A joint family consists of three or more generations, living together under the same roof, sharing the same kitchen and economic expenses. It is a family consisting of three or more nuclear families living together.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Joint Family
The advantages of living in a joint family are;
Economic support/function: Living in a joint family cuts down unnecessary expenditures of a person. Moreover, the commodities or basic requirements are secured at an affordable price as things are purchased in quantity. There is collective accountability for the expenses incurred.
Unity and togetherness: Some people stand together in times of crisis and happiness, all stand together. There is complete support of family members whenever needed. Children are not left alone at home while parents are at work therefore children and elderly ones are safe.
Development of social virtues: An individual becomes more appealing and accepting at home and others outside of the home to other people because they learn kindness, compassion, mutual trust, self-control, and cooperation living in joint families. The anti-social inclinations are checked in time and the youngsters are prevented from being unruly and insensitive.
Security and comfort to old-aged members: The elder members of the joint family are well taken care of and they enjoy the company of kids and grandkids. Their lives are very comfortable due to the availability of affection and being surrounded by family members most of the time.
The upbringing of children: The older members inculcate the values and family traditions in children from the beginning and engage and play with them. The kids get a chance to play and do mostly all activities with cousins together. Hence, a joint family is an ideal place for the rearing of children.
Preservation of customs and traditions: There are senior/elderly members in the joint families who prefer to follow culture and traditions. The youngsters also seek guidance and directions from elders and utilize their experiences. So, customs and traditions are well preserved.
Career growth: Women can make themselves free to work as they leave their kids with their in-laws while they go to work. If their income is very crucial for the family’s wellbeing, they are given support in their career interests and work timings.
The disadvantages of living in a joint family are;
High economic burden: Although there is collective accountability to earn, there are however some members who tend to get lazy. They get lazy because they are aware that even if they do not put in maximum effort, their basic requirements will still get fulfilled. In this situation, the economic burden is more on some members than others. It also deteriorates the economic condition of the family.
Lack of freedom: In a joint family, it is quite difficult for a person to enjoy his/her privacy as all the family members are living together. There is a very limited space to live. Individuals do not get that much freedom as they require. Nothing can be hidden in a joint family. Spouses cannot interact affectionately. Even if couples get intimate and limit their interaction within themselves other members may take it otherwise negatively.
Development of unwanted personalities: In a joint family, there arises jealousy among the members in terms of progress and capacity and a lack of adjustment among them as well. The personalities, opinions, degrees of understanding, and interests also differ which leads to frequent disagreements among women and between younger and elder members.
Propagation of orthodox ideology: The elder members are usually not ready to accept changes and disrupt customs and traditions which the family is following for a long time. The generation gap disturbs the growth of the family and individual. Thus, the joint family propagates orthodox ideas and mindsets.
Differential benefits to children: Family members disagree strongly on choices of food and education leading to significant stress. The high earning members often want their children to study in expensive schools but don’t want to share the burden of the children of other members of the family who are not well off. So, the children living in the same house may experience differential access to benefits.
Development of anti-social consequences: Sometimes, the head of the family may take decisions without the consent of other younger family members. For instance, the head of the family takes the marriage of the younger members as a burden and wants to get rid of responsibility in a hurry which sometimes is painful. The decision in a hurry may end up the life of the couple in misery due to differences in choice, attitude, and beliefs.
Career negligence: In some joint families, the elders do not value women’s educational qualifications as they want women just to look after household chores. Some elders wish to enjoy their life in worship and relaxing around and don’t want to burden themselves with the full-time care of kids.