I've been thinking on some things lately, well I've thought about them for a long time now & I wonder if others with the larger than normal family think about the same issues? Do smaller families think about these things too? It has to do with your children's outside friendships.
When my children were younger their friends were my friend's children. If I would get together with a friend or family it was natural that my kids played with their kids and became friends through that familial relationship. This just has been the natural progression......something I'm used to & comfortable with. But it seems the older my kids get the harder it is to maintain that, even in the homeschool circle. I'm okay with the occasional outing one of my children might have with a friend & their parent or church group outing.........but I am not comfortable with frienships being consistently seperate from family involvement. I see it in churches. I see it in homeschool circles. I just don't see enough family focused fellowship. Why isn't family camp enough? Why do we have to have teen camp....where you send your teen off with the other teens from church to a Bible camp?
There have been times that even though the friendships we have our family based the parent of the other family will only invite one of my children to come over to spend time with one of their children.....they won't invite all of us. I find it to be like this the most with families that have 2 children..... a boy & a girl. Maybe this seems silly to say but it bugs me! The girl will only invite 1 or both of my older girls over or the boy will invite only my oldest son over because they are close to the same age. As you can imagine it can & has caused alot of strife among my children.
I get the feeling that the reason only 1 or 2 of my children are invited over is because it's an inconvience/or takes time away from their child's time with their friend........if my younger children are there they would have to share their time with their friend (my older child).....they don't want to be bothered with someone's younger sibiling. Is my child there just to entertain their's? Maybe I'm the unusual one but I just don't get it! It just seems like selfish gain/motivation. I would never want my children to have a friendship with someone that would take something away from their friend's family dynamics. I hope this makes sense. I just know the world seems to have one way of thinking about friendships & I have another. I want to foster in my children the love of family & family first. I want my children to become friends with & love people of all ages... not just someone in their own age group/or have their own selfish agenda. Certainly not at the expense of their family or others feelings. Believe me were not trying to be anti-social nor do we think we are better than others ......I just feel we have different family dynamics & certain ways of doing things don't fit for us. In some sense I feel we are punished for that.
My kids don't ask often for friends to come over. I think mostly because they have each other. But when they ask occasionally...it's asking for " the Smith family or the Martin family" to come over " Not Jenny or Todd". We invite all the siblings & their parent(s). If we have birthday parties we don't just invite one child in a family....we invite all of the kids & their parent(s). If we can't afford to do that because that family has 8 or more kids than we don't invite any of them.
I don't feel I'm doing this topic justice...maybe someone that writes better than I could get their thoughts out in a better way. I just know this subject brings me frustration because I don't think others understand what I mean or get where I'm coming from. I've felt this way for a long time but more so when I had some bad experiences by letting my children have consistent outside friendships that didn't involve our family. It hurt our family. Some people might think this is not living in the real world but I don't agree. I think it's so sad when you see young people so consumed with their friends....that life with their family is boring and mundane. They are just waiting for that time to get away & be with their friends. Wouldn't that kind of thinking just spill over into their adulthood, when they marry & have children? It's a scary thought to me.