Many parents and families in the middle and upper-income groups in South Africa usually employ some sort of family planning measures when considering child rearing and securing their own futures. Parents will often plan to have one, a couple, or even three or four children. How these children are brought up depends entirely on the resources available to the parents, but how many children should you have before signs of neglect become an issue?
Obviously the idea of “too many children” is incredibly dependent on a number of important factors. These include the financial security of the parents (or single parent), time restrictions, and the condition of the parents’ relationship with each other.
Finances play a large role in the upbringing of the child. If parents are expecting a high standard of living for their family, then they have to take into consideration the costs involved in having children, as well as being able to send the children to good schools, pay medical bills, pay for extra murals, and ultimately provide food and shelter. If parents do not have the financial resources, then they can expect to lower their standards of living, causing increasing financial burden with every child born. Unfortunately, some parents choose to neglect their children in an effort to maintain their high standards of living by either not providing for them, or stopping them from performing extra murals. In cases of financial restraint, couples should refrain from having children if it will mean the detriment to the child’s wellbeing.
The same could be said for time constraints; couples with very little time due to work and or personal past-times cannot rationally believe they are fit to raise children. If there is one thing that’s certain, it is that children require plenty of love and attention. A lack of attention given by the parent causes child neglect. Of course, the more children a couple has the less likely they are able to give their individual children the required attention. In large families, there may be one or more children that are attention seeking. This can create a situation whereby other children are ‘sidelined’, causing serious psychological trauma. Parents should identify their time constraints, as well as time constraints in the middle to long-term future, and plan their families accordingly.
How many children should you have? By all means, if you can afford the time, money and dedication required when caring for many children, then there is no reason why you cannot have an exceedingly large family. But if you are unable to provide for your children, then you should not plan to have as many children as you may want.