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The multi generational blended family

Spending time with grandma
Photo by Michael Buckner

There are many different kinds of blended families. One of the most recent developments in blending families is that of the multi generational blended family. In today's economy, this is becoming more and more common. In a multi generational household, there are often the parents and then possibly the grandparents or a son or daughter that lives with their spouse and children in the household. Either way, this too is a blended family and can bring with it its own set of challenges.

Dealing with schedules

Scheduling can be very important in the multi generational blended family. Everyone will need to work together in order to keep the household functioning properly. If its grandmas turn to cook dinner she will want her “helpers” available and she will want to have the kitchen cleaned up from the previous meal. If there are others in the household they too will need to pull their share of the weight and help out. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. One or two adults may run the main household by scheduling everyone a turn, or each person may be assigned various chores and expected to get them done.

Private time

Everyone will require their own private time and it should be understood that this isn't to be interrupted. Moms that get children off to school may wish to have some time to themselves after the children leave and not feel required to “visit” with everyone until the children return.

Bathroom sharing

This often presents a huge challenge in the multi generational blended family, especially if there is only one bathroom as is frequent in many older homes. If this is the case, use the bathroom for only the original purposes, bathing and using the toilet. Everything else can be accomplished in the privacy of ones room easily such as dressing and applying cosmetics. This way everyone is ensured a turn and no one is left out. Also, be aware that in larger sized households with only one bathroom, someone is likely waiting for their turn. Don't dawdle and waste time in there. Be thoughtful of others.

Bill paying

In a multi generational family it's important to share in the bill paying. There are many ways to go about this. Figure out each persons budget and divide rent or mortgage accordingly, have everyone pay a portion of groceries or buy a preset dollar amount, share in the cost of utilities and Internet as well as satellite services. In time, everything will fall together smoothly.

If you're living in the Spokane area and want help for your blended family, you can refer to these articles for some local counseling centers and more information on blended families:

Spokane Families can live happily ever after

Spokane Families can help kids in blended families deal with a divorce or remarriage

Children's first parenting seminars required in The State of Washington

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If you're part of an organization in Spokane, Washington that helps blended families, or you're part of a blended family and would like to share something with Spokane Blended Families examiner please contact the author at and share your story. We are happy to edit out any personal details and share your story with our readers if you wish.

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