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Advantages and disadvantages of the extended family system

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Advantages and disadvantages of the extended family system by : 12:20 am On May 15, 2018

Write an article suitable for publication in a cultural magazine on the advantages and disadvantages of the extended family system.


The family is the single, most important unit of any society. This explains why God created the first family after he had established the earth. There are many advantages inherent in the extended family system. The nuclear family does not exist in isolation, it comes from a larger system which is the extended family.

The extended family consists of the husband, wife, children and the relatives of the husband and wife. These relatives are the uncles, cousins, nephews, aunts, etc. It is a system which ensures communal elp to be rendered to the other members of the extended family. The help includes taking the children of other family members into one’s immediate family. It extends to providing free labour when one family member is constructing a house.

One of the advantages of this system is fostering unity amongst the family members. Everybody is his brothers’ keeper. The concerted efforts of all members of the family make the extended family system have an edge over the nuclear family  system.  Problem shared is problem solved. Psychologically, a member of the extended family whose burden is shared by many is likely to have a less burden to carry. This can be exemplified  with this illustration. Roofing of the house of a member of the extended family is shared by all those concerned. The children carry planks and nails while their parents contribute money to support the completion of the work.

Child-rearing in the extended family system is most suitable. Any other member of the family who is capable of assisting in raising children of those in need accepts the child. The children are also better trained because there are many people watching the behavior of the children. If a child misbehaves, other members of he family will correct him even when the blood parents are not there.

However, the extended family system does not conform with the present economic reality. It does not logically follow that because a person was trained by another, he is bound to train other people’s children.  This may cause disaffection among the family members. In addition, it is a known fact that no matter what you do to satisfy someone else’s child, he may not be contented. The child may be feeding his blood parents with packets of lies which in turn may cause disunity. The truth of the matter is that no matter what is done, it is by far better to leave parents to raise their children in their own way.

Finally, the extended family system may encourage indolence. Lazy members of the family can indulge in laziness. All he needs to do is to become an itinerant beggar, moving from one house to the other with complaints. He collects money only to move to another house.


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