Do You think shows like TLC’s Duggar Family Help or Harm the Only Child Cause?

Cable television seems to have a fascination with huge families lately.  Shows like Jon and Kate Plus Eight and the 19-plus Duggar family highlight the trials and tribulations of families with huge numbers of children.   But my question is, do shows like these help or hurt the cause of those families who choose to limit theirselves down to one child?

Looking at the case example of the Duggars.  I believe at this time they have something like 19 children.   I found this post from Psychology Today that expresses my thoughts exactly:

FROM SUSAN NEWMAN, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: I didn’t know much about the Duggars at the time of the interview, but have since been looking into their lifestyle, their living arrangements, and wondering why 18 offspring or if it’s wise. The Duggar’s report being self-sufficient, have a lovely home, and are not on any public assistance… they say. I would guess that income from their Learning Channel TV show and commercial product donations allow them financial freedom right now. BUT, no mother-or father-can reasonably be expected to care for 18 children herself in the way that most of us believe is desirable, positive parenting.

Years ago I asked elementary school children ranging in age from 5 to 12 to finish this sentence: “My mother is special because…” Here, a smattering of responses:
…she gives me lots of hugs and kisses
…she helps me when I’m stuck on something
…she washes my clothes
…she reads me a bedtime story
…she plays games with me
…she helps me with my homework
…she makes my problems her problems
…she’s like a backdrop with padded velvet to comfort me
…she lets me get in her bed every night
…she knows what I’m thinking
…she cheers me up when I am sad
…she does everything with me

It is these one-on-one actions and feelings, cultivated over years of interaction, that bond parent and child and create enduring closeness. Realistically, the burden of caring for and “parenting” the younger Duggar children falls to the the older ones-to help with homework, to bathe, to dress, to feed, to kiss and hug.” (


Ms. Newman makes an excellent point.  Let’s be realistic here. I am a working mom with a full time schedule. Between work, commute times and bedtimes, I estimate I have two, maybe three good hours of quality time with my daughter a day – and a lot of that still gets taken up with cooking, cleaning, bathtimes, and the other day-to-day chores of life.  If I start having two or more kids, I’m not going to magically get more than those 2 or 3 hours, not without making some major lifestyle changes. I’d have to divide that time up accordingly.   I almost feel as if I’d be giving less of myself with more.

Perhaps I am wrong. What do you think?


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