Just over a week ago, my wife and I welcomed a seventh child into our family. What a wonderful blessing! Because of this addition, our lives will be going through a transition. Each of our family members is adjusting to what the new normal will look like.
Over the past ten years, as our family has grown, I have occasionally struggled to adapt to the new normal myself. A family that is larger than the typical American family can present unique challenges. Living an adventure is part of what I signed up for when I began to welcome all of these children.
My experience has illuminated four ways to think that will help to avoid losing one’s mind as a parent in a large family. For those of you who do not have a large family, these may be helpful when you are going to participate in a family gathering.
- Embrace the noise but fight for times of quiet. This is, by far, one of the main hallmarks of our family. Wow! The noise level is usually off the charts. Our daily routine exists at a dull roar. Because the noise level can often be so loud, it is important for mom and dad to commit themselves to make time to experience quiet. Peaceful stillness can provide needed refreshing.
- Relationships, relationships, relationships! One blessing of a large family can be the relationships formed between its members. As a parent of a large family, I do not have the ability to provide most of the material wants of my children. It is not practical financially or logistically. However, I can invest time in building relationships. It is my goal to form a relationship with each of my children that will blossom into friendship and last for the rest of our lives.
- Lower your expectations. I am not suggesting that we should allow our children to settle for achieving less than the standard we set. However, I would strongly encourage all parents to set realistic goals for their children. Distilling expectations down to the clear and acceptable standards will help with a sense of accomplishment.
- Establish a long-term vision. A well-thought-out plan to guide our family is helpful when life gets busy. The vision can provide guidance in decision making. A clearly defined system of values can help us differentiate between alternatives when pursuing a course of action. My faith plays a significant role in constructing a long term vision for our family. I have placed my trust in God to help me accomplish the dreams that I have for our children.
Living in a large family can be challenging at times. I am not an expert of parenting in a large family, but my hope is that my experiences will benefit others. Embrace the challenge and live the adventure of a large family!
Question: Do you have any tips that you can share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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