The Joint Family Syndrome.

01 November Ayesha Farhad 49 Comments



Living in the 21st century, you'd expect that people might have grown out of all the ill feelings in their hearts and learned to love. Well, reality check hits hard. We're still there where we started. The desi culture is such that they expect you to live with your entire family all your life and act like a super happy version of of the bollywood movie, Hum Saath Saath hain.

Families back then and right now, all went through the same ups and downs. The only difference is that back then there was lack of awareness. And now, there is more awareness and the know how of how to tackle certain problems. But why do these problems still exist?

1. Do not treat each other like they work for you.

Hell no. Sister-In-laws/Mother-in-Laws, please don't do that. Just because your brother/son has married, you haven't got your hands on an unpaid maid. The wife is there to take care of her husband. And if she does take care of the family, do not take her for granted. Don't expect role reversals. Don't expect her to make warm food for you when you crash on the sofa after a long hard day at your educational institute. She probably has had a rough and hectic day too and the last thing she needs to do is serve another person. Help her out with a few chores. Even if its as little as peeling the vegetables. Ask her how her day was and if she needs help. Trust me, the gratitude you will receive will be like no other. And she might want to do more for you. Do not expect your daughter-in-law to serve the family and take credit for it. Please just do not do that.

And to the wife, please do not expect your sister-in-law to help you out with ALL the chores of the house. She is in no way to bound to help you along in every chore. Even before you got married, she did things her own way and she might continue to do so because she is at her mother's place. That is how she has done things all her life. And if she is helping you out in daily chores, be grateful. 

2. Respect each others privacy.

This has to be the most crucial part of a joint family. RESPECT each others privacy.
Please don't go snooping around in your mother-in-law's life or your sister-in-law's life. That is none of your business. Your'e only here to be a partner to your husband and not to gossip around about your in-law's life. Please please do not go to your mother's or friend's and tell them details of your in-law's life. If your sister-in-law is coming over, please don't shut yourself up in your room and act like they're always there. It is her mother's house and she can come anytime she wants. Give her a little bit of time and continue doing your work.

Vice Versa, respect the daughter-in-law's privacy. DO NOT barge into their room and demand their time or attention. Their room is the only place of solace for the daughter-in-law. And invading her personal space is just not done. Do not go in their room and eat their snacks, use their stuff and act like its all your brother's/son's property. If you are coming to your mother's house, don't expect the wife to give up her time and sit with you and serve you. The time you come on, might be the only time she gets to rest or chill with her husband.

3. Your husband is their son/brother. Your son/brother is her husband.

This is where everyone crosses the line. There are boundaries that need to be realised and set. Just because he is your bother or son does not mean that you have more of a right on him. His priorities have changed now. He looks forward to the day to come home and relax with his wife, find peace in his mother. Just don't go around telling everyone that he doesn't give you time anymore and ever since he got married, his priorities have changed. Yes they have! He has his own little family amongst a big family. He might have children who come first more than anything else. And if the husband and wife want to go out alone whatever time of the day or night, please respect that and do not grill them with questions and tell them that they have to come home at a certain time.

Same goes for the wife. PLEASE realise that he is not only your husband but he is also a son and a brother. He has responsibilities that need to be fulfilled towards his family. Do not complain if he goes and sits with his mother or sister after dinner and talk to them about the day. He used to do that long before you guys got married. If he wants to help out his family with his meager savings, do not object because his parents might have done the same thing for him when he was in trouble. 

4. No one is your enemy.

Your mother/sister-in-law might not be your worst enemy. Just because you have faced a few ups and downs, don't think that they hate you to the core. They have welcomed a new person in their house. They have to make arrangements to make you feel happy in the house. If something goes wrong, communicate with them. They won't bite you. Instead they might realise it and try to rectify it. Or if they feel that they can not alter the certain problem, they might help you get around it.

