The pros and cons of a grandparent living with the family, yes there are two sides to every coin. There are some very good points for the kids as well as the grandparent, but equally bad ones too.
In this post, I’m going to explore the good, the bad and the ugly of a grandparent living with the family from my personal experience. So grab your favorite drink and let’s get to it!
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A Grandparent Living With The Family
When I say a grandparent living with the family, I’m speaking of ‘the family’ meaning a child and grandchild(ren), with or without the spouse of the child of the grandparent. Whew! Perhaps that was a long, maybe even a run-on sentence, lol but I wanted to clarify my meaning.
So, as I mentioned previously this post is based off my personal experience. Almost 12 years ago now, due to unforeseen circumstances my youngest daughter and her first husband unfortunately needed to move in with me. It was necessity due to my health and some of their own circumstances as well.
These new living arrangements came about during the last trimester of my daughter’s first pregnancy. Her pregnancy was a high-risk pregnancy due to her being diabetic.
Although this was not the best situation or arrangements due to mine or her health issues, we were making the best of it all.
Becoming A Grandparent Living with The Family
In the beginning it took a lot of adjusting to the new arrangements. My home is a two bedroom, rather small house, which was fine at the start.
However, preparing for the new arrival began taking up a lot of space, but we managed. I was forced to retire early from my nursing career and was put on disability due to health at this point. Soon afterwards my daughter was put on bed rest until the end of her pregnancy.
Two women with health concerns, mother and daughter, now living together again. We were helping each other and excitedly anticipating her first child, and my first grandchild.
Fortunately, my son-in-law and I got along great. James was very caring and supportive not only of his wife with her health concerns and pregnancy, but also of my health and needs of assistance as well.
Welcoming My First Granchild
Things were going well. I was excited to welcome my first grandchild. It was just a few weeks before my 48th birthday. Fairly young to become a grandmother, but I was ecstatic to be Granny!! We knew it was to be a boy, and they were naming him after my Grandfather and my Father.
Because my daughter was diabetic she couldn’t be allowed to go full term, so she was scheduled to be induced two weeks early. Samuel Alvin was scheduled to arrive on September 14th.
Pros and Cons of Living with A Grandparent
Living arrangements in America today are a far cry from the “Ozzie and Harriett” nuclear families of the 1950s and 60s. Eighty-four million Americans, 20% of the nation, now live in multi-generational households that include two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25.1
In 2019 on a Homes.com blog that I also previously cited, named Longevity as one of the pros of grandparents living in the home with families.
A recent NIH survival analysis found that healthy members of multi-generational families have lower premature mortality rates and were likely to live longer. One reason for this might be because, in a multi-generational household, there are more adults to provide emotional support for each other. Family support encourages feelings of wellness and stability for each person.https://www.homes.com/blog/2019/12/pros-cons-living-multigenerational-household/
Pros of Grandparents Living with Families
- Helping care for the children
- Saving money (sharing bills)
- Stronger Family Bonds
- Sharing household chores
- Improved Security (elderly feel safer and adults home during the day when more robberies usually occur)
- Improve home financing (more adults in a household with additional income improve financing approvals)
Cons of Grandparents Living with Families
- Family Tensions
- Less Privacy
- More Noise
- Less Alone or “Self” Time
- More Housework
- Remodeling or Making more space
- Setting Boundaries and Discipline (Grandparents tend to spoil kids more than disciplining them)
Grandparents And Discipline?
Grandchildren being able to bond with their grandparents is great! I’d even go as far as saying it is very beneficial to the child and grandparent.
If you are a grandparent, then I’m sure you have heard your child say; “you would have never let me get away with that!”. And if you think about it, he/she is probably right!
In fact, you most likely will even remember saying the exact same thing to your own parents when your child was young.
But there lies the most fun part of being the grandparent! You no longer have to enforce all the tough rules and be the disciplinarian. Grandma and Grandpa get to sneak in the extra treats, the cookie before dinner, and let them stay up a little past bedtime.
