Monday, August 28, 2017

5 Lessons for Living with Your Brother

A little over a year ago my youngest brother graduated from High School and moved in with me. He was planning on going to a community college where I live so I gave him the option to move in with me. I thought it would be good for both of us. He could have one of the bedrooms, the basement, and the 2nd bathroom. It would give him the opportunity to not live at home while helping me with some of the things I wasn't sure about after the divorce. 

While I do not regret my decision things would have been done differently knowing what I know now. Here are the things I learned living with my 19 year old brother:

1.  HAVE A CONTRACT: We discussed the rules and what he needed to do over the phone; however, we did not get a chance to meet and go over them. After approximately 7 months I wrote out a contract for him to sign because he was not doing said items.

We had agreed he would take the trash & recycling out weekly, yard work (mowing, weeding, raking leaves, etc.), shovel the sidewalk in the winter, and work part-time while he went to school. He did not have to pay rent. He did not do these things like he was supposed to and was not going to school. Therefore, I created a 'contract' where he paid a rent and was charged fines if things were not done. 

2.  START STRICT: I let a lot of things go when he first moved in because he was my baby brother. There were different reasons I let things go, but it wasn't the best move. It is easier to start strict and lighten up on some things than to try and become strict.  

3.  CHARGE RENT: It is a lot easier to stop having them pay rent, but it was kind of a pain to set it up after a specified amount of time. Even if you set it up to go to savings account for them later. 

4.  HAVE BOUNDARIES: I did not set and keep boundaries that I know I should have as an older sister. In some areas I became his mother and not his older sister. In this regard there was a lack of respect for my home and items. There was also no guidelines setup on things I believed he would do and in the end didn't. For instance, cooking at 2am on weeknights or screaming & cursing at video games. I should have addressed these from the beginning (see #2). 

5.  BOYS ARE MESSY: Teenagers (especially boys) are messy. I am not saying my house is extremely orderly, but there is that thing we all have. Address that prior to it getting out of control. 



  1. In a lot of ways I think most things are harder with family (as roommates, babysitters, etc.) than strangers. The expecations are different and it's easy for people to get taken advantage of. I hope the new contract helps you guys!

    1. It definitely did. I should have been a little clearer... I put that into effect on January 1st. He decided to move out about a month ago.