome, and Wendy and I want nothing more than to encourage you down a similar road. Our kids don’t exhaust Wendy and me, we don’t exhaust them, and they don’t exhaust each other. We love one another. And love is a compounding reality. The more lives involved, the more love grows, and the magic of a large family carries on.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Jackie

    Is “Love in the House” your new brand by which you are trying to earn a living to support your large family? Because you keep mentioning it, using special font, as though it was your phrase,and your phrase alone.

    BTW, there is plenty of love in our house of two adults and two kids.

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

      New? Well, since 2007 new. Wendy and I wrote a book with this title. Get it, you may be blessed by it.

    • Beka

      I don’t think he’s saying that there isn’t love in your house. We have two adults and two children as well, and of course there is so much love in our house! But I did find that there was MORE love, if you will, after my second child was born, and not less, as some people assume there would be. I was worried that my oldest would be jealous, would lack for attention, wouldn’t be getting as high a quality of time, attention, and overall love. That is simply not true. The relationship she and her sister have is AMAZING. It is something I could have never fathomed, being an only child. I think what Chris is saying is that this type of family bond and love grows with more children, as does the amount of love.
      Love is not as simple as a mathmatic equation that splits the amount of time a parent has among the number of children in the household. We see that this is true after we get married… we think we can’t possibly love our spouse more. But then once you have child with them, you see your love grow– because you love them now as a husband/wife, and as a parent, and even as a partner in a way that didn’t exist pre-children. I see that now with my daughters— I thought I couldn’t EVER love another child the way I love my older daughter, because I love her with all my heart— but I see that I really do love and appreciate her more now that she is an older sister, and that she has more love surrounding her because her younger sister adores her so much.

  • Holly

    You hit the nail on the head Chris!!  I am enjoying your articles.  :)

    Holly

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

      Thanks, Holly!

  • Cazandbergen

    We have 14 in our home and it IS busy.  I am always encouraged by your writing.  You often put my thoughts into words on paper.  I really appreciate that.  I do want to say though that when I try to do everything in my strength and don’t fill up with God then it is much easier for me to reach “exhaustion”…thank you again for the encouragement.

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

      Well said! I don’t know how others do it without Jesus.

      • Saturn500

        Most people don’t need to believe in a deity to raise children or generally get through life. But, hey, I’m not a God-”fearing” (I don’t think that word means what you think it means) Christian, and, in fact, I’m Jewish, not to mention I have a life, so what do I know?

        • Jennifer Mull

          Most people may not need to believe in a deity to raise children or get through life, but it does make it more enjoyable. And, there are a lot of blessings that come from following the Lord… not restrictions or being told what to do, etc…. blessings… of all kinds… if you had an inkling of this, you wouldn’t want to live through life any other way.

        • Brian

           Mr. Jeub has a great family, great work, and a great ministry to spread to the people who want to listen to him.  I believe he has a life, a better life than most do.  And “needing” to believe in a deity, is in fact, quite necessary for myself, the Jeubs, and every other Christian on this earth.  We need to believe in God, we depend on Him more than food and water, and for a reason.  He has given us far more than we deserve, and more than we could ever imagine.  True Christians have stepped over a line that we cannot cross again.  So what do you know?  In reality, hardly nothing about what you have talked about, because you only know one side of the story, whereas every Christian has seen both.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=59507540 Jessica Hinchley Loza

          I totally agree that people don’t need to have any religious beliefs to raise a child, be successful in their careers, etc. I don’t think that’s what Wendy meant. Hopefully I can help clarify what Christians mean when we express our dependence on Jesus to “do it.”

          When a devout Jew and teacher of the Law of Moses came to Jesus, he asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus told him that the Law could be summed in this: “Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your mind… And love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:34-40) Imagine if we could do that: no need for the law of “you shall have no idols before me” – we’d already love God fully and completely! There would be no law of “do not steal, lie, covet, envy” or procedures for care for the poor, oppressed, widowed and orphaned – we’d already love our neighbors perfectly! And that would be amazing. That is what God wants for us. It’s what He created us for.The verse Jesus referred to when responding to this teacher was Deuteronomy 6:5, which you are likely familiar with. What Wendy and other Christians mean when they refer to not being able to do “it” is trying to love God and love others perfectly on their own strength. Even those who profess to believe in no God…. can anyone love everyone perfectly? Of course, we can care for and love children or other people without God, but ultimately we are flawed and imperfect. Christians accept that only through belief in Jesus, we are given the power of the Holy Spirit to being to love God and our neighbor as we ought. Naturally, following Christ does not make us Christ. So we will make mistakes. However, we have the heart of desiring to obey God in loving Him and in loving each other. (See 1 Samuel 16:7 and 1 Chronicles 28:9 to see that God looks at the heart of each man. Countless Psalms also attest to this – 26:2, 37:31, 44:21, 119:36 and 58, etc.)I hope that this can provide clarity that Wendy is not saying that you cannot raise your children well or get through life (God gave us the ability to think and reason and work); only that by the grace of Christ Jesus through God the Father, we are able to live life more fully as we strive to obey God’s commands.

  • Mjohnandsarah

    If they only could see how much our 2 year old is loved by her seven older siblings.  How they fight over who gets to snuggle with her.  Or how the 5 year old sits cuddled up in the recliner with her 15 year old brother to watch a tv show.  The younger ones keep saying “I wish we had another baby.”  Apparently, no one told them they were supposed to be resentful.

