Joint family or Nuclear family ?????

Sh : (Just entering home, from school) Mom, I’ve something important to ask you.

Me : Yeah, out with it. (I face this question and answer session, every hour of every waking day).

Sh : Staying in a joint family is very difficult, na ???? So many fights happen, isnt it ?????

Me :  🙄   Who told you so, dear ??????

Sh : This Puja only.  She cried so much today at school.

Me : Why ?????

Sh : She and her cousin had a big fight at home.

Me : Can you tell me the whole incident, please ?????

Sh : Puja was upset about something and was crying continuously. Her cousin, who is in college, was studying for his exams. Becos, Puja’s crying was irritating him, he asked her to stop crying. But she started crying more loudly. So, he just slapped her. Puja’s father got angry and hit Puja’s cousin.  And Puja’s cousin shouted back at her father. This led to a big fight at home. So, Puja was telling everyone in the class, that it is very difficult to live in a joint family.

Me : Oh darling, you’ve just got the wrong idea about joint family, just by one incident in Puja’s house and also because it was handled wrongly.  I want to make it very clear to you, that joint family is not a bad idea. It’s a joint effort by everyone in the family to stay put together during times of happiness and sadness.  There is so much fun in living together with uncle, aunt, cousins, grandparents. The most important thing which one has to follow, is sharing and caring.

Sh : But Ma, what if the cousins fight with us ?????

Me : Fights will happen. Don’t you and your sister fight with each other ????  But after a few minutes, don’t you hug each other and carry on ??????  It’s exactly the same situation. You fight, you argue, but later you hug and kiss and make it up.  Thats how relationships grow.

This conversation which happened yday, really saddened me. I was brought up in a joint family and absolutely enjoyed my whole childhood.  There were good and bad moments, but never we thought of it as a difficult situation.

Living in nuclear families, today’s children have lost touch with the idea of sharing and adapting to other’s needs.

A single child is being provided with whatever he asks for, without any refusal by parents. So, when that child comes to face a situation where he needs to share his things with his friends or visiting cousins, he refuses blindly.  Those kind of kids are obsessed with their things and they strongly object to anyone touching it, too.

Even families with two children, tend to buy things separately for both the children, as they are refusing to share their things among each other.

I find this very strange and disturbing.

I’ve made it a point, to buy only one set of those things, which can be shared and used by my daughters. The colour pencils, sketch pens, art set, scissors, fevicol, stapler – only one set is available in my home and it is a necessity that the girls share them. It belongs to both of them.  If I don’t instill this thought of sharing in their minds, I feel that it’ll be difficult in later years, when they need to share their life with a partner.

Lets share and care about others in the family and lets help healthy relationships to grow.  Nuclear family culture has become a way of life today. That does not  certify that joint family culture is bad.

It is only joint families that help the relationships to grow better on solid foundation. Don’t you think so ??????

21 Replies to “Joint family or Nuclear family ?????”

  1. Very well uma and i agree to what u said.

    You are wonderful mom,it never struck me that i should buy 1 so that both share.What ever i buy i buy 2 for both.Elder kid shares her things with the younger ones but youngers one who is just 2 1/2 doesn’t give anything of hers.Now i will buy only 1 and will tell them to share.
    Me : Some kids share things without being told…but for other kids its our responsibility to teach the value of sharing…. 🙂



  2. I lived in a nuclear family and wouldn’t want it any other way. Now you can say that since I didn’t live in a joint family what do I know? 🙂

    I can only say that I LOVED visiting all my cousins every summer vacation but I don’t prefer living with them 24/7/. I like my space. In our family nuclear family system is there for generations. I mean people live near by but in separate houses so all cousins get to play together still go back to their individual houses. In our case however it was just Summer vacation with them. I loved every single vacation spent with all of them but still prefer nuclear family. 🙂 Also don’t like a crowded home.
    Me : I’ve lived in a crowded home throughout my childhood and just loved having ppl coming over.


