Nuclear Family Vs. Extended Family in India

Nuclear Family Vs. Extended Family in India
Nuclear Family Vs. Extended Family in India
Photo Credit: Subodhsathe / Bigstockphoto
Read this article in Hindi
यह लेख हिन्दी में पढ़ें।


  1. Nuclear families help a couple have autonomy.
  2. Nuclear families encourage interdependence of couples.
  3. Extended families can provide financial and emotional help.
  4. Extended families can help provide a sense of community.

A nuclear family is an isolated unit of a couple and their kids while an extended family incorporates relatives and grandparents in the family.

What are the pitfalls of extended families, and are there benefits? What should a new family consider if they would like to separate themselves from their relatives and run a nuclear family? Today we attempt to give you an insight on how to decide which kind of family to go for.

Autonomy and Decision-Making

The nuclear family allows couples to break away from their parents. The new family achieves autonomy over their decisions with little or no interference from in-laws. They can enforce rules, traditions and customs that are new to their developing family without stepping on the toes of any older family member.

However, in extended families, there are older married couples who can give good advice to any new couple. Grandparents, older aunts and uncles can help the new couple navigate the hurdles they are bound to encounter in early marriage.

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Extended families can also provide a variety of views that can help the smaller family to see things from a previously unexplored angle. This is important if there is a problem in child-rearing, financial affairs or marital conflicts.

Child-Raising Practices

It is easier to raise and discipline children in a nuclear family as the child doesn’t have many caregivers who may give him/her conflicting instructions, thereby, compromising the child’s discipline.

If the husband and wife unite, the child will have no one to run to for comfort. This unwavering consistency benefits the child, who quickly learns to obey his sole caregivers and improves his overall behavior.

However, children may lose out on relationships with multiple cousins and grandparents. This means they lose out on the wisdom that can be passed down from generations.

Single children may also feel the bite of loneliness when they don’t have siblings to play with, something that could have been resolved if they grew up with an extended family.

External Interference

Nuclear families isolate the couple and allows them to focus on themselves without additional troubles from their relatives.

This gives the couple more time together, improves their interdependence and eventually, promotes a more long-lasting relationship between the family.

Eliminating the extended family may remove opinionated relatives, but ultimately, it may hinder relationship growth between living relatives. In nuclear families, there is a lack of closeness which is usually associated with extended families.

Help in Emergencies

New mothers usually need help with caring for their infants, if they cannot afford a nanny, then extended families can be of invaluable help.

Relatives can help a tired, overwhelmed or depressed mother cope with the aftermath of birth. They can help care for the new baby, cook meals for the family and help with other household chores.

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This kind of help is also indispensable when a parent or child falls ill. In an extended family, another relative can care for the sick person without much interference in the regular rhythm of life.

However, in a nuclear family, a sick child means a parent has to take office leave to care for the child. Nuclear families allow the couple to make their own mistakes and learn from them. However, extended families can provide a buffer that can help in financial or emotional crises.

A new couple will have to weigh the pros and cons to decide which family they want for themselves and their future children.