Nuclear vs joint family has been a topic of debate for a very long time in this country. There are multiple outlooks possible on this with respect to family planning, parenting, personal freedom, and growth. The modern day’s skyrocketing expenses, the burden of relocating frequently for jobs, and young adventure-seeking outlook are propelling factors for adopting a nuclear family in the modern age. However, not all that’s past is worthless. The pages of history sometimes carry more wisdom than flips of current affairs. The concept of a joint family has been a lesson from our glorious past and has tremendous benefits for parenting in the current societal scenario. Parenting in joint family helps reinforce cultural values and serves as a support structure in various stages of parenting in Bharat. To rekindle the love for family and strengthen the parent-child relationship, Visionary Saint Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu has been spreading awareness about the significance of relationships. Parents Worship Day builds a wall to foster family values, preventing people from falling into the trap of Western culture and breaking their families.
A Teaching from the Past
Traditionally, the world has perceived Bharat as a value-driven country with a history of large joint families characterized by strong bonds and a sense of community. The grandeur of large Raj-Gharanas, or traditional families, where generations lived and grew together year after year, is still remembered. The close-knit bond among family members formed the core of family values. In Bharat, languages encompass a unique collection of salutations for various relations within a family. It’s not just an uncle or aunt; there’s always a personal salutation for each relationship. Words in Bharat acknowledge and honor all familial bonds, such as Mata, Pita Ji, Chacha, Chachi, Phupha, Bua, Mama, Mami, Mausa, Mausi, Nana, Nani, Dada, Dadi, and the list goes on. This alone indicates the high value placed on family in Bharat’s society.
Families and extended families used to live together, providing support at every step of life. Parenting in those days was comparatively easier. This is the reason why people had large families, and any new addition to the family was celebrated with a lot of joy.
A Tussle of Modern Lifestyle
The modern-day family has adopted a different pace and outlook compared to the traditional joint family of the past. However, even in the present scenario, there is ample space and value in maintaining and functioning as a joint family. The idea of providing better growth opportunities for children has been a common ideology influencing key decisions made by parents. Nevertheless, especially in terms of parenting, focused expenses on children and the choice of school alone cannot be equated to better “parenting”. Not all can be measured in terms of money or certification. There is always a quality of growth and practical nurture that is possible only within large families.
Each member of a joint family brings their own story, experience, and role to this multi-dimensional parenting. Children will have more exposure to diverse sociability and flexibility in dealing with multiple people. A joint family upbringing can provide them with the right balance of social and personal interactions and growth.
Join Family: Double the Joy and Halve the Grief
Parenting is not only about providing the resources required for growth, it’s also about nurturing an environment for emotional upbringing. This becomes more crucial when children reach their teenage or early adulthood. One of the main challenges in parenting is the difference in thoughts, which usually leads to conflicts. This is especially crucial as it can cause a degradation of thoughts and wrong decisions during heat of the moment. Having more family members creates an environment where children find a company within the family that can guide them on the right path.
More members in the family always mean more occasions to celebrate and more shoulders to share grief. Life is not always rosy; it comprises ups and downs. A beautiful cozy family with few members might appear appealing in the current situation. But might lose its well-established pace due to sudden illness, job loss, any major upheaval, or to differences in thoughts. In such times, a joint family can continue to provide secure parenting for the younger members of the family.
Joint Family: A Guardian Of Emotions
Emotion handling is one of the crucial elements of parenting. Children are emotionally complex beings who are often misunderstood at their age. On the one hand, they are very sensitive, and on the other hand, they have their own way of understanding. In a joint family, having more than few trusted family members around them could give them multiple avenues at varying levels of proximity and trust to share and feel cared for. There might be instances when children may not feel comfortable sharing everything with their parents. In such cases, children may feel more comfortable opening up with their cousins, paternal aunt, or other young relatives. This emotional support goes a long way in helping them cope with any situation.
Another challenge presented by today’s busy life is a lack of time. Staying in a joint family helps in adequately providing quality time and emotional touch to children. It could be in the form of Dada and Dadi’s bedtime stories, a daily walk with them in the garden, or even just homework time with cousins.
A research paper from 2020 revealed elevated levels of anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, or a combination of both. It was found particularly prevalent among college students in China who were of nuclear families. These results are quite relatable. A joint family and the structural support it brings can help combat these challenges. Depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and the chance of abuse in teenagers can be reduced by a well-caring and loving system with multiple members looking out for their loved ones.
Joint Family: School for Lessons Of Life
Examples are the best way to teach. Therefore, children grow into what they see and learn. A joint family presents an atmosphere of collaboration and sharing. This prepares children to be more mature, accountable, and learn to share. These elements are crucial in shaping their nature, character, and future.
Young children are often left at the mercy of a creche facility or a full-time nanny. There, they grow up to be more mechanical and lose the warmth of family and relations. They long for love and care, which is not available at the time they need it most. This not only impacts their development but also creates a gap between parents and children. Differences in thought, old-age homes, addiction, and teenage pregnancy are some of the results when this bond is broken.
Parenting in joint family, can be an immense help in balancing the responsibility and fun quotient in the right direction. Children learn the right direction not just from parents but also from the entire family. Regardless of how the parents are living. Whether they are a single parent, stay-at-home parent, or both parents working—the family’s children will always have more than one member to learn from and look forward to as they return from school. They learn cultural values, love, care, and sharing while living in a joint family. This starts building accountability and gain of holistic knowledge from all angles. Children gain perspective on all aspects of life through different family members.
With a keen sense of community and bonding at home, the young generation is sure to grow into more coherent members of the community and more aware of their place and responsibility in social strata as they grow up.
Joint Family: Economic Stability
Economics is a crucial aspect of society. Naturally, it also impacts parenting and plays a vital role in the socio-economic equation of a family. In today’s world, as the cost of living is rising, sharing of resources becomes a practical strategy to cope with inflation. A joint family helps confront this challenge with additional hands to earn and share the load. Younger siblings can re-use clothes, toys, books, and other belongings of elders. This act is not only economical but also strengthens familial bonds.
Extended family provides a reliable pool of resources to large families inclined towards their own businesses. Family members in joint family can serve on key employment positions. Even when considering the working family landscape, pooling multiple salaries and sharing expenses can serve as a security buffer during tougher times. A single-family unit may easily find itself overspending on children. Accountability to a shared set of responsibilities in a joint family would keep such waywardness in check. Stable finances can lead to a secure childhood for growing children.
Parenting in joint family, children’s education won’t be dependent on a single source of income but will become the responsibility of the entire family. Economic stability is always favorable aspect of Parenting and will protect children’s education during unforeseen events.
Parenting is more than better materialism
In the end, it all boils down to the message of love and continuity that we embed in our karma – a message we pass on to our children. Parenting isn’t merely about transmitting a set of instructions; it’s about leaving the legacy of our actions. One such impactful action is respecting and loving our parents. As the saying goes, “What you give is what you get in return,” so if we desire love and care, we must exhibit the same towards others.
The blind following of Western culture has resulted in the breakdown of families. Rich joint families are now converting into nuclear families. Nuclear families are further heading down the path of no-family through live-in relationships, teenage pregnancies, and much more. This breakdown can be mended by the concept of Parents Worship Day introduced by revolutionary Saint Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu. Celebrating February 14th as Parents Worship Day, a day dedicated to honoring parents, their selfless love, and the legacy they impart, marks a revolutionary step in instilling values in young minds. This celebration not only contributes to better parenting but also molds children into compassionate citizens who reciprocate love to their parents.