Pros and Cons of Different Sized FamiliesList a couple pros and cons of having both a big family and a small family.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator


  1. As children of large families will often say, they were able to diffuse the blame when something happened to displease their parents because finding the culprit was impossible. 
  2. Older siblings could watch the younger ones instead of a stranger 
  3. Often, too, the numerous siblings could share the housekeeping tasks and no one person had too many chores. 
  4. Somebody usually has something the others could borrow when there was a need. 
  5. An older sibling can drive and take the younger ones to school, etc.
  6. There is a great support system many times in large families
  7. As siblings age, they have each other to comfort them or befriend them in difficult times.


  1. Older siblings must take care of the younger ones.
  2. There is less food, fewer clothes, toys, etc. for each sibling.
  3. People mistake one child for another
  4. People compare one sibling to another
  5. Sometimes some children are favored over others
  6. There is less money all around  (e.g. vacations and college educations)
  7. There can be serious disputes over the care of aging parents and the disposal of their property.
  8. Some siblings can side against others, causing familial conflicts


scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From a teacher's specific, I have noticed that almost all of my students who come from a large family (for me, that would 5+ children) do very well in school (this is if they are not from a blended family). They are usually more laid back than other students because they are used to not having their questions answered before everyone else, and they don't appear to be as self-centered as many of my students who come from small families.

That being said, I have several family members (my mom, my husband, my grandmother) who come from quite large families (6+ children), and none of them are very close to their siblings or to their parents. I don't know that that is typical of all large families; this is just something that I've observed in these three cases.

I think that in addition to size, other factors play just as significant a role, such as the age difference between children, whether both parents are present in the home, gender, financial stability, and certainly the parenting styles of the parents.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think kids who group up with several siblings (or cousins, whatever) have a better sense of their place in a community than those who have just one or even no siblings.  In my experience, kids with lots of siblings (generally speaking) act less selfishly and are less possessive because they had to share everything growing up.  If they ate dinner together as a family, they learned how to wait their turn in speaking (when necessary) or how to assert themselves to receive the attention they need.

On the other hand, because of the ability to "hide" in a big family, the odds are probably higher in large families that one or more kids ends up failing in school, career, family or life.  Only children tend to be more personally and individually motivated, and are often successful because of their ability to work hard.  What they may lack in social skills is often made up for in work ethic.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Big family -- lots of opportunities to do things with members of your family.  You can play lots of games together.  You have lots of choices as to who you will play with -- if one sibling doesn't want to hang out with you just then, there's always another.   On the other hand, it gets pretty hard to find a place to all meet for Thanksgiving and Christmas once you get older and all have families.  That means less in the way of get togethers where everyone can come.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many good points already stated in the above posts.  From a social standpoint, when parents grow older, there would be a large number of kids and grandkids to both visit, celebrate holidays with and take care of you in your elder years.  Loneliness would be much less likely.  On the other hand, having a large family takes most of your money, so you would possibly lose financial security when you retire, and be dependent on those children for care.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One advantage of a large family is the opportunity to build relationships with multiple siblings and to hopefully learn from their examples, this of course could also be an example of a disadvantage, depending on what the siblings are teaching by example. In today's economy it is getting more difficult to support a large family. This can lead to jealousy and a breakdown in relationships.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think some people are more fit for big families than others. You have to be organized, and financially stable. The biggest advantage to a large family is that there is always someone to talk to. The biggest disadvantage is that it is very expensive.
ik9744 | Student


  • Help each other financially
  • Won't be lonely
  • More opportunity to reach out to others 
  • Will look out for each other


  • Very expensive
  • Very tiring to take care of 
  • Needs to get a bigger car or even another car [Depends on size]
  • College funds will be a pain [unless they work for the money themselves]
  • Needs a bigger house
  • More rooms
  • More food
  • Needs more medical attention
  • Need to drop kids off at different schools
  • Need to drop them off at different activities