Multi-generational Households

Are you old enough to remember 40 or 50 years ago when multi- generation families lived under the same roof? It wasn’t uncommon to have three generations in the same household.

Are you old enough to remember 40 or 50 years ago when multi- generation families lived under the same roof?  It wasn’t uncommon to have 3 generations in the same household.  In the last 20 years the situation has changed drastically with the adult children hiring caregivers to see after their elderly parents.

When I was a little girl my Grandmother, Mother, Dad, Brother and I all lived together.  While my Mom and Dad were working, my Grandmother cared for my brother and me.  I have beautiful memories of that time shared with my Grandmother and I’m very thankful for the living arrangement we had.  She was a vibrant and caring person.  She taught my brother and I how to appreciate the things in life that were free.  Since we didn’t have much money she would take us for walks to explore the neighborhoods and she would answer all of our questions no matter how many we asked.

Things have begun to change once again due to the world economy and financial distress many families are experiencing.  Once again the family is becoming multi-generational under the same roof.  There are some very positive results for everybody regarding this change and the possibility of you sharing your home with other family members should be looked at with kindness, love and a sense of humor.

The first great thing about everybody living together is the boost in financial stability.  With Mom and Dad living with you they may be able to reduce their household expenses and at the same time make a contribution to your household income.  With that being said, please let me point out that having family members in the household can be a wonderful experience most of the time regardless of how much may be shared monetarily.

When you have small children that will be able to grow up with the familiarity of their grandparents a better foundation is built for the children to learn patience, generosity and self confidence.  Grandparents are the ones that give the extra attention to their grandchild and give them a feeling of acceptance and moral understanding when the parents are not available.

As parents grow older they still need to have a feeling of usefulness and assisting with their grandchildren is one major way that this is accomplished.  Depending on the health of the grandparents they may be able to watch the children while both parents work or make sure the children have a loving adult waiting for them when they arrive home from school.

The advantages to the child of having grandparents in the house are many.  The children learn to respect their elders and be considerate of their needs.  They also have a closer bond to family members and show more concern for the happiness of everybody. Many children will seek out the company of their grandparent and love interacting with them.  This gives the grandparents the opportunity to teach the child how to play card games or board games amongst other things.


There are going to be times of disagreement between family members but hopefully not very often.  When disagreements do arise, respect should be shown for the other person’s opinions and decisions.  There should always be some space in the home that each person can retreat to for quiet and privacy to think and cool off after an argument. 

The punishment of the children should be left to the parents and the grandparents should give the children reminders of their behavior and what the rules are.  I remember once when my grandmother “spanked” me and she was crying as much as I was.  I felt worse for making my grandmother cry than I did for getting a spanking. 

If you find yourself in the situation where you are sharing the home with other family members try to remember that you are all family and the emotional support is priceless that you give and receive of each other.  It doesn’t mean anybody failed to support themselves or that they are weak in some way.  It just means you have enough family to see each other through the tough times and that you are truly loved.

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Published in: Family


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