ACT Writing: Joint Families

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Three generations living together can have both financial and personal advantages. On the other hand, it can also have personal disadvantages.

In years past and today, three generations have probably lived together mostly out of economic necessity or advantage. Sometimes a young family moves in with the older generation because the husband and wife can՚t afford a place of their own. Sometimes grandparents move in because they aren՚t well enough or can՚t afford to live alone anymore. Occasionally, grandparents come to take care of the children so both parents can work. In times past, and sometimes today, three generations have lived together because they all depended on the same farm or business.

Usually these arrangements do help solve financial and practical problems. Everyone has a roof over his or her head. Children and old people in need of care are likely to get it. Often a family can get ahead financially by sharing the work and the bills. In addition, a strong sense of family and of belonging can develop in everyone.

What may be harder to work out are questions of who՚s in charge. If grandparents don՚t let go of some authority, the middle generation is likely to resent it. On the other hand, ailing grandparents may force their children to be parents to them and to their own children as well. If parents and grandparents disagree on discipline, children may be confused or angry.

The personal disadvantages can be overcome. For three generations to live together successfully, everyone՚s needs must be respected.