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How to Become a Multi-Generational Household Peacefully

By on February 7, 2012 in Money

How to Become a Multi-Generational Household PeacefullyWhen the Great Depression hit the United States in the 1930s many families were wiped out financially. Work disappeared, prices went haywire, home were lost to foreclosure, and tenants were evicted. People moved where they thought they could find work and did whatever they could to make ends meet.

Sound familiar? The recession following the financial crisis in 2008 is eerily similar to the Great Depression. Unemployment jumped to over 10% and many families are still living off of unemployment benefits after two years.

In the Great Depression it was not uncommon to have two or three generations of a family living under one cramped roof. Following the most recent recession, multi-generational household numbers are increasing across the country. But having Mom and Dad move in with you and your children can be, to put it lightly, stressful. How do you cope?

How to Peacefully Live with Your Parents and Extended Family

Struggling with the stress of living with a large number of family members under one roof due to economic hardship? Here are four ways to deal with the stress.

Dedicated Space

One of the most frustrating aspects of having other people live in your home – even if they are your family members – is the intrusion into your private space. You have a lot of emotions tied up into your home. You worked hard to save up to afford it or you work hard to afford your rent. Now that hard work is being shared and it seems unfair even though it is necessary.

There is no perfect cure to this problem. You are still going to be living under one roof as a family. However, setting up dedicated spaces for everyone can ease some of the pain. Simple things like only you and your spouse get to use the master bedroom bathroom can give you a sanctuary that you can still consider your own.

Set Limits

Getting to spend time with your family is a great thing… until it drives you crazy. You still need to feel like a person (or a couple, if you’re married). Set limits on how much time you spend together. Just because you live under the same roof doesn’t mean you have to sit in the same room every minute of every day. Give everyone time to themselves to do whatever they please without criticism being thrown their way.

Give Yourself Space

When things get really stressful in the house, simply find a way to get out. You don’t want to feel like you are trapped in your own home. Use free events in the community to get out for some fresh air. Carpool with a friend if you need to save money on gas or walk. Getting out will help reduce your stress levels.

Plan for an Exit

A critical piece that many families that move in together miss is the long term plan to get out of the situation. Simply moving into together and not discussing the end game – that is, how you get to live in separate homes in the future – can lead to the feeling that the current situation is going to last forever. It might be hard to look into the future, but decide as a family what needs to be done in terms of employment, money saved, and benefits received in order to get back into a separate living situation. Even if the plan is for several years down the road it can reduce stress by helping you keep perspective on how long your current stress will last.

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