Posted by / Wednesday 30 January 2019 / No comments

The advantages and disadvantages of the nuclear family system

Family, Protection, Hands, House
Definition of a nuclear family
The composition of a nuclear family is confined only to the father, mother and the children of the couple. In some cases, though, children could be adopted and incorporated into the biological children of the couple. In some cases, a nuclear family can also be called the conjugal family. At other times, it could be called the natural family or the primary. It could also be called by other names such as an elementary family or conjugal family. The nuclear family system can further be compartmentalized into a family of orientation and the family into which an individual is born and raised.

Family, Insurance, Pair, Forward
Reduces the responsibility of couples
One of the advantages of a nuclear family system is that there is a drastically reduced responsibility on the father and the mother. Unlike the  extended family system where other cousins, uncles, and aunties, to mention a few requirements to be catered for by one or two people in the family, the nuclear family system restricts itself to the care of only the immediate members such as the wife and children.

Another advantage of the nuclear family system is that it allows for decisions to be arrived at more easily and quickly. The two major players in the taking of any decision are the man and his wife. The opinions of the children may be sought in some cases but ultimately, the decision is for the parents. Since there are only two of them it is easy and quicker to decide. Other members of the extended family are not allowed to have a say in what is decided in the homes of the nuclear family so decision making is quicker.

Parents are free to train their children
It is also an advantage of the nuclear family system that the parents have a free hand in the upbringing of their own children without undue interference from the members of the extended family. Parents are properly able to control their children and direct such children in the way they think would be beneficial to them. Counter-command and instructions that may emanate from other members of the extended family are drastically reduced, allowing the parents to effectively impact their children to fit into the larger society.

Sharing inheritance is less problematic
In a nuclear family, after the death of one spouse, it is easy to share the properties of the deceased among the survivors. This is so because the only people to inherit the properties of the deceased are the surviving spouse and the children if there were any. As is obvious, there is no extended family member to wrestle with any nuclear family member for the possession of the deceased’s properties. This way, the usual confrontation among members of the family when death occurs, is completely eliminated.
 Sibling, Children, Family, Child
Parents become lonely in old-age
One disadvantage of the nuclear family system is that the parents may become very lonely when they become older. This is the time when all the children become older, get married or move on with their life’s passions. In some cases, the children may neglect the needs of their parents, rather concentrating on the needs of their own children. The support system that is common with the extended family is absent. It may become worst when one of the spouses dies leaving the other.

Absence of external support
In a nuclear family system, the children are not privileged to have the support of their uncles, aunts, grandparents and other members of the extended family. This happens because they are shielded from having adequate contact with the extended family by their own parents and are therefore not able to build any meaningful and lasting rapport with the extended family. For this reason, when an unforeseen situation happen in their lives and they need any member of the extended family to guide them about what to do, such people backpedal leaving the children to sort out their own issues.

Offers little or no security
The members of a nuclear family are not secured in the absence of members of the extended family. The major breadwinner of a nuclear family may lose his or her job and may, therefore, be able to provide the financial support that he or she usually provided. In worse case scenarios, the breadwinner may die and the surviving spouse may not be able to continue providing the kind of lifestyle they are used to. In such situations, the members of the extended family are unwilling to step in as would have been the case if it was an extended family system. Such children may drop out of school and even sometimes become wayward.

Boy, Child, Dad, Daughter, Family
Inability to transfer traditional values
In a nuclear family, only the parents are present to do the socialization of the children. In some cases, it is the school teachers who socialize the children. In a situation like this, the children are not able to imbibe the norms and values of the community where they come from. The transmission of the culture and values of the tribe where they come from is affected. The children become strangers among their own kinsmen.

Loneliness and boredom
The couple may suffer loneliness and boredom when no children are born into the family. Though the couple can cope with loneliness by giving emotional support to each other, this is not always so when they grow old. They may not be able to manage their needs when there are no children lending support from time to time. In Africa where the concept of “Home for the aged” is not popular, the support mechanism for such nuclear families may be inadequate.

Problems with discipline
Last but not least, the children of a nuclear family may have problems with discipline. Especially in middle-class families where both parents are busy working and building their careers, they may not be able to create enough time to be with their children and offer the necessary guideline and discipline that the children require. Children from nuclear families may have a tendency to become wayward.

1. a. Define family
    b. Explain four advantages and four disadvantages of a nuclear family

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