To what extent is the nuclear family the best kind?We all know that the nuclear family has long been declared the most idealistic, but when does living in a lone-parent family or extended family...

To what extent is the nuclear family the best kind?

We all know that the nuclear family has long been declared the most idealistic, but when does living in a lone-parent family or extended family become more benifitial to a child?

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the nuclear family is generally thought the ideal situation for raising children, there can be benefits to other types of families as well.  A single parent might be able to teach their child strength and overcoming adversity in a way that a two parent family wouldn't be able to share.  A single parent can certainly show children the value of hard work.  Of course, there are certainly draw backs to being a single parent.  Living in an extended family could have numerous benefits.  Children would almost always have someone to watch over and spend time with them.  Children would also be close to their extended family in a way that many children from two parent families are not.  It is good for children to know and understand where they come from.  In an extended family, there could be a lot more personalities to accommodate and there could be other draw backs as well.  The nuclear family might be more traditional, but it can have draw backs as well.  I think the ideal family is a loving one.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The last line of post #2 summarizes the entire issue very nicely - "the ideal family is a loving one."

If a nuclear family is composed of parents and siblings who love, support, respect and learn with each other, the child(ren) will be well cared for and provided with the security, discipline, and opportunities for independence that will contribute to the development of responsible, well-rounded individuals. However, it is possible for nuclear families to not support some or most of these values, which can become very harmful to the child(ren) involved.

I would like to see the term "nuclear family" come to mean a long-term, committed group of loving adults and children, regardless of biological relationship.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I was intrigued by the fourth answer.  We do, in our society, tend to assume that a family involving a father, mother, and children is preferable to a family involving just one parent. However, I'm sure we all know of single-parent families that do very well and would be preferable to a family in which both parents were present but in which one parent was very irresponsible in some way. I hadn't thought, however, about the even greater benefits, perhaps, of an extended family, involving grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. all living very close together.  I suspect that such families are increasingly are these days.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not think that a nuclear family is better than an extended one.  We only really think that nuclear families are better now because our modern societies are not that conducive to keeping extended families together.   One direct benefit to kids of extended families is that they allow kids to have an easier time learning how to interact with various people (cousins of all ages, various adults).

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I don't think it's a good idea to make judgements about families, but let's face it: kids are always better off having known both of their parents. It is just human nature. An unstable nuclear family is not better than a stable non-nuclear family though. However I think a happy nuclear family wins out.