Three Tips to Making Multi-Generational Living Work

A Mormon Millennial’s Guide to Multi-Generational Living

I moved out of the house when I was 18 and never looked back. Fast forward ten years and here I am, right back where I started: my parents’ house. But this time I brought five other people along with me! Safe to say the dynamics are a little different than when I was a teenager. I quickly realized I was not the only one in this situation as other people kept coming out of the woodwork and telling me they, too, were living with their parents, had recently, or knew someone else who was. Regardless of how we ended up here, it is usually a relatively short season in life and we need to do what we can to make the best of it.

Three Tips to Making Multi-Generational Living Work

1. Gratitude

Living with your parents after having lived on your own can cause some challenges for everyone. Throw a spouse and kids in the picture and it adds a whole new slew of issues. It can be easy to get frazzled by the new situation and focus on the negative. Supervise your brain and don’t let yourself go there. As Abraham Lincoln said, “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”

Focus on what you are grateful for. If you did not have this opportunity to live with your parents, where would you be living? Are you saving money? How about sacrificing now to live greater dreams later on? Are you receiving help with the kids while you work? Do you have the opportunity to develop relationships more than they normally would? When you find yourself focusing on the negative, stop yourself and think of the blessing this situation really is. Alison Faulkner from The Alison Show shares a tip to have a “gratitude practice.” Research has shown that those who have an actual gratitude practice are more grateful and happier those who simply try to have a grateful attitude. Listen to her podcast where she shares how she implements a gratitude practice.

President Thomas S. Monson said, “We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.”

2. Look Outward

The natural man would have us focus on ourselves and our own needs. It is critical to look outwards and focus on others to make our multi-generational living situation successful. When you find yourself being critical or negative about those you live with, turn it around and think, “I wonder how they feel. Are they going through their own challenges? Is there anything I could do to lighten their load?” It’s miraculous what a small act of service can do. It is not our place to judge others, just to love. Remember that your relationship with your family members is more important than you always sharing your opinion or getting your way.

3. Maintain a Routine

Here you are trying to figure out how to share a kitchen, a living space, and many other things that you’re used to doing all your own way. You want to show respect and gratitude but you also need to do what you feel is best for yourself and your family. That’s why boundaries and a routine can be helpful. Lounging around at home without your own agenda and goals will lead you down a slippery down-trodden slope.

If you are married, schedule a date night once a week. Easy, free babysitting can be a major bonus of living with family! Just because you are living back at your house doesn’t mean you should fall back into your free-loading teenage ways. Maintain a productive schedule as you would in your own house. Help out. Don’t get lazy. If your mom helps with household tasks and you have a little more free time, take advantage of it by doing something else that is productive and fulfilling. See if you can make an agreement with your parents that one afternoon a week you go to the library or go exercise and she watches the kids. Be sure to create a little space and alone time. (They probably need a break from you, too!) Have plenty of alone time with your spouse and be sure to be thoughtful of their feelings and nurture that relationship.

Remember that this is just a season. Look at it is a learning and growing opportunity and be sure to give your parents plenty of hugs.

Love At Home

“There is beauty all around
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in ev’ry sound
When there’s love at home.
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on ev’ry side.
Time doth softly, sweetly glide
When there’s love at home.

In the cottage there is joy
When there’s love at home;
Hate and envy ne’er annoy
When there’s love at home.
Roses bloom beneath our feet;
All the earth’s a garden sweet,
Making life a bliss complete
When there’s love at home.”

“Love at Home”

Hymn 294

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