Have you ever heard of an extended family system and a nuclear family system? In the past, the extended family system was predominant in Korean society. Nevertheless, in contemporary society, the nuclear family system seems to be taking over the traditional culture. There are a few things which contribute to the change. One of the reasons is that Korean society was once an agricultural society which required a lot of manpower. Thus, people used to have many offspring to keep up with the necessary work, but as time went on society became industrial, so numerous children weren’t required anymore. As a result, the size of families reduced drastically. At present, many elements have affected the time spent with family. The statistic shows how the nuclear family influenced time spent with family:
The results above were an overview of CWNU students, but we interviewed two individuals to find out the positive and negative sides of the extended and nuclear family systems.
Q : Is your family an extended family or a nuclear family? Please tell us about both the positive and negative sides of your family system and lastly, how do you feel about your family system?
Jo-eun Hong, Dept. of Music
My family follows a nuclear family system. Since I was born, I have had three family members: my mom, dad and me. As time passes I realize that there aren’t many merits in a nuclear family system. Nevertheless, some benefits are not having many quarrels over bathroom use, or how a small family is much more dependent on each other because it’s only the three of us living together. On the other hand, the negative sides are that my family is not really animated compared to other larger families. Due to the nuclear family system, I eat alone most of the time so I feel left out sometimes. Therefore, I have often felt lonely since my childhood. There could be a lot of merits in being in a nuclear family, but I sometimes envy the boisterous atmosphere of an extended family.
Eun-ji Kim, Dept. of International Relations
Our family system is an extended family. I live with both my grandparents as well as my parents. In my opinion, the chance to see grandparents every day and interact with them can be one of the merits in this family system. Since I don’t have any siblings, I might have been lonely, but my grandparents filled that certain hole for me. Also, by living together with them, I could learn how to respect elders properly. Thus, I’ve heard many times that I am a courteous person thanks to my grandparents. However, negative aspects also exist in an extended family system. There are many traditions in my family that my grandparents had established from the past. One of the examples is that we all have to wake up early on Sunday morning to have breakfast together to reinforce solidarity. But these kinds of things give me pressure all the time. Moreover, the generation gap is one of the problems. All three generations: my grandparents, my parents, and I sometime don’t understand each other, so conflicts arise. Even though some negative aspects exist, I strongly urge people to live with their grandparents because people can learn many things from them that cannot be learned from their parents. I’ve learned uncountable and precious lessons from my grandparents which still remain with me to become a better person.
Both extended and nuclear families have pros and cons, we cannot think of one as superior over the other. We strongly need to accept the changes due to the cultural transition.
By Kim Young-min, cub-reporter email@example.com
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