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Joint Family: Meaning, Advantages and Disadvantages

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The meaning, advantages and disadvantages of joint family has been discussed in this article. Hope that you will find it useful.

What is the meaning of Joint Family?

A joint family (also undivided family, joint household, extended family system) is a large undivided family where more than one generation live together in a common house.

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A joint family is a form of family where the grand-parents, father, mother, and children live unitedly under one roof. In such form of family system, every member:

  • is expected to make some financial contribution to the common fund,
  • share common rights in the household property,
  • eat the food made at the common kitchen, and
  • make their daily expenditure from common fund.

In such form of families, the son doesn’t distant himself after getting married. Instead, he lives with his wife and children in the same house along with his other family members.

The eldest male member is the head of the joint family. His power and functions are like that of a trustee. He is entitled to take economic and social decisions on behalf of the family.

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Also read: Importance of Joint Family

Advantages of Joint Family

The advantages of a joint family are more than one can count.

  • It is the best pattern of living that is most conducive to the growth.
  • It is based on a principle of fair economy. It holds it as a rule of creation that all men are not equal. Naturally it imposes a kind of unwritten discipline that those who are more able economically shall share some of the burden of those who are not.
  • The joint mess, naturally, runs on an understanding of mutual adjustment. Naturally those who are benefited by the generosity of others remain obliged and grateful.
  • Similarly in a big joint family the study groups of boys are formed according to their age matching. Naturally the cousins study together, play together, quarrel together and are even punished together. As a result there grows in them a feeling of camaraderie that is free from any discrimination of one being a full brother or a cousin.
  • In marriages also the grooms for marriageable girls become a concern for all the elders in the family. Even if a daughter of a junior brother is selected by someone because of her beauty or brilliance, he would not agree to her marriage until her senior cousin sister is married.
  • The basic necessities of all the family members are taken care of. Each member is guaranteed the minimum subsistence for living.
  • It supports all the members of the family. Old and elderly people are respected. Proper care is taken for old, widowed, physically weak and disabled family members.
  • As such the disciplines in a joint family are self-imposed on its members. The head of the big family almost becomes its patriarch. The family prospers squarely if the patriarch and the other constituents observe the norms soundly and healthily.
  • Finally, the spirit of oneness prevails in a Joint family system.

Disadvantages of Joint Family

But it has disadvantages too.

  • It often creates parasites who love to feed on other’s income. They exploit the goodness and principled behaviour of its partners.
  • Sometimes some crooked member of the family plot to torture and exploit another innocent member of the family.
  • High earning members often insults the low earning members.
  • The cost of education has gone up high. The high earning members often want their children to study in costly schools but they don’t want to share the burden of the children of the other members of the family.
  • In large families, most of important decisions are made by the head of the family. Since, all the individuals within the family doesn’t get the opportunity to participate in major decisions of the family, they often feel lost or develop a feeling of inferiority complex.

The separation of families was evident in the joint families themselves. It happens when feelings of generosity, charity, and fellow-feeling are not balanced by strong moral line, character and farsightedness. Joint family can be run successfully if the members remain committed to each other. The felling of togetherness and selflessness is the essence of joint family.

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