As families change, multigenerational living situations become more and more common. Should you consider multigenerational living arrangements? Here’s what you need to know.
What is multigenerational living?
Multigenerational living occurs when two or more generations, who would normally live separately, live together. Most commonly, this occurs when adults with children have their aging parents move in as well, putting three generations under one roof. However, multigenerational living has become increasingly common when millennials (ages 18 to 37) move back in with their parents as young adults, primarily due to underemployment.
What are the reasons for multigenerational living?
When elderly family members want to retain much of their independence but realize they need a little help, they often prefer living with family rather than moving to an assisted-living facility. Many young adults finish college and begin the job hunt or experience underemployment. Moving back in with their parents can provide a lower cost of living. Finally, some choose to live in the same house for end-of-life stages, to be with family in their final moments.
How do you address co-parenting young children?
For adults with young children, asking elderly parents to move in should include a conversation about parenting boundaries. Know where you draw the line on discipline. Establish ground rules for your children’s behavior that you expect enforced, then discuss strategies for addressing misbehavior. Not only will this avoid tensions, but it will also create stability and consistency – both key for children.
What about childcare responsibilities?
Will you expect your parents to help take care of your children? Define these needs clearly, and be sure to readdress once a year or sooner if health issues arise. For instance, will grandparents…
- Drop off and pick up children from school?
- Take children to activities?
- Babysit for parent nights out – how many times each month, and how much notice is preferred?
- Help with homework and school projects?
- Take children to pediatrician or dentist appointments?
What about those sticky situations?
Key issues to discuss before multigenerational arrangements are made include bills and household responsibilities. Also set expectations on day-to-day schedules and noise levels (think television and music) early on. Discuss any health needs with medical professionals. Talk about manners, respect for each other, and privacy needs, and lastly, make a plan to resolve issues quickly.