Role of the Extended Family

Role of the Extended Family

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There are many types of family that exists in today’s society, each important to the upbringing of any children of which may be apart of it.
There are many types of family that exists in today’s society, each important to the upbringing of any children of which may be apart of it. Whether due to economic changes, cultural values, the role of caregiver goes beyond mother and father (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004). The family unit is as diverse as the societies they each represent. This sometimes can manifest traditional roles of doting mothers and providing fathers into a home with two sets of parents (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004). Therefore, the involvement and importance of the extended family: grandparents and other family members such as aunts and uncles play a significant role in both its economic and social function.
The family unit is as diverse as the societies they each represent. This sometimes can manifest traditional roles of doting mothers and providing fathers into a home with two sets of parents (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004). Therefore, the involvement and importance of the extended family: grandparents and other family members such as aunts and uncles play a significant role in both its economic and social function.
The quantitative analyzed data showing family members within the socioeconomic status. A study of families within the Asian society that are poor and from rural areas compared to upper-middle class families (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004). The sample comprised of different families consisting of three groups, which shared nuclear, and extended family living arrangements. Each group were given a scheduled of activities that were to be performed by the caregiver to a child. Some of these activates included the daily function of a parental role such as, bathing, feeding and transporting to and from school (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004).
Data found that fathers in the upper-middle class family, regardless of it being nuclear or extended, were more involved in performing the activities (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004). Mothers continued to be the primary caretaker in both extended and nuclear family. In upper-middle class extended families, grandmothers were just a source of support, compared to the poor disadvantaged families where the responsibilities were provided by not just grandmothers but other female members of the family including aunts living under the same roof (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004). In the article findings, it was an important note that grandmothers were more involved in childcare activities than fathers in all groups within the extended family (Kurrien & Dawn Vo, 2004).

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Using qualitative method of observing and interviewing two individuals from a Caribbean – European society, the role of stand in parents (grandparents, other family members) was explored (Chamberlain, 2003). Stand in parents share responsibility of varying portions some may provide guidance, emotional or financially support. Many are responsible for all of above and some carry out the role in total replacement of parents (Chamberlain, 2003). Grandmothers in particular take on these responsibilities because of various reasons. Some of these were due to parental absences caused by factors such as migration to other countries, for higher education or work. The role of grandmothers who became stand in parents were also due to teenage pregnancy, but more strongly the role of grandmothers became stand in parents due to economic strain within multiply households (Chamberlain, 2003).
Providing two descriptive case studies, the article pointed out the significant role that non-parent female relatives play in raising children (Chamberlain, 2003). The first study focused on a grandmother’s role in the life of young woman when her mother migrates to Europe. In the absent of a father figure her grandmother took on the responsibility to provide a stable home environment. An environment that already had other grandchildren, nephews and nieces and other children that were not of any blood relations to this grandmother (Chamberlain, 2003). The extensions of the family arise from both obligation and necessity. Although, being aware of and having other family members such as uncles who took active role in this young woman’s life, it was the grandmother who took over as the parent.
The second case study described a woman never married and never having children of her own took in her niece. Initially, the women herself was raised by her father and paternal grandparents whom all subsequently died by the time she was eight years old (Chamberlain, 2003). Having a first hand understanding of the need for stand in parenting, and having no children of her own, she in turned raised her brothers daughter from birth as her own child. The child had very limited contact with her birth mother or her grandparents. This case shows that extension can arise also from the lack of numerous amounts of family members (Chamberlain, 2003).
These two methods of research, although different in themselves discovered similar results as to the importance of the role of the extended family. The quantitative research, collected data and was very specific in the information that was collected, using a deductive method. However, in the qualitative method, which provided more of a personal storytelling approach, gave more of inductive reasoning that went from specific to general in it’s finding (Chambliss, 2009). Both results also showed that although a diverse array of circumstance each family valued the presences of uncles, aunts, grandparents and other family members. Both research methods show that grandparents who share parenting role are due mostly economic circumstance, rather than absence of the mother and father role. The role of grandmothers and other family members goes beyond, babysitting and visitations. It is an important and necessary role for the overall balance of childcare and family balance.

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