Difference Between Nuclear Family and Extended Family

Nuclear Family vs Extended Family

Family is the most basic social unit in any society. A family is vital in human context as it helps is socialization of kids. But, before we talk about the functions and responsibilities of a family, it is necessary to differentiate between nuclear family and extended family, which is confusing for many people (especially in cultures where extended family is still the norm). A family is described as a unit that consists of biologically related (or related through marriage) people that live together under a single roof. Extended family is a natural concept that is still very popular in many cultures, though nuclear family is fast gaining popularity as people move out to other cities in search of employment. Let us find out differences between these two types of families.

In old times, with fewer opportunities of education and employment, people remained with their parents and even married and raised their kids in their parental home. This meant that such a family included man and his wife, their children, spouses of children and kids of children. This made for a large grouping with roles and responsibilities of members divided. Women looked after kids and cooked food, while men folk worked to earn bread. This was an arrangement that worked well in old times, as it was easier for kids as well as men to remain assured of the safety of their wives and kids. It necessitated a large house with a common kitchen, where women of the family cooked food for all members of the family. Head of the family was the oldest male member and the family was patriarchal in nature. Head of the family was respected by all and he also had the authority to solve all problems and disputes between family members.

There are still some countries and cultures where extended family is the norm, though nuclear families are rising in number. India is one country where despite all modernism and advancement, one can still find extended families, which are called joint families there. Joint families result in savings as money is pooled and grocery items are purchased in bulk.

It was when people had to move out of their villages and settle in cities where they got employment opportunities that the concept of nuclear families developed. A nuclear family includes man and his wife along with his children (unmarried). It was only natural for a man to marry after getting a job in a city away from his parental home to start his own family. There are no cousins, aunts, and uncles to fall back upon for a growing kid in a nuclear family. However, in nuclear families, there is greater privacy and autonomy for the head of the family who is free to take decisions, which is not possible in an extended family.

It is a known fact that the virtues of tolerance and compliance are slowly decreasing in degree and in modern world where materialism is the buzz word, nuclear families are being preferred over extended families. Women feel more confident in their approach when they raise a nuclear family than when they are in an extended family, as they know that they are alone, and have to face all situations on their own and cannot expect a cushion of other people as is the case with an extended family.

What is the difference between Nuclear Family and Extended Family?

It is seen that nuclear families encourage entrepreneurship more than extended families though there are also chances of kids becoming rebellious with both parents working, and no one in the home to have control over kids. There is no doubt that there is more convenience for people in extended families as responsibilities are shared and raising of kids is also easier as there are women to take care of kids in the absence of working mother. In terms of freedom to wear what one wants to and also in other matters, whether financial or pertaining to kids, nuclear family is far ahead of extended families.