Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on May 4, 2017 7:57:54 AM
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Multigenerational homes offer many benefits to the entire family. Children can spend more time with grandparents, young adults can save money when starting their careers, and adult children can help aging parents transition into the next phase of life. However, even close-knit families will face challenges in multigenerational homes

Overlapping schedules, different lifestyles, and privacy issues can contribute to conflicts in the family. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these conflicts with open communication, respect, and smart home design.

Understand the Arrangement

It is important for everybody in the household to understand the reasons for the living arrangements. Did the grandparents move in to help a working couple care for their young children? Is there a family member who needs special care? Were there unforeseen circumstances that led to a temporary move? Whatever the reasons for having multiple generations in the home, when everybody is on the same page, it can help prevent or defuse conflicts when there is tension between family members.   

Open the Lines of Communication

Different generations have varying values, lifestyles, and expectations. This doesn’t mean that multiple generations can’t live in harmony; it just means that individuals in the household will have opinions about things like parenting, finances, and food choices. A good way to handle these varying opinions is to talk about them and set clear expectations for the whole family. For example, if one family member expects everybody to help out with household chores, talk about it and assign tasks as appropriate. Don’t assume that your expectations are silently understood; discuss it as a family and figure out what makes the most sense for everybody. Defining responsibilities early will help prevent future conflicts from arising.

Respect Boundaries

Living in multigenerational homes requires understanding and respecting boundaries. These boundaries might be physical, like staying out of another person’s space, or emotional, like not offering advice unless somebody asks for it. Couples argue, and children test their parents. While it might be tempting for another family member to offer advice in these trying times, it’s generally best to allow individuals to work out their own problems. Another boundary to consider is noise. Playing loud music or video games can be disruptive to others in the household. Providing headphones can eliminate conflicts that might arise because of noise.

Use Your Space to Your Advantage

The layout of your multigenerational home can be a major contributor to the number of types of conflicts that come to the surface. Do the kids have a play area where they can make noise without disturbing the grandparents? Does your adult child have the home office space that he or she needs to quietly work when necessary? Think about what each member of the family might require in terms of space and privacy and design your home around those needs. Don’t forget to include ample gathering space for when the entire family shares a meal, watches a movie, or plays a game. Although it’s important for everybody to have his or her own space, one of the greatest benefits of multigenerational homes is making memories together.  

If you’re building a new multigenerational home, consider one of the many plans offered by Adair Homes. Whether you want a second master suite or a completely separate living space with a kitchenette, we have an option that will suit your needs. We also offer full custom design services, so if you already have a vision in mind, we can help you make it a reality. One of the keys to overcoming conflict in multigenerational homes is having an appropriate space that allows every family member to have sufficient privacy. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create the perfect home for your multigenerational family.