The nuclear family and its insufficiencies

May 21, 2020

I consider the expression nuclear family to be well put, for it is not a cell-family, but rather a cell reduced to its nucleus, with everything irregular that arises when the nucleus exists without its surrounding protoplasm. For the nucleus to be deprived of its protoplasm, it is an exile, if not directly death.

Presently, people’s imagination only grasps the nuclear family. It no longer knows what that family was that was like a branched out and leafy tree.

The Peale Family

In comparing the nuclear and the patriarchal family, psychologists call attention to the importance and necessity of the group of relatives, cousins, aunts, etc., as a factor of harmony in the relations between parents and children.

In the nuclear family, there is only direct contact between the parents and children, in that defined space which is the home; in the patriarchal family, the contact is diluted among relatives, and the child may have recourse to an uncle, a cousin, an aunt, etc.

Painting by William Powell Frith

It is normal that the husband and wife have very great difficulties with one another. The manner in which these difficulties are mitigated is by their being surrounded by a very homogenous familial ambience, within which are found various common points that generate affinities which reduce the friction which originates from the difference of individual temperaments and characters.

O Universo é uma Catedral: Excertos do pensamento de Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira recolhidos por Leo Daniele, Edições Brasil de Amanhã, São Paulo, 1997.

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