Ah, the large family. Some people say it’s a boon and a bane. One thing’s for sure: it comes with its unique set of joys and challenges.
As someone who knows a lot of people who grew up in families with five to eight children, I’m blown away by their ability to develop strategies for staying sane.
All the action and drama that comes with having a big family can have a profound impact on a person’s personality.
Of course, personalities are shaped by a lot of different factors. But in this article, we’ll talk about some of the most common personality traits of people who grew up in a big family.
Let’s get started.
1) You’re patient
As with many good things in life, patience requires a lot of practice. And if you’ve lived in a home with many people, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to build this skill.
You’ll know what it feels like to manage day-to-day annoyances and conflicts — when people in your family are being difficult and negative.
It takes an incredible amount of patience to accept differences. Imagine growing up in a home of nine and dealing with differences in interests, opinions, and personalities.
And it doesn’t stop there: You have this amazing capacity to wait for your turn and to wait for things to happen.
You’ve learned how to take ‘no’ for an answer and to delay gratification.
2) You’re resourceful
Having a big family means you’ll often have to face this tough dilemma: staying stuck in scarcity or making the most of what you have.
I’ve heard countless stories of how “family size” portions never seem to be enough or how gallons of ice cream disappear in less than 10 minutes.
Kidding aside, growing up in a big family means complicated problems become commonplace.
It compels you to get creative and look for alternate solutions. You learn from your mistakes and do better next time.
On the plus side, having a big family means many heads are thinking of ways to overcome any difficult situation.
3) You’re adaptable
If you grew up in a big family, you know all too well that life is unpredictable. You’ve experienced a lot of changes — small, big, and sometimes dramatic.
Anything can happen — from your siblings getting sick to one of them getting married, your parents losing a job or jumping from one job to another, and everything in between.
Your life has been enriched with a variety of experiences that empowered you to be more adaptable.
Simply put, you’ve learned to roll with the punches. You can adjust more quickly, even effortlessly, to change.
You’ve strengthened your ability to see the good in every situation and rise to the challenge.
4) You’re open-minded
When you live in a big family, you realize that all family members are uniquely different in just about every aspect you can think of — personalities, perspectives, ambitions, beliefs, habits, interests, quirks, and more.
And the best part? That’s perfectly okay.
Growing up in a very dynamic environment teaches you to celebrate and embrace differences and see them as strengths.
In other words, you become more appreciative and accepting of each person’s unique qualities.
5) You’re assertive
In a big family, at least one sibling or even one parent is likely bossy or overbearing.
That’s why if you grew up in large family dynamics, you may have probably mastered the art of standing up for yourself (and for other family members) without being rude or hurtful.
You can disagree with others respectfully, staying calm when stating your views while also listening to their perspectives.
Most importantly, you know how to set healthy boundaries.
You can confidently say (and stick to) your “no.” You can express your feelings and tell others about the types of behavior that make you upset or uncomfortable.
6) You’re independent
Now this may be tricky, as some may think that having a big family means you’ll have many people you can depend on for help when you need it most.
While that’s true to an extent, we also have to look at the other side of the coin. In a large family, parents may not always be able to give the individual attention that each child needs.
If you grew up in a big family, you understand the real meaning of responsibility.
At an early age, you may have learned to cook, pack your own meals, prepare for school, and fend for yourself.
If you’re an older sibling, you may have also been asked to handle more responsibilities around the house, including taking care of the young ones.
7) You value teamwork
Picture this: If anyone wants to play any game, your family will always have two full-sized teams ready to compete in your backyard.
That’s the thing with a large family, you don’t get to choose your siblings but you’ll always get the experience of having to work together.
And this teamwork goes beyond practicing sportsmanship.
Whether it’s participating in family or community activities, completing household chores together, or facing one problem after the other, it’s all about collaboration and compromise.
This brings me to my next point….
8) You have strong social skills
This goes back to our point about how growing up in a big family enables you to be more accepting of people’s differences.
Being around so many people gives you plenty of opportunities to sharpen your social skills.
You know how to navigate awkward social situations and you can interact well with different personalities.
From your interactions with your parents and your siblings, you’ve learned the values of respect, sharing, and solidarity.
9) You’re a good communicator
If you grew up with so many siblings, you know the importance of being heard and understood.
You know what it feels like to cut through the noise and to let the other person speak.
Imagine the countless times you’ve had to talk to different family members about your wants, needs, goals, and problems.
Plus, the many times you’ve had to pay attention to all the verbal and non-verbal cues to really understand what your brother or sister is saying.
It’s your active listening skills that have helped you handle all those tough conversations and arguments.
10) You have strong leadership skills
I think that in every family, whether big or small, there’s always someone who takes on the role of the leader.
Older siblings may probably relate to this the most. If this is you, then you’re most likely to:
- Be the responsible one and look after your younger siblings
- Feel protective over your younger siblings in a way you don’t feel over anyone else
- Be the boss of a task
- Motivate and inspire your younger siblings.
11) You’re a peacemaker
Growing up in a big family teaches you a lot about conflict resolution. Siblings inevitably get in a fight.
You may always have disagreements with that intimidating brother or demanding sister.
All these experiences have allowed you to learn how to diffuse escalating tensions and work out conflicts. You’re more adept at being sensitive to the other person’s needs and feelings.
You know that forgiveness and moving forward are all crucial to maintaining strong family ties.
12) You’re empathetic
I think emotional intelligence is one of the most significant skills you’ll learn as part of a big family. It’s that one thing you’ll take with you no matter what you go through in life.
You see, if you grew up in a big family, you’ll agree that a big chunk of your day has to do with regulating emotions.
You can’t show love, affection, and kindness to your parents and your siblings if you don’t know how to value feelings.
As someone who has a big family, you’ve learned how to identify, understand, and manage your own emotions and validate the emotions of others.
For example, you may have become more nurturing and empathetic to younger siblings who are insecure or needs guidance.
Even if there is fighting, you know how to talk through your feelings and be compassionate.
At the end of the day, you know that your big family teaches you about loving and being loved.