    And to Jackie, who posted prior to my post, I don’t think the point is “there’s no love in smaller families.”  I think the point is that it’s NOT true that bigger families can’t possibly give their kids enough love, time, etc.  I know PLENTY of small families that have awesome family lives, applying the same truths that Chris talks about in his article.  They just don’t have the market cornered on providing the emotional support their kids need.Sarah M. in MI

  • Bobbi

    LOVE this post!  I was noticing the other day (while lurking in the stairwell peeking into the living room) how my older girls were loving their little siblings.  It was so precious to see everyone with a little snuggle buddy watching a movie.  Did I send them in there to “babysit”?  Nope–they were all giggling and having fun with their little siblings because they wanted to.  They initiated the movie time and snuggles.  They know what LOVE is. 

    My oldest daughter keeps asking when God will send us another.  I don’t know if He ever will, but we would LOVE to have as many more as He wishes to bless us with.  And when I am pregnant, the children always hope for multiples (though we haven’t been blessed with multiples yet) so there will be more babies to LOVE!

    Thank you for sharing!

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

      Awesome, Bobbi. I love that picture!

  • a friend from Greece..

    i have find your blog recently…i like the way you think and write…
    could you please tell me yoyr opinion about something??
    if you had a child with special needs..then one that was ok..and then a problem again..you would like to continue?..is that problem because we don’t live God to decide for us??

    • Jackie

      I don’t think Chris can answer this question, as it goes against his brand. 

      • a friend from Greece..

         what do you mean?

        • Jackie

          A special needs child is a scenario that is too complicated for Chris’ marketing.  He is marketing his family based on the theory that an additional child is *always* good.  He has never addressed the situation of having several special needs children, because then he’d have to admit that there are times when an additional child is NOT good for the family, or is simply impossible financially.

          • Jackie

            That’s probably why he ignored your question, but answered others.

            • T. Gates

              The reason Chris hasn’t responded to the question could be that he hasn’t read the post yet.  And, Jackie, what do you say about those families that DO have several biological or adopted children with special needs?

              • Holly

                Well, I can talk about this one.  We have three children.  We are open to many more however God hasn’t blessed us with anymore.  We do have a special needs child.  So yes I am open to more kids special or not.  ALL are a blessing.  I have met many large families who have several special needs kids (in between neurotypical kids) and they are very open to many more.  :)    I also know of many that specifically adopt special needs kids and neurotypical kids .  They understand the love factor in this. 

                Holly

              • Jackie

                That’s fine for you.  I do have a problem with someone marketing (and financailly benefiting from) the notion that you should always welcome another child. The Jeubs are trying to earn money by capitalizing on their large number of kids. They are never going to say a person should stop having kids–even in the case of stressed out, unhappy parents with sick children and a mountain of bills.

                When a person writes in who is overwhelmed with the care of special need children, the Jeubs ignore the post. That’s because their money comes from promoting births. Even if they thought a family was overwhelmed and unable to care for more kids, would they say so? It would undermine their whole message, and that message contributes to their income.

              • Jennifer Mull

                The problem with your post is that you totally miss the message, and then blame the Jeub’s for trying to do something that they are not doing. They are trying to encourage those who might be afraid to have more children to be willing to open their hearts to more… there are many, many of us who want to have large families, but we get caught up in fear… fear of finances, fear of exhaustion and overwhelm, fear of society’s opinions, etc.

                They aren’t telling people to have more children as if everyone has to be just like them. They are telling us that if we feel God calling us to have more, then “be of good courage.”

                Oh, and by the way, do not judge the way God blesses a family to provide for their needs. Writing books isn’t such a hugely profitably way of earning a living. It IS a way to reach out and minister to others. If God blesses through that avenue, who are you to judge how they earn that living? You speak as one who has been hardened by life, and I am truly sorry that you see your children as being so difficult to live with that you blame others for your not wanting to have more. At least, that is what is coming through in your message.

              • Jackie

                I do think it’s interesting that when someone asks a hard question about special needs children, the Jeubs do not answer.

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

                Jackie –
                As I’m assuming everyone else has chosen to refrain from answering your absurd comments because you can’t argue with absurdity, I’ll take my turn banging my head against this wall.

                I know the Jeubs, very well.  We worship together regularly.  I’ve been in plenty of deep discussions with them, watched them with their kids and seen them interact with other families, including our own adopted child with special needs.

                Your statements accusing them of encouraging births  for the purpose of making money is probably the most absurd case of misrepresentation I’ve heard in a while(and I’ve been watching CNN and MSNBC! discuss Ron Paul).

                You’ve communicated nothing here other than what appears to be your own bitterness and lack of knowledge regarding the Jeubs.

                Perhaps you need to aim your unhelpful vitriol elsewhere.

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

                Awe, shucks, David. Thanks!

          • Sheila(UK)

            Why would you assume that a special needs child would not be good for the family?
            Children with these needs are still blessings from God.
            I am sure that parents of children who need extra care would find your comments offensive and I know that if Chris and Wendy had such a child they would still consider it a blessing.
            Chris is not marketing his family, he is just trying to encourage families to love children.

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

            Gee, Jackie. You are posting as if I personally offended you. Feel free to write to me in the contact section to solve any grievance you have with me or the Jeub’s message/tactics. You’re dragging this post’s discussion away from it’s purpose. (Which, other than your comments, has been excellent!)

            Honestly, contact me directly if you would like to discuss our marketing or branding. I welcome the off-topic discussion.

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

      This is a great question. Wendy and I have been blessed to witness how loving families openly accept children with disabilities. We even hesitate to say “we’re blessed with healthy children,” because the insinuation is that others are not blessings.

