While it is not very common in American culture, there are benefits to living in a household with extended family. An extended family household comprises multiple generations living together under the same roof. Some extended families include uncles, aunts, grandparents and even cousins. This type of living arrangement is seen in other countries and has many social, financial, and developmental perks. As time goes on, we are seeing this lifestyle becoming more and more popular locally.
One of the primary benefits of living with extended family members is that the many adults in the household share financial responsibility. This reduces the overall strain on the household’s budget, as cost of living can vary from place to place and year to year. The financial support provided by having multiple streams of income increases the quality of life for the entire family, significantly reducing stress and discord in relationships caused by financial struggles. Having so many adults around also allows for families to share the responsibility of childcare, eliminating or reducing yet another cost.
The healthy development of children is directly affected by having more generations and influences in the home. Aunts and uncles and grandparents can help not only with discipline but by ensuring stability, consistency, and routine that is crucial for early childhood development. Simply by having the opportunity to observe the way their parents communicate with their own parents; children are able to strengthen their ability to express and use reason in difficult situations. Respect becomes not just mandatory, but a common practice. One of the benefits of raising children this way is that children are brought up to fit into a larger community more seamlessly and comfortably, with less social anxiety.
People who are a part of extended family households experience a greater degree of emotional bonding that comes from living in the same place rather than just visiting or only spending holidays together, like most people are used to. Thus, ensuring earlier emotional maturity. According to Wikipedia, “It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must interact with children for them to grow in a safe and healthy environment.
You may wonder how a lifestyle like this is successfully done. There are several contributions, one of the most basic factors being establishing boundaries with all the family members in the house early on and consistently. Boundaries for space, privacy, and child rearing are all crucial. Another factor is respecting privacy, and not just for the children, but for adults as well. This will foster a sense of autonomy early on that leads to confident teenagers, and then eventually confident adults.
Setting expectations is a necessary step, and that cannot be done without open and consistent communication. The members of a household should all communicate and understand the expectations for finances, household chores, and living in close quarters peaceably. This is true of every household, but particularly in this complex dynamic.
With how quickly the world is evolving around us and with much of it out of our control, it has never been more important to tune in to one’s own family and how it evolves. This is the day-to-day work we can do to ensure that things progress the way that we would hope. This is how we can intrinsically make a difference, by fortifying the family unit once again. As much as we would like to change the whole world, it is not possible. But what is possible is to change the way we love and care for one another, particularly those closest to us.
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a serious injury accident, a personal injury lawyer like our friends Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC are able to help and support getting your family through this difficult time.