Quoting Quiverfull: Easier By the Dozen?

Quoting Quiverfull: Easier By the Dozen? April 20, 2013

by Mary Pride in Homeschool World “Easier by the Dozen”

When you only have one or two very young children, it may be hard to imagine… but children really are easier by the dozen.

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QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Erika

    to an extent, I agree. I have been around a large family (not necessarily an extreme religious fundamentalist family, but they had 6 boys, and mom stayed home while dad worked) where I saw some of this in practice. And, it worked. I was volunteering to teach their mom English (refugee family), so sometimes the older ones helped while I worked with mom. Of course, the littlest would want mommy and want to sit in her lap, but the benefit to that was he learned too. it gave mom 2 hours to sit, and learn, and speak, and ask me questions. And I saw too, while making dinner, or doing other house work, the boys could play together and entertain each other.

    I think there is merit too in having your kids help you once they have the physical capability. They start learning life skills, themselves. They’re gonna have to be able to dust,mop, vacuum, do dishes, and mend a button eventually. We all do (unless you are rich enough to hire help). So the earlier you start learning, the better.

    I think if there is a problem here, it’s the Quiverfull lifestyle. I can see a lot of these ideas being implemented in families with only 2 kids, 3 max. But when you’re in that extreme religious fundamentalist mindset, it warps everything.

  • From teaching at preschools and babysitting, I came to this conclusion: 20 children of more or less similar age, kept together in an environment geared at child education and nothing else – children in preschools do not enter rooms where cooking or home repairs or anything else is done – is easier than 3 children of mixed ages in a mixed environment where some items are dangerous for children (like the contents of the medicine cabinet) and children are a danger to others (like the pretty coffee table book).

    But that is not what Mrs. Pride means. And even though I come from a family most people here will call very small in comparison to theirs – the only daughter and oldest of 4 children – I know first hand some of the negative effects of being one of a group. (too little money, no personal attention from parents, getting punished with no understanding of the situation that made me act like I did as nobody actually know me or take the time to notice my situation, being denied age-appriopriate activies as the whole family could not do it, way more time spent on the child who act out than on the quiet child, etc.)
    Of course, many here had it far, far worse than I did.

  • Cathy W

    There’s a difference between “the kids who are old enough help out around the house” – true no matter how many kids you have! – and “the oldest daughter raises kids 7 through 12”, which is what too many quiverfull families seem to fall into…

  • K

    Cause you can make the oldest ones raise the youngest and then all you have to worry about is giving birth to more?

    Thats how the Duggars do it anyway.

  • madame

    Sure, kids are easier by the dozen if you don’t see them as individuals.
    The way I see it, each child is an individual human being, with a unique personality and needs. Childen can’t raise children, so parents are going to be a lot more busy with 12 children than with two.
    I’m the second of 10 children. I don’t remember life ever being easy.

  • saraquill

    The writer must understand that children are not commodities. She makes children sound like something that can be bought at Costco.

  • Independent Thinker

    That’s an interesting quote from a woman with only nine children.

  • Mary C

    I went and read the whole blog, and the author’s entire premise is false. She states that because children are the most work when they are all under age five, it is easier to have 12 children versus 2! Her only argument is that after age five the kids will be able to help with chores and with the other children.

    The problem with that argument is that children can be taught to help out whether they are 1 of 2 or 1 of 12 kids. Is my six year old less work and a bigger help than when she was four? Sure! I’ve taught her to dress herself, clean her own room, fix her breakfast, feed and let out the dogs, etc, etc. Are there six year olds who don’t do any of this for themselves? Yep. Is whether they do or not dependent on having more siblings running around? Not at all.

    The author also brags that she has never hired a housekeeper or nanny. I think it would be interesting to add up the number of hours her older children have spent on watching the younger ones, doing laundry, meal prep, and housework – and then again tell us how she never had to “hire” help for her nine kids.

    I was the oldest of six and my mom worked full time – so I have a little personal experience with this.

  • Sal

    It’s one thing to have kids contribute to the household by doing age-appropriate chores. It’s quite another to rely on them to act as involuntary nannies to their younger siblings when they could be studying, learning/practicing a skill, spending time with friends, playing a sport, working at an after-school job, or doing whatever catches their fancy – the things kids need to do to start developing their own individual identities.

    But of course, this set-up isn’t about kids developing into strong, mature individuals. Quiverfull sees these kids as non-people, interchangeable soldiers in the Jesus wars, with no more individual personality than actual arrows in an actual quiver. They’re supposed to be malleable and gullible. Becoming their own people is just about the worst possible outcome by that logic!

  • The child care places and schools also have contracts that pay people to do the cleaning… unlike Quiverfull families where this appears to get farmed out to the oldest daughters.