Author Topic: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?  (Read 1542 times)

JustK

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Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« on: January 10, 2021, 07:11:39 AM »
I am hoping to hear from other parents with almost-grown kids who have successfully combined households with a significant other who also has almost-grown kids. Did you get a bigger house despite knowing you'd be empty nesters almost immediately? Do you have an all-purpose guest room for whichever kid shows up? What did you do over college breaks? What happened when kids graduated but didn't have jobs right away?  What worked? What didn't? Anything you would have done differently if you could go back and do it again?

I have been in a committed, long-distance relationship for the past several years (we live on opposite coasts of Florida, about 350 miles apart), and we are now reaching the point where we are ready/able to move toward the next phase of our life together. We are both 50ish, and both have two kids (ages 8 & 18 for me, ages 18 & 21 for him), for which we have both had primary custody... which is why we have been doing the long distance thing for so long.  Since I still have a young child, he will likely move to my side of the state, so that said young child can still spend every other weekend with her dad.  Two of the kids (my 18-year old and his 21-year old) are already off at college, and his 18-year old will be off to college in the fall. His kids are/will be attending colleges on my side of the state.

He has to sell his house after his youngest graduates (or buy out his ex), so at least one house is likely to be sold no matter what we decide.  My house is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,700 sq. ft.  I have a bonus room space that can be used as a guest room (I am currently using it as an office/fitness room during Covid times), so technically we have enough room for everybody to stay/visit/whatever.  But that feels jerky... I wouldn't want his kids to feel like guests while my kids had real rooms.  We could likely add on to my house, possibly making a space that could be used as a rental/mother-in-law suite if our kids didn't need it. Or maybe he rents a place nearby for the first couple of years as the kids begin to more fully leave the nest?

I'm not totally against selling my house and buying something bigger together, but it's not an ideal solution because: 1) housing prices in my little up-and-coming city are crazy, and 2) it's Florida (on the coast), so the long-term viability is... not great.

We are starting to have these conversations, so I am curious if there are some outside-the-box solutions that are worth discussing, too. Thanks in advance.


Blackeagle

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2021, 08:21:20 AM »
Given that youíd hopefully only need more space for a limited time, perhaps consider renting a larger place for a few years?  What do the rent vs buy calculators for your area say about a 4-5 year time horizon?

mozar

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2021, 09:50:28 AM »
I suggest turning your 18 year old's bedroom into a guest bedroom. Then all three of the adult children won't have real bedrooms.

It's nice of you to want all three adults to have their own permanent bedroom in your house, but unless they're contributing financially, I don't see how that is fair to you to buy a much larger house. If you plan on long term multi-generational living that's a discussion all of you should have together.

MayDay

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 11:34:48 AM »
Many/most 18 year olds live in the dorm and co.e home all summer. It's probably viable for the 21 year old to just use a guest room, but probably not for the 18 year olds, for a couple more years.

I'd be inclined to make the office room a bedroom and let each 18 year old and the 8 year old have their own room, with the 18's bedrooms being kept in more of a guest room state when they aren't at home. And the 21 year old really probably doesn't need their own room.

JustK

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2021, 08:12:57 AM »
Thank you for these suggestions and considerations. It is very helpful get outside perspective on this, and to have a few more options to toss into the hat.

One thing I wanted to clarify is that, while I don't think it's necessary to provide deluxe accommodations for all the adult children (and I would not be paying for this by myself if we did), I do think it's important to understand and validate my significant other's feelings of trepidation in essentially packing up his life, (possibly) changing jobs, and leaving his kids without a familiar home base at this weird moment in history. I totally get that, and I would feel the same way if I were the one making the move. If spending a bit more money (whether for a larger house or renovating mine, or renting something temporarily) allows him to feel that his kids will feel welcome and included in his new life, then it's worth it. (Side note: He does not read MMM but he is a successful and frugal guy with a good head on his shoulders, a solid bank account, and a heart of gold.)

That said, I think these ideas (converting the office, possibly renting a bigger place, etc.) are great. They will definitely help us talk about some ways we could approach this.

