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How Raising A Child In A Joint Family Is Different From Raising Them In A Nuclear Family

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The controversy over growing up in a joint family versus a nuclear family is an incessant one, and there is no right or wrong side to it. When considering the best way to raise a toddler, the ultimate decision lies with the parents. There is no linear answer as to which type of family would be better for your child.

One can agree that parenting is never easy, and being in a joint family or a nuclear family doesn’t significantly make things easier. Despite all the odds, joint families can provide kids with their much-needed space and respect for privacy, whereas nuclear families can be as engaging and nurturing as the other.

If we consider values of the 21st century, families are no longer limited to your blood relations. Families spring from the most atypical connections and form life-lasting bonds. In such a situation, it becomes imperative to consider how your home environment could affect your child’s development. From a diplomatic stance, both joint families and nuclear families have their virtues and vices.

Many scholars believe that with economic growth, urbanisation, trends in education and cultural changes, the joint family system has begun to disintegrate. However, contrary to predictions, nuclear families have only increased modestly.

Advantages Of Child Rearing In A Joint Family

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1. Learning Interpersonal Skills

The media has painted a rosy and auspicious picture of joint families with images of compassion, encouragement, hope, love and empathy. If these values are found to be true, then it is hard to resist bringing up your child in a joint family. Research has shown that bringing up your children in joint family settings provides a learning environment for interpersonal skills such as sharing, adjustment, cooperation and patience. Further, children who grow up in joint families are likely to be more socially adaptive and responsive in their formative years.

These values are common in a joint-family setup. A joint family is characterised as having a lot of people, and a house full of people is a house full of conflicts. Therefore, children living in joint families learn how to adjust and prevent conflicts.

2. Parenting Support

Living in a joint family eliminates the need for daycare and babysitters. This does make parenting smoother. As a parent, you won’t have to worry about who is taking care of your child while you are away. Your child will never be alone at home; instead, they would be taken care of with love and warmth, and will be in safe hands. You will also get more time to live your own life, socialise with your friends, pursue your hobbies, etc., without constantly worrying about your child.

3. Joint Family As A Support System

No one can deny that joint families provide an impeccably supportive home setting for children. In an ideal world, a joint family is a healthy institution for your child to grow up in. When a child has a loving and protective family to come home to every day, life becomes worth it. In this sense, a joint family can be seen as a safe nest with endless possibilities of growth.

Research has shown that children growing up in joint families are less likely to suffer from feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, isolation, etc. Children can seek help from anyone in the family. Additionally, children learn how to respect relationships and develop strong morals by observing members of other generations.

Advantages Of Child Rearing In A Nuclear Family

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1. Independence

In traditional sense, independence could mean loneliness. But values of the 21st century are different. Independence is anything but being lonely or isolated. Independence is a positive trait that all children should grow up with. It is a way of life, it is the strength that helps you wake up each morning and steer your life in the direction you want. Children raised in joint families are more pampered and often lose their sense of independence. On the other hand, children in nuclear families are more individualistic and affirmative. These children learn to take charge of their future and become self-aware.

2. Difference In Morals

If you come from a particularly conservative family governed by conformist morals, you should consider raising your children in a nuclear family. The upcoming generation is poles apart from the previous generation, and this difference in morals could manifest into a toxic household. With changing times and globalised values, parents should raise their kids without accepting unsolicited opinions and judgement from family members.

Raising a child in the 21st century is different from raising one in the 20th century. Therefore, instead of listening to your relatives, inculcate your personal morals into your child. Teach them to develop an open mind, and be accepting, tolerant and empathetic of others.

3. Self-Identity And Communication

The illusion of a happy and functional joint family falls to dust when it meets reality. Of course, no family is perfect and in most cases, joint families (especially in South Asian countries) tend to be autocratic and overbearing. This is not a stimulating environment for a child to grow up in. Children in joint families often have very little space and privacy. As a result, they lose their self-identity. If your parenting style encourages you to raise your child with unrestricted potential, then try to steer away from the joint family setting.

Communication in nuclear families takes place in a much smoother fashion with fewer obstacles. Children grow up confiding in their parents, which cements a close bond between them. Besides, a nuclear family setting provides more opportunities to parents to have undisturbed one-on-one sessions with their kids.

Nuclear families, and even single-parent households, allow uninhibited self-expression, improved communication skills and unhindered self-growth. And these are exactly the values a child should have in today’s world.

The Final Verdict

Raising a child in either of the family settings comes with its own pros and cons. Thus, there is no right or wrong answer here. Every parent wants the best for their children and choosing which family you want to raise your child in depends on your personal preference and circumstances.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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