Joint Family Vs Nuclear Family

Ever met an old man who failed to convince you that the joint family system in India is the best? Well, you just have. This one calls himself a worried Indian.

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 crèches.
    • 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.

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