How To Have Boundaries: Close Family Living

Living with family is excellent: you save on money with rent, and you save on time with travel; but it does come with a few challenges that you need to iron out. It’s best to have discussions on how to live with one another before you sign a lease together, but late is better than never. Be clear, direct, and loving in your approach to having boundaries while living with family.

  1. Have Trust: If you are a parent living with a child, have trust that as they become adults, they are making decisions that are best for them. Let them go to make plans with friends, and allow them to come and go as long as they don’t disturb you. Keep your opinions to yourself. Not everything that you think needs to be said out in the open. You can offer suggestions and advice, but if the other person chooses not to listen, then that is their choice. Don’t continue to nag them or argue why your way is better. Trust that they have weighed out the pros and the cons and have made the best choice for them.
  2. Be Clear In Your Expectations/Needs: Let the other family members know your priorities. Let them know that you expect for people to clean up after themselves, and that the chores need to be accomplished in a timely manner. You don’t have to tell them when to do it, but divide up the chores and let them know when they need to be done. Be open about your schedule. If you need to go to bed early, let them know that they need to keep the volume down after 9pm. You should also do the same when you wake up early. Don’t bang pots around in the kitchen at the crack of dawn when everyone else is sleeping.
  3. Have Different Spaces: Have separate spaces that can be completely closed off. Everyone needs their own little oasis to be alone and relax without question. If someone is in their space, knock to have their attention. If they don’t answer, then don’t continue to pester them unless there is an emergency.
  4. Be Respectful: Have mutual respect for one another. Don’t go through their things without permission. Think of the other person first while you are using the shared space. Don’t leave messes around for the other person to clean. Also, be respectful in your words. Don’t yell at one another during arguments or call names. If you disagree and the discussion isn’t going anywhere, then step away from the situation. Let each party cool down and collect their thoughts. Come back to the other person to find a resolution. Listen to each other and respect the point of view that they are coming from.
  5. Designate Time To Be With Each Other: Even though you see each other often, it doesn’t mean that you have spent quality time together. Set time aside to do things as a family to stay connected. They aren’t just your roommate–they are your loved ones. Don’t have distractions. Be sincere and do something fun that you both enjoy. This will show them that they are still a priority in your life. On the same note, don’t feel obligated to do every family function. You are able to set your own schedule. You don’t have to do everything that they do simply because it involves family. Have a healthy balance between friends, family, and time for yourself.

Consider others above yourself, but at the same time, don’t let your wishes be walked over. Find a happy medium of spending time together as well as carving out space for just you. Living with family provides the most loving support, but keep clear communication so that relationships stay healthy.

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