Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in a Joint Family  

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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. Children who grow up in joint families 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.

10 Advantages Of Being In A Joint Family

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

1. Shared chores

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 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, 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. 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.

4. Stronger emotional bond

In a nuclear family, you may rarely meet your cousins, grandparents, or even parents and siblings with who you share a strong bond. One of the primary advantages 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

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. 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. A home with compassionate aunts, uncles, and grandparents can be comforting and helpful when dealing with a financial or emotional crisis.

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 that are essential when you have to deal with others outside your home.

8. Practical lessons

Elders of the family can be the repository of knowledge and wisdom. 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

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 negatives sides of living in a joint family.

1. Lack of privacy

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 to watch what they want on TV, 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.

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 as 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

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 and misunderstanding 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 takes 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.

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.

Families are an integral part of everyone’s life. When people are increasingly shrinking to themselves and don’t care to stay in touch even with immediate family, a joint family is a rare sight. As compared to a nuclear family, a joint family is larger in size and lives under one roof. In this post, we have listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of a joint family. So read through it as this post may help you with your preferences.

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.
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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship... more

Dr Nisha Khanna

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.  Dr. Khanna is a Certified Marriage and Family Therapist, having done her  training course in Marriage and  Family Therapy... more