Child Labor
From: Ann Barbarow (
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 13:54:55 -0600
Things have been dull on this list lately, what with the holidays, etc. In
the interest of generating a little debate, I submit the following questions:

At what age do other communities expect children to participate in work
tasks in the community? How is this enforced? What types of tasks are given
to children?

At Muir Commons in Davis, California, we have never been able to have a
constructive discussion on this issue (combining, as it does, the twin hot
buttons of children and participation). Different parents have said
"children are not slaves (although that particular parent expects his
children to do chores at home)", "my children will help with the work that
is expected of our household as we see fit", "it is all I can do to do my
own community work; I don't have the time or energy to supervise my children
doing community work". On the other hand is the camp which feels that the
children would probably feel more ownership and take better care of the
community if they helped clean it up. There are other parents who are more
than willing to get their children involved, if the community could just get
it together to come up with some guidelines.

As a result of this impasse we have resentment and defensiveness, and
several people who have passed from teenhood to adulthood as community
members without taking on community responsibilities. We are just your
average American dysfunctional cohousing community.

As you can imagine, these are my views, not necessarily the views of Muir
Commons or any other resident of Muir Commons.


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