How To

6 Rules for Living with Extended Family

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If you have had your house to yourself and now family members are moving in, you may have mixed feelings. Perhaps you want the company, or perhaps you are worried about how long they might stay, any disruptions they might cause.  What tips can help you deal with the stress and make the new living arrangements easier for everyone?

1 Discuss Compensation Upfront

If you cannot afford to have them live there for free, you need to discuss this with your relatives upfront. There needs to be a clear understanding of what is expected from them regarding rent, food, and utilities. Even if you know that they can’t give you any money at first, establish when you will revisit the issue.  Discuss alternatives to compensation such as babysitting, lawn mowing, yard work, and so forth. However, don’t assume that they can do everything you might want.

2 Discuss Possible Ways to Help with Children

When there are children in the household, it is important to discuss responsibilities. You can’t assume that your family members are free babysitters. You also don’t want them to assume that you will be a free babysitter if the children are theirs.  Instead, discuss how individuals will handle the need for childcare.  Furthermore, discuss how parenting differences will be handled. It can be hard to raise children with other adults contradicting you by their words or actions.

3 Set the Ground Rules

You should think about the rules you want to be enforced and ask them what rules they want.  For instance, everyone should knock and wait for an affirmative answer before entering. Other rules could have to do with bedtimes and other quiet hours.

4 Establish chores

Ideally, everyone will help clean and maintain the house. Ideally, everyone will help with mealtime, cooking, and cleanup. However, it may be smart to write down the chores and make sure everyone knows who is responsible for what.  The house guests may take an extra share to help out, but that isn’t always possible if they are working, parenting, or ill.

5 Establish Private Space

Everyone needs privacy. It helps to establish some private space for each person. This may be difficult depending on how big your home is, how many people will be living together, and how much stuff people have. You should search out decluttering tips that help you stay organized and make the most of the available space. Private spaces should be respected, and there should be no searching through other people’s belongings.

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6 Don’t start big discussions at the wrong time

You definitely want to discuss things that bother you, but be aware that other people have lives and a schedule too.  When someone is already angry, you don’t want to add fuel to the fire by discussing the things that annoy you.  If necessary, schedule some time where a few of you (or all of you) can discuss issues that are bothering you.

Hopefully, the issues will work themselves out, and you will actually be sorry when one day they move out again. When people are willing to compromise with one another, good relationships are possible.

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