Definition of Nuclear Family?Everything about Family

The Nuclear Family

The nuclear family is made up of a father and a mother and their children. It is the smallest family unit and consist of a few people. Technically, a nuclear family, which is either elementary family or conjugal family is a family group consisting of two parents and their children which may be one or more. However, it is in contrast to a single-parent family, to the larger extended family, and to a family with more than two parents.

Traditionally,  a nuclear family is a family unit that includes two married parents of opposite genders and their biological or adopted children living in the same residence

Members of the Nuclear Family

A nuclear family comprises the following members: Father, Mother and children.

Father;He is the head of the family and he takes care of everyone in the household.

Mother;She is the wife of the father and also the mother of the children. She assists in taking care of everyone in the family.

Children;The children in the family may be male or female. If they are male, they are called sons while the female children are called daughters. Sons are brothers to the daughters, while daughters are sisters to the sons.

Characteristics/Features of the nuclear family

  1. It is the smallest family unit
  2. It consists mostly of one couple, i.e, a father and a mother, as well as their children
  3. It could also consist of one man with two or more wives and their children
  4. It is the immediate or first family

Roles of members in the nuclear family

Every members in the family has a role to play within the family

Father-He is the head in the family. He provides food, shelter, clothing for the family.

Mother-She assists the father in taking care of the children and the family.

Sons-They assist the parents in some house chores, etc.

Daughters-They also assist in the house chores, e.g, sweeping, washing dishes, cooking, looking after younger ones, etc.

The nuclear family is a mom, dad and their children. Nuclear family is defined as parents and their minor children who are living under one roof. An example of a nuclear family is a mom, dad and their kids. In simple terms, a nuclear family system is a family structure that consists of two parents living with their children, also known as an immediate family.

The Extended Family

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The extended family is a big family. It is made up of the father, mother or mothers, children, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.

People in an extended family are either related to the father or mother. People from our father or grandfather’s family are called paternal relatives, while those from the mother or grandmother’s family are called maternal relatives.

Members of the Extended Family

Members of the extended family include the following members

  1. Father: He is the father and head of the immediate family, He is also the husband of one’s mother
  2. Mother: she is the mother and also the wife one’s father
  3. Paternal grandfather: he is the father of one’s father
  4. Paternal grandmother: she is the mother of one’s father
  5. Maternal grandfather: he is the father of one’s mother
  6. Maternal grandmother: she is the mother of one’s mother
  7. Uncle: he is the brother of one’s father or mother. He can also be the husband of one’s aunt.
  8. Aunt: she is the sister of one’s father or mother. She can also be the wife of one’s uncle.
  9. Cousin: this is the child of one’s uncle or aunt.
  10. Niece: she is the daughter of one’s brother or sister.
  11. Nephew: he is the son of one’s brother or sister.

Features of the extended family

  1. It is very large
  2. It is made up of more than one nuclear family
  3. It consists of people from both the maternal and paternal sides of one’s family.

Roles of Members of the Extended Family

  1. They help one another in times of trouble
  2. The older ones protect the young ones in the family
  • The advise one another on important issues
  1. The rich ones support the poor ones in the family
  2. They work together to solve problem that affect the family
  3. They share one another’s joy and sorrow

Review question

  1. What is an extended family
  2. Name any ten members by members of an extended family
  3. List five roles performed by members of an extended family
  4. What if the brother of your father or mother called?
  5. The child of your uncle or aunt is your
  6. What is your uncle’s wife called?


  1. Find out from your parents the number of members in your extended family
  2. Find out the names of the members of your extended family
  3. Ask your parents to take you to vist some of your extended family members. Ask how they are related to you
  4. Form groups of extended families in the classroom and demonstrate the other children in your class.

Characteristics of Culture in Nuclear and Extended Family

Culture is the way of life of a group of people, which is passed from one generation to another. The culture of every group of people is unique. This may be in their way of dressing, eating, singing, dancing, performing marriage ceremonies, festivals, etc. these unique things below are examples of such characteristics.

  1. Culture Changes: as a society changes and grows, the way of life of its people too changes and grows. For example, in the past, people gave their children tribal marks on their faces or other parts of the body, but this is not so common today.
  2. Culture Lasts Long: Culture can stay for a long time that is why it can be passed from one generation to another. A good example is the languages people speak.
  • Culture is Learn or Acquire: In every society, people grow up to learn or acquire knowledge about their cultural habits, which are passed on from the older to the younger generations, especially through story telling.
  1. Culture is Shared: Thinks like marriage practices, religion, festivals, etc. can be shared by different cultures.
  2. Culture is material and non – material: Culture comprises both material aspects, that is, things we can see, feel, or touch, e.g, dresses, food, houses, etc. and non- materials aspects, that is, things we cannot see, feel or touch, e.g music, language, etc.
  3. Culture can be modified: Culture can be changed or adjusted to suit what we desire. For instance, we borrow the dress sense, music, etc. of other cultures and make it a part of our own culture.
  • Culture is unique: Every culture has something that makes it different from another. This makes it unique to the people of that society. For an exampl, different people have different ways of greeting and showing respect.

Similarities in culture

Although every culture differs, there are certain things that are similar among all cultures. These are called cultural universals, because they exist in every culture in the world. Below are examples of some such cultural similarities.


Marriage is shared among all cultures in the world. Every society recognizes and accepts the institution of marriage.


The belief in and worship of God is practiced in all cultures. Religion exists in every society. The practices may be different in each culture, but all societies have form of belief systems or the other.


The need to work and earn a living is shared among people of all cultures.

What is the advantage of a nuclear family over Extended Family?

In a nuclear family you will get more freedom than an extended family:

1. If you want to go for a trip there is no need to convince others and you didn’t hear the questions like where are you going? For what purpose do you want to travel? When will you come back? etc. If you want, you can extend your journey without any worries.

2. You can arrange your household and stuffs at the way you like with zero tension. But in an extended family you should adjust for others because of their observing power.

3. The most painful thing I ever faced in extended family is, if you have two or more kids any family member will make you to spank your kids when you have poor temperament. This one is the main reason I want to shift to a new home. That means your children and spouse will get more freedom than a joint family.

4. In a nuclear family you can manage your expenses based on your earnings. But in a AN EXTENDED  family , if your broke or out of money,your automatically dependent on  others and this can make you extremely frustrated.

5. The top most benefit of nuclear family is, nobody is there to criticize you and your family. This will make you stress free and more peaceful .

6. You can hide your problems from others easily. But in an extended family everybody discusses your problems, needless to say they will try to express their opinions, remarks..etc.