Yet, here is also another con of the grandparent living with the family. The fun little saying of “what happens at Granny’s, stays at Granny’s” becomes a little difficult when Granny’s house is also Mom’s house.
Even though our living arrangement took some of the fun out of it, we adjusted, set some rules (that I had a hard time remembering while being Granny) and my daughter lovingly gave me lots of grace as I stepped out of bounds. So our situation worked until things had to change.
Coping When the Situation Changes
First, let me say that it is very difficult for two grown women, even mother and daughter to live in the same house. I raised her, so of course we did a lot of things alike. But she was married and had lived on her own for a time, so she had also adapted her own way of doing some things.
We had to learn to live together again. Those of you who have adult children will easily understand what I’m about to say. Just because your child becomes an adult you can’t turn off your “mothering” of that child as if it were a light switch. I even wrote a blog post about the relationship with adult children that you can read by clicking here.
Supporting Each Other Through the Changes
Throughout the 10 years of my daughter, her family and I all living together we all went through several changes in life. Each time we readjusted, adapted and moved forward.
Even when the situations were difficult we helped each other cope. My daughter was my rock, and I hope I was a comfort and support to her as well.
As I mentioned earlier, my son-in-law and I had a good relationship, but there was still some tension with us all living in a rather small house. My daughter and her husband eventually separated, leaving her and their son living with me.
The separation was intended to be temporary and they worked many times at saving the marriage. Just before my oldest grandson’s 6th birthday, we welcomed his new little brother, Richard.
My daughter and both her boys were still living with me, and before they could reconcile their marriage, her husband died suddenly from a heart attack. Now she’s a young widow with two small sons before she was even 30 years old.
Dealing with My Health Changes
Along with all of the changes and difficulties of her own, my daughter was also dealing with my health issues. She was helping care for me during all this time while I suffered from 2 separate heart attacks, a major stroke requiring surgery on my carotid artery and numerous angioplasties to place heart stents. I also had a few other surgeries during this time frame including the repair of a rotator cuff just two weeks before the birth of my second grandson.
While I was able to help take care of the boys, my daughter was working full time and still helping to get me to doctor appointments. She helped to monitor my diet and medications. She was very diligent in helping to keep my cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes controlled. It was not an easy task.
When A Grandparent is No Longer Living With Family
Our last change in living arrangements was bitter sweet. It was by far the happiest, but still the hardest for me.
By the time my youngest grandson, who I call Boogie was 3 years old, my daughter had finally been dating a guy and became engaged. It was time for me to start preparing for them to move out.
My health had improved greatly. My daughter had grieved the loss of her first husband and it was time for us all to move forward to the next chapter in our lives.
Yes, I was very happy for her and the boys, but I was also hesitant, worried, and possibly even a little scared of all the what-ifs. Dreading how I was going to handle not being with the boys every day. I had been with both of them every single day of their entire lives. This was going to be a major adjustment for me.
Learning to Live Alone Again
Now it’s been a little over a year since I started learning to live alone again. My daughter is very happy, the boys are thriving in their new home and new school. They moved only 12 miles away from me! Life is still good!
Believe me, it was still a major adjustment for me, as well as the boys! We had a little separation anxiety for the first few weeks. Ok a few weeks for the boys, a lot longer for me!
At last, I can truly just be Granny, and not the co-disciplinarian!! I can honestly spoil them rotten now! Ok, more so than I did when they lived here, and not feel guilty about it now!
One other good thing about not living together is that now I can get the boys together or one at a time. Now I can have one-on-one time with each of them! Also, I can have more one-on-one time with my only granddaughter, who is my other daughter’s child.
As I am getting older, I do think of other parts of reality too. I will eventually die, hopefully later rather than sooner. But with me having heart problems as well as other health issues, I must admit it is a good thing that the boys have adjusted to not living with me. I’d rather them get accustomed to me not being a constant part of their daily life while I’m still living rather than having to accept my death while living in the same house with me.
Now it’s your turn!
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Until next time,