Middle-Aged Parents & Young-Adult Sibling Moving In With Us


#1

I need all the wisdom I can get, especially from those of you who have done this before. :)

My in-laws will be losing their house soon. Naturally, my husband and I opened our home to them. We made the offer a few months ago, but they neither declined nor accepted; communication is not what I'd call "abundant" in the family. Since they only have 2 sons (both adults), one of whom still lives with them, they don't have many choices regarding residency. Come October, they will be unemployed for a year, and the mortgage company's temporary forgiveness period (they are several months behind in payments) expires this month. We have no idea when they will be kicked out by the mortgage company, because they won't talk about it.

Grandpa called yesterday, and was worried because my husband's folks (my husband's mom is his daughter) hadn't contacted him for 6 weeks. They usually call each other once a week, they've had that routine for years. He has been financially supporting them since January, and is afraid he offended them by offering suggestions on how to cut back expenses (which is fairly reasonable for him to do, in my opinion, since he's paying nearly all the bills).

So. It looks like their house will go into foreclosure very soon, and my father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law will be moving in with us, since we don't want them to live out of their cars. My husband and I have sleeping arrangements figured out -- We are blessed with a 4-bedroom home, so his parents can share a room, and his brother can have his own room, too. We don't have much worked out beyond that, though.

My mom strongly suggested making parenting expectations clear the day they move in, but I don't know how to approach this subject diplomatically without being accusatory even before anything problematic comes up. I understand the importance of establishing clear expectations with/for everyone involved (including their expectations for us), I just don't know how to go about doing it. My family is considerably more open about things in general, and my husband's family is more private. Honestly, I'm tempted to simply let my husband do all the talking (which may not be much :p ), and address issues only when/if they come up. Is that bad? :o


#2

Within a day or two of everyone getting settled in, call a family meeting. Tell everyone in advance and have them bring their ideas, concerns and expectations and have an open discussion. This will give you a chance to lay your rules and give them a chance to bring up any problems they have. Be sure to include everyone, no excuses for not being there. This is big change for all concerned and being up front from the start will go a long way to keep the resentment and hurt feelings to a minimum.


#3

Boy, I really feel for you. This sounds very hard.

I think for everyone's sake you must have your expectations clearly outlined before they move in. The fact that they seem to be very poor at communicating makes this even more important. I'm sure you don't want this to hurt you and your husband's relationship with your in-laws but it's hard to imagine how this is not going to happen from what you have described.

It sounds to me, reading between the lines, that your in-laws may be experiencing a lot of shame and depression which keeps them from being open. It could also keep them from being able to be proactive to help themselves get back on their feet. Are you really sure you want to take this on without first having a long talk with them about how this living arrangement might work and what each expects from the other?

Don't let your good heart cloud your good judgment. It could end up creating a huge rift in the family.


#4

[quote="Truly_Beloved, post:1, topic:204083"]
I need all the wisdom I can get, especially from those of you who have done this before. :)

My in-laws will be losing their house soon. Naturally, my husband and I opened our home to them. We made the offer a few months ago, but they neither declined nor accepted; communication is not what I'd call "abundant" in the family. Since they only have 2 sons (both adults), one of whom still lives with them, they don't have many choices regarding residency. Come October, they will be unemployed for a year, and
. .. .
. It looks like their house will go into foreclosure very soon, and my father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law will be moving in with us, since we don't want them to live out of their cars. My husband and I have sleeping arrangements figured out -- We are blessed with a 4-bedroom home, so his parents can share a room, and his brother can have his own room, too. We don't have much worked out beyond that, though.

[/quote]

you are making a home for 4 adults who have been unemployed for 0ver a year and have been unable collectively to make any other arrangement. I will contact the Vatican to begin your cause for sainthood.

The discretion and diplomacy are all on their side and it is for them to walk on tiptoes around you to cause the lease disruption for your own family life, not for you to coddle them.


#5

Honesty and openness by all involved would obviously be ideal, but you're dealing with human beings, so I'll assume there's more than a bit brokenness involved. I think your best bet would be having your husband deliver the expectations to his parents and sibling.

