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Nuclear Family: Meaning, Advantages, Disadvantages, And Difference From Extended Family
There are a lot of family structures we are familiar with, the nuclear family falls in one of them, but what is a Nuclear Family? Have you ever thought of this deeply? if not, this article gives you all the information you need to know about what is Nuclear family and other terms associated with it.
What is a nuclear family and how it has been for decades? Over the last 50 years, the structures of different families have changed drastically. Several variations have been created in families that all of us might be unaware of. Basically, you can categorize types of families or family structures into 6 different types, these include:
- Nuclear family
- Single parent family
- Extended family
- Childless family
- Grandparent family
There is no wrong or right when it comes to your family structure. It is not that your family structure is best when it is nuclear or extended, it is highly dependent on personal preferences.
This article shall be discussing what is a Nuclear family and all the related information.
What Is A Nuclear Family?
The traditional type of family structure comes under this category of the nuclear family. This family type includes two parents raising together their children. Earlier, the nuclear family was long-held and considered to be the ideal type of family structure by society. It is believed that children are raised ideally in a nuclear family.
It is the typical type of family we already know. Children receive more stability and strength when they are raised by two loving parents. According to U.S Census Data of 2010, The children raised by two adults have more opportunities due to their parent’s financial ease.
Almost 70% of the total population lives in a nuclear family nowadays. Nuclear families center around married couples that have children together. However, there are a lot of debates on the definitions of what is a nuclear family because some people include children that are blood-related to parents while some categorize them as adopted and do not include them in a nuclear family.
There are many anthropologists and sociologists that think of the nuclear family as the most basic structure of social organizations.
Do you know, the nuclear family first appeared in the early 20th century. Another name given to the nuclear family is the conjugal family.
Many historians like Peter Laslett postulated that nuclear families had been a basic arrangement of the family in England back in the 13th century.
What Is A Nuclear family Sociology?
In sociology and anthropology, another term given to the nuclear family is the Elemental family. It refers to a group of people who bond together and are tied to partnership legally and share parenthood for their children. Typically, the adults associated with a nuclear family are married, but it is not always necessary.
Earlier the definition of what is nuclear family was limited to parents having the opposite sex but with changing time this definition changed with the advent of marriages between same-sex.
Also, the children belonging to a nuclear family can be adopted by parents or they’re biological, it doesn’t change anything in nuclear families.
Sociologists have illuminated a lot of variability in this form that we can assume nuclear families as nuclear family complex. In a nuclear family complex, the roles of wife, mother, father, husband, daughter, son, brother, and sister are embodied by all the people whose function in the family and biological relationships with each other don’t necessarily conform to western definitions associated with all these terms.
In societies, for example, a child may not be the responsibility of his biological father but will be taken care of by his mother’s brother or maternal uncle. The maternal uncle in such cases fulfills the role of western fatherhood.
Closely related to the nuclear family are conjugal families and the Consanguineal families. As the name suggests, a conjugal family can be understood as a family knit together by marriage ties and comprise of mother, father, son, daughter, and few close relatives.
The quality of nuclear family or conjugal marriages highly depends upon the marriage bond between husband and wife. The merrier the bond, the happier the family and growth of children is eventually better, while constant arguments put a bad impact on children and disturb them mentally.
However, every family structure has disadvantages and many advantages, let us go through all of them one by one.
What Are The Advantages Of A Nuclear Family?
According to data shared by the U.S census in 2016, nearly 68% of children are living in nuclear families. In general, also people see a nuclear family pattern as the ideal and dominant than others to raise their children. Two adults who are married and have a child together provide a favorable picture for many reasons that we shall discuss below.
When you see a question of what is a Nuclear Family or what are the benefits of living in a nuclear family, you can easily memorize these.
1. Strength And Stability
According to research centers, the children born in marriages are more stable than children born inside the cohabitations. The Pew Research center has found that nearly 20% of children born to married couples experience cases of divorce whereas, in cohabitating families, nearly 50% of children face the issue of divorce in their parents which is 30% more than nuclear families.
Both these groups living with both the parents prior to divorce have better chances to live with a couple than raised by a single parent. The couples who have entirely committed to each other model a caring, supportive, and loving relationship for their child.
This loving relationship later translates to future success because children in these kinds of relationships interact pretty well with others and they themselves seek positivity in all relationships. In a nuclear family having a good relationship, children learn to solve issues together rather than running away from them. Children also get to learn a lot about household responsibilities. The child learns to respect and supports others in negative and positive dilemmas.
2. Financial Stability To Equal More Opportunity
Most nuclear families are believed to provide their child economic stability so that their child can get opportunities, luxuries, and a safer environment to grow in. According to Pew Research Center, 57% of households having a married couple were nicely above the poverty line while among the single parents only 21% were above the poverty line.
Children living in a nuclear family are more likely to attend music, dance, gymnastics, and other classes for better growth and development. This case is mostly seen when both the parents are working fine outside their houses. A child raised in this way is believed to be more successful later on both socially and academically.
3. Consistency And Behavioral Success
All the successful nuclear families have one thing in common, that is consistency in the caretaking of their children. Children who have consistency and stability both when they are young, are more likely to show positivity in their behavior throughout their lives.
They are also able to earn great grades in school and colleges. The child sometimes due to good behavior, is more involved in extracurricular activities and community decisions. Nuclear families have a common habit of sitting at the dinner table together, go to temples or churches together, and take time for their family vacations which helps immensely in improving their bond with each other and builds a solid base or foundation for their future goals in life.
4. Encourages Education
Nuclear families usually have both the adults well educated which is great. Children born in families where both the parents are well educated or own college degrees are more likely to complete their college and get a degree for themselves.
