The Joint Family System in the Changing Scenario

By living in a joint family, I think I have the right to express my views on the advantages of a joint family system. I think the solace of living with my kith and kin that I know for years has given me a kind of mental strength to excel in my chosen path of direction.

From the first episode of Kalyanamalai – SUN TV program I have observed the parents always aspire for a bride who will take care of the family, keep the family intact and live with the family. I don’t mean to say that bride is the instrumental for the nuclear family system, but just want to emphasis on why the joint family system continue to be favoured.

I do not support the joint family system of yesteryear in its entirety. The changing trends in education and employment opportunities will make it difficult for the current generation to take-up the family profession or business any more. It may be feasible only in case of big family businesses with real big investment. Furthermore, when the newer generation opts for employment opportunities in other parts of India or at foreign locations, the scenario becomes different.

I am sure you will agree with my idea that our joint families work like a miniature model of the world in its entirety in allowing the younger generation to learn and get their training. The system allows them to perfect their interpersonal skills and enables them to learn some of the needed nuances of life such as adjustment, group working, tolerance and above all patience to listen. The joint family system permits the children to enjoy a loving, admiring and appreciating environment and bring them seamlessly into the process of learning collective responsibility and flexibility. Without going into details, I can construe that a nuclear family child misses all the opportunities and the shaping the life of a child remains in the hands of its parents.

I have found that a nuclear family child often misses the closeness of its parents. The parents in turn try to pamper the child feeling guilty of their absence. But, unlike a joint family set up, the nuclear family allows the parents to bring up their children in their own way without interference of the other family members.

One thing that worries me more is the changing trend to have a single child. The restricted pattern in the family is a result of the constraints in resources, finance and living space. This single child idea makes the nuclear family more complicated. The children often miss pleasure and pressure of peers and readily yield to an unwanted company.

I have come across a lively debate in one of the websites where the senior citizens mentioned the merits and demerits of a joint family system and their support for it. The website undertook the survey to understand the elders view on how the joint family living in the changed environment helps. Most of them have supported the unique Indian joint family system.

It did not surprise me when some of the senior citizens who are victims of the nuclear family set up and living alone opposed the joint family system. While they want to stay close with their own daughter, son and grand children, they categorically expressed their aversion against exploitation. They preferred to live alone instead of becoming an honourable servant keeping a watch over the house and looking after the grand children. Some of them have even expressed that such setup will deny them privacy and the liberty to go on any private tour or pilgrimage.

The trend is currently changing. Even those who live a nuclear family set up are looking forward to having the elders to take care of the family. I know few of them who want to give respect to their elders in managing the family while want to have the freedom of taking decisions without intrusion. This set up also enables the seniors to set their own conditions while enjoying the proximity to their grand son or daughter.

However, what attracted me most is a different kind of joint family set up that is emerging slowly. I know a few families where both the husband’s and wife’s family live together in a roomy house and both the in-laws take care of the grandchild and manage the house amicably sharing the good and bad equally. What inspired me more was their faith and belief in each other and the common interest of giving the grand child the values of life.

I wish that more people from current generation should encourage and come forward to have such a set up, which, in my opinion, while give the grandchildren the foremost of everything also gives the seniors the solace of living together and getting the optimal care.

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