Joint Family vs Nuclear Family

A joint family involves much more than people living under the same roof. Those of you who have experienced it will know its worth. With everyone putting in his or her part, the old joint family system could benefit everyone. Not only do your children get to live and grow with their grandparents and cousins, they also learn the value of relationship. They learn to give and take, to be patient, cooperative, tolerant and to adjust with the other family members. Have you ever wondered why some people are so good at teamwork? Well this is where it begins – at home!

The joint family system inadvertently contributes to your security, health and prosperity. This is one system that could help you to live a less stressful life style, the reason being you have a lot of people around to help you and to share your sorrows and joys. This was just how it was long long ago… Long ago, most if not all families lived as joint families. The joint family system helps to inculcate traditional values in children. Not only will your children know more of your relatives, your native language will be spoken much more frequently.

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A strong bond with your culture can be developed. All the festivals that are a part of you will be celebrated with the children gearing up weeks in advance. The nuclear family If you feel you need your space and cannot disrupt your routine with clashes you probably want to go with the nuclear family system. This definitely has a few benefits like helping you become independent and enables you to bring up your children the way you want without much interference. You may feel fulfillment in achieving your aspirations and in creating your self-identity but can this replace the joint family?

Definitely not! A baby sitter can never fill in for the child’s grandparent. What you gain living as a joint family can never be replaced with financial gains. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages in both the systems, but advantages far outweigh disadvantages in a joint family setup. I believe that the joint family system has several benefits and hence needs to be re-visited and looked into with all seriousness. We must consider it as a possible model for future families.

However, the major gain that one derives from the nuclear family is the opportunity it provides to create an individual identity of its own, something all human beings crave for and miss it in a joint family set-up. These are two fundamentally different models of family and our efforts should be to make a synthesis of the two and create a new family model based on the joint family system. In this new model the basic and underlying concept of the joint family, where more than one family live together under one roof, would remain the same.

It will incorporate changes based on the experience gained in a nuclear family and also in the ways members in the family interact with one another to lead a life of mutual co-operation and inter-dependence. If the new family model is based on the foundation of mutual respect and love for each and every member of the family, then the system will take off without any hiccup and bound to be a success. All family members should communicate openly and honestly with one another. The elders in the family must take the initiative and create the right ambience and environment for open communication.

Mutual trust and the willingness to listen will help family members to open up to one another. For a joint family system to be successful in the changed scenario as it exists today, individual strengths, weaknesses and positive aspects each member brings into the family should be nurtured and acknowledged on a daily basis. The younger generation of both men and women today are highly qualified, ambitious and raring to explore the world and in the process many of them lose direction in life. It is here the elders in the family can help them to settle down in life provided the youth have all ears.

They should take the responsibility of guiding them properly and nuggets of wisdom learnt during the course of their long life should be passed on to them so that the youngsters emulate the noble ideals and values imparted to them and try and lead a disciplined life. In today’s nuclear family, both the husband and wife work. The present day work culture, the timings and the life style forced on them leave them no room even to exchange pleasantries to each other when they return home very late in the evening.

They both are on the mobiles talking incessantly and the hectic schedule they both have set before them leave them completely exhausted at the end of the day. It is a rat race and both feel guilty that they are not able to spend quality time together. Yet, they do not take corrective action to reverse the situation and address the problem confronting them and over time they start quarrelling with each other, which becomes a regular feature in their life, losing respect and regard to each other. In such an atmosphere, kids are neglected and denied the affection and love they expect from their parents and they are traumatised.

It is here that the new joint family model that I have visualised comes into play which can address the problem effectively and help the couple to see the harsh realities of their lifestyle and bring about necessary changes which will bring back smiles in their faces. It is important that all members in a joint family feel accepted for what they are and as they are. Realistic expectations help everyone to be more tolerant of others and weaknesses of one another. Having unrealistic expectations of others is often the cause of disappointments and misunderstandings in the family.

The new family model which I have conceptualised will address the following problems: * Aged parents in the family will not feel lonely and left out and will be able to participate in social activities. * Working couples will benefit immensely as aged parents can look after the kids at home, eliminating the need to send kids to creches. * Children get love, affection and care from their grandparents, who can impart right values. * Working parents will get social recognition in upholding traditional values. There will be enough scope for useful discussions on common problems, mutual understanding and sharing a sense of emotional security with your immediate family members. * Participating in celebrations and festivities which bind us to our culture and gives us a sense of fulfilment and enjoyment. This model family will go a long way into making of an acceptable social order, which will have all the ingredients of a traditional joint family, where every member of the family can enjoy his or her space and freedom and lead a cheerful and happy life.

A joint family comprises members of the family that are related one another and share a common ancestry, religion, and property. All the working members of the family pool together what they earn and ha them over to the head who is usually the eldest. The family head takes care of the entire family. Any member who brings in extra money has equal status. Hence, the joint family puts into practice the concept: ‘To each according to his needs, from each accord to his abilities. ” The idea is socialistic in character. The joint family system is a feature of agricultural societies.

These are in existence in countries as China and India whose economy is based on agricultural produce. Collective living, collective fanning and collective share in family wealth are the traditional features of the joint. The joint family preserves the tradition, customs and mariners handed down to it. Traditional culture and skill in art and craft are safeguarded from generation to generation. There is division of labour where the members attend to different work and contribute to the welfare of the family as a unit.

A joint family provides an ideal setting for culture of virtues. The foundation of joint family is based on cooperation and unselfishness and tolerance. Children are taught from young age the virtues of patience, respect for elders, discipline, good habits. Each thing has to be shared. The congenial atmosphere becomes a nursery for the cultivation of virtues. For persons living in nuclear families there is a feeling of insecurity. This feeling of insecurity is not there in a joint family where the unemployed, the sick, the aged and the handicapped are well taken care of.

There is a sense of social security, and old age and illness are not looked upon with fear. In a nuclear family, a working mother tries her best to strike a balance between service and household chores. At the same time she tries to be a good mother and a good wife. However, the joint system may at times prove a hindrance to individual enterprise and initiative. The joint family has a number of advantages. However, it does not always work. When many people of different mentality and disposition live under one common roof, negative human traits are bound to crop up.

Members then have a tendency to stress on their rights and ignore their duties. When this kind of attitude prevails, the atmosphere is not conducive to peace and harmony. With many changes in the political, social and economic spheres, the Hindu joint family appears to be outmoded for present times. Joint property goes hand in hand with the joint family. When the joint family property is divided, the joint family gets dismembered. Today technical skill is acquired in professional fields by training in technical institutions. It need not be passed on from generation to generation.

Modern means of communication and the trend of urbanising rural areas have brought new ideas and a new society has evolved which is in close touch with cities that offer all the comforts and joys of modern life. Thus, the joint family system is lessening. Also, the feeling of social security present in a joint family often makes the members idle and lazy. Hard work is rarely rewarded and laziness seldom punished. Thus members lose initiative. There is also lack of dynamism. There could be resistance to new customs and progressive ideas of young people by the elder generation.

Old customs and traditions are enforced without finding out the views of the young. Lack of privacy may adversely affect freedom of couples or individualism in a joint. There are advantages and disadvantages. Much depends on the nature of individual members. In rural areas, nature of people is always) simple and cooperative. In the final, much depends on the degree of adaptability of the members comprising the joint whether they are refined personalities or otherwise whether they would cherish the blessings of a joint or whether they would prefer to stay separate.

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