Tasneem Sariya
26 Nov 2018 . 1 min read

Should I Raise My Kids In A Joint Family Or Nuclear?

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raising kids in a joint family raising kids in a joint family

It takes a village to raise a child! Though this is an African proverb, it resonates with the large Indian joint family. I mean the huge joint families, where the Chachas and Chachis and Dada and Dadi all live together happily ever after and thus can be used as a synonym for the village (that raises children!). A child born in a joint family apparently grows up without any hassle. I guess it is easier to have your kid immerse in a crowded household with loads of other people taking up the mantle of parenthood.

And this is confirmed by the various posts on social media. Those who live alone with their husbands and young kids upload posts about their busy lives. Managing everything all alone makes them two things. Strong-willed characters to be raised and praised on pedestals or brow wiping zombies craving for a simple cup of coffee that alone seems too much to ask for. Alright, I agree it’s difficult to raise your child amidst doing all the housework or office work alone. But assuming that life is much simpler for those in joint families is a bit far-fetched and uncalled for.

For those mothers living in ‘their’ own homes, living their life on their terms and raising their kids in a way they deem correct here is an eye-opener – The life of a mother living in a joint family is no less busy or easier than anyone else.

Joint families are, according to the culture brigade, the true representatives of our culture. This is seen with much gloss and floss on our Indian celluloid. Imagine the large two storey house with the children randomly whizzing past adults who also whizz past each other with large smiles plastered on their faces and a sprint in their wake. Or the women folk making pickles while a happy song plays in the backdrop.

But do you really believe that a joint family is all about hustling, bustling and sharing the load?

What about that one strict matriarch or patriarch and the hundreds of unwritten family rules? The pressure of housework on the ladies, coupled with the sheer impossibility of getting along with every single person at home? What about those mothers, who barely get time to leave the kitchen and whose opinions are usually abiding by the collective sweeping thought process of the family? And finally what about her child who is lost amongst the many others warranting almost equal attention?

It’s not about mothers alone

Nonetheless, those residing in joint families have many advantages, just as those in nuclear families. Yet there is a perception that is attached to women in joint families. They are understood to be less busy and relatively leading a more comfortable life than those who are managing their home alone. They in some way are the symbols of modern Indian women who can manage stuff on their own without the constant sheltering of others in their lives. Women in joint families are often deemed as more domesticated, docile and in many ways the traditional bahu who is respectful of the family’s social face. Actually, busy is the wrong word here.

raising kids in nuclear family

We come back to the idea of many different people raising a child

A village full of people was needed in the first place because the entire village was like one big family. Each helped the other, watched out for the other and participated in sharing the workload that was a collective burden. Hence the time and effort invested in a child were also left to the group’s resources.

But as times changed, the individual got more concerned about his immediate self and the collective interference in each other’s lives lessened. In this context then, is it really that important to have a whole lot of people raising a single child? Of course, the way the child interacts with people plays a large part in his upbringing.

However, these interactions are not limited to family alone. The child meets neighbors, helpers, friends from pre-school and the apartments or community. Most importantly, the child gets more focused attention from the mother because the responsibility of raising the child now falls primarily on the shoulders of the parents more than on anybody else.

Yet, there is always a tag of strength and spirit attached to women in single homes. This is sprinkled with empathy, pity, and concern. So much so that most women who do not live with their extended families complain about how they are stuck at the end of a raw deal. But the raw deal is the same when seen from the viewpoint of those in joint families.

It is assumed that the work is shared, however, does anyone account for the fact that the workload is exponentially more for the women living in joint families? And the physical hardship is, in reality, skimming the surface of the iceberg. The mental and emotional turmoil that most women in joint families go through is no lesser than the sense of loneliness that a woman staying in a nuclear family feels. Similarly, the hard work that a working woman in a joint family puts in is no lesser than the working woman who manages her home alone. And the list could go on.

But, of course, there is the flip side to it. There are those who discard social norm and step out to redefine goals and achieve dreams. These women irrespective of being in a single or joint family find their inner voices to match actions.

It is these women who crib less, work more, look for no excuses and find solutions to all problems. On the other hand, there are also those women who no matter alone or in joint families will find a way to blame circumstances for their inadequacies.

But the Tulsi’s and Prerna’s of our TV world have somehow been around for decades steering the typical joint families and propagating the idea that larger homes equal real homes. There is conflict, compromise, and adjustments, but those are far better than being dumped off somewhere all alone. On the other hand, we have the modern Indian woman seen in the various real-life celebrities who are mothers, wives, businesswomen, actors and more. Yet, somewhere the practicality of it all is lost.

“A home is where people care about each other and try to give their best for the development of the family. This is not constrained by the number of the people but by the quality of the rapport that one shares with them.“

A family that not only eats together, but shares the responsibilities together, stands up for each other and genuinely cares about the good and happiness of each other becomes a true home.  It does not matter if there are three or thirteen people. What matters is that each member works on their strength, bears no pretense and acknowledges individual happiness. If each person in the family is happy there will be a spread of joy and trust at home. And it is such homes that set the best examples on raising children.

Tasneem Sariya

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  • A*****
    Depend upon atmosphere of whole family members
  • B*****
    Joint Family
  • G*****
    I really believe that joint family because the kid learn to share, the kid get close to other member ,and also the mother get sum tym for herself and there is a plus point in nuclear family that the person become independent and can tackle any problem by herself so both of them have there advantage and some kind of drawbacks too. But it depends on person mindset .
  • C*****
    those who lives in nuclear family say joint family is best,and those who lives in joint family will say nuclear family. It depends on one's own perception. I believe Nuclear family makes each member more stronger and independent.
  • M*****
    Joint family kyunki Sab se kuch Na kuch sikhne ko milta hai, aur maza bhi aata hai, values hamare Bacchae thabhi sikhegenge jab ghar ka koi bada ho sath main, so joint family
  • A*****
    Depends upon behaviour of family members.kuchh children Ko maine joint family mai bigarate vi dekha h,bante vi dekha h.
  • R*****
    Joint family is the best place for ur child to grow and make their wings strong before flying.
  • D*****
    Joint family
  • Z*****
    Nuclear family
  • R*****
    Joint family is very important for children
  • S*****
    Joint family as every member has their contribution in raising a kid
  • S*****
    Wow so great ... 👍👍👍
  • K*****
    I think nuclear family
  • B*****
    Had that been a poll,I would have said...Nuclear family...
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