Living Across the Driveway

For many farm families living close together is part of their way of life.

Living close together can have many benefits including:

– Physical and emotional support of other family members
– Economic savings
– Flexibility in the allocation of roles and responsibilities

However, living close together can also highlight differences in generational attitudes and lifestyle choices – and that can lead to misunderstandings and conflict.

Often parents have deferred (or ignored) housing expenditures in favour of farming expenditures and have grown accustomed to those decisions. The next generation may not be as willing to give up housing improvements or comforts and may want to live in a manner comparable to their peers in other professions.

The parents many feel the next generation is extravagant and the next generation may feel that how they live and what they spend their money on is their business.

Each family has their own priorities and goals and make their lifestyle choices with those priorities and goals in mind.

These choices may include decisions relating to:

– Parenting
– Living environment
– Finances

These choices will also be influenced by individual tastes, cultural background and traditions.

Understanding each other’s priorities and allowing the family across the driveway to be different will go a long way in keeping family relationships strong and healthy and that will help keep the farm business strong and healthy.

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