Parenting in Someone Else's Home

Combining families is one way to survive tough economic times. Parenting in someone else's home involves a lot of compromise. There are bound to be parenting disagreements and blunders along the way. I consider myself lucky to have my daughter and grandchildren in our home for an extended stay. Still, we have our issues, most of which have been solved with some well thought out preparation. Hopefully some of these parenting tips will be helpful to others in our situation.

Have a family meeting before you combine families. As soon as my daughter arrived from out of state, we all got together in the back yard to discuss our expectations. My daughter and I have similar parenting ideas but they are not exactly alike. We included the kids in the meeting so they would know what was expected of them too. We used the family meeting to come up with basic house rules and the consequences of not going along with the those rules as well.

Be a considerate parent house guest. Once again, I'm lucky I have the daughter I do. Kids can be quite destructive, by intention or not. When you're combining households, be considerate of the damage your children might do to the other person's home. Have a hands off rule where the belongings of others are concerned. You might have to keep a closer eye on them than you would in your own house. Pay for any property damages in a timely manner or repair the item in question.

Be sure kids do their share of the housework. Hopefully, as a parent, you know it's your job to make sure your hosts aren't doing all the housework. Treating them as your personal maids can generate anger and resentment. My daughter and her kids all chip in on household chores. It's rare that I have to pick up a mess they've made or put away their belongings. When you're combining families who both have children, this parenting tip makes a huge difference in the way you all get along.

Disagreements on parenting issues will arise. When they do, try to be civil about it. Make an agreement to discuss problems rationally. It's true that you are the parent and have every right to discipline your children as you see fit. However, taking a "mind your own business" stance isn't always logical. When your child's behavior effects other people in the household, your parenting tactics become their business. Try to take their concerns seriously. Work out your differences peacefully.

Give the adults in the household an occasional break from the kids. I love my grandchildren. I spend a lot of time with them. Still, I appreciate bedtime like never before. I've gotten used to my quiet child-free household over the last few years. I'm glad my daughter understands this. She gives me a break from my home-schooled grandkids once a day, during the day, by taking them outside or on school outings. Parenting in someone else's home is difficult for her, but she's a considerate house guest. Hopefully, you and your family can benefit from our positive experience combining families.


Personal Experience