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Extended families . . .a burden or bonus

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  • The family units of our heritage were one cohesive unit of multiple generations, often under one roof. In the United States, as we have become a more worldly society the extended family has nearly all but disappeared.

    Is the extended family a burden that we are happy to be rid of, or is it a bonus that we feel we are now deprieved of?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Pammy on 15th May 2008
  • Good question. I absolutely love that we live in the same city as my parents and sisters. It really helps to know that I can call them any time day or night and they can be here in 20 minutes...or less. BUT, I also love that I can go home to my own house with my husband and daughter and we're just in our own cocoon. I grew up in a large family, and the house was always buzzing. I loved that, but I know that there would be no end to the buzzing if we lived with my parents and my sisters.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mamajama on 15th May 2008
  • I'd say it's a bonus in some ways -- one that I don't take advantage of. I wouldnt' say the extended family has disappeared, per se, I think it's just spread out more. I'm still very connected to my extended family but, with the telephone and the internet, I don't need to be in their backyard in order to be in touch.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 15th May 2008
  • My "extended" family are either all gone now or have moved away. I guess the fact that I grew up in a VERY small community (where, as my mom used to say that you couldn't go to the bathroom without somebody knowing it), I relish and greatly treasure the fact that I have my own space and privacy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Just NOT right on top of me or in my house. I lived at home for a year after I graduated from college and the BEST thing that ever happened to me was when I moved 360 miles away and established my own beiing, and later, my own home. And even afterward, when my parents came to visit, they ddidn't stay with us, tho we had room. My mom wanted to be on her own schedule, which, btw,was vastly different from ours, so I was glad they always opted to NOT stay with us. I think it would have caused WAY too much stress.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 18th May 2008
  • My husband and I have a difference of opinion on this. We live near my Aunt (who is like my mom) and my Grandma. They are at our house for every holiday and birthday, and we do a lot of things together. His mom and my Aunt are with us for most trips. The girls think it's great and I love that we are all so close. We do things just the four of us, but a lot with our extended family.

    I did not have this sort of contact with extended family growing up, and I think maybe that's why I feel so strongly about it.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Niki D on 18th May 2008
  • I guess I kinda subscribe to the old Ben Franklin saying of "Guests, like fish, start to stink after 3 days." I don't mind the family coming over, but I also like it when they leave. I like my space, as well as my privacy.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 18th May 2008
  • Ha ha! depends on whose family! I would love to have my parents, sister, BIL and nephew with us all the time, but not my in-laws! LOL.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mom2Rylie on 3rd June 2008
  • Since I started this I guess I should share. I grew up youngest of 4 in a small town (pop.<2000) My grandmothers, both widowed, lived w/ in 5 miles of us and lived with us in the winter months only.

    As an adult I have chosen to settled down in my hometown, my mother now widowed, lives in the same house, and my brother and his family live across the road from her. I live about 4 miles away, while my 2 sisters both live about 1 hour away, although 10 minutes from one another. (lost yet?)

    With exception of my husband's parents all the in-laws are either deceased or out of state so holidays have always been my entire family - I love that. Since my son is an only child I appreciate hiim having cousins close by to grow up with - although if they were just friends I might encourage him to consider options.

    MY husband's family had a business and it was mandatory that every Saturday we have a "family breakfast" where nothing but business was discussed. In fact business was always the topic - I hated it at first, but as I became involoved I understood, and accepted it more and more. Now I find my husband & I doing the same thing!

    After meeting his extended family in Europe I understood the family connection more. There is truly a hierachy and it is the matriarch of the family that runs the show. Although I truly enjoy the extended family togetherness when we visit, I don't think I could handle it constantly, but I see the benefits - like always having someone to watch the kidsand never hiring sitter, generations growing up together and being friends, not just relatives ; and the amazing gift that comes from multi-generational families.

    I am very blessed to have the opportunity to enjyoy some of the best of both worlds!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Pammy on 10th June 2008
  • I am originally from India where extended family is everything or it used to be that way!! My husband and I have been in the US for last 10 years and miss our family a lot. We visit or they visit us off and on. We do think it is a big bonus. We have cousins here whom we tend to meet during long weekends and we all enjoy and appreciate each other.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lakshmi on 10th June 2009

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