There is one daughter-in-law in my family, and for whatever reason, her words and actions are always under my parents' microscope. So identical messages from you and your husband may not be heard the same way.

I hope you can all thrive, or at least survive, together. :)


#6

[quote="Catholic1954, post:2, topic:204083"]
Within a day or two of everyone getting settled in, call a family meeting. Tell everyone in advance and have them bring their ideas, concerns and expectations and have an open discussion.

[/quote]

Should we ask them to start first with the idea sharing? So far, they have not been very communicative, and I don't want to make them feel worse by being too assertive. I'm sure they are beyond embarrassed and ashamed of the situation they're in.

[quote="Catholic1954, post:2, topic:204083"]
This will give you a chance to lay your rules and give them a chance to bring up any problems they have.

[/quote]

My husband and I need to sit down and discuss what's really important to us, versus what's not, so we can be prepared to talk with everyone about what we expect. So far, we have very few "rules," I think. :o What kind of "rules" should we focus on? It feels so weird to refer to "rules," when speaking as a child, regarding our parents....

[quote="Catholic1954, post:2, topic:204083"]
Be sure to include everyone, no excuses for not being there.

[/quote]

Oh, definitely. We may have problems getting my husband and his brother together, if anything. My husband is gone for work Monday through Friday, from 7am until 6pm, and my brother-in-law works for a hospital (non-medical stuff) so his schedule is wacky -- But everyone else will be home all the time.

[quote="Catholic1954, post:2, topic:204083"]
This is big change for all concerned and being up front from the start will go a long way to keep the resentment and hurt feelings to a minimum.

[/quote]

I'm positive that's why my mom suggested what she did. I just knew she'd be right. :p :D

[quote="momor, post:3, topic:204083"]
I think for everyone's sake you must have your expectations clearly outlined before they move in. The fact that they seem to be very poor at communicating makes this even more important.

[/quote]

Yeah. I know. :o If this were my parents, it would be so much easier for me to talk with them and initiate important conversations.

[quote="momor, post:3, topic:204083"]
I'm sure you don't want this to hurt you and your husband's relationship with your in-laws but it's hard to imagine how this is not going to happen from what you have described.

[/quote]

Yeah. I think you're right.

[quote="momor, post:3, topic:204083"]
It sounds to me, reading between the lines, that your in-laws may be experiencing a lot of shame and depression which keeps them from being open. It could also keep them from being able to be proactive to help themselves get back on their feet.

[/quote]

Oh, dang... I hope not. I know what you say is definitely a possibility, but dang... I sure hope it doesn't come to that. It's good to be aware of, though.

[quote="momor, post:3, topic:204083"]
Are you really sure you want to take this on without first having a long talk with them about how this living arrangement might work and what each expects from the other?

[/quote]

No, I really don't; I mean, part of me wants to just address things as they come up, but the other part of me knows that going that route is probably a bit too idealistic. Sigh.

[quote="momor, post:3, topic:204083"]
Don't let your good heart cloud your good judgment. It could end up creating a huge rift in the family.

[/quote]

A rift has been building up for quite awhile; my husband is NOT looking forward to having his folks live with us. He loves his parents, but he doesn't "like" them.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:4, topic:204083"]
you are making a home for 4 adults who have been unemployed for 0ver a year and have been unable collectively to make any other arrangement. I will contact the Vatican to begin your cause for sainthood.

[/quote]

:blush:

At first I thought, "Oh, that was so sweet of Miss Annie to say..." and then I thought, "Wait a minute... Saints do an awful lot of suffering.... :eek: " Oh, well. It's family; you do what you gotta do.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:4, topic:204083"]
The discretion and diplomacy are all on their side and it is for them to walk on tiptoes around you to cause the lease disruption for your own family life, not for you to coddle them.

[/quote]

You always know exactly what you're talking about. I want to be like you when I grow up. :D

[quote="seanflynn, post:5, topic:204083"]
I think your best bet would be having your husband deliver the expectations to his parents and sibling.

There is one daughter-in-law in my family, and for whatever reason, her words and actions are always under my parents' microscope. So identical messages from you and your husband may not be heard the same way.