      We wrote about this in our book “Love Another Child,” citing the vitriol of folks who were angry over Gov. Palin’s choice to give birth while governor to a Downs child. We believe that is a beautiful display of sacrificial love. We see the same in the Duggar’s openness. The book’s subtitle speaks for itself: “Children. They’re blessings. Always.”

  • Jennifer Torres

    Our eleventh is 3 days old and every older sibling is always wanting to hold her.  Our 1 year old has totally ditched me (where he was clinging to me just days ago) and is now her champion.  I’ve been replaced in his immediate affections :).  I love it!!  I’m so glad that no one is jealous of the latest blessing in our home.  I guess they’ve learned not to be, really.  Everyone wanted twins, but we were so happy with our singleton.  I think the majority of the world doesn’t understand large families.  But their loss is our gain.  Maybe someone will change their mind, or come to a new understanding from reading this blog, but maybe they won’t.  Either way, I am happy with my “large” family and I know that they (the children) are happy too.  We know several “large” families where we live and I don’t know a single family that regrets their size.  All their children are happy and well-adjusted.  I’ve gotten many compliments on how my children act in public.  My two oldest girls, and sometimes oldest son, sell bread in a local store during the spring and summer to make extra money.  Everyone loves to see them there.  One of the librarians just the other day said she would much rather see my children than most of the other ones that come in.  Not that I’m bragging or anything.  We definitely have our problems that we still are working on.  But I believe that just as a matter of common courtesy and love to one another that larger families learn to get along and just be plain nice to other people.  The plain fact is you can’t be selfish in a large family. :)  Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble on.  I have some time alone (my husband took the 10 oldest ice skating with some friends) and I just thought I’d share.

  • Rizzi1009

    we have 5 ages 7 down to 6 months, and would love more! our family does not agree at all.

  • Betsy

    I grew up with 3 siblings and we Always wanted our parents to have more kids.  It was not possible for my mom to have more but still we always hoped for a miracle.  I think saying that the kids just want more parental time really is unrealistic.  Kids like to have More kids around, all my friends also wished for more siblings.  I can’t think of a single friend growing up that didn’t wish for more kids in their family.  Kids don’t see siblings as rivals for Mom and Dad’s attention unless that is how the parents portray it to them.

    • Beka

      When I was younger, I was very happy being an only child. I also didn’t have any friends who had siblings close to them (us) in age, so I never experienced that.
      However, now that I am older… I wish I had siblings! I don’t have neices or nephews, and my children will not have cousins, or aunts and uncles. I don’t have anyone that really understands my family from my perspective. I won’t have anyone (besides my husband) to help me care for my parents when they are older, or to mourn them when the pass. There is a lot of support and comraderie that siblings can provide for each other as adults that only children miss out on!!

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

      Wendy and I have, too, been sort of surprised how little jealousy there is when a newborn comes. I find jealousy an issue the more years are between siblings (e.g. a 5-yr-old may be jealous of a newborn, but not a 2-year-old). Purely anecdotal, but something we’ve noticed.

  • Lisa Lind

    I think people tend to view the subject of large families from the narrow perspective of their own life experiences. Most immediately judge from those experiences instead of doing some quality research on the subject of parenting/family and being willing to incorporate it into their way of thinking.  We were overwhelmed with how to parent our first and second children.  We needed guidance…bad!!  After reading about and gaining information from the scriptures and child rearing books based on the scriptures about God’s way of raising children, parenting is much more rewarding.  We now have a sure foundation. We had to learn how to love. Growing up we had learned ”love” was self-centered and always wanting and taking….the truth is, true love is self-less, always giving and there is ALWAYS enough.  True love in it’s pure form brings contentment, satisfaction and happiness to the givers and the receivers no matter how big or small their family is.  As we teach our children the same there really is a multiplying effect.  It’s cool.

    • Saturn500

      What makes you so sure we aren’t doing research? Did the bible say so? Because that’s the only source of knowledge you fundies claim to use. (And yet, it in no way says love is finite).

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

      “people tend to view the subject of large families from the narrow perspective of their own life experiences.” 
      Well said. I agree. Wendy and I both try to speak only to the experiences we have had. It’s a journey of love, and I agree: It’s cool!

  • Beka

    What I find very interesting is that the “not enough individual attention” arguement is considered perfectly valid when talking about families with a larger-than-average number of children, but is considered offensive or irrelevant when it is brought up in the discussion of a parent staying home vs. working out of home. If quantity is important, than it is important in either situation– in which case a famiy with two working parents has the opportunity to spend about as much one-on-one time with two children as a family with one working parent can spend with 5 or 6 children. Likewise, if quality is what’s important, then that quality is not dependant on family size, and an only child can receive the same quality attention as a child in a home of 5 or 6 or 16 children. Size is really irrelevant in either situation…

  • http://www.facebook.com/annette.frontz Annette Bransby Frontz

    After hearing this lie so often, I was actually afraid it was true. So even though I “only” have 6 (including 1-year-old twins), I am amazed every day at how many special, loving, wonderful moments I have with them each as individuals every single day. A big part of the problem, I think, is that the world tends to see love as a finite thing, to be measured out a dollop at a time. And I think we as Christians sometimes perpetuate this when we’re talking about how things are ordered in our families. God comes first, obviously, but then we try to create this hierarchy–  Dad is at the top, then Mom, then so on down the line. When in fact, love doesn’t work that way at all. I show my love for my husband my loving my children, and loving my children leads me to love my husband (and my God) even more. It’s not a limited commodity.

