Extended Family

The term extended family defines a family type that extends beyond the nuclear family consisting of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living nearby or in the same household. In some circumstances, the extended family comes to live either with or in place of a member of the nuclear family; a family that includes in one household near relatives in addition to a nuclear family. An example would be elderly parent who move in with their children due to old age. This places large demands on the caregivers, particularly on the female relatives who choose to perform these duties for their extended family. In modern Western cultures dominated by nuclear family constructs, it has come to be used generically to refer to grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, whether they live together within the same household or not. However, it may also refer to a family unit in which several generations live together within a single household. In some cultures, the term is used synonymously with consanguineous family.

In an extended family, parents and their children's families may often live under a single roof. This type of joint family often includes multiple generations in the family. From culture to culture, the variance of the term may have different meanings. For instance, in India, the family is a patriarchal society, with the sons' families often staying in the same house.

In the joint family set-up, the workload is shared among the members, often unequally. The roles of women are often restricted to housewives and this usually involves cooking, cleaning, and organizing for the entire family. The patriarch of the family (often the oldest male member) lays down the rules and arbitrates disputes. Other senior members of the household babysit infants in case their mother is working. They are also responsible in teaching the younger children their mother tongue, manners, and etiquette. Grandparents often take the leading roles due to the fact that they have the most experience with parenting and maintaining a household. Amy Goyer, AARP multigenerational issues expert, said the most common multigenerational household is one with a grandparent as head of household and his adult children having moved in with their children, an arrangement usually spurred by the needs of one or both to combine resources and save money. The second most popular is a grandparent moving in with an adult child's family, usually for care-giving reasons. She noted that 2.5 million grandparents say they are responsible for the basic needs of the grandchild living with them.

The house often has a large reception area and a common kitchen. Each family has their own bedroom. The members of the household also look after each other when a member is ill.

Read more about Extended Family:  Sociology, Around The World, Complex Family

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