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Parent to Parent: Making adjustments when relatives move in

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Q •  My sister and brother have both been laid off from their jobs and want to move in with my family. Neither one is married or has kids but still, it’s going to be a strained situation because I have two kids. I’m hoping that they’ll find another option to consider but if not, what are some general rules to put into place to help things flow as best as possible?

From a reader • My mother and my mother’s sister moved in with us, and it was a big deal for my whole family for several months. They had previously lived together and you’d think that they had got along well. Unfortunately, they did not. To say that we were surprised at their constant disagreements is putting it mildly. Try to find out if they get along before welcoming them into your home. — S.S., Charlotte North Carolina

From Jodie Lynn •  Sometimes, just having people visit for a few days can prove to be physically and mentally draining. People moving in, meanwhile, even if they’re family, can present a colossal challenge, requiring a huge adjustment from everyone.

Everyone’s schedules and boundaries will change at least a little bit, which can lead to grumpiness and resentment as space is now shared with others in new ways.

To start off with, have a serious conversation with your sister and brother about what, where, how and when you expect certain things to happen.

You all need to agree on who does what and when to save time and energy moving forward with meals, cleaning, bathroom time, laundry, groceries, schedules and much more.

See how things go and keep an open line of communication between everyone so that if something needs to be changed, it can happen smoothly.

Just remember, it’s also an adjustment for your brother and sister. I’m sure that they would rather be in their own personal places and not have to change their lives to accommodate others.

CAN YOU HELP?

I have two girls. The younger one is constantly trying to do whatever the older one is doing like imitating her dressing, talking and eating and also pursuing the same activities. I know this is normal, but there’s a four-year difference in their ages. How can I help the younger one act more her age, which is 10, and be her own person? She’s growing up much too quickly.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email: direct2contact@parenttoparent.com, or go to www.parenttoparent.com, which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.

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