    Thank you for posting this– it made me smile (and cuddle a baby).

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

      I can’t agree more with your analysis. Cuddle that baby from the Jeubs!

  • http://profiles.google.com/anij34 Jolene O’Dell

    ~Love this~  We have 4 going on 7 children (3 by birth and 4 by adoption) and I overheard my 7 yr old the other day saying he can’t wait till we have more children!  How funny that this perspective is rarely the center of media attention.  

  • Cathy

    We have 9 children, from 2 to 19 years old.  Just today my 10 year old asked when we would have another baby, all the others echoed his desire.  I think every new child multiplies the love not subtracts it.

  • Anonymous

    We have several large (8+ kids) in our church and I’d say a majority of the families have kids who are normal and well-adjusted.  Sadly the minority (3 families) have kids who are so needy for adult interaction or for someone to pay attention to them that you honestly cannot walk by their pew without one of the children latching onto you and demanding that you offer some sort of interaction.  I had to take my suddenly screaming 2 year old out in the middle of service last week and when I went past one of the families I gained an adorable 8 yr old boy.  For 30 minutes he “kept me company” and whenever I would ask him anything his face would light up and he looked like he was on cloud 9.  Maybe the writer knows kids like that.  They aren’t the majority of large families but they do exists.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362549172 Sabrina Scheerer

       That could be a result of the dynamics of the family but it could also be a personality thing AND it can happen in small families as well. I have three kids currently and spend almost all of my time with them, my husband works long hours but is more involved than most dads I know so they aren’t deprived of attention by any means BUT they will gladly latch onto anyone at church who shows them a bit of attention-its a personality thing for both my girls. I also know people who don’t pay much attention to their children and only have 2 or 3 and those children act that way because they ARE deprived of attention. Just saying don’t assume its a large family problem or necessarily an indicator of lack of attention. (I don’t think you are but just wanted to add the info).

  • Jennifermull

    I love to tell this story… when we found out that we were going to have number 8, my then 13yo son was actually a bit miffed… he said, “Why are we going to have another baby? We already have a bunch of kids.” My then 10yo son who I can easily see raising a large family says, “Zach, the Duggars have a lot of kids… WE do NOT have a lot of kids…” LOL! The funny thing is, Zach was the one who was the closest to that baby. I think it is interesting that people think that if a child is jealous, then we should give into that jealousy and raise self-centered kids. Do they not realize that by having to share life with many siblings, the outcome is less self-centeredness and less selfishness…. do we really want to free the next generation from that? LOL. I think some people just need to see what it is really like to live in a large family that actually loves and cares for each other.

    • http://jeubfamily.com Wendy Jeub

       Jennifer, You are so right! Children from larger families are less jealous and self-centered. You are right about the next generation, who wants to be around people who are selfish and self-centered?

       Awhile back I took one of my children to a new dentist and she did everything the dentist asked her to do even-though some of it was painful. Afterwards the dr commented on how well adjusted my daughter seemed to be and even asked how many children in the family. When I explained he said he was not surprised at the size of our family. He was an older dr and he said he has found in his years of practice that children from larger families are better adjusted.

  • Janetkiessling

    AMEN!!!!!

  • Katie

    Amazing how people are so quick to criticize large families for not having time for their kids, even when the parents stay home all day, and yet they don’t criticize the families where the parents are divorced or both are working and the kids come home to an empty house every day.  This is how me and most of my friends grew up, and it was very lonely.  If we had a few more siblings it would’ve been less horrible even if our parents were gone just as much.

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

      Wow, I think your response is the best!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486806950 Jamerrill Stewart

    We are a growing family of 5. :)  We love your family’s story and encouragement.  Thanks for all that you do!

    • JB

       Amen to your growing loving family.

  • Lara

    I must say having 6 children, 9 years and under, homeschooling and a very fussy baby leaves me exhausted but people who go out to work also are exhausted and this is by far more fulfilling to me than a job outside the home. We may have moments of frustration but the moments of joy truly out weigh the the work. I also must add, I am no more tired now than when I had my first babies (twins) and then 3 babies, etc, having 6 is not more “work”, but it is more JOY

    • http://jeubfamily.com Wendy Jeub

       Good for you Lara. You really are in the trenches everyday. Let me say thank you over and over for your commitment to your family.

      • Guest

        Completely confused why you a stranger would thank her for her commitment to her own family. It is strange to say the least and comes across as patronizing or in the like you have some ulterior motive. Are YOU expecting strangers to thank you for your commitment to your family ? Should I thank you for your commitment to your family because I read and occasionally post ?

        • Cindee Fox

           Anyone’s godly commitment to their family benefits society as a whole.  “No (wo)man is an island…”  I think it’s great to thank and encourage others for their hard work and contributions.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362549172 Sabrina Scheerer

           Wow that was rude, and you obviously knew it was rude since you didn’t sign in but posted as “guest.” Wendy encourages me without even knowing it and if she made the “thank you” comment to me it would be very encouraging and I DO thank her for her commitment to both her family and to encouraging others in similar situations (or with similar beliefs) and I hope that my sentiment makes her feel good about what she is doing. Why was your comment necessary?

  • Juliasmcgrath

    I love this article. We only have six and people think we are crazy…i know we are filthy rich… Rich in love.. And blessed behind measure!

    • Juliasmcgrath

      Beyond measure!

  • Lisa O.

