Upbringing Your Child

Joint Family System Helpful in Raising Children?

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A family of grandparents resting in their comfortable arm chairs in the TV lounge with siblings and cousins chattering and playing ‘stone-paper-scissors’ in a corner that’s brimming with giggles and the parents…well…males discussing politics over a cup of tea with snacks and the females busy in a brain storming session over ‘kal khanay main kia pakayga?’ all under a single roof…. This typical joint family system is quite a preference in Pakistani culture but what we doubt is if it’s actually helpful in bringing up children? If it is then why is this practice of interdependence slowly being replaced by the nuclear family system of self dependence? Is a child under the protection of too many better protected by just the parents or vice versa?

Laughter…chaos…and grandma’s lullaby…! The joint family system has its charms and advantages. It helps children understand and value different relationships respecting each and keeping the feeling of togetherness alive and such an environment makes them learn adaptability and adjustment. The presence of cousin brothers and sisters improve their capacities to share with one another. Also when it comes to education the older children tutor the younger in the family, studying together encourages a healthy competition and this way they tend to make greater efforts… Grandparents discipline children by sharing their experiences and valuable advice. The children of today don’t know much about their culture and traditions and this is where the importance of grandparents is realized. Grandparents play an important role in teaching children about beliefs, customs and the right ways to practice religion.

They are always there to protect them and pamper them with just a kiss on their forehead, the best bed time stories and the recipes for quick remedies – dadi maa k totkay…Mothers receive a convenient helping hand in the upbringing of their children in a joint family which allows them to enjoy some free time for themselves. Interference…confusions… frustrations…? Along with the advantages there are also a few disadvantages of bringing up children in a joint family.  Being in the hands of many confuses a child. Children listen to the different ideas, opinions and advice which causes distractions and weakens their decision making abilities. Also when you restrict your child from something and he watches his cousins allowed the same it can get the child rebel.

The same happens if there are financial differences amongst the family members. Sometimes when children are compared with one another it develops envious feelings and this hinders their psychological growth. They either become overconfident or shy and reluctant. Another area where the joint family system fails is when it comes to deciding the child’s future, especially the girls inPakistanwhen grandparents choose to get them married than allowing them to gain professional education or pursue a career. Your approach matters… Not every family is perfect in all aspects be it joint or independent, this is very unrealistic. The approach matters…a joint family contributes greatly towards raising children if only the members share a good understanding of adjustment and enough space is given to the parents to decide for their children.

It’s a parent’s duty to avoid comparisons and sit and set the same rules each child of the family follows (which isn’t so easy but very beneficial if done). The constant conflict over petty issues, jealousies and battles of exercising authority over one another greatly disturb the atmosphere and has adverse effects on children. If you are going through such a situation and you think you cannot manage with it anymore? Nuclear family is the right choice for you! 

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