Same way, your daughter-in-law is not your worst enemy. She leaves her super smooth and carefree life to come and take care of her husband and her family. She will have to face a lot of trouble adjusting to the lifestyle of a family that might not make them feel welcomed. Just because your life was running smooth and carefree doesn't mean you make the newest addition feel like they are not needed and are not part of the family. Don't be the fuel to the fire. It is only going to make the fire stronger and you might burn your own hand.

5. Do not make children hate relationships.

Your children make their grandparents/aunts & uncles more than happy. To see them smiling and playing along is what the grandparents wish for in their late age. If they want to spoil their grand children/neices and nephews, please do not object (unless your children are becoming rude). In their own daily lives, the grand children are the only thing that keep them sane. Children's hearts are pure and they know that. Your children might be the only people that make them smile throughout the day. 

Your grandchildren/nieces and nephews are their parents responsibility. If they have set certain boundaries for their children, please respect those. Once the child has gone through growing up, the world has to acknowledge their manners. So if the parents want something out of their children, please respect them and their parenting style. There is a huge generation gap in between and certain rules either have to be applied or changed. 

6. Lower your expectations and balance it out.

If you are living in a joint family, whether you are a mother in law, sister in law, daughter in law, LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Once you realise that you have to lower your expectations, if something goes wrong, you won't be as hurt as you should've been. And if something goes all accordingly and happily, you will be more than grateful and that creates harmony. Balance your relations out. Do not put stress out on each other. The more you put stress on one person, they will explode, leaving you hurt and with ill feelings in your heart. Mother-in-law's and sister-in-law's, please note that the daughter-in-law is married to your son/brother to become a life partner and not a house help. Please do not expect her to work according to your wishes. If she doesn't want to cook on a certain day, you have no right to pressurise her and make her work. Compromise is the key. Same way, the daughter-in-law should also acknowledge that living in a joint family does not mean that you do not work at all. To make a family run smoothly, all parts should work harmoniously.

People often forget that communication is the key to any stable relationship. If you communicate your problems, your wishes, I am pretty sure that the other person will acknowledge it and will try to rectify it. Talk what is bothering you. Tell each other how important they are. Ask them how their day was even though you've been there the whole day. You do not have to become best friends with each other. You can be civil and live peacefully.

49 comments:

  1. Interesting points, I think sometimes people fail to appreciate the help that they get when another person enters the family x

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  2. This post was very interesting to read. I agree when entering into another family both sides should show respect and not take each other for granted.

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  3. Great post and an insightful one. I think people do need to respect the change and not abuse and overstep boundaries x

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  4. I think it is very difficult where tradition and boundaries collide and blur. I agree that communication is definitely key and that it can work well if everyone respects the boundaries and privacy. Great post, thank you for sharing :)

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  5. Never been on this kind of situation, but I think you make very valid points I will have on mind if I even find myself in this kind of family arrangement :)

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  6. Wow! Everyone should read it..and hopefully follow it too. The world would be such a better place.

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  7. This is a really interesting post, communication is most definitely key in any relationship and I think a lot of people forget that. x

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  8. Great post, communication and respect is a utter must. I am very lucky that I divorced the husband because his family made my life hell. He never stood up for me either, I was very much a slave and married to his family. An all round miserable marriage.

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  9. I only have me and my dad in our family but an insightful post xx

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  10. I really enjoyed reading your post as although I'm married, this isn't a situation that I've experienced before xxx

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  11. I have never been in this situation, but it's a n interesting read. Communication is always so important.

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  12. Interesting post! This isn't something that I've experienced, but found this very insightful.

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  13. I think that society these days is quite rude and full of mannerless people, but having said that there re some nice people out there and it is a joy to behold.
    Respect in all forms is key in my book, that and manners :)

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  14. This is a really interesting post, never read anything like it!