  3. As for sharing, I have an only child so of course she owns all her things and don’t have anyone to share at home.

    I always thought that would make her selfish but surprisingly, she is wonderful when it comes to sharing esp. when small children comes to our house. Just recently I had to take care of my friend’s 4 year old because she went into sudden labor and had a preemie. My 5 year old took care of this kiddo so well and shared all her toys. I didn’t even have to go check them in their room. After she left, my daughter tells me ‘Mamma! it is nice to have baby sisters’. Then in the same breath..not everyday though. Hahahahaha…
    Me : Peanut is so sweet…hugs to her…some kids share their things without being told… 🙂


  4. Well, its indeed a nice idea abt getting 1 set and letting them share .. I like it 🙂
    But, I think each thing hs its pros and cons. I hv always lived in a nuclear family except that my dadi used to be with us. But, my parents ensured we did grow up understanding the importance of relations. We r very close to our family members and all my cousins are like my own siblings. That said, I wud love to have my space and stay in a nuclear family .. bcoz I do want time only with my husband and kids in future on a daily basis. I wil ensure though that they do learn to have fun with cousins and all other relatives and respect the elders 🙂
    Me : Its not that you cannot have fun with cousins and other close members of the family, by staying in a nuclear family. I’ve learnt the art of bonding and sharing by living in a joint family, and thats what I am trying to tell my daughter – when she said that joint family is so bad.
    My personal view .. thatz it 🙂


    1. I got ur point Uma 🙂 Just that I prefer a nuclear family 🙂 Infact, I loved hw u put it across to her 🙂
      Me : Swaram, I didnt want my daughter to get prejudiced with just one example, her friend.


  5. well I have totally different views on this I lived in a nuclear family and I think I would stick to it anyday…. I have seen my cousins live in joint families enjoy too, I am not saying they are not good but there are too many dynamics in them… ofcourse u kids have more kids to play with and hence its fun but I think its important for the family to have some nuclear time “family time”
    Me : Yes, agree to the quality family time.

    And all these talks abt sharing I think it totally depends on person to person I have seen kids in joint family rather get possessive about their things and also seen people buying the same things for all kids so that they dont fight and at the same time Ojas and many more kids from nuclear family they dont have any qualms about sharing their toys with visitors….
    Me : Thats wonderful….if kids are sharing and caring towards others, thats the best thing you’ve done as a parent.

    I would prefer a nuclear family anyday (i.e if I had a choice) all relations remain the sweetest from far 😛
    Me : Yeah, the joy I had living in a joint family cannot be equated to the nuclear family style I am living today. I miss those days of fun and wish my daughters to have such fun and care. So, my vote for joint family. 🙂


  6. I prefer nuclear families too! 🙂
    Joint family vacations have been sufficient joint family time for me!

    But, I loved the way you explained it to your daughter about the sharing and caring in relationships 🙂
    Me : Thanks, just in the process of becoming a better parent, everyday.

    We too were bought many a things in 1 set so that we share… 🙂
    Me : Really, thanks for that info. I thot I was the odd one out, doing such stuff.


  7. Uma, Very well written. How true are your thoughts that fights between cousins just happen as between siblings… it is just a phase of growing up. But once you grow up … you truly realize all the strength of bonds that get forged on the way 🙂
    I too grew up in a joint family and we are today 20 cousins – a mix of married, working, moms, dads, grown up, growing up, toddlers – it is so much fun when we meet… despite age difference between us – we still understand and blend with each other so well… 😀
    Me : Thats so wonderful to read, Vidya. Joint family is indeed a great place to form relationships and nurture them.
    BTW, Welcome here and Keep visiting more…. 🙂


  8. I really donno what to reply. We were brought up in dubai, in a typical nuclear family style. But we used to have a lot of relatives in dubai and it used to be major fun during weekends when all of us got together under one roof. Similarly, during our summer vacation, when we came down to India, we used to stay in our ancestrol house with about 4-5 families together. I must admit, those were some of the best days of my childhood. But then, I donno how it would be to stay with them forever. I would have to experience it to have an opinion on it. But however nuclear our families are, we cousins and nephews are always there for each other. Thats what matters, isnt it?
    Me : Yeah, thats pretty much the matter. The point I wanted to stress to my daughter is that just becos fights happen among cousins, joint family is not a bad culture.
    And sharing and caring for ppl around you should be cultivated from young age. Right ????


