Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in a Joint Family  

Joint families are like music with high and low notes. If you want to know the advantages and disadvantages of a joint family, this post will help. One of the plus points for children who grow up in joint families is to make close bonds with their family members besides their siblings and parents.

Despite the recent trend of nuclear families and growing urbanization, many still prefer joint families for various reasons. In this post, we talk about some advantages and disadvantages of a joint family.

In This Article

10 Advantages Of Being In A Joint Family

A joint family has more people than a nuclear family, and hence, the perks and benefits are multiplied. Listed here are a few benefits you can reap by being part of a joint family.

1. Shared chores

Sharing chores in joint family

Image: Shutterstock

A family is like a big team, a collaboration where everyone plays their part. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, washing, or buying groceries, will be shared by family members, thereby lessening the burden on one individual.

Growing up together in a joint family, children learn the division of labor and work together to achieve a common goal. In the long run, working together as a team is an upside as it will help children hone social skills and learn teamwork, a crucial aspect of their overall personality development.

2. Sharing becomes a habit

In a joint family, one learns to accommodate others and share what they have. In a joint family, people do things together. They share the expenses, groceries, household appliances, and furnishings with the rest of the family. Kids are encouraged to share whatever they get with their siblings as well as cousins. The concept of ’sharing is caring’ becomes the norm in a joint family, it leads to one’s betterment, making every individual less self-centered and more generous.

3. Less financial stress as everyone contributes

One of the ground rules in a joint family system is that members should share the financial expenses equally. This is one of the bonus points of living in a joint family. Every earning member contributes to the family’s larger goals, including house maintenance, grocery spending, rents, monthly power, and water bills so that a single individual does not feel the burden. Each member tries their best to provide all they can for the people in their family financially.

protip_icon Point to consider
Living with your extended family is especially helpful for working women who can go to the office without worrying about your child’s needs as the family’s elders or grandparents can take care of them.

4. Stronger emotional bond

In a nuclear family, you may rarely meet your cousins, grandparents, or even parents and siblings with whom you share a strong bond. One of the positives of living in a joint family is that you get to spend a lot of time together, strengthening the relationships among all members. A joint family system creates a strong bond of unity at an early age.

5. Family values

On Your Birthday, Brother

Image: IStock

In a joint family, the value system becomes the core. Elders follow certain principles, and children may naturally inherit the value system. Children learn the lessons of ethics and morality under the guidance of the elders. Another merit of a joint family is if something goes against the family values, the elders correct it immediately, ensuring that the family’s values are not compromised.

6. Good support system

For many, home is not just a place; it’s an emotion. It’s their comfort zone, their go-to destination at the end of a day. A joint family home is filled with people who love and support you, giving you the strength for all your endeavors. All individuals are committed to safeguarding each other’s welfare. A home with compassionate aunts, uncles, and grandparents can be comforting and helpful when dealing with a financial or emotional crisis. An added feature of a joint-family home is the sense of community and belonging it provides.

7. Improved social skills

No two people are the same, even though they belong to the same family. You will find members with different personalities, likes, dislikes, and temperaments in a joint family. You cannot deal with every member of the family in the same manner. You adapt yourself to communicate or work together with each individual according to their style. This also gives you a unique perspective towards life and people, thus improving your social skills and acumen, which are essential when you have to deal with others outside your home.

An important social skill is teamwork. Ankur Kashyap, in his blog ’My experience of growing up in a joint family’, says “I have apple orchards at my hometown in Shimla. I remember we all family members together used to do all apple related work by ourselves. Your work gets divided when you work together. No matter how tough or complicated the work is, if you work as a team, you can easily complete that work (i).”

8. Practical lessons

Elders of the family can be the repository of knowledge and wisdom, and their usefulness cannot be overstated. When you live in a joint family, the insight you gain from the elders is something that you may not even find in self-help books. Grandparents with vast experience, judgment, and knowledge can guide you in transforming your life.

9. Quality time with the family

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us to value life, family, and health. Mother Nature pushed us back to where we belong – our home and our family. More people could spend quality time with their families, as they went back to their hometowns owing to the lockdown. Children couldn’t go to school, but they learned a lot from their parents.

In a joint family, the learning multiplies as children get to spend such quality time with their parents and their grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Joint families let you have good times and create memories every day, with or without the pandemic.

10. Love and bonding

Mutual love in joint family

Image: IStock

When you’re living in a joint family, your kids are never alone, which means you don’t have to rely on babysitters to take care of them while you go to work. They are always in safe hands and will be taken care of with love and affection.

10 Disadvantages Of Living In A Joint Family

The joint family system comes with certain disadvantages too. Discussed here are a few negative sides of living in a joint family.

1. Lack of privacy

Lack of privacy in joint family

Image: Shutterstock

In a joint family, privacy could be the biggest causality. A newlywed couple may not get enough space and time to talk, considering the many people around them. People who love their independence may feel claustrophobic living with so many new people.

A personal matter could become the entire family’s business, and there could be too many interventions or interference than one may like. Younger family members may not get TV privileges, with the older ones always around. You might miss sharing the same couch to binge watch TV shows during your weekends; you may not be able to cook together and eat alone.

protip_icon Point to consider
In joint families, women lack adequate “me time.” They are often burdened with domestic chores, and their personal desires or goals take a back seat.

2. Personal preferences may take a back seat

You may want to decorate the home as per your taste. You may want new furniture or home appliances, but you may not have the freedom to get what you want or deck the house as you wish. Even a simple thing like wanting something specific to eat could become difficult when you have to consider what the rest of the family members like or don’t like.

3. Single point of control

The head of the family is usually in charge of everything in a joint family. In such a set-up, you may feel dependent on others and that others are controlling your life. Living in a joint family could be difficult if you are an independent person.