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  15. Interesting post, for me communication is key in any relationship x

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  16. Boundaries are so important in any family relationships. I can imagine how much more important they are in joint families. Thanks for sharing this post. x

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  17. I totally agree about respecting people privacy, that's so important in shared households x

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  18. I think it's all about communication, respect and love. We are all just trying our best!

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  19. Communication is key isn't it! Such an interesting read x

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  20. A very interesting read, boundaries, respect and communication is always important.

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  21. It can be hard living together, but as long as you all respect each other, it should be fine!

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  22. This is a well written and interesting post. Communication is key between people as respecting privacy is also very important.

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  23. There has always been this thought that your sister in law is your new personal maid which is sad.

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  24. What an absolutely fabulous post. The points you made were interesting and so correct. Even in close families these things can happen. Privacy is the biggest issue in my household, so I love these tips x

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  25. Families can be hard work. They can be interfering, even when they mean well. It is all about getting the balance right.

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  26. It's so hard when you join family, so many lines become blurred and expectations can be unrealistic.

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  27. Totally with you on not making children hate relationships. I have been married for 12 years this year and our families are yet to meet!

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  28. Lots of interesting points there. Living with your extended family cannot be easy, but you seem to be managing just fine!

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  29. Very interesting post with a lot of points. Communication is key sometimes

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  30. Fab post. Respect is key and so is boundaries.

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  31. Great point, but I don't think a wife is here to take care of her husband. They take care of each other.

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  32. Respect is an important issue, no one is the property of another person.

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  33. Families are so difficult sometimes aren't they. I think if we just put ourselves in each other's shoes every once in a while we'd all be more understanding.

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  34. I don't get along with my family very well because of your last point about communication. It is so important to be able to talk to one another otherwise you will never get anywhere!

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  35. Communication is the best thing for everyone. Not talking makes it worse. Really interesting post.

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  36. This is a good post. Big families with many members sometimes have really complicated relationships.

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  37. Families can be really awkward. I don't talk to a lot of people in my family as we just don't get on x

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  38. An interesting post about a complicated subject. I think I would find it really difficult to move in with another family. Patience, understanding and communication helps most people interactions

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  39. These are really great tips for those in this situation. I have a few asian friends who may end up living like this but I cannot imagine it myself!

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  40. Gosh it all sounds very complicated - I can't even begin to imagine living in such an extended family situation. Communication is key!

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  41. This was a lovely post and a real eye opener. By no means would I consider myself a daughter in law from hell but there are areas that I can improve in.

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  42. We Asians have this problem big time... :) Alhamdulillah, for me it has been really good and easy so far but I have heard how many suffer at the hands of their in-laws... it is easier said than done but your tips are bang on...

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  43. such a great article covering so many points alhamdulilah :)

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  44. Love the fact that you have covered it from both sides...see so many people bashing the mother in law and sister in laws but the wife herself needs to realise a few things too!

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  45. Great post I had some issues with my mother-in law at first because my hubby is an only child but we grew to respect each other and understand each other through communicating and understanding each others point of view of things.

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  46. This is such a great post. Communication and understanding is key from both ends to ensure an environment where everyone can coexist happily.

    Cheers, Diana | www.footloosegirl.com

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  47. Can I nod vigorously to every point you have written. I live in a joint family while on vacation in India. I know all the difficulties that comes with it though I live for a mere 2 to 3 weeks. But I think both the side needs to balance it out. Sometimes it truly is hard. My SIL was a widow who lived in our house. I don't think soon after our marriage there was not a single place we travelled alone. We always had his full family with us. I tried to be understanding of her situations but then some days I really did crave one on one time with my hubby.

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  48. These are some great points! I think sometimes people overstep the the mark of what u should and shouldn't do for inlaws

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  49. Also nowadays I think it's healthier to live alone as a couple. Personally it's how I feel. But when it comes to this generation and the previous we are much more aware of how things happened, lines to not cross and how to deal with situations. Thank you for sharing, lovely read. (www.beautywithzainy.com and www.spicyfusionkitchen.com)

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