Large Families Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Large Families

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Large families, in a nutshell, are families that have so many people in them, you can never get anywhere when you're with one without being late, hearing the screams of a baby all the time, or losing someone. For these reasons, having a large family can be a nuisance. However, it can also be a good thing. They usually provide many Christmas and/or birthday gifts, and they can throw big parties.

A family can be considered large if:

  • The eldest sibling is old enough to be the parent of the youngest.

  • There is a new baby every one and a half years.

  • A grandchild in the family is within two years of age of one of her aunts.

  • When someone gets lost on a family trip, everyone must get in groups, count off, and only then can the lost person be identified.

Large families seem to be a cycle. If a person is born into a large family, that person is more likely to have a large family when they start their own family; more so than others who may not have such a big family. Then, when that person's family gets large, the entire family gets even larger.

Children in large families (usually the older ones) tend to get less personal attention than the younger ones. Although the children may feel neglected sometimes, this lack of attention may turn out to be a plus for them in adolescence/adulthood because their parents really don't care what or how the older child(ren) is/are doing.

Ironically, younger children in large families have similar feelings. While their older sibling(s) are out graduating from college, they're still in seventh grade. They also feel that everyone's also looking down on them as the 'little one' who'll never grow up.

When large families begin to get even bigger as the children have children, things become confusing. Setting up a family meeting of any description is near impossible. Someone always is changing a nappy or diaper, looking for a lost kid, running late, has an appointment, was never told about the meeting, or something along those lines. When everyone gets there, the incessant ringing of mobile phones and crying of babies goes on and on and on.

Going on a trip with such a family is even worse. It gets very expensive with regular costs, airfare, food, drink, etc. Little children cry if they don't get souvenirs, older kids want to break away from the main family and go off on their own or with similarly-aged cousins. In a place like Disney World, the sheer amount of people makes it impossible to agree on a place to go. In other words, it's mayhem.

Gossip is a big problem in large families. As you know, something that starts little gets big when it goes through more than three people. Imagine something little going through over ten people. Just about everything you do will somehow get back to you if you have a large family.

A Real Example of a Large Family Function

A large family plans a meeting at the zoo. There should be one parent, five children1, and 16 grandchildren. At 7.30, the time everyone was supposed to be there, only one grandparent, three children, and four grandchildren have turned up. One child's boyfriend tries to use his mobile phone, only to find the battery dead. Then, after about five minutes of confusion, someone uses their mobile phone and successfully calls two of the missing children. They are both said to be in the zoo parking lot. They get to the meeting spot about 15 minutes later. The other missing child comes about 30 minutes later.

An hour later, after the family breaks up and wanders around the zoo, it seems after counting off, that two grandchildren are missing. However, no one knows which ones. After finding out which grandchildren are missing, it turns out the two were together and close to everyone else, but weren't notified about the count-off.

1Along with their respective spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends.

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