4. Parenting style issues

Although children learn from the wisdom and knowledge of elders, there could be some interference in your parenting style. Members of the family could interfere with your choice of food for the children. A lot of advice, do’s, and don’ts may come your way. This could make you feel uncomfortable if you prefer to bring up your children in your own way.

5. Difference of opinion

Difference of opinion in joint family

Image: IStock

Clash of ideas or opinions could be quite common when you’re surrounded by different individuals. Every individual has an opinion, and it may be hard to convince everyone in the family to agree with it. If your idea is not valued, you may feel offended. This could lead to conflict, misunderstanding and may add some edge between you and the members of the family.

6. No preference for individual decisions

Individual decisions have no place in a joint family. You have to heed to the family’s collective decision, which can sometimes mean that you have to sacrifice your personal choices or preferences.

7. Financial differences

Differences may crop up over the earning potential of family members as one individual may earn more than the other. Consequently, the member who makes less contributes less to the family’s expenses, which could lead to conflict in who has a say in these matters and eventually, lead to differences.

8. Less modern approach

Joint families are often a mix of individuals with conservative and modern outlook. In a joint family, it is not uncommon to witness a clash between the orthodox opinions of the elderly versus the modern perspective of the younger generation. Often, the older people in the family have the last word, and they hold on to their set approach, giving little chance for the younger members to express their viewpoint. This could be a source of disturbance in the family.

9. Not everyone feels responsible

A joint family works on the basis of collective or shared responsibility. Unemployed members can put pressure on family expenses. Some members may not be responsible enough to contribute to the family’s larger goals, and the earning family members could feel its pinch. The shifting of the financial burden to one or a few individuals could create some disturbance and conflict in the family.

10. Might affect the personality

There is little scope for independent thinking as the elders of the family take a call on everything. As a result, individuals who follow the elders’ diktat may remain mere followers and could never get a chance to unlock their true potential or follow their passion.

Due to the need for more independence and addressing their own needs, people tend to move out of joint families while still keeping in touch with them. This has led to the growth of nuclear families, with more and more joint families disintegrating due to various factors, including migration for jobs and better living.

The choice of living in a joint family mostly depends on how well you can adjust. This type of family set up works well for individuals who can adapt to any situation and accommodate all kinds of people. If you believe in greater independence and self-sufficiency, then a nuclear family may work well for you.

Why Are People Moving From Joint Families To Nuclear Families?

Several factors influence the transition to nuclear families:

1. Urban employment opportunities: Better job opportunities attract individuals to move away from joint families and pursue their careers in growing cities.
2. Individual independence: The desire to establish independence is one key factor. Many individuals choose nuclear families to pursue personal interests, careers, or businesses, deviating from traditional family professions.
3. Equality in nuclear families: Nuclear families often promote gender equality, allowing both men and women to make decisions and lead independent lives. This contrasts with traditional setups where roles may be predefined.
4. Autonomy and decision-making: In nuclear families, individuals are free to make decisions without interference from extended family members. This autonomy is valued as people seek to live life on their own terms.
5. Personal lifestyle choices: People desire the freedom to shape their lifestyles according to their preferences. Living in nuclear families allows them to make choices without external imposition.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the characteristics of a joint family?

Some of the characteristics of a joint family are a shared kitchen, joint property, and large family size with at least three generations living together. Joint families also generally have common worship, a firm head of the family, shared responsibilities, and a common and shared wallet for household expenses.

2. How do you introduce a joint family?

When introducing a joint family to a new person, begin by introducing the heads of the family, generally the grandparents, followed by the parents, other elders, and then siblings and cousins.

3. How can I address issues related to privacy and personal space in a joint family?

Have a respectful and open conversation to communicate your concerns and privacy needs. Call for a family meeting and discuss different options to help everyone have their personal space within the home, such as designated private zones and time when the members can engage in independent activities. Additionally, use dividers or curtains to enhance privacy and go for walks to have some me-time.

4. What are some strategies for effective communication in a joint family

One way to communicate effectively in a joint family is by having daily meals together while sharing each other’s experiences of the day. You may also host family meetings to discuss vacation plans, upcoming birthdays, and anniversaries. Furthermore, take time to sit and talk with each other at least once a day to create a comfortable environment for each other to seek and provide support in times of need.

5. How can I adjust to living in a joint family, especially if I am used to living in a nuclear family?

You may begin with understanding the dynamics of the members in the joint family and gradually get to know each one. Try to understand their perspectives and respect their values and traditions. However, you should also respectfully establish your personal boundaries to avoid arguments and misunderstandings. Although it may seem difficult initially, be adaptable and try to find common ground to spend quality time and foster closer relationships.

Families play a crucial role in our lives. Unfortunately, as people become more isolated and disconnected from even their closest relatives, joint families have become a rare occurrence. In contrast to nuclear families, joint families are larger in size and live together under one roof.

Infographic: Ways To Strengthen Bonds In A Joint Family

Agree or not, staying with a joint family has an old charm and an undeniable set of advantages. So, if you wish to build a strong bond in a joint family household, this infographic brings valuable tips to help sustain a stable relationship with all your family members.

tips to improve familial bonding in a joint family (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Compared to a nuclear family, a joint family nurtures an emotional bond and teaches sharing between the members.
  • Staying in a joint family could compromise privacy and financial insecurities.
  • Knowing the pros and cons could help you decide about living in a joint family.
Advantages and disadvantages of joint family_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Personal Experience: Sources

i. My experience of growing up in a joint family;

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Dr. Nisha Khanna has nearly two decades of experience as a mental health professional. Based out of New Delhi, she has provided consultation to more than 30,000 individuals so far. She is a regular face on television and in news magazines.

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