Ever wondered why Sooraj Barjatiya’s movies in the 90’s were the biggestrage in our country? Or why Ekta Kapoor set her Company’s cash register’sringing all through the last decade? There was a singular underlyingtheme to their success – THE BIG INDIAN JOINT FAMILY! The system of a jointfamily has existed in India for decades now, and is perhaps unique to ourcountry, or least its popularity is! However, this way of living is slowlydepleting with modern day exposure and opportunities. So while the Indian jointfamily system was earlier considered the cornerstone of the Indian culture, ithas been, reluctantly giving way to a new sort of familial structure – THENUCLEAR FAMILY. In this blog we are exploring joint family and nuclear familystructures, and how parents can leverage the best of both worlds in order tobring a wholesome child.
We are family – albeit with limitations!
We all wax eloquent about the important role that a family plays in raisinga child into an individual that he/she will become tomorrow. We all know andacknowledge that families are the first and maybe the most crucial socializingunit in any person’s life. But can the kind of family, i.e. joint or nuclearreally make an impact on the child’s learning, values and personality. Expertshave reason to believe it can in fact, play a detrimental role. Both, joint andnuclear families do enjoy certain advantages but also have their limitations,therefore making it imperative for parents to adopt parenting techniques thatwork best with their child in both set ups and more importantly play it by theear.
For instance, a child in a joint family is often blessed with a lot of loveand affection and learns how to adjust very easily in different environments –indeed a reason for parents to be happy. However, he/she can get easilyconfused with the mixed messages that he/she receives on discipline fromdifferent members of the family. In such situations it is best to clarify whatrules should apply as far as the child’s behavior is concerned with allhousehold elders, so they too can follow the same rules, especially in yourabsence. While this can be difficult to implement immediately, it is worthwhileto talk about it with the family members and set the ball rolling.
In a nuclear family, on the other hand, a parent can easily imbibe qualitiessuch as consistency in behavior and self reliance in a child, but this familyset up also comes with its own share of baggage. In an era of unprecedentedtime-saving devices, we are busier than ever and less connected to one another.After all with both parents working, and a child’s school and extra curricularactivities, where is the time to connect and imbibe the values that you wish topass on to your child? In such a scenario a joint family can seem like ablessing! Grandparents and other senior members of the family can fill in thatcrucial gap and therefore reducing the special effort that parents would haveto otherwise make. Therefore, a weekend with the entire family orinvolving the grandparents in the day-to-day child care, if both parents areworking, can do wonders in instilling the right value system and flexibility inyour child.
At the end of the day, whether you live in a joint family or a nuclear one,you need to figure out where you need to involve your extended family membersand where you need to deal with your child one-to-one. It would be wonderful tosimply say that one family system works better for raising a wholesome childthan the other. But the truth is that both family set ups can be equallyrewarding or challenging, depending on how members of the family handle theirrelationship with the child and with each other. So which set up would you optfor, in order to raise a happy and wholesome child, a joint family or a nuclearone?