[/quote]

Yep. I definitely want to be the back-up support for my husband, not the initiator. I've had a couple of "discussions" with my in-laws that didn't end well, so I won't be making the same mistakes again.

[quote="seanflynn, post:5, topic:204083"]
I hope you can all thrive, or at least survive, together. :)

[/quote]

Me, too.


#7

Is your brother in law disabled? Why is he moving in, too?

Couldn't he get a room somewhere? Or maybe take his parents to an apartment? They
would only need a two bedroom.

Do all these people get to live rent free? What about food?

I would love a deal like you're offering these folks. You have a huge heart!


#8

[quote="JadeStarr, post:7, topic:204083"]
Is your brother in law disabled?

[/quote]

No. No one involved is disabled or unable to work, thankfully, so that's one less stressful thing to worry about.

[quote="JadeStarr, post:7, topic:204083"]
Why is he moving in, too?

[/quote]

He barely earns enough money to pay for his school loans/debt, car, and car insurance (I think Grandpa still gives him money, because his income is so insufficient); he can't afford a place on his own. He really hates living with his folks, so if he could afford it, he'd definitely be out of there!

[quote="JadeStarr, post:7, topic:204083"]
Couldn't he get a room somewhere? Or maybe take his parents to an apartment? They would only need a two bedroom.

[/quote]

They don't earn enough income between the three of them. My brother-in-law is the only one who is employed, and he only recently found a job (entry-level position outside his experience/field of study). I doubt he has enough recent employment history to qualify for an apartment somewhere, even if he earned enough money to pay rent.

[quote="JadeStarr, post:7, topic:204083"]
Do all these people get to live rent free? What about food?

[/quote]

Along with parenting clashes, this is the biggest issue that has to be discussed. I expect anyone who has a job to help pay for food, at the very minimum. But I also expect anyone who doesn't have a job to be actively looking for one, even if it's not exactly a dream job that they want to do. I anticipate much friction over this. :(

[quote="JadeStarr, post:7, topic:204083"]
I would love a deal like you're offering these folks. You have a huge heart!

[/quote]

I sure hope our huge heart doesn't get itself broken....


#9

Along with parenting clashes, this is the biggest issue that has to be discussed. I expect anyone who has a job to help pay for food, at the very minimum. But I also expect anyone who doesn't have a job to be actively looking for one, even if it's not exactly a dream job that they want to do. I anticipate much friction over this.

TBeloved, what you expect is healthy, dignified and normal. that they will resent you for having healthy expectations says a LOT.

you want to be supportive of your husband? then speak your expectations clearly. maybe even writhe them down. that way, you support your husband in helping his family without allowing your husband to become used and burned out by this.

because you are balanced and clear, you may be painted as the bad guy. *don't defend yourself. * there's NO way you're going to convince your inlaws to LIKE the expectations. just stick to your criteria. and put time limits on everything.


#10

[quote="monicatholic, post:9, topic:204083"]
because you are balanced and clear, you may be painted as the bad guy. *don't defend yourself. * there's NO way you're going to convince your inlaws to LIKE the expectations.

[/quote]

Now how did you know that I have a tendency to try to explain myself when people question my judgment/ways of doing things? :D I am trying to work on that, though, because no matter how much I explain, it seems like it doesn't get me anywhere.

[quote="monicatholic, post:9, topic:204083"]
just stick to your criteria. and put time limits on everything.

[/quote]

Okay, this brings me to something else -- What is a reasonable time limit (the job hunt has been going for 9 months already), and if the time limit passes without progress (like acquisition of a job), then what? Ask them to contact my husband's aunt (mother-in-law's sister) for alternate living arrangements? :o

I can't tell you how bizarre this feels. As the children, even adult children, we aren't supposed to tell our parents what to do. :( Sigh.

Oh, my husband and I spoke a bit about this a few hours ago. I was like, "Honey, I just thought of something -- What are we going to do with all of their STUFF????? We can't pay for a storage unit, and I don't want Grandpa to pay..." And he said, "Oh, NO. Grandpa and I talked about this already. They will have to sell all the junk they have. We don't have the space, and they don't have the money to keep it somewhere. We will NOT pay to store all the stuff they bought. It will be gone." I was so relieved!!!


#11

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