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Difference Between Nuclear Family and Extended Family

More About Monogamous And Polygamous Families – Information Parlour



The family is the most fundamental social unit in any civilization. In the human setting, a family is essential since it aids in a child’s socialization. However, it is important to distinguish between a nuclear family and an extended family before discussing the roles and obligations of a family. This distinction can be confusing to many individuals, particularly in societies where extended families are still the norm. A family is defined as a group of people who live together under one roof and are related either by blood or marriage. 

married couple and their children often make up nuclear family, while the spouse’s parents, siblings, and grandparents make up an extended family. One important distinction is the size of the average family. Extended families frequently number in the dozens, whereas nuclear families usually consist of small number of individuals. While the nuclear family is quickly gaining popularity as more individuals relocate to different places in pursuit of employment, the extended family is still natural idea that is quite popular in many cultures. Let’s examine the distinctions between these two categories of households.

An additional differentiation pertains to the degree of familial relationships and mutual support. In a huge family, everyone feels like they belong, whereas in a nuclear family, everyone’s focus is on the parents, grandparents, and children. An individual’s extended family can provide both emotional and practical support, as well as a sense of identity and belonging.

Family members perform distinct roles and responsibilities. In a nuclear family, the parents are typically in charge of raising and caring for their children; however, in larger families, there could be more sharing of responsibilities. Certain members of the extended family, such grandparents, aunts, and uncles, could become more involved in their grandchildren’s upbringing.

In the past, when there were fewer options for education and work, people continued to live with their parents. Some even got married and reared their children there. This implied that members of such family would include the man and his spouse, their offspring, and the offspring of their spouses. As result, there was division among the members’ duties and responsibilities within the large group. While men worked to earn bread, women took care of the family and prepared meals. In the past, this arrangement was effective because it made it simpler for both men and children to feel secure in the knowledge that their wives and children were protected.


Even if the number of nuclear families is increasing, extended families are still common in various nations and cultures. In Nigeria, extended families, also known as joint families, are still prevalent despite the country’s modernism and advancements. Because groceries are bought in bulk and money is pooled, joint families save money.

The idea of nuclear families emerged when individuals were forced to leave their villages and go to cities where there were more job prospects. nuclear family consists of man, his spouse, and their unmarried children. It made perfect sense for man to raise family and get married after landing job in city far from his parents’ house. Within nuclear family, there are no aunts, uncles, or cousins to provide support for developing child. In contrast, the head of the family in nuclear family has more privacy and autonomy and is free to make decisions, something that is not feasible in an extended family.

The Difference between Nuclear Family and Extended Family

Certain families were required by their family culture to have large home with shared kitchen in which the women prepared meals for the whole family. The eldest male family member served as the head of the patriarchal household. Everyone revered the head of the family, and he had the power to settle any conflicts or issues that arose amongst family members.

It is well knowledge that nuclear families are preferred over extended families in the contemporary world, where materialism is the buzzword, and that the values of compliance and tolerance are gradually declining in degree. Raising nuclear family gives women greater confidence in their parenting style than raising an extended family since they are aware that they are alone, must handle every problem alone, and cannot rely on the support of other family members, which is not the case with an extended family.

Therefore, it has  been  observed  that  nuclear  families  support  entrepreneurship  more than  extended families,  but with both parents working and no one at home to discipline the children, there is also potential that children would rebel. Without a doubt, extended families  are more convenient for members since duties are divided  and  childrearing is made easier by the presence of women to look after children when working mothers are not there. The flexibility to dress however one pleases and other aspects of life, such as money and raising children, are areas where nuclear families excel above extended families.


The family’s ability to adapt and change is another characteristic. In contrast to their more traditional extended relatives, nuclear families may be more adaptable when it comes to significant life changes like moving to a new location or changing occupations. Both nuclear and extended families generally have advantages and disadvantages. Finding the family arrangement that works best for you and your particular circumstances is crucial. I sincerely hope this knowledge helps you with your essay.