    Many times what people don’t realize is that between home schooling our families, focusing on being home together rather than being involved in several different outside activities at once, and striving to spend quality time together (even a run to the grocery store) many large families spend more time together having quality family time than most smaller families.  Also, we tend to do other things for our kids like for go “moms night out” instead choosing to have a girls night with our daughters and vice versa for the dads.  Its all about priorities.  If you choose to make family a priority how can you say no to wanting to spend as much time with your children as physically possible in turn welcoming another blessing into the fold.

    • Kath

      Lots of small families homeschool, and they also do the things you mention. Why the implied slights on smaller families in this blog?

      • http://jeubfamily.com Wendy Jeub

         Kath, Read the post there is no slight on small families.

        • Kath

          Here’s one you wrote:

          “Jennifer, You are so right! Children from larger families are less
          jealous and self-centered.”

          and here’s another (same post)

          ” He was an older dr and he said he has found in his years of practice
          that children from larger families are better adjusted.”

          Actually, they are not even *implied* slights. They are slights. And gross generalizations, too.

          WWJD?

          • KKR

            I think Wendy’s posts would be better if large families didn’t have to *always always always* be better than small ones.

            Because in the real world, they are not. Some are better, some are worse. Why not a post with some balance?

            • http://jeubfamily.com Wendy Jeub

               We are equal time. We post balance all the time. You probably would do well to get all our books and read just how good they are.

              • Kath

                I’d like to see some balance in your posts before I’d consider spending money on a book. Who wants to buy a book that is one-sided and has broad, sweeping generalizations?

              • Arlea

                Aaaargh!!!! Talk about missing the point! I am so confused as to why you (and other detractors) read this blog at all let alone feel obliged to repeatively assert your objections. Why, WHY would the Jeubs promote the merits of small families in any capacity - they have SIXTEEN CHILDREN people; they don’t have much small family experience :) A large family is what they’ve got and they choose to celebrate it (duh!). If you had two children would you blog about how much better the Duggars  are? Dear detractors – please find a hobby!

          • http://jeubfamily.com Wendy Jeub

             Still no slight in the post.

            • Kath

              You are telling small families that your kids  are better (less jealous, less self-centered) than mine. That is a slight.  You’ve never met these kids, you just know that, somehow.

              • JB

                 I don’t think you read the post.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Holly-Truitt/1181885735 Holly Truitt

                I agree with JB and Wendy….You didn’t read the post.  I have 3 children and is considered a small family.  I do not feel “slighted” by the Jeubs.  In fact, I feel very loved by them through their post and through that I spread my love to my three children.  We are a small family NOT by choice but God’s choice.  She never stated her children are better than those of small families.  They are speaking through experience and trying to dispel myths about kids in large families regarding “not having enough time or love for them because you have too many kids”  You need to read the article and gor through their blog.  They do not look down on small families.  :)

    • Ramona

       Actually, once kids turn 8 or so, they don’t want to spend every single second with mom. They want to be out and about, meeting new kids their own age. Why keep them “physically present” with their mom every minute? Why is that good, when they don’t even want it?

      • http://jeubfamily.com Wendy Jeub

         Ramona, 8 years old is not very old. In my state it is barely out of a car-seat.  Every minute at home is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about having a nurturing loving home. Nobody is excluding friends.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362549172 Sabrina Scheerer

         Most 8-year-olds would also gladly eat cookies, soda, candy and chips all day but that doesn’t mean its good for them….I don’t plan to let my kids “out and about,  meeting new kids” when they are 8! They don’t have the capacity to determine if someone is a good influence in their lives at that age. We plan activities with other families who I feel enhance our and our children’s lives so our kids can play with others but we also teach them that their siblings are the most important members of their generation right now as their relationship with them will outlast almost any friend they make. Just replying to that one point as there are many others in this discussion.

  • Nadia Swearingen-Friesen

    Love this post.  We have four children and love having a “large” family.  We feel confident that we are open to the number of children God has for us.  One thing that people fail to notice about big families is that the children ALSO love on each other.  When we had one child, my husband and I both adored him.  When we had two, the brothers had each other, plus mom and dad!  What a blessing!  And from there, it multiplies all the more!

  • Mary

    I’m a little confused by your argument that “the few people in the large home can hide their hard hearts away from the rest of the family in their own rooms.” I’m not sure I see the connection between having a large house/ children in individual bedrooms and “hiding” hard hearts. A family’s ability to love and spend time together has nothing to do with the size of their house. Having a large house with a few people does not impede that family’s ability to come together, or to “hide.” A family of 8 could live in one room and still suffer disconnect, while a family of 3 could live in a mansion and enjoy a closeness completely unrelated to the size of their home. 

    Additionally, there is a difference between love and attention. You talk about your family having an abundance of love, which I have no doubts is completely true. As parents, I think you and Wendy do a tremendous job of making sure each and every child is loved. However,   it’s simple math that a child with 15 siblings cannot receive as much attention from their parents as a child with one or two siblings, just as a teacher with 15 students cannot give each one as much individual attention as a teacher with 3 students. This is not to say children in large families do not receive enough attention overall, but the one-on-one, parent-to-child attention is compromised by the number of children in the family. Again, it’s simple math. 

    • Mary

      Also, I’m sorry if I’ve misinterpreted your comment on “the large home.” Please feel free to correct me!

