“Joint Family” looks like an obsolete term amongst the present urban population.

 Ravi Speaks:

Updated on 22.08.2022.

Living in a joint family is good as well as not so good at the same time? Most of the people in urban areas are living in a nuclear family setup, with certain exceptions. As per the data checked almost 16.1% of the urban population lives in a joint-family setup. All this is discussed in this article.

An interesting read.

Joint family v/s Nuclear family
Joint Family versus Nuclear Family

“Joint Family” looks like an obsolete term amongst the present urban population.

The joint family concept as we perceive it nowadays:

The word “Joint Family” looks somewhat like an obsolete term, especially nowadays. When we were very young in our early teens-we were lucky enough to be a part of a huge joint family-where the total number of members used to be around a dozen usually. I remember living in a joint family of eleven people from 1979 to 1982. It was in 1982 March that I had to go away from my family to a new place in connection to start my first job.

You may find different stories about the advantages and disadvantages of being a part of a joint family. Likewise, for me also it had its own advantages and disadvantages. The biggest adhesive force for any joint family, as per my experience, is an elderly couple or an elderly person in the family, such as the grandparents together or grandfather or grandmother.

Second, the true warm bond is naturally between the grandparents and the grandchildren-which adds a lot of charm and attraction to the joint family. The extra care and the extra affection which we would find in a joint family is normally between these two generations, which are at least one generation gap away from each other.

Joint families are nuclear family extensions in which parents, grandparents, children, uncles, and aunts live under one roof for generations. Children who grow up in a joint or extended family form close bonds with family members other than their parents and siblings. Perhaps therefore, despite the growing urbanization and nuclear family trend, the joint family system is still successful, particularly in certain areas despite showing its receding trend.

Perhaps “Need” is the key for certain joint families to continue. If at all in urban areas the joint families are thriving-it may be because of certain need-based requirements being met and certain advantages being assured into each member’s mind-such as the Safety and security on part of various segments like social segment, financial segment, Family value segment and so on. Based on these “NEED” based advantages from the Joint family let us discuss in summarised form the same separately.

A) Need can be for sharing responsibilities and making them a habit:

A family is like a big team, a collaboration in which everyone contributes. You are not required to do everything on your own. Household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, washing, or grocery shopping, will be shared by family members, reducing the burden on one person. Growing up in a joint family teaches children the division of labor and how to work together to achieve a common goal. Working as a team will help children hone their social skills and learn teamwork in the long run, which is an important aspect of their overall personality development. In a joint family, the concept of ‘sharing is caring’ becomes the norm, making each individual less self-centered and more generous.

B) Need can be financial dependence:

One of the foundation rules in a joint family system is that financial expenses should be shared equally by all members. Every earning member contributes to the family’s bigger goals, such as housekeeping, grocery spending, rents, monthly power, and water expenses, so that no one person bears the burden alone. Each family member does their best to provide as much financial support as they can for their loved ones.

C) Need can be for effective family look after:

We have learned to cherish life, family, and health because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mother Nature has pulled us back to our roots, to our home and family. Because of the lockdown, more people could spend quality time with their relatives as they returned to their hometowns. Although the children could not attend school, they learned a great deal from their parents.

D) Need can be for replacement of babysitting:

Your children are never alone when you live in a joint family, so you don’t have to rely on babysitters to look after them while you’re at work. They will always be safe in our care and will be treated with respect and attention.

E) Need can be for a strong family value system to be incorporated into children:

The value system becomes the center of a combined family. Children may naturally adopt the value system of their elders, who follow particular ideas. Children are taught ethics and morality under the supervision of their elders. If something goes against the family’s values, the elders address it right away, guaranteeing that the values of the family are not jeopardized.

F) Need can be for safety and security & wisdom:

The family’s elders can be a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. The wisdom you gain from your elders when you live in a joint family is something you won’t find in self-help books. Grandparents who have a wealth of experience, judgment, and knowledge can assist you in changing your life.

G) Need can be for a good support system:

In a nuclear family, you might not get to see your relatives, grandparents, or even your parents and siblings, with whom you have a close relationship. One of the key benefits of living in a joint family is that you get to spend a lot of time together, which strengthens all of your ties. Early on, a joint family establishes a strong bond of solidarity.

H) Need can be for improved emotional strength:

For many people, home is more than simply a place; it’s an experience. It’s their haven, their go-to spot. A combined family home is surrounded by people who love and support you, providing you with the strength to succeed in everything you do. When faced with a financial or emotional crisis, a home with empathetic aunts, uncles, and grandparents can be calming and helpful.