We be free if we try

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2021, 03:09:34 PM »
I donít have answers, but want to chime in that Iíve got a similar but one-sided situation, with 17 and 20 year olds, and a newish partner that has no kids. I moved just late this summer, into a 3 br in which the 20 year olds room is mostly a guest bedroom / tv room. She understands, though her first visit back it took a little acclimating. The partner and I havenít been together as long, but Iím planning to move again closer to him after the younger one heads to college next fall, and at that point I do want to make sure both kids have a place to land with me, and can spend summers with me if desired. Itís a delicate process, and I think all the individual personality dynamics prevent one-size-fits-all solutions. We may delay living together for a bit longer (assuming it continues to go well), even though itís less ideal financially. I can imagine it could be harder with 2 sets of kids.

peggster

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2021, 07:02:15 PM »
Have you considered asking the college aged kids what would make them most comfortable? The reason I ask is that I've been in this position as one of the kids, and the way it was handled caused years of pain and frustration. My sister and I were the older two (17 and 19 at the time) when my dad married my stepmom, who had 7 and 10 year old kids. The three of us moved into their house, where my sister and I shared a room in the mostly unfinished basement when we came home from college on breaks. It was very much a situation where my sister and I entered an existing family unit rather than merging two family units into a single new unit. It took a long time before I ever felt like I was a part of the family, and even now (over 30 years later) I don't always feel like I fit in. The kids may not know exactly what they want, but it might be good to at least ask them and listen to what they have to say. Good luck!

Morning Glory

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2021, 04:52:45 AM »
You have three bedrooms. Can the kids just share rooms during the summer and holidays? One for boys, one for girls. Get them some bunk beds. They will bond with each other, just like having a roommate in the dorm.

My mom remarried when I was 9 and my brother was 6. My step siblings were 24F and 20M and had mostly moved out. They always just shared our rooms when they came home to visit. Stepbrother stayed all summer a couple times. It was fine. Brother had bunk beds and I had a daybed with a second bed that could be stored underneath (I don't know if they still make those?). We had friends stay overnight a lot too.

MayDay

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2021, 05:44:21 AM »
I think it also depends on the personalities.... My parents moved when I was 18 so I never had "my" bedroom again, it was just a guest room with some of my stuff in the closet, although I did stay there all summer a few times.

But a friend of mine still has her childhood bedroom just as she left it, white wicker furniture and all, and I'm pretty sure she would be very upset if her parents suddenly took her room and turned it into something else (not that she has reason to be, I'm just say, there may be a lot of Feelings).

JustK

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2021, 09:22:17 AM »
I appreciate these further perspectives and the shared personal experiences.  We will definitely be having a lot of heart-felt conversations with our kids as we begin making plans, and we may find that we've worried entirely too much about something that they will take completely in stride. We are both super sensitive to all of this because, frankly, we were each the parent who held it all together while the other parent went about "following their bliss" or whatever it was... :) My kids' dad remarried immediately after our divorce was finalized, and my 18 YO now sleeps on the couch when he visits his dad's new family (the 8 YO has a room). But that was several years ago, and I have to say I think we each have done an amazing job raising wonderful kids who want us to be happy, too.

Duke03

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2021, 11:18:49 AM »
My personal opinion is I wouldn't make it to cozy of a place for any college age adult to want to come back and stay..... Maybe each parent have a discussion with all the kids and say this is our living situation going forward.  We would love to have each and everyone of you as guest at some point that is why we have this guest room.  Make sure they know its a guest room and is not and will not be their permanent residence going forward.  It's harsh but it will solve multiple problems that could creep up in the future.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2021, 11:35:13 AM »

Have you talked to the kids? Do they want to move back? Or, are they of the "peace out" mindset? Or (gadzooks!) do they have an unstated expectation of moving back in?

I'm all in favor of kicking the kids out, but to be realistic they are all in a place where some level of support (not necessarily money support, but a back stop place to stay).  Even if the 21 year old has their act together, they may not be facing the best job market and the 18 year olds will likely be coming home for summers/breaks.

Renting has a huge appeal to get excess capacity for a few years. Not necessarily dedicated bedrooms, but offices/hobby rooms/unfinished basements that can be temporarily repurposed.

socaso

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Re: Experience Joining Households With Almost-Grown Kids?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2021, 02:47:20 PM »
I'm in the "talk to the kids" camp with one suggestion, you and your SO should discuss all options and come up with 2-3 that you are comfortable with and THEN talk to the kids. If you present tons of options everyone is going to want something different and then be unhappy when they don't get their way. I think the fact that you are seeking their opinions will go a long way to making everyone feel comfortable.