  9. Mine was an odd combination of joint on weekends with at grans place and Weekdays at our home with just my own family! And This suited my fne as i got to see both sides and learned how to adjust both ways! And makes for wonderful memories of both peaceful solitude and squeezing in small spaces together and joyful sacrifice=it was fabulous!
    Me : Thats the key word – adjustment !!!! Its a very important trait which we shld learn.


  10. During my first 10 years we lived in a joint family and even though as a child I preferred that since I had more fun and play, my mother always wanted to move out. She enjoyed her responsibilities but still wanted to make her own home and her own decisions in raising her children. I respect her for that, for me and my sister loved our new home and think it was better in the long run. We always lived close to our cousins, and visited and shared and spent vacations together. I thought that brief meetings and get togethers are more fun than always living together. And everyone needs their own space. My husband’s colleague here has his nearest family within 5 hours of driving distance and he always says that it is perfect as they can visit often and spend holidays together but still have the space. I believe in that.
    Me : Your Mom made a gud choice for her family. 🙂


  11. My kids were given their sets of crayons and pencil boxes and other things along with the stationery from their various school every year, so they had their own. Also sometimes each liked different kind of things, like one wanted a clock in the pencil box, the other wanted a magnet, so again they had their own separate things… But Uma they are not selfish kids – in fact if children understand concepts like ‘taking turns’ and ‘ask without grabbing’ they learn to enjoy company.
    Me : These gud traits are a result of your gud up-bringing.
    Also my kids were not allowed to hit each other, though they were welcome to argue to their hearts content with each other, and with us also.
    Me : 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I have never lived in a Joint family but whatever I have seen of joint families makes me think everybody else may or may not be happy, but the one person who has to eat the last, work the hardest, take permission for visiting her own parents or friends (or even to have any friends)is always the daughter in law. Not surprisingly most daughters in law prefer nuclear families. I saw the difference between my own mother, we always lived in nuclear family, and my two aunts (dad’s younger brothers’ wives) who lived in a joint family. My mother was independent and fully involved in all financial and our education and every other decision making while decisions related to my aunts and my cousins were made my the male members in the family.
    Me : But, surprisingly, IHM, my Mom is so happy living in a joint family, even today. She was independent and working. My grandmother involved her in all the decision making. She makes certain decisions on her own and she has a say in all the other decisions, too.
    After my uncle and grandfather passed away, my Dad is sole caretaker of my grandmother and my aunt. I am so happy that they are together, to help each other in times of need. Recently, when my Mom underwent Cataract surgery, my aunt and grandmother took very gud care of her – I was in Hyd and couldn’t come. This whole thought of living in a joint family comforts me. This is my take.


  12. I don’t know which is best,… from my childhood I lived in a nuclear family and maybe as a child I would have enjoyed it… as I felt it whenever I am in some family functions….
    but when I grow I might have needed my own space which is really tough in a joint family…
    Me : Its a personal choice.

    and children must be thought about sharing… true and your action is really nice… such thought never came up to me… me and bro usually fight over.. but there are few things we shared… 🙂 🙂
    Me : Thanks Kanagu, I am also learning everyday in the art of parenting.


  13. I wouldnt know what a nuclear family feels like… i love the joint family thing way too much !!!
    Me : You are the only one in the whole comment section, who loves the joint family thing !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  14. Well I have zero experience of a joint family!!! We have been a nuclear family, Always!!! To be really honest I can not think of staying in a joint family because I believe my independence would be curbed but then that is totally my perception which is biased, I know!!!

    Everything has its pros & cons what matters is how a family is handled. As you have yourself said kids can be pampered in a nuclear setup but the same happens in a joint family setup as well (a fren keeps complaining that her son is being pampered by his grand parents).
    Me : This is a very common case. Why even among parents, there are complaints as – the kid is father’s pet or mother’s pet and the other person is unable to do anything. This pampering actually affects the child in his personality development.
    No black n white in this case! It is all about how the family is!
    Me : True.


  15. Yes the kids of today are rather fattened by all the excesses. The peer pressure is amazing. They are so used too having so much space that an extra person is too many people.


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