Anyone who comes from a big family knows the advantages of an extended family. Not only in numbers, but in numerous emotional, social, and economic factors. The benefits can’t be emulated elsewhere. No organization or social club comes anywhere close to the security of an extended family. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”.
Sometimes, extended families can include hundreds of members, so it’s a powerful influence for good. They often live close together too so an entire neighborhood can create a powerful force for positive values and cohesiveness. Here are 21 advantages of an extended family.
- 1. Security
- 2. Unity
- 3. Support
- 4. Bonds
- 5. Socialization
- 6. Child Care
- 7. Monetary Support
- 8. Life Lessons
- 9. Holiday Celebrations
- 10. Living History
- 11. Medical Background
- 12. Confidant
- 13. Share Stories
- 14. Share Talents
- 15. Unconditional Love
- 16. Role Models and Advice-Givers
- 17. Plenty of Food
- 18. Help is a Message or Phonecall Away
- 19. Refuge
- 20. Family Culture and Traditions
- 21. Education of value systems
There are advantages to numbers. Not only does it give protection in a physical way, but children will always have the security of someone being there for them in whatever they are facing. Some of the best support is for funerals or weddings – whether organizing or experiencing it.
When you have an extended family, you are unified with others through blood. You share a kind of thinking and doing activities that build a community. In that way, you have peace.
When a member of a family goes through some form of crisis, there will be others to help out. They can give support through finances, presence, opinion, practical assistance, and advice. There is no such thing as an isolated individual. Everyone is looked after and cared for, even the elderly and disabled.
Family ties remain strong. This is especially true in the face of outside opposition. The emotional knitting together of disparate characters is an incredibly powerful thing. In fact, I discuss the feelings of guilt that can overwhelm you if you move away from your family.
Children learn to socialize with all ages when they grow up in a big family. They interact with many others from an early age and learn social skills. They talk, argue, debate, and laugh together, so the child is able to interact with all personality types and can stand on their own two feet in any social setting.
What’s more, they’re likely interacting with many different classes of society, so they’re less discriminatory and more confident in speaking to people from all levels.
Furthermore, they can engage in different types of discussions – intellectual, emotional, political, economic, and more.
6. Child Care
What could be better than having a child-minder when you need one? If you need to pop out to the shop, go to your dentist appointment, have an emergency like having to go to the toilet, you don’t have to worry about taking your kids with you. You can quickly take the kid to someone on your street because they can be trusted as family members.
Or you can have another family member offer daycare while you work which reduces your costs. It’s an extraordinarily convenient aspect for extended families.
7. Monetary Support
Some of the only people you can count on for financial support are family members. It’s easy for people to lend money to those they can trust.
Finances are tricky at best, but the family is always there to help. If you’re a young person and you need to save money when you start work, then stay with your family. If you are suddenly bereft of a spouse and need the financial support of family, you can always go and live with them.
8. Life Lessons
Children gain so much from learning from their elders. The mistakes their elders have made, the wisdom they have obtained, and the observations they have enabled the children to gain and mature. The life lessons are invaluable.
What’s more, they also learn from observing how people argue and resolve issues and live out their lives, and gain from that.
Here is a YouTube video explaining the importance of an extended family.
9. Holiday Celebrations
What is a holiday without family? There’s an instant crowd whenever you want to have fun. Games, challenges, competitions–there’s always someone to do something with. What’s more, if you need company, to help split costs you can do so with trusted sisters or cousins.
10. Living History
The reality is that you’re going to be living with people who are a lot older than you and who can tell you stories about times past. They are eyewitnesses to events, or they have a living memory of events past. children can learn history in a fresh and exciting way, rather than through books.
11. Medical Background
If you want to know what medical history there is in your family, it’s worth having people present who know the risks and illnesses in the family. Not only that, but you have people to draw on for giving blood and donating organs. You will never be short of people to care for you in practical ways like this.
You always have someone to share your hurts and pain, joys and sorrows with. Not only are they people whom you can trust, but there is always someone present. Someone who cares and protects you and your children. You’ll have a shoulder to cry on and you’ll have people around you that are happy about your accomplishments.
Trustworthy relationships are hard to come by but you can rely on your family.
13. Share Stories
You can share stories with others about the past, or about people you knew. You can laugh, joke, and share reminiscences. The aspect of sharing will intensify your bonds. Sometimes, people have different memories of events, and this aspect makes sharing all the more fun.
14. Share Talents
Some members in a family can have talents that they share with others. It may be a skill that few others know, such as violin-making. Or it may be a common skill, such as playing the piano or woodworking.
Whatever the case, it makes sure not only that the skill doesn’t get lost, but that it also continues in the family in a unique way.
15. Unconditional Love
Families are there to show unconditional love to one another. No other person will care as much as family. They love you warts and all–through your faults and failings, and for your strengths too. They don’t withdraw their love from you. There may be fights, conflicts, and disagreements, but in the end, you draw together and work things out.
16. Role Models and Advice-Givers
Older people are there to act as role models. Children find out how to live life simply by watching their elders. They see how to live a life of integrity, honesty and how to solve difficult problems in a healthy way.
They also give advice on challenges that children face–wisdom comes through experience, and, even if the older person has never faced exactly what the younger person has done, they can counsel based on their own experiences.
17. Plenty of Food
One of the great aspects of being part of a big family is that there is plenty of food. People are forever inviting other members of the family over, and making enough food in case someone else pops in. And people tend to share their recipes so that many become good cooks. And those that are good cooks are popular.
18. Help is a Message or Phonecall Away
Perhaps one of the best aspects of being in a family is that help is not only available, but it’s never far away. They can be reached at any time of day or night, and can offer urgent assistance.
One of the best aspects of family is that if you are ever in trouble, your family can offer shelter. It may be a distant cousin who hides you from some nasty person or an elderly aunt who can offer shelter to a young girl after a relationship breakup.
It’s incredibly comforting to know there are always going to be people who will cover you from the storms of life.
20. Family Culture and Traditions
One of the benefits of living in an extended family is that family culture and traditions can be passed on. Important values and festivities can be explained and lived. Little rituals and their explanations are easy to reproduce. It’s something that disappears once a family moves away, or starts living on their own.
21. Education of value systems
Children learn to share faster and to help out in the home. They also appreciate the value of their possessions, and how to look after their things properly.
There are delightful advantages of an extended family on several fronts – especially in the social, emotional, and financial spheres. People are definitely more rounded and whole when they grow up in extended families. There are however also disadvantages of a big family, but to me, the pros outweigh the cons.
This is not to say that there aren’t disadvantages, but on the whole, the benefits outweigh the problems. You can read more on the topic of the family on my blog. Try this one about names for grannies.