There is a lot of truth in the old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Families cannot exist in isolation and family dynamics are often interpreted in the context of their societal and cultural background. The extended family members gather for family events and feel responsible for helping and supporting one another.
In today’s world, families have become more scattered and independent, making it difficult for children to establish relationships with extended family members. Yet, for children, having a large family provides much needed emotional as well as physical support. Children growing up in a joint family in a single household have certain advantages, such as a greater sense of security and belonging and more role models.
- Extended families provide certain benefits to both the parents as well as the children.
- The extended family can offer support and encouragement and also some assistance with childcare
- The relationships children build with extended family members improve self-esteem and self-worth in children
- In an extended family, a child is exposed to a number of different interests, skills and ideas, different from those of the parents.
- Close contact with people of different personality traits provides children valuable training in relating harmoniously with a variety of people.
The extended family provides maximum opportunities for personal growth through its matrix of relationships – with spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings and children. It is the responsibility of the parents to make extended family important in a child’s life. Whether it is a nuclear family or a joint family, it is for the parents to inculcate family values and respect for others. Else, the children will not make it a priority in their lives.