An analysis or research carried out by the Council On Contemporary Families have indicated that parents who are well educated themselves are more likely to provide all the resources to their child and less likely to get a divorce.
The Pew research center added to this that parents having degrees are often associated with the labor force and work outside their house which increases their yearly wages. The placement of value on study or education when combined with great income levels results in improvement of child’s future academically.
5.Health Benefits Of Nuclear Family
Overall researches have shown that children living in a family where the adults are married and the child is their biological child have better emotional, social, and physical health than other kids raised differently. Other than family type, type of parenting also affects the child’s future.
Married couples have fewer chances to abuse their child. Nuclear families are believed to provide good healthcare to their children with emergency rooms present in their houses as the family is very small.
The emotional stress associated with a child living in a non-violent household with parents is observed to be very less as compared to a child living in a violent household or other conditions with caretakers.
6. Communication Skills
Communications within the family are the key feature in a child’s development. In a nuclear family, it is often seen that there are few obstacles while conveying your point or communication. With so many advancements in technology, nuclear families have been able to keep up with each other regularly even when they are not together at times.
In another research conducted by Pew Internet And American Life Project, it is observed that the members living in a nuclear family are more likely to keep a cell phone for interaction as compared to other family types.
This is highly recommended because it will allow the parents and help them in monitoring their child. Kids having cell phones can easily contact their parents in terms of emergencies and scheduled changes can also be conveyed to parents.
7. Connection While Aging
Those kids who grow in a loving and supportive family, are more likely to keep in contact and there are better chances of being in touch with adults when they do not remain together. Having familial bonds and connections while one is aging is very important.
As a child age who lived in a nuclear family, he or she is more likely to have all type of support from family than a child who is raised by a single parent or other family structures.
This is a great advantage for people born in nuclear families when it comes to financial and emotional support.
What Are Disadvantages Of Nuclear Family?
There is no such family that does not experience turbulent times or difficulties throughout their life. The format of a nuclear family is not always the best for some people because of certain reasons These reasons are discussed below in a common query what is a nuclear family.
1. Exclusion From extended family
When it comes to what is a nuclear family and the disadvantages associated with it, the foremost disadvantage that comes is the exclusion of an extended family. There is no doubt that the nuclear family is the most supportive and caregiving because of limited members in it. However, research published in the Preserve Articles indicated that people living in nuclear families are more likely to get isolated from close relatives and other relationships.
Breaking down from your extended family unit will not be good for anyone during difficult times. In an extended family, the grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins hold a special place that parents cannot fulfill. Nuclear families are often seen ignoring the fostering of such relationships.
2. Family Burnout Reality
What is a nuclear family when it comes to parents? According to Acts International, a family member in a nuclear family especially the mother is so busy and overwhelmed in taking care of children, that they often forget to live for themselves and follow self-care.
Parents need to look after themselves in order to be a good example for children and taking good care of them which certainly lacks in a nuclear family. Without any support from extended family members, parents need to take off or take leave from their work even in the busiest hours. They often struggle to keep up with the demands of relationships, family, and work because they do not have any assistance.
This might be normal in the beginning but over time it turns into depression and anxiety-like issues.
3. Conflict Resolution Skill
It is clearly evident from the things we have discussed till now that nuclear families often face very fewer conflicts and stress due to family, it is great but life is full of conflicts once we step outside. Conflict resolution skills are very crucial for your child to learn once they are in school, college, workspace, or community.
A nuclear family often develops thinking of like-mindedness with the family members residing in it. When they later move to extended families, this can create arguments whereas people living in extended families often see one issue in many ways and develop many viewpoints that may help them in the future.
4. What is a Nuclear Family Support System
Even a small illness or any emergency situation affects nuclear families a lot. The analysis points mentioned in Preserve Articles show that extended family always has support to show up when another member is in crisis, a nuclear family highly lacks that system.
In nuclear families that involve working parents, the ability for parents to meet all the needs and expectations of a child is not always feasible within their family unit. An extended family unit can expect support from each other.
5. In Compounding stereotypes
emphasis on nuclear family structure as the ideal practice of family highly exacerbates the stereotypes associated with single parent preferably single mothers, cultural structures of family, and family structures based on religion. It is suggested in the International Encyclopedia Of Marriage And Family that nuclear families were not as followed and prevalent as they are believed to be now in the past.
It is highly dependent on a person and their family on what structure of family they should opt for.
6. Self-Centered View Of World
According to research analysis in Concordia University, traditionally the nuclear families are seen to be child-centered. This clearly means that all the focus is on the child’s preferences for the child’s betterment. What is a nuclear family when it comes to making decisions?
This family focuses on themselves and their problems first, all other things are secondary. They strive to meet their needs and requirements while paying negligible attention to others.
Such viewpoints and behavioral tendencies in front of a child will make the child selfish and change their thinking tendencies to become selfish too. It will eventually add a narrow worldview to their brain. The greater good for society will barely cross a child’s mind.
These points can also be considered when one is making out or listing out the difference between what is a nuclear family and what is an extended family.
Is Nuclear Family A Prefered Type Of Family Structure?
Many people live in a nuclear family, till now it has been clear that what is nuclear family. The cases of divorce, single parenthood, etc are on a rise. The choice of raising your child in a nuclear family is not always beneficial and does not guarantee that your child will be successful in their career or emotionally.
Remember no family is perfect and does not necessarily mean living in a family other than nuclear is not good for you. You have to work together to create a positive environment while consciously using constructive criticism to analyze things and issues.
Other than the type of family you reside in, parenting styles also affect a child deeply and have a great impact on a child’s future, if you wish to know different types of parenting styles and how they affect your child, go through this piece of useful information.