Nuclear Family: All You Need to Know About Nuclear Family


Written by P.T.F


The nuclear family was formed many centuries ago, but some consider this type of family relationship a novelty. But not everyone knows that the nuclear family is increasingly taking a leading position in modern society.

Today I will tell you what the nuclear family is and say to my readers the story of the emergence of an unconventional union with its principles and dogmas. It would be interesting to discuss the features and types of this type of family, which is entirely different from the traditional one.

At the end of the article, we will consider the obvious advantages of the union and point out the weaknesses of the nuclear family.


What is the Nuclear Family?

The concept of a nuclear family came from western culture, generally which means “married family.”

Sometimes this type of family is called ‘simple’ as a synonym. A family consisting of a married couple and children (more often minors who are not married) is considered nuclear. We are talking about family relationships only in this narrow circle.

Such a family adheres to an important rule; namely, other relatives, such as grandparents and uncles and aunts (sisters and brothers, etc.), cannot be part of it. The only judgment is that “there is only one generation of parents and of course their children.”


  • Features of An Atypical Union

The nuclear family can be officially registered or exist in such a form as cohabitation. Often a person throughout his life is a member of at least two atomic families: as a child in the family where he was born and as a parent in a family created independently.

If a couple of divorces begin a new relationship with other partners, and the children from the first marriage do not live with them, this is considered a third nuclear family.

You need to know an essential point because the nuclear family does not exclude communication with other relatives. The main factor (principle) is living separately with your wife/husband and children. Members of such a union can still communicate with their parents, distant relatives, meet on holidays, and spend time together.


Nuclear Family: The Emergence of The Term

This type of family relationship, as the nuclear family, has existed for a long time, although it seems modern. The idea of such a family was first put forward by Pope Gregory I, who ruled in 590-604.

In the Roman Empire, an atypical union began to form 400–800 and was the central economic (social) unit. At the same time, family relationships of this type were encountered in various strata of the population.

The Spaniards came to this type of union a little later because the nuclear family made up most of the established society in the 16th-17th centuries. The average number of individuals in such unions was three, although, before that, there were five.

In the USA, until the end of the 19th Century, the nuclear family was also observed in society, although it was not too widespread. At that time, it was considered an act of the fall of her husband and wife, their lack of moral principles.


  • Modifying Family Relationships

Changes have always been inevitable in any society, and therefore in the 19th Century, extended or traditional, namely, marriage and family relations prevailed. The family was a large clan (a whole dynasty), consisting of long-term (necessarily blood) relatives.

The newlyweds often chose their husband’s parental home, where they were destined to live until old age. Couples who wanted to get married had to get the blessing of their parents for this.

The primary function of the newly-made union was procreation, which is why many children were so widespread. And also, because of the high mortality rate, women had to give birth often to ensure the continuation of the family.In addition, children were considered an additional labor force (substantially more than now).


  • Major Changes in the 20th Century

Already in the 20th Century, a more active transition from the traditional (familiar to the old generation) to the nuclear family began. Of course, this is due to the influence of the era of industrialization and global urbanization.

The socio-economic structure changed; women started to work in the national (state) economy. They began to receive their income, regardless of men, and, accordingly, became freer. Now women could marry, guided by their feelings and not by the norms of society and material benefits. Children were no longer used as labor; on the contrary, their education now required additional costs. In this regard, by the 21st Century, such a union type as the nuclear family began to prevail.

The demographer and economist Anthony argues that in the United States, a complete transition from the extended to the nuclear family has not yet taken place. It is due to the financial condition of the population and the inability to obtain separate housing, which is why new married couples are forced to live with one of their parents.


  • Nuclear Family: Species

Yet the nuclear family has two main types, which have specific characteristics and rules:

  • Elementary.
  • Composite.

An elementary nuclear family consists of three people – a couple and at most one child. It may be complete or incomplete. In the first case, the spouses live together and have children. And in the second case, only spouses or single mothers, single fathers.

A compound is a union in which there are two or more children. The nuclear family, of course, allows many children.

Recently, one can observe how incomplete unions are becoming more and more. Often there are couples without children, the so-called childfree, and parents who are left without their half after a divorce. It is because individual values come to the fore (high priority). But also, frequent divorces can be explained by the low degree of preparation of young people, both financially and morally, for marriage.


Benefits of Nuclear Family

There are certain advantages in each type of union, and therefore the nuclear family is no exception:

  1. For a child, a complete nuclear family is the most stable environment. He forms the correct model of behavior (due to the presence of both partners).
  2. The minimum number of people is involved in the upbringing process, which allows you to adhere to one upbringing strategy.
  3. Spouses in such marriages, as a rule, are more satisfied with their intimate life (provided they have suitable housing).
  4. The personal life of a married couple remains their confidential matter, and other relatives have minimal access to possible difficulties within the family.
  5. Fewer reasons for domestic quarrels, since fewer adults get along in the same territory.
  6. Each member of the nuclear family can develop independently. If both partners are mentally healthy, it will strengthen their bond.
  7. Partners have the right not to have children without any condemnation from society.
  8. Provided that parents develop as individuals, more successful children grow up.
  9. Mobility. The nuclear family can easily (without unnecessary psychological problems) emigrate and change their place of residence.
  10. You are obtaining a unique life experience, the opportunity to learn from your own mistakes.


Weaknesses of Nuclear Family

Of course, the nuclear family has many disadvantages; in particular, when the child grows up, the spouses are left alone. In old age, they live separately and may not receive the care and attention they need since their children have already left the “family nest” to create their own nuclear family. Often older parents feel lonely and abandoned.

The younger generation is brought up in kindergartens and schools, where it is much more challenging to control the process than at home. It is better when the older generation is engaged in upbringing, and all relatives look after each other. It is essential to understand that a child needs a kindergarten because no one has canceled the teaching of communication with other people.

Another drawback, namely, the nuclear family does not adopt the traditions of the older generation, which is why some of them are lost. The number of divorce proceedings is increasing because it has become much easier to get a divorce and get married. Now young people may enter into marriage thoughtlessly, not adequately prepared, and be unprepared for the awaiting difficulties of family life and everyday life.


But most psychologists and sociologists argue that there will be no return to traditional, extended alliances. In turn, the nuclear family will be popularized and positively accepted by society.


Was this helpful?


About the author


Leave a Comment