Surviving the Multi-Generational Household 

Surviving the modern household. You’re back living with mom and dad, or just mom, or just dad, and maybe you have your own child, or maybe you don’t… You are not alone! One in six households is now a multi-generational household in the U.S. Although; this trend hasn’t slipped households across the rest of the world.

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It is interesting to see families gathering together more and more as a method to survive various economic or health situations. We are seeing this trend where families move closer, or move in with each other. For example, if there is land why not build two houses instead of one?! Have a large home? Maybe section off a portion of your home for an aging parent(s).

How do you not go nuts!

We’re living in a global environment where the current dominant generation is aging in mass, and the underlings are ridden with debt, economic instability and socioeconomic turmoil right out of the gate. There is a great divide of ideological beliefs where many family members are on opposite ends. From parenting to politics, the opinions are doled out like candy on Halloween!   

I work with a lot of people who have lived through the Vietnam War, and often encounter seniors who survived the Great Depression and World War II. They tell me they’ve never seen the US as fundamentally divided as it is now. Wars, from what I can tell, seem to shape the economy and overall political climate. Okay, I get that. But, that doesn’t mean families need to be at each others throats over personal decisions or choices .

It is true. Just log onto the internet and you will find many things have taken place recently that have put many individuals on permanent edge. The fact of the matter is this…none of us can control any of it. Seriously.

What we can control is what happens in our households.

To continue the past post on living together in a multigenerationall household, here are a few general guidelines on how to share space with family members. 

#1 Have Patience and Communicate

The amount of patience it takes for any successful relationship should also be applied in multi-generational households. Establish respect for grown children living in the same house as boomer parents and visa versa. Respect boundaries and respect house rules. If chores need to be accomplished, assign them the same as any other household task. Make chore assignments so no one gets confused as to who should be responsible for a task. Write down household bills and general economics. Establish responsible payers early on. Plan family meetings once a week or month. This way everyone is on the same page. 

#2 Don’t Parent a Parent

There are instances where the grown child has a child, or multiple children, and has to move home. Or, the parent(s) have to move in with the grown child and spouse; with children. The decision be have been made to take care of an aging parent(s), or for economic purposes. Regardless, if the adult child has their own children, let them parent their children. It’s their time to parent their own children. Getting involved in any way with discipline or daily activities could confuse the child and cause unwarranted friction between the boomer and their adult child. 

#3 Mind Personal Space

In situations where a parent(s) have to move in with an adult child due to economic changes, personal space and boundaries should be discussed first thing. There could be young children or teenagers in the home as well. Everyone will most likely be rotating the common areas. Schedules are an easy way to alleviate any daily interruptions like taking a shower or car use. Will the grandparents be helping out with driving the grandchildren to and from activities? Make sure the car is gassed, leave everything as you found it, and keep it clean! 

Regardless if the move is temporary or long-term; these little issues may sound trivial, but the small things add up! Moving in with an aging parent or having them move in with you requires at least some planning as to how to merge another persons life into the daily activities of another household. 

 

-Andy

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