Multigenerational families, how to ensure a good coexistence
Some homes extend the concept of family. Whether due to financial circumstances or due to the care of a sick person, some houses with parents and their children, grandparents also live together. A broader nucleus that could be called a multigenerational family, that is, three generations that share the same domicile.
These homes have several advantages such as caring for children while parents are at work or extra help in the distribution of household chores. However, as in all coexistence, there are different conflicts of understanding, especially if we look at the differences that appear between the generations of the home. Knowing how to resolve these disputes will help maintain the good atmosphere within these nuclei relatives.
Before beginning to resolve conflicts in this type of family, we must recognize the situations that can lead to conflict. From the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona, these are identified:
- Adjustments that involves the arrival of another member. Room changes, less space at home, other schedules, possible special diets for these new members.
- Stress caused by new obligations, especially in adults, who must take care of the elderly and children in some occasions.
- Feeling less privacy when reducing the space at home.
- Appearance of a feeling of disaffection in relationships. Some members may feel that it is a stranger who moves home, and even if it is the grandfather whom he is accustomed to visit, a small periodic meeting is not the same as a permanent coexistence.
- Family relations more tense because of the new economic needs.
In these situations of conflict, multigenerational families can carry out many activities in order to solve them and ensure a good atmosphere in the home. If each member does his part, this environment will be necessary for the development of good relations among the members:
- Adopt the habit of holding family meetings regularly. Occasions for members to share concerns, joys and successes, express thoughts or feelings, discuss issues and make decisions. A space for debate and to empathize with relatives in order to resolve possible conflicts and misunderstandings that arise on a day-to-day basis.
- Communicate any matter that affects family members on a regular basis in order to deal with the inconveniences among all.
- Establish basic rules of coexistence in the home. A set meal schedule, the distribution of domestic tasks and especially rules of respect between members.
- Distribute common spaces and private spaces for each member of the family, adapting the home to both grandparents and grandchildren. This will ensure the necessary private space that everyone needs.
- Help children understand that grandparents are people with a lot of experience, from which they can learn many things and to whom they can ask for advice to solve problems of their day to day. Parents should set an example by maintaining a good relationship with the elderly living in this home.
- Spend quality time together maintaining family traditions by finding common activity such as family outings, watching a movie, etc.