In my opinion, the choice of being an only child or to have six brothers and sisters depends on a string of factors. In other words, life as a member of a large or a small family both has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. If given a choice, I personally would prefer to live in a large family though I am fully aware that it is not without its disadvantages. However, I feel that these disadvantages are far outweighed by the advantages.
If I were to have six brothers and sisters, one of the most significant advantages is that I would experience a sense of belonging. Unlike being an only child, I would then have brothers and sisters who take an interest in my welfare. I would not feel lonely or neglected as there would always be someone on hand to share my joys and problems with. I would definitely have someone to look up to for assistance and advice, an elder brother or sister who would willingly help and guide me in my endeavors, someone who will listen to me patiently and tenderly attend to my complaints. With a brother or a sister who is only a little older than me, I can confide and share the secrets of my ‘dreams and aspirations. It is this feeling of togetherness which makes my life more meaningful. Besides, elder brothers or sisters can help me with my homework when the going gets tough.
Members of a large family can depend upon each other during times of emergency or difficulty. Just imagine what an only child would have to endure in the face of unforeseen circumstances. There would be practically no one. Other than his parents, for him to look up to. And as is usually the case, parents are considered to be of another generation whom children cannot see eye to eye with.
One advantage of having six brothers and sisters over being an only child is that more hands make less work, especially for the mother. In such a family, it is not uncommon for everyone to do his or her share of the work. It may simply be to wash up the dishes, to sweep the floor, to care for the younger ones or even to cook. These daily chores are actually useful for through them. We learn to be more independent and self-reliant. We gain confidence too, knowing that there are many things that we can do. When our parents are away, we will have to share the burden of keeping the house in order and to cook for ourselves. In this way, we learn to cooperate and to contribute our share of work. Through sharing, we learn not to be selfish and not to think only of ourselves.
In some occupations, especially farming, a large family is a great advantage. The farmer need not have many, and often any, workers because his children can help with the work.
Living in a large family with many brothers and sisters is likely to make a person more sociable. An only child is often withdrawn, selfish, lonely and mean because he is not accustomed to mixing with people other than his parents. He is often inconsiderate as he usually gets whatever he wants not having to share with others. An only child is often spoilt, the result of having being pampered by his over-protective parents.
Being a member of a large family can indeed be quite an experience. It cannot be denied that there would be less money individually to spend on clothes and for personal expenses. However, this may be considered to be an advantage since it cultivates the habit of thrift.
In terms of the quality of material benefits and food, a family with six brothers and sisters would probably be less well-provided for but with proper management by our parents, we would still be able to live quite comfortably. However, whatever we may not be able to afford is more than compensated by the warm companionship which is so much a part of a large family. This is most evident before and during festive occasions when we have such great fun together helping in the preparation of food or doing the little chores which require doing. The festive dinners are truly wonderful and memorable occasions when we eat heartily in an atmosphere of gaiety and fun.
Responsibility comes early to a member of a large family. We learn this when we take care of our younger brothers and sisters. Later, when we are earning our own living, we will help to finance the education of our younger brothers and sisters and to contribute towards the upkeeping of the house.
One disadvantage of a large family is that the facilities for self-improvement or for recreation may be less available for its members. There may be less privacy too because rooms would have to be shared.
It is apparent therefore that living in a large family helps prepare a person for future life. The responsibility, cooperation, loyalty, warm intimacy and love that have – been developed will indeed be of service to us in later life.
Although having six brothers and sisters may have a few disadvantages, boredom or loneliness is certainly not likely to be one of them. Therefore, I would rather be a member of a large family than to be an only child, whatever disadvantages I might have to endure.