      • Mary

        It’s a little disheartening how easy it is for you, Chris, to assert that you “trump” me on credibility, and that I am not speaking from “true experiential knowledge.” That’s a pretty big assumption to make, seeing as how I did not mention anything about my personal experience in my comment. It’s unfortunate that you’ve dismissed my thoughts as “naive” without asking whether I have any experience in this matter. If you had asked, I would have told you that I grew up in a family with 14 children. So actually, I have plenty of experience with a large family. I had really hoped that you wouldn’t be so quick to make guesses and inaccurate assumptions about my family life. You don’t want people making assumptions about your family, so why do it to others? (Matthew 7:1)
        I completely agree that the sibling relationships in a large family cannot be overlooked. The bonds I have with my brothers and sisters are invaluable, and I couldn’t imagine life without a single one of them. But my siblings are not my parents. In my opinion, the relationship between sibling and sibling, and child and parent are two VERY different relationships, and one can’t substitute for the other. Here we might have reached a moot point, because whether or not one is more important than the other is a matter of opinion. But for me personally, I see my parents as the most influential people in my life. They are the ones who chose to bring us all into the world, who set the rules and routines of our daily life, whose values and opinions most directly influence my own – not my siblings. Unfortunately, the simple math is my parents could not spend more than ten minutes or so a day having one-on-one time with each of their kids (as I would guess would be the case with your family as well, but I could be wrong!). As a child, that was not enough.

        I’d really like to know what you think about parents of many children being able (or not) to spend enough one-on-one time with their kids, all relations with siblings aside. 

        And for the record, I’m not trying to be “right.” I don’t think there is a “right” answer to how many children one should have, how much attention each should receive, etc. I can only state my opinion – whether it is perceived to be “naive” or not. 

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

      Interesting take, but I don’t believe you’re right on this one. The “simple math” argument is what I’m refuting. It just isn’t that simple.

      It is simple if you ONLY look at the parent-to-child relationship in a single-child home. What about all the other variables? The only child has just a few, a Jeub child has hundreds (take all variables of the 15 siblings they have and you get 225 possible relational situations).

      Here’s another way of thinking about it. Not only is every child related to each of their parents, but they are also related to their siblings. They not only return the relationship to their parents, but to every sibling — and every group of siblings. 

      Now, I suppose it’s debatable which is better. That’s cool if you disagree, but I must trump you on credibility. I, like all large families, remember the days of just a couple kids. You likely don’t live life with 16 children. You can think what you like about our household, but you are not speaking from true experiential knowledge. In fact, you’re clinging to simple math (with a narrow twist of fallacy) to justify your naive claim.

      But my post doesn’t really raise that issue. My point is simply this: JUST looking at the parent-to-child as the only relational tie in a family is disingenuous. It is interesting to note that the author of the cited article “can’t fathom” a large family like the Duggars. Okay, while it may be overwhelming for her to THINK about it, many large-family advocates LIVE it. That’s why I say it is “magical,” because it works out better than you’d think.

      This was a long reply. I may just turn this into a post. I’m curious to what you think!

      • Myoung

        My grandmother was one of 16 (should have been about 23 but many were lost).  She had four children of her own and not a one of her siblings had more than five children.  When I once asked her why she did not have more, because I was fascinated by her large family, her answer was that she wanted her children to have time to be children and for her to have the time to enjoy those days with each of them.  She helped to raise her siblings as one of the oldest and while they could not have been more dear to her, she knew she missed something that she wanted to ensure her own children would have.  She lived it and was not an advocate.
        As for the argument that close quarters make it impossible to ignore love, my grandfather’s family of 14 siblings, who grew up in a three room house, feuded with each other until the last one passed.  They managed to ignore love quite successfully.My point is, you can’t generalize something like this, each experience is different and what works for you would not work for everyone.  Advocating a lifestyle without knowing the circumstances of your audience seems foolish.  Also, children who have the opportunity to be with their parents, deserve to have that time.  Siblings don’t replace the parental relationship.  I have a huge extended family, but not one of those wonderful relationships could replace the one I have with and needed from my parents.  I am happy to know that I will not look back someday and say the words my grandmother once said to me, ‘I wish I had really known my father, but I didn’t have the time with him.’  

      • Razingruth

        Hi Chris,
        Saying you have more credibilty is an odd approach.  On that logic, I have more credibility than you on this subject as I *am* the child of a large, Christian, patriarchal family.  Of course, I wouldn’t suggest that I have more credibility or merit on anyone’s family other than my own and THAT is where I think people have a problem with the assumptions.  I pray that, in your family, everything is as rosey as you portray it.  That’s the goal, right? Happy, healthy, stable children.  Unfortunately, for every large family who gets it right, there’s one thaht gets it wrong.  As a child of THAT brand of family (the ones that got it wrong, following a very similar recipe), I have to say that it can go very wrong.  Simply having as many chidlren as you can doesn’t lead to a good family.  There are too many variables. 
        Peace,
        Ruth

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

          Ruth, you’re really reading us wrong. You have not read our books?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Holly-Truitt/1181885735 Holly Truitt

            I thought the same thing when I read Ruth’s post.  I do not think she read your books. 

            • Razingruth

              Holly, I have read one of his books.  However, as Chris would say, constantly defaulting to the “have you read our books?” is off-topic for the blog post.  This family also writes a publicly available blog – this blog.  I have come here to read and discuss what’s occuring on this blog.  This blog post doesn’t say “in our family, this happens…” it says, “in large families, people who criticize miss x,y,and z”.  The author claims that critiques just misunderstand large families and that the author has better credentials because he belongs to a large family.  What I’m saying is that Chris Jeub can only really speak for HIS family.  He’s an authority on HIS family.  Making negative assumptions about other families makes him just the same as people who criticize his family without reading their books or knowing them.  Peace.

