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How Many Kids Should You Have?

The decisions surrounding how many children you should have are personal ones. They may be made by you and your husband long before you are married, or they may come as you start to build your family. Your personal, medical, and financial well-being may all be determining factors in how many children you decide to have in your family. There is not one right answer for every family.

E Fact

The average household in the United States has about 1.86 children in it, according to the U.S. Census in 2000. However, this number is decreasing. This is not to say that there aren't still families with seven, eight, or nine children out there, because there certainly are.

Only Child

You and your husband may decide that one child is enough for you. There are many families choosing to have only one child. Some benefits of having an only child are that more time, attention, and monetary resources are given to a single child since they are not divided among siblings.

Having an only child can be wonderful. You and your husband don't have to divide your time between other children and can focus on the one child. You can both go to the science fair or the school play and not tag team each other. Whatever your reasons for wanting an only child, remember that the decision is yours. Be careful to avoid pressure from family and friends who think they know what is best for you.

Perhaps the decision to have only one child was not your decision. It may have been made for you due to medical or other personal circumstances. This can be difficult to come to terms with, but families come in all shapes and sizes.

Full House

Having a house full of kids can be a wild ride. The proponents of large families say that the sibling experience is not one to be missed. The interaction and love that goes on in large families is amazing. It's also quite the operational venture for the parents as well.

Larger families learn to cope with sharing parents with each other. They also quickly learn to work together. Large families learn to share resources and take care of each other. If you came from a family that was larger, you may want either to have a larger family or to avoid one, depending on your particular experience within your family background.

You must be careful to watch what others say to you when you express your desires for a large family. Don't be discouraged by the thoughts of others. You'll often hear, "Not for me!" or "Are you crazy?" Just ignore these comments and make decisions that feel right to you and your husband.

But how many is too many? This is a very good question. The answer varies widely. The only ones who can decide how many children to have would be you and your husband. Ultimately, you shouldn't have more children than you can financially, emotionally, or physically manage.

While you may have an idea in your mind of the ideal family size, be flexible. I would advise you to have a settling-in period after the birth of each child, and then readdress the issue of more children. This prevents you from finding yourself overloaded based on a random number you may have pulled out of your head long before your wedding night.

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excerpted from:

From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.


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