In India, the system of a joint family hails from the Vedic times and was popular even when the kings ruled this land. Living in a joint family means adjusting with all the uncles, aunts, and cousins. But, growing up with a set of different individuals, sacrificing your needs for the happiness of a loved one, and fighting over little things, pretty much makes you ready for the world. Joint families still prevail in India, but the number has depleted. Let’s find out what are the pros and cons of living in a joint family.
A family is that ‘umbrella’ whose value is not realised until the stormy clouds loom over you. But, when you look up with a hope that someone will come to your rescue, the first silent approaching steps will be of your family members. This is ‘FAMILY’. You grow up together, learn together; agree-disagree; fight and make-up, move on in your lives, but in the end, when you need someone, you know your siblings and your family will be right there.
India has always been known for its rich culture, various languages, and for the system of living in a joint family. A joint family does not only mean a group of people living together, it means that these people are tied with a blood relation and choose to live in a single household for many reasons – sometimes out of will and sometimes because of compulsion.
Although the tradition of living in a joint family is shrinking with time, if you go in small cities and village of the country, where the roots of westernisation have still not touched, you will find many families living together as ‘one’ with a Basil/Tulsi plant in their yard. It might seem that you are watching a ’90s movie but it will be there.
With time the culture of living in a joint family is certainly plummeting in huge numbers, but why is that? Have you ever wondered why people now prefer living in nuclear families over a joint family? It is not just about privacy…there are many factors responsible, but are these reasons really justified? Does living alone or with just 2 people make you any happier?
5 Disadvantages of Living in a Joint Family
Nuclear families are the deal of the day, there are many reasons for that. Let’s get you acquainted with the cons of living in joint family. It will present a better picture to let you decide if you want to settle for it or not:
1. Privacy is Compromised
Lack of privacy is a common complaint among people who live in a joint family. You are never alone. If you are distressed and want to be alone and cry to let it out, you’d prefer crying in your bed and telling your sad stories to your pillow. But that’s not possible if you are living in a joint family. Everyone knows everything about all the members of the family and this leads to interference in daily matters. More often than not, this interference is not appreciated and people end up hiding things so that others mind their own business. You will always be surrounded by people and they will try to help you for your sake, but sometimes it gets too much.
2. A small Decision Runs by Everyone
The problem of living in a joint family is even a small decision has to go through and get a green signal by every member of the family, particularly the head of the family. Whether it is about going out after 7 at night or a sleepover at a friend’s place. Sometimes, even trivial matters are given so much attention that it annoys you.
3. Financial Responsibility
In a joint family, it is about ‘us’. When it comes to financial responsibility, usually, the ‘Karta’ (the head of the family) handles financial matters while other male members of the family contribute. However, many times it happens that the burden of 2 or more families is on the ‘Karta’ of the family, and other members become idle and the burden on one person only increases.
4. Interference in Parenting
Living in a joint family sometimes deprives you of taking right decisions for your child. As a mother, you might not get to parent your child the way you want to, because there will be others in the house who will keep teaching you about what to do and what not to do. This may create hindrance in your style of parenting and ultimately it fuels your anger.
5. Woes of a Common Kitchen
Generally, in a joint family, all female members cook together and for all. When it comes to food, everyone has different choices and catering to the demands of all often makes them tired. Also, people cannot cook what they want and they have to strictly adhere to the rules of the family. If the family is a vegetarian one, then it will be very difficult to cook an egg or non-vegetarian food in the same kitchen.
These were certain cons of living in a joint family. Of course, living together is difficult because in a joint family you have to put someone else’s needs before yours, you have to compromise but all these situations make you a better person.
8 Advantages of Living in a Joint Family
Your privacy will be compromised but there is a lot more than it that you will receive living in a joint family that you will always want to live in one. Here are some pros of growing up in a joint family that you would always cherish them:
1. A child is Never Lonely
If you are a working mom living in a joint family, you can rest assured of your child’s daily needs. If you are worried about who will serve him food or take care of him when he is sick, you need not. As you know in a joint family, there will always be people to take good care of him.
2. Happiness Doubles
If you have ever lived in a joint family, you must have experienced that sharing little joys and achievements with your family members makes them so happy. Even small achievements are rejoiced by one and all. And in the moments of sorrow, your family is always there to support you.
3. You Learn The Art of Sharing
If you notice a child raised in a nuclear family and the one raised in a joint family, you will observe difference in their behaviour. A kid brought up with many people is obviously more social but he also has a habit of sharing. Living in a joint family inculcates the habit of sharing from childhood. If your child has a chocolate, he will know that he has to distribute it among his siblings and cousins. As a kid, he might not like to share it, but it only prepares him for the future. The habit of giving and sharing makes you a person who is liked by all. Living in a joint family makes you focus on ‘we’ than on ‘me’.
4. You Learn to Respect
Growing up in a family with so many elders develops a sense of respect for others. Keeping your tongue in check around elders, respecting them, and obeying their commands…somehow shapes your personality. And a person who shows respects and treats others with respect is always appreciated.
5. Education Beyond Books
The education of a child living with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents is not only restricted to academics and school but the horizon of his education is much wider. Living with grandparents, a child gets acquainted with the world of their times. With aunts and uncles, he gets familiar with their struggles. All in all, living in a joint family makes one understand that there is more to education than just school books.
6. Love and Care
The amount of love and care that one receives in a joint family cannot be uttered in words. If you are sick or sad, you will never find yourself alone. There will always be people to take care of you. It is the major benefit of living in a joint family; the love you receive is immeasurable and something you can never pay off.
7. The Feeling of Togetherness
If you live in a joint family, you can be sure that your child will never be bored or feel alone. He will always have cousins as his partners in crime. He will never be deprived of friends as he will always have his cousins to play with. As he grows, his bond with his cousins will only get better. In the lonely crowded world, your child will always have someone to share his problems.
8. One Becomes Socially Adept
A person coming from a joint family knows how to communicate with people of different age groups. Living with elders, siblings/cousins, nephews and nieces moulds his personality. All these basic elements of communication which are necessary for living happily in a society are inculcated in him right from the start when he lives in a joint family.
So, there were some benefits of growing up in a family with different individuals. If you have lived in a nuclear family adjusting with many people will be hard. But, choose wisely. It’s not as bad as you think it to be.
In this modern world, where a family is restricted to just 4 members, living in a joint family will obviously pose a challenge. But, if you want to make your life fun and experience the joy of togetherness, consider living in a joint family. There will be feuds, compromises, sacrifices, but at the end of the day, you will have a lot more people to depend on.
So, make a wise decision and remember that you can always overcome pitfalls with patience and love. After all, a joint family also has some wonderful benefits, especially for your kids whose grandparents adore them!