We are family: Blazers grow up in families bigger than the norm

Nov. 18, 2004, midnight | By Sayoh Mansaray | 16 years, 2 months ago

Good and bad sides make having many siblings unique

Near the door of junior Sonia Giron's home, a pile of coats are heaped over a coat rack. A small jacket, pink, shiny and puffy, lies near a stained work coat. Several sports jackets—Georgetown Hoyas, Duke Blue Devils, Washington Redskins—are near a feminine snowflake covered, navy blue coat. Across the room from the coat rack a large bookcase holds a variety of books. Encyclopedias and high school textbooks mix with Winnie the Pooh, and other children's titles. For Giron, these are telltale signs that she has a large family.

Giron's family includes five siblings—four brothers and one sister. Add two parents, and Giron is living in a eight-person household. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2000, the average family size in Maryland is 3.19, and only 1.3 percent of households contain seven or more people. Giron is one student at Blair who has a large family.

Family ties

Having many siblings can be beneficial, according to psychotherapist Carol Heil. Besides having a lot of company (and possibly more fun), Heil says that living with many brothers and sisters can help a person to interact with others better.

Martino Choi, a senior with three brothers and two sisters, says that it's nice to have many siblings because they can provide help for things like pumping up a bicycle tire. Freshman Joanna Perez, who also has five siblings, says that there is always someone around. "There's not a way you can be alone," she says.

Growing up around so many other people can affect the way a teen wants his or
her future life to be. "If you really had a good experience as a kid you might want lots of kids," Heil explains. She says that often when people have a bad experience they might want to limit the family size.

Neither Giron nor junior Ben Dean, who has five brothers and sisters, wants a
small family when they grow up. Dean says that a big family is a better environment. For Giron, the choice will be simple. "Because I come from such a big family and there's always someone to talk to and to be with, I can't see having just one child," she says.

The negative side

But for many students, having a large family is not always a good thing. With so many people living in the same home, people are bound to annoy each other. Also, according to Heil, siblings must contend with less privacy, space and attention.

For example, Giron gets annoyed when her younger brothers barge into her room.
"Can we watch your TV?" they beg. "No, go away," she replies. They bother Giron until she gets angry and frustrated, and the begging doesn't stop until Giron threatens to punch them.

Dean is also sometimes annoyed by his siblings. He dislikes when his brothers steal his clothes or when someone eats his food without asking. "It's kind of hectic. You're kind of more on your own, and you get less attention from your parents," he says.

Besides affecting each person, having a lot of kids can affect the family financially. Heil says that depending on the family income, money can be a big issue. "There's just a finite amount of money that has to be stretched among all of the individuals in the family." She adds, "If money is limited, then everything is limited." Dean testifies to this. "There's a lot more groceries that we have to buy and colleges my parents have to pay for," he says.

Yet regardless of the negative aspects, Blazers agree that in large families
especially, the relationships between siblings are extremely rewarding. Admits Dean, "There's never really a dull moment."

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Sayoh Mansaray. Sayoh Mansaray is a junoir who is SUPER excited about being on the Silver Chips staff. She enjoys the simple pleasures in life, like sleeping late and eating. Sayoh hates waking up early (who doesn't?), so adjusting to school again has been a bit hard, … More »

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