I)Need can be for improved social skills:

Even if they come from the same family, no two people are alike. A combined family will have people with a variety of personalities, likes, dislikes, and temperaments. You can’t treat every member of your family the same way. You adjust your communication or collaboration style to fit the needs of each individual. This also provides you with a unique perspective on life and people, enhancing your social skills, which are crucial when dealing with people outside of your home.

J) Need can be for the Quality time with the family:

Learning doubles in a mixed family because children get to spend so much quality time with their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. With or without the pandemic, having a joint family allows you to have fun and make memories every day.

The above details highlighted the advantages mainly of a joint family in present times-which I feel are the best ones, but such a situation is very much an ideal one and on the decline. If at all some families are living in such a setup of a joint family, there is the word “need” and the other word “compromise” playing an enormous role with the members of such joint families. Although I have not related here, the major negatives of the joint family still enumerate a few of the disadvantages following are some in very brief: –

  1. Invasion of privacy:

Privacy may be the most significant casualty of a blended family. With so many people surrounding them, a married couple may not have enough space or time to chat. People who value their independence may feel uncomfortable among a crowd of strangers.

A personal situation may become the business of the entire family, and there may be more interventions or meddling than one would prefer. With the older family members always around, younger family members may not watch what they want on TV. You could miss binge-watching TV series on the same couch on weekends; you might not cook together and dine alone.

  1. Single point of control:

In a joint family, the leader of the family is normally in charge of everything. In this situation, you may feel reliant on others and as if they are in charge of your life. If you are an independent person, living in a mixed family, it may be difficult for you to carry on under single point dictates.

  1. Parenting style difficulties:

You may like to customize your property according to your preferences. You may desire new furniture or appliances, but you may not have the financial means to get them or to decorate your home as you prefer. Even something as simple as wanting to eat something specific can become challenging when you have to consider what the rest of the family likes or dislikes.

  1. Personal preferences may take a back seat.

Although children benefit from their elders’ wisdom and knowledge, your parenting style may cause some hindrance. Family members may try to influence your decision on what to feed the kids. You may receive a lot of advice, do’s, and don’ts. If you prefer to raise your children in your way, this may make you uneasy.

  1. No preference for individual decisions due to differences of opinion.

When you’re surrounded by different people, it’s easy to have clashes of ideas or perspectives. Everyone has an opinion, and it’s difficult to persuade everyone in the family to share it. You may get offended if your suggestion is not valued. This could cause friction and miscommunication between you and your family members. In a joint family, individual decisions have no place. You must follow the family’s collective decision, which may require you to compromise your particular preferences or desires.

  1. Monetary disparities:

Differences in earning potential between family members may arise, since one individual may earn more than the other. As a result, the family member who earns less contributes less to the family’s spending, perhaps leading to disputes about who has a say in these matters and, ultimately, disagreements.

  1. A more traditional approach:

Individuals with conservative and modern outlooks frequently form part of joint families. It is not uncommon to see a collision between the elderly’s conventional ideas and the younger generation’s modern perspective in a mixed household. Often, the family’s elders have the final say, and they stick to their guns, leaving the younger members with little opportunity to express their opinions. This could cause problems in the family.

  1. Doesn’t everyone feel responsible?

A joint family operates on the principle of shared or collaborative responsibility. Unemployed family members can put a strain on household finances. Some family members may not be responsible enough to contribute to the family’s wider goals, putting a strain on the earning family members. The distribution of financial responsibility to one or a few individuals may cause family strife and conflict.

  1. Can impact one’s personality:

There is little room for independent thought because the elders of the family make all decisions. As a result, individuals who follow the elders’ diktat may remain mere followers, never realizing their true potential or pursue their passion.

  1. Joint family setup is fading fast, looking to greater independence and self-sufficiency:

People move out of joint families while staying in touch with them because they need more independence and to address their own needs. This has increased the number of nuclear families, with more and more joint families dissolving because of a variety of factors, including migration for jobs and better living conditions.

The decision to live in a joint family is largely determined by your ability to adjust. This type of family structure works well for people who can adapt to any situation and accommodate a wide range of people. Practically such type is on the decline looking to the fast-changing lifestyle in the urban world mainly.

If you value greater independence and self-sufficiency, a nuclear family is a way to go. That is exactly what is happening nowadays, almost everywhere. The nuclear families are brewing up and coming up like anything. Even the Government’s plans and policies are being made based on the nuclear family structures and that is the reality.

Looking to the times coming in the future we do not see a well-defined joint family as discussed in this article and the nuclear family setup would be the only setup available-although ideally speaking, each one would yearn for the return of the joint family setup.


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