Forming cohousing on shared interests and needs
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 17:30:22 -0600
