Parents Moving in With You: How to Manage

parents moving in with you
Who doesn’t love spending time with grandma? Photo: Uriel 1998 via Flickr.

Your parents have been there for you since the start of your life. For that, you will always want to repay them. Still, having  your parents moving in with you can be a tough adjustment in many ways.

With housing foreclosures high, and the baby-boomer generation nearing retirement, more and more seniors are moving in with their grown children. This new living situation may take some getting used to, but there are plenty of ways to embrace this new phase in your lives.

Combining households is more common than you think…

“More than 3.6 million parents lived with their adult children in 2007, according to recently released Census Bureau data, up 67 percent from 2000 (source: MSN)”. This may have to do with the ‘great recession’ of recent years, or simply the fact that many families are opting to avoid nursing homes by cohabiting. Whatever the reasoning, it’s important to understand that you and your parent are not alone; more and more families are making this dynamic work everyday.

Everyone has something to gain…

It’s possible for your parent to feel like a burden when moving in with you and your family (or anyone, for that matter). However, what’s often overlooked is the fact that having an extra set of hands to help you around the house is a much appreciated result of this new living situation. While they are enjoying affordable housing, you are enjoying the convenience of having another person around to help with the maintenance of the household, like receive packages, make sure the stove is off, help with household chores, and care for the children. So, take the time to tell your parent how much you appreciate having them around. Soon, they’ll begin to realize this is a win-win situation.

parents moving in with you
Family bonding opportunities are much more common when you live together. Photo: Duncan Brown (Cradlehall) via Flickr.

Set boundaries, rules, expectations…

One of the best ways to ensure your new cohabitation goes smoothly is to discuss potential areas of tension at the beginning. Be up front about your concerns of living together, and be accepting of the concerns your parent may have. Agree upon specific boundaries and rules for your relationship, and always respect them. If at any point one of you feels that those boundaries are being crossed, be honest. And remember not to take any of these boundaries personal. The cornerstone of any healthy cohabitation relationship is honesty and respect.

Don’t be afraid to share the control…

For your parent, taking care of the children and the household has always been second nature. It’s very important for your parent to remember that you are now an independent adult and that the dynamic has changed, but you can help them feel valuable by sharing in some responsibilities. Allow them to help with managing the household if they desire, and enjoy the break it gives you. Remember that they have only the best intentions in trying to help. A good rule of thumb is to solicit help in one or two specific areas that they can easily take ownership of. Your parent will appreciate your thought and enjoy feeling like part of the whole functioning family unit.

Every parent/child relationship is different. When your parent moves in with you, it may take awhile to achieve a natural balance, and that’s OK.

Do you have any special tips or advice for moving in with your child? Let us know below in the comments.

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