The topic within psychology that interest me most is Child Psychology and how children develop. It interests me that all children are so different even within the same families, when they have similar genes and similar atmosphere to grow up. The question I will look into is whether children from larger families get more advantage or disadvantages than children from smaller sized families.
I recently read a journal by Black, Devereux and Salvanes (2005) regarding whether the size of families effects children’s education and their intellectual development. The study showed a negative correlation between them which means that the fact that children grow up in larger families effect negatively on their education. Booth and Kee (2005) say that this is because if there are many siblings it is impossible to provide as much resources which will assign them from their educational potential. A research from Elder (1963) discovered that children from larger families could be effected emotionally too. This case showed that ‘paternal involvement and external behaviour control would occur more often in large families than in small.”
I remember reading a book when I was studying Child Development for GCSE called Child Care and Development (2001) and it said that there are three types of children that stands out in a crowd – the only child, a child from a family of more than four children and the middle child within a family of three. “Children with no siblings are neurotic, self-centred, unable to tolerate frustration, non-competitive, demanding and hypochondriacally” shows the study from Arlow (1972).
On the other hand, children from larger families has more responsibilities at home which will help them grow in self-knowledge and self-confidence and matureness. This will develop their understanding of morality. They are less likely not to focus on themselves but on others around them. As they have many sibling to talk and play with the will be stimulated intellectually at all times which could effect positively on their intellectual development. Even though sibling rivalry may occur oftener, this will teach them about sharing, fairness and forgiveness. They may have different interests which will develop them socially and they will be more willing to get on with everyone. The parents may be less able to provide time and money for each child but the children will learn what’s important in life and will be more eager to work for themselves in the future. It’s also an amazing opportunity for parents to be part of such families and the chance of being lonely is decreased because of all the support that surrounds them.
A child’s position within a family also effects on the child’s development and in the long term is reflects on their personalities. The famous letter Erma Bombeck (1971) claims to include the typical behaviour of the middle child. Here is a paragraph from the book :
“To the middle child…
I’ve always loved you the best because you drew the dumb spot in the family and it made you stronger for it.
You cried less, had more patience, wore faded and never in your life did anything “first,” but it only made you more special. You are the one we relaxed with and realized a dog could kiss you and you wouldn’t get sick. You could cross the street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married, and the world wouldn’t come to an end if you went to bed with dirty feet.
You were the continuance.”
If you would like to read the full letter, visit – http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4pG8_t5CVoMC&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=erma+bombeck+middle+child&source=bl&ots=2O-7GeViYs&sig=jXmtMktqdlTwwgyFFBdiCDKhPSQ&hl=en&ei=skHBTsrFEJH24QTGldyUBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
Personally, I think that the size of families do effect on child’s development but people are more likely to give their opinion based on their own experience. Every family are different and would be likely to prove their own advantages and disadvantages. What do you think?