Multi-Generational Family Living (MGFL) has seen a significant resurgence in this country and is quickly becoming part of our vernacular. For those who are unfamiliar, Mutli-Generational Family Living can be simply defined as multiple generations of a family living together in one domicile. In its most common form, it consists of a family with children, living with grandparent(s) or an older relative. Although MGFL is nothing new, for economic, cultural, health and sometimes religious reasons, many have sought to construct their families in this manner. Although there are many challenges associated with living this way, there are also many benefits. The following are some basic guidelines that will provide you with a foundation for a successful Multi-Generational Family.
- Establish Expectations: Determining the purpose of living this way serves to ensure that all family members are on the same page. This is extremely important because it keeps the arrangement in perspective. For example, if MGFL is being done for economic reasons, there may be a reasonable expectation that once a goal has been achieved, MGFL will cease. Failure to do so may result in undesirable feelings and actions between family members.
- Open and Respectful Communication: Depending on the specific type of MGFL (e.g. Grandparents) and living location (either with the Grandparent in their home or, the Grandparent(s) in the family home), communication can have many forms. Lack of open and respectful communication can be extremely toxic. It is necessary to be honest and create an open environment for discussion however, be mindful of your tone. If there are children in the home, they will watch how you interact with your loved ones and emulate that behavior.
- Establish an agreed upon a schedule/routine: Another form of communication, establishing a schedule or routine is not only a benefit to the children but it serves to deconflict the natural ebb and flow of family life and take the guess work out of the timing of typical family activities. This may be difficult if you are not accustomed to schedules but it’s well worth it.
- Take a time out: Family life can be hectic but adding more people to that equation can make things downright crazy. Schedule time specifically for doing something “you” centric. Whether it’s going to work out, having drinks with friends or even just resting, having some me time will leave you reinvigorated and ready to tackle any challenge that arises.
- Remember the blessing: When all else fails, remember that living with a loved one, especially a Grandparent(s), benefits the entire family. Children can connect with their history, Parents can have extra help around the house and Grandparents can have pride in watching their family thrive. Sure it can be tough and challenging but in the end, having the family together as one, is truly precious and completely worth it.
I would love to hear your story. Do you practice MGFL or have you thought about it? Let me know!