The extended family can be defined as a family composition with two or more adults from the different generations, residing together in the same house. The best example of it is a married couple living in the same house as their parents. Therefore, this family structure can be seen as an extension of the nuclear family which only comprise of the married couple with children. This kind of joint family structure is also referred to as the consanguineous family in some societies.
Thus, unlike nuclear family, this family type basically have multiple generations staying together like a joint family. The core structure of the extended family is large compared to the nuclear family. As a part of the society, this phenomenon has its own advantages and disadvantages, as discussed below.
The advantage of Extended Family
- The children in the family enjoy multi-parenting.
- This family structure saves from the loneliness that is generally felt in the nuclear family.
- Children have many members that can help them in their education.
- The cousins can play together and share their thoughts and feelings with each other.
- This family system inculcates family values among each member of the family.
- The resources are generally pooled together, without burdening any single one.
- Children learn sharing, caring, and cooperation, which help them develop a bond with the community in the society.
- Household chores are not done by an individual but being shared among the member.
- Living together generates the feeling of oneness.
- This kind of structure generates empowerment.
- It imposes self-discipline.
- Each member is guaranteed with minimum basic subsistence required for living.
- Resource pooling saves money.
- Built, mutual understanding and collaboration among the members.
- Tradition and culture run down the family.
The disadvantage of Extended Family
- The extended family has too much of a responsibility for elderly members.
- Economic burden might fall more on one person.
- Loss of independence.
- Too much of a discipline.
- Loss of privacy as there are too many people around all the time.
- Monarchy kind of a family structure.
- Spoilt children as they are being pampered by the aunts and uncles.
- Interference in the personal chores.
- Space crunch is a general problem faced in the extended family structure.
- The generation gap can lead to misunderstanding and conflicts.
- Different opinions can lead to quarrel among the members.
- Demand sharing of food, time and space among the members.
- Shortage of resources is often felt as there are many members.
- Allows less free time, as too much of a work.
- Too much of household chore.
These are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of the extended family. Like every, other things, the extended family structure too, has its pros and cons but if it is analyzed, it has more of the benefits than the loss. The family members are always a support for each other. The togetherness inculcates values necessary for the societal development. Therefore, of all the family structure, the extended family is a more preferable one.
By Aditi Jain