Subodh Sharma

Extended Family

Extended Family - A Great Way to Influence Communities

Extended Family – A Great Way to Influence Communities

Relation

Extended family, extended joy!

The relationships that are part of our bloodline and typically extend beyond our nuclear family (may or may not stay together) are extended family relations.

Extended family relationships are very supportive and useful for all family members. Think of Uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grand-relations and the support they provide to each other. Extended family is blessing in this very busy and expensive world and provides much needed social and economic support to each other.

It is a great relationship web where everyone is knitted and connected strongly to the other family member. It is the first expansion pillar of a successful community built by a successful family. This relationship has a great mix of family closeness and community collectiveness that makes the relation very effective.

Role

There are numerous roles an extended family plays in today’s society. The first very common role and help we can think of is the babysitting (common family support). Imagine having many grand-relations, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and more to take care of your young kids. It relieves you from the stress that your kids are in a stranger’s watch and also reduces a financial burden on you.

Extended family keeps a good vigil over the teenagers. Staying in a well-connected extended family keeps a check over the growing but still young family members and steers them away from any unwanted habits in a timely manner by friendly counseling or other approaches as required. Sometimes informal openness is the only thing required to clinch off the sparkly-habits and extended family provides an unmatched platform for it.

Extended family setup is a great stress-buster. There are many role models within a family that teenagers can follow and learn from. In most of the extended family set ups, teenagers never go through any depressing cycle because they always have someone of their own age-group to talk to. They always can bring forward their issues and can expect that they will get a valuable advice within the family. It further encourages them to speak about their issues without being getting struck into ‘speaking to a stranger’ dilemma.

Extended family works and supports as first counselors when required. Ranging from career counselors to the problem counselors, there are many situations when children or even parents are hesitant to talk to their immediate family. In such situations extended family is by default the first and the best choice to speak and release some stress, primarily because all ages and experiences are available within the family.

Overall, extended family has countless roles that can help the family members in today’s fast paced world. Biggest one is to care, love each other and further spread that love to make a better community. Let’s keep our family and extended family relations healthy and prosperous.

Responsibility

As a primary responsibility, extended family members look after each other and provide any needed support within the larger family base. Although nothing in black & white, but wherever the families are closely knit, they understand that the responsibilities related to their family protection, career, development, finance and support are to be borne collectively for all the family members as per need.

In a typical extended or joint family or as referred with different terms in different continents, the major responsibility of the oldest male family member is to control the financial decisions, resolve any conflicts, ensure that adequate resources are allocated to all the family needs and overlook important family safety aspects. The oldest female counterpart is directly heading the kitchen and food, groceries, festivities, social dealing within relatives, child rearing, child daycare as needed and similar peripheral issues. She commands all the ladies of the house in general.

Head of the family and his counterpart also have a very significant role of final decision about the marriage proposals coming in or going out of the family. This responsibility is shared commonly between the two and both have absolutely equal say in it.

Even within an extended family, there can be small nuclear families primarily divided by the financial leadership and responsibility of the each family head to fulfill them. Alternatively all family heads can contribute to a common extended family funds system and it is overlooked and allocated by the head of the family, normally oldest male in the house. In both types of arrangements, adequate earning responsibility lies with the heads of the singular family units within the extended family.

Ladies of the house are responsible to manage family shopping, charities, external household help, children’s schooling and homework, medical requirements/sickness management as needed for kids, surplus distribution, family’s culture teaching and management and festivities warmness.

Kids also play and manage important responsibilities in an extended family set up. Older kids normally handle physical work requirements in the family such as moving, guarding, farming help, mechanic shop visits, mowing, snow removal etc. They also tutor young kids as required. They are, at many times, role model for the younger kids. Additionally they pass on important family traditions and values to their younger siblings / cousins at an appropriate age as deemed right by their parents. Sometimes they are the part of informal child managing.

Rights

Extended families do have rights that are majorly governed by the head of the family (oldest male)

In general all family units within an extended family have complete right for their private space seeking in the house and external living / disintegration. These relations are built on the values and benefits based on togetherness. The ‘family feel’ is still independent of living together and there is no legal binding, the relationships are still cordially maintained in most of the families even if they migrate/disintegrate due to some unavoidable reasons.

All the families do have a complete right to plan, manage and enjoy their nuclear family time.

All the families and the individual members as long as they are together, (Sometimes not even together) have the right to access complete common family resources and get them allocated to their needs.

Another right involves marriages. All marriage proposals and decisions can be finally overruled by the primary person getting married.

In a nutshell there is no shortage of rights but there are tremendous benefits of an extended family system.

Results

Multiple responsibilities but great love and togetherness!

An extended family works as a small society, self-proficient to meet almost all the demands of its members. It is very lean, agile and fast paced. It has very quick decision making process and wastes no time in external consulting unless extensively required. The family members get a support that no other system can provide in the world. The children are raised usually guided by values and principles and that is what they stand on in their life in the longer run. It teaches incomparable respect for the elders. It teaches patience and positive attitude in prolonging, difficult times. It teaches to share.

It is world’s best family system and this fact is proven by the statistics all across the globe because the number of extended families living in a common household is considerably rising since 1995.

Expanding the arrangement, an extended family always helps to build a stronger, developing community and supports in the overall growth fueled by the values that originate and spread from this family system.

Rewards

Rewards of being part of an extended family are remarkable!

It provides a great freedom and peace of mind knowing that any emergencies and tragic situations are covered for life through the support of the amazing extended family they live in! It is an insurance with no underwriting, legalities or any terms!

Kids are raised by multiple family members nurturing the different family values in them at different times. There are goal setter and role models available within the family that naturally helps kids to aim higher right from the beginning. Medical, social and economic help is available to kids, mostly without worrying about the ‘student loan culture’ that normally children from the nuclear family has to go through. There are nil or negligible stresses observed in the kids because they have enough companionship available within the family.

Parents have lesser social and financial stresses as all the families in an extended family pool the finances together. Parents can choose better schooling and suggest better career options for their kids. This in-turn makes better and responsible citizens.

Elders also have a great value serving overall in an extended family. They are compassionate about their grand-children and feel better involved and respected when they culturally train them.

Overall an extended family and relations provide a helpful support throughout the life to each member of the family, creates a great family system, promotes the ethical living and forms a solid foundation for uprising of a community.

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