It’s become the norm for up to four generations to be living under one roof. Each generation may have separate ideals, but cohabiting has become increasingly popular. There is even a housing market directed at multigenerational living.
How do you cope with four generations in the same home, though?
Here are 7 tips to care for and cope with each other.
1. Define the Living Situation
No matter the purpose, there is a reason for the chosen living situation. It could be divorce, health needs, financial support, or many other reasons.
Defining the living situation is vital to the happiness and comfort of the four generations. Determine if your arrangement is temporary or permanent so that all expectations are clarified.
No one wants to overstay their welcome. Conversely, leaving before the allotted time could create conflict. Clear definitions will eliminate any preconceived ideas regarding the living situation.
2. Maintain the Connection
Although under one roof, families often find it difficult to maintain the connection between members.
Holding a family meeting is a positive approach. Focus the gathering on either a recent conflict or simply following up on how the arrangement is working for everyone.
Listen and work out the necessary changes to help all four generations cope. Develop house rules so that each family member has set boundaries.
3. Work Out Financial Responsibilities
As in all relationships, finances lie at the core of most conflicts. Work out the bills and money contributions from the start of the living arrangement.
Don’t leave it to work itself out. Agree on who is in charge of certain bills. Then stick to this agreement.
Define clear expectations so that your multigenerational family will face fewer disappointments in terms of financial contribution.
4. Respect One Another’s Space
It may go without saying, but people need their privacy. Extroverts, introverts, all people long for some type of a personal respite.
Also, living under one roof doesn’t give household members the right to access each other’s things.
Each member should have space to call their own and feel their space is reserved just for them.
5. Divide Household Chores
Much like defining financial responsibilities, house chores also need to be divvied up. Each individual living arrangement will determine how many household duties a family member can do.
There are few people who celebrate household chores. so alternate the responsibilities to avoid burnout.
Over the span of four generations, household chores can be perceived differently, as well. Be sure to communicate the chore division and completion effectively.
6. Communicate Childcare Expectations
For many multigenerational homes, childcare is the main purpose. Living in a two-parent home may mean that both parents are still away working leaving the children to attend a childcare program.
Having all four generations in the home commonly grants a reprieve from the need for childcare.
Communicate this topic from the beginning of the living arrangement. To feel taken advantage of by any family member will create conflict.
7. Resist Falling Back Into Old Habits
It’s not typically easy to live with your adult children. In fact, this can prove to be very challenging for both parent and child.
Adult children must be treated as adults rather than children. Although the relationship still exists, it’s not the relationship it once was.
Parents shouldn’t be picking up after their adult kids or playing referee in spousal conflicts.
Living with four generations under one roof can be a wonderful and yet challenging experience. With some guidelines and understanding, this unique arrangement can bring a better sense of family to all generations.