          • Razingruth

            I have read one of your books, Mr. Jeub.  While I was trying to investigate which way God wanted me to go with my life, I decided I had to let both sides speak (so to speak).  I went looking for examples of positive, large families, hoping to see that it was *just* my family that had problems following the QF method.  As I said, I truly, truly hope your family is as happy as it appears.  If so, congratulations.  However, your family is YOUR family.  Simply because you’ve made it work and have “love in the house” doesn’t mean that it works for every family.  There are some mothers who don’t have what Wendy might have emotionally/spiritually/physically.  There are some fathers who use God and patriarchal teachings as a weapon, rather than a joy and protection.  You say “children are always a blessing” and on some level, I agree with you that children are a blessing.  But, there are some families for whom more children means straining already strained to the point of exhaustion resources because, maybe, the fathers aren’t as selfless as you or as willing to go without?  Maybe there’s   mother struggling with post-partum depression who’s reading your blog and thinking, “why isn’t this working for me…if I add one more baby, maybe it will work?” and then she has one more baby and it’s the one that sends her into an unending physiological depression.  What about the QF family where there is very real abuse going on? Should they just add another child?  I guess what bothers some of you rreaders is that there are families where more is not better= but your message never accounts for that (on the blog).  Is that responsible?

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

              I see your point. You’re reminding me that I am limited to my understanding of life. That’s fair.

              You seem like a very thoughtful person, one who enjoys grappling with the deeper convictions in life. I have found few people who enjoy them. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amanda-Roddy/100002031624794 Amanda Roddy

    Some of you need to get a new hobby . It seems those who make assumptions about others are insecure and unhappy with their lives.

  • Amrodd

    It seems those who make assumptions about others are insecure about their lives. Have any of you ever asked children from larger families or smaller families how they feel? This isn’t meaning larger families are wrong. Society assumes things about others without looking into the whys of someone’s choice. It is easy to presume a person is unhappy with no kids or single when that is not the norm .The same goes for the opposite. I have taken time to research why others want larger families but in turn, they haven’t researched why others may want to remain childless or single or stop at 2. 

  • Guest

    Pretty sure it would be deleted and I would be banned, but what about Alicia and Alyssa ? There was no mention of Alicia’s family in the christmas letter. It looks that there is a problem with the family. There are rumors Alyssa is a muslim. None of my business, except I would wonder why a child who grew up in a large, devout, christian family decided to do so especially when her parents are touting themselves as experts in parenting a christian family and raising devout children by writing books.  
    People asked questions and were banned and their comments deleted. Again, this would not be any of my business were it not for the fact that this family encourages people to LOVE ANOTHER CHILD, writes books about that, touts themselves as authorities on large families and parenting and most of all has a ministry about that. Why this bothers me is because it is a ministry, not just a family blog. A little bit of honesty and humility would make them a lot more credible in my eyes and even make me buy their books. 

  • ryan

    Ah, the all knowing father of 16. Congrats on your perpetual breeding. As the eldest child of 8 I can assure you, you are making a huge assumption. I remember what it was like growing up in that chaotic house. Maybe my parents weren’t as organized as you, however it was not as enjoyable a childhood as you are painting it. My parents struggled to understand each of our individual personalities, behaviors, and in the end were frustrated, tired and no closer to understanding us than I was to understanding my self. My father recently told me (I am now in my mid 20s with two, and yes I will only be having 2, children) that he wishes he had gotten to know me sooner! I lived at home for 18 years! Do you really know each of your kids? What their favorite activity is, their favorite food, how their little personalities shape over the years. I have seen this in my four year old. I KNOW her. My wife and I invest loads of time energy and money into her life, but more importantly we show her we love her and that she is wanted, important and special. Now, I am able to appreciate a difference in her, when compared to her peers (and her aunts and uncles, some of which are only several years her senior), she is mature, kind, loving and responsible…AT 4! Her 2 month old brother (see, we waited to have another until we knew we could manage it) is the luckiest kid, because not only will his parents be able to continually invest into his life, but his sister is also able to focus on him and invest into him. You see you definition of love is based on random interactions between your brood, I dare say while it does foster tolerance, and patience (speaking from experience) it does not create love.

    A large family isn’t a better family, go to Wal-mart for an hour and my point is proven. A small family isn’t a better family. They are both families and different people want a different lifestyle than others…what is wrong with that? I am assuming you are somewhere in you late 40s or so and by the looks of it you still have a sub-5 year old in the house. I don’t want that. I’d prefer to not have that kind of responsibility when I am 50. Good on you for having that energy. I can say, both of my parents are in their early 50′s and they have an eight year old in the house! That means at the time of retirement they will have just graduated from highschool their last baby. They can’t travel like they want to (they have plenty of money to), their nights are spent running kids between different events, and they are worn out. 

    So, in conclusion, be careful about how you state things. Different people want different things. I have no problem with you or the Duggars having as many children as you think will make your love grow more, I draw the line when people have lots of (or any) children, those children are not cared for, the parents cannot support them, and in the long run you have these kids who are the dredge of society. I see it on a daily basis.

    Good luck with your college tuition bill as well.

    Ryan 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Holly-Truitt/1181885735 Holly Truitt

      Ryan,
      I am laughing at your comment about the college bill….Why do you think it is the parent’s job to pay for the college tuition??   Our kids know they will have to either pay for their own college tuition, get financial aid (which I think the Jeub kids will qualify), grants or loans.  They also know we will help them but we will not foot the bill for them.  I got financial aid in college (I was married so we qualified due to that as my dad made too much money) and I paid what the financial aid didn’t pay.  I also got scholarship. 

