A nuclear family consists of two parents and their children (one or more). This means a small family is an autonomous unit free from the control of elders.
Thus a kind of tiny family is mostly independent. During the last quarter of the century, our country’s social fabric has changed. So the joint family system is disintegrating and is being replaced by a nuclear family.
According to the last Indian census data report, the number of nuclear families increased from 135 million in 2001 to 172 million in 2011, but at a slower pace than the overall population.read full report here
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Main reasons behind rising small family numbers in India:
- Increasing urbanization
- Changes in attitudes
- The desire for more privacy
- The impact of westernization
- Desire to lower the levels of stress
Advantages of a nuclear family
Economically and socially independent.
It consists of a married couple living under one roof with their children. It is free from the control of the elder members.
Typically, after the children get married, they leave their parent’s home and move to a separate residence to establish another nuclear family.
More freedom and privacy
Things like sharing some moments of privacy, trying to understand the partner’s needs, and providing support are also necessary.
These are non-negotiable in modern family systems where couples have to wait to enjoy these privileges.
By living in a nuclear family couples enjoy more freedom and are able to make decisions together with their children that is not possible in a joint family.
Shared responsibilities and interdependence
In most nuclear families husbands, wives, and children share the responsibilities of running a household such as shopping, cooking, setting the dinner table, cleaning the house, etc.
Doing activities together is a great way to bond, increase support, and be equally involved in family matters. It makes everyone in the family feel responsible and understand how dependent they are on each other.
Better bonding between husband and wife
In a nuclear family, spouses are equal partners and see each other in a different light. Therefore, they bond more like friends and children watch that their parents love each other and also care for them.
In a nuclear family, there is an open conversation between them, and the concept of this family sink in much deeper.
In a nuclear family, the woman plays a very important role in deciding about the school where their children will go to, arranging get together for them, and even deciding on the decor of her home.
This makes the woman financially independent and more assertive and so she feels confident in her abilities.
No parenting conflicts
Parenting is more difficult in establishing a joint family as parents are often forced with opinions and suggestions by other family members. This makes it difficult for parents to discover or fix their own parenting style and allow it to develop.
In a nuclear family, it is easy for a couple to bring up their children in their own unique way. When they really need opinions they want and value each other’s contribution.
Disadvantages of a nuclear family:
Some of the disadvantages of a nuclear family are…
Problems with work-life balance
Many a time, working couples face difficult situations such as the child falling sick or school/daycare declaring a holiday when it is a working day for the parents.
They struggle to cope with such situations and usually, it is the mother because she is the primary caregiver for children. During such situations, many nuclear families feel a lack of support from the extended family.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation
When parents have busy work schedules, they find little or no time to spend with their children.
As a result, children feel very lonely and they spend too much time watching TV to get rid of loneliness. Even during such times, the presence of family members such as a grandparent or an aunt is missed.
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Difficulty in resolving conflicts
When children are small, they do what their parents tell them. But, once children step into adolescence, they begin to develop their own ideas that often differ from their parents.
Then, if each family member is not ready to consider the other’s views or change their stand, then conflicts are not resolved.
The insecurity of children
In a nuclear family, both spouses take up a profession outside the family, then the children are neglected and taken care of by the servants.
They feel lonely and emotionally insecure and so they develop more anxiety. Even during emergency situations such as illness, accident, or pregnancy, children are highly neglected and have no one to care for them.
Children get influenced by bad qualities
A nuclear family is free from the social control of elders. So children get influenced by all kinds of bad qualities like theft and lead their lifestyle to indiscipline.
They become immoral because they do not get the opportunity to mix with other family members.
Every family structure is unique in itself. There may be a nuclear family that is very accommodating from the point of view of every member.
Similarly, there can be a joint family where couples can also find privacy and comfort. Ultimately, it is up to individuals to choose a family system based on their situations and personal preferences.