      I can see through your writings that you are very cynical about large families.  Your situation is not the be all ok!  Not all large families are in a situation that you were in growing up.  I know, personally, large families and they really do KNOW each child. 

      I can say more but I will stop here. 

      Holly.

      • Ryan

        Sorry for the delay in response. 

        Correct, I am extremely cynical. While my experience is not universal (something I never stated) it happens with increased frequency to children of a large household. Based on resources and time allotment it happens, at no fault of the parents. My parents really did try, they were great parents but it took a lot out of them.

        Why did I make the college comment you find funny? Well here is why. I am currently in my third year of medical training. My parents could not afford to send me to a 4 year college, so they put me in a state school where I received scholarships, worked and struggled for 4 years to obtain my B.S. degree (appropriately abbreviated). I was so stressed about bills and whether or not I was going to need loans that it took away from my learning experience. Now as a young man who owes more to Discover student loans than most people owe on their homes (all from my medical education, not undergrad) I know I never want my children to have to worry  about a mortgage sized loan waiting for them if they decide to attend college and/or grad school. Call them spoiled…I prefer to set my children up for financial success in anyway possible. 

        My situation was never stated to be the “be all” (I have never heard this expression but I assume it means my experience isn’t universal) and you are correct, what experience is universal? I do know a few (upwards of 20 or so) families who also have bunches of kiddos (what happens when you have a large family, they tend to congregate around other large families). I am good friends with most of their adult children who had similar, not the same, experiences and sentiments that I do. Take it for what it is worth I guess. What do you care, heck I could have made up that last part and it wouldn’t of mattered. 

        I would caution you and Mr. Jeub to not just assume that your situation should be the “be all” (am I using this term right?) for every family. That was the issue I took with my first post. The notion that if you don’t have a brood of children then you are not “familing” correctly. That is not true and seems to be notion that many of the large families have towards those with small families. 

        TL;DR. My whole argument is this: Small families and large families are different, neither is better, and neither produces more love than the other. 

        I am glad you had a fantastic experience as a child in your large family though!

    • guest

      Ryan,
      Sounds like you are the perpetual breeder!! Two kids and you are only in your mid twenties?! You didn’t want to enjoy your 20′s when your health and fitness levels are most likely at their best?! You don’t want to travel while you are young? There’s a whole world out there and you are just sitting at home changing baby diapers. Sure, you can travel in your 50s, but who wants to then when you could go while you are young and enjoy the good life.
      Being in your mid twenties, don’t you think it would have been better if you could have developed wealth before you had children? And the fact that you came from a family with 8 children, I’m assuming they couldn’t pay for your college or have  provided you with any wealth to start your family. Children need security, not a pay check to pay check lifestyle.
      Sounds like you are just being selfish having two kids. You already had one, why did you have a second one?? And she’s only four. A child’s younger years are their most formative and all she sees you and your wife doing is most likely changing her screaming sibling’s diapers.
      And you mentioned something about college tuition….well good luck to you with college tuition. You say you lived at home until you were 18, so I’m assuming you had your 4 year old when you were 20 or 21….and you have two kids under 5….so I’m assuming they will be in college at the same time. My college tuition (not to mention my $10,000 a year private k-12 education) was over $100,000. So unless you have $200,000 laying around in 14 years, its not going to be easy for you either!
      And think of all the money you could have saved and invested in your first child if you only had one child! By having two kids, you essentially robbed your first child of half the attention she will get from you and half the stuff you can buy for her. Were you not content with only one child and you wanted two? I can assure you, you are making a huge assumption saying you know your child when you just took away half the amount of time you can get to know her by having a second child.

      MY POINT BEING……If you are going to judge the Jeubs in the way you did……someone can judge you in the same way for having two kids.
      I don’t actually believe the things I just stated, but if its so horrible to have 8 children like your family (or 16 like the Jeubs), why even have two. I’m in my mid twenties, I’ve traveled the world multiple times, went to private school, had my college paid for, I’m debt free, and have a ton of wealth. I started my own business and do whatever I want all day long. I love my bank account and the pictures I have of myself from our yearly trips to Europe, but at the end of the day, I’d give all the travel and wealth away to have more siblings. Money, travel, a paid for college education,  and individual attention aren’t everything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=59507540 Jessica Hinchley Loza

    I appreciate your love for the Lord and your children. I teach cross-culturally and I am married to a man of a different race and culture. God has really shown me (not just intellectually but through experience) that this idea of one-on-one time with children on a constant basis is simply a western cultural value. In many other places in the world, emphasis is on the whole group or community rather than the individual. Interdependence is prized over independence. For families who desire to love and honor Christ, this community focus can help develop a sense of self-giving, service and humility.

  • http://twitter.com/wolfgirl134 Brianna

    I am the oldest of four children and when I do decide to have children I think two is more than enough. There really isn’t enough time. My dad is always working (at work and on the house) or taking my sister to soccer, my mom is taking care of the younger two. If I want to spend time with just one of my parents it won’t be doing anything either of us will enjoy it will be while cleaning up after the younger kids. I’ve become resentful of the choices my parents made of having my two younger siblings and while I love them I miss when it was just my sister and I. We spent all the time just the four of us or having daddy/daughter or mommy/daughter time. Now my time is spent arguing with my mom. My youngest sister was born a year before I graduated high school so I felt I had to stay close to home for college to get to know her. It really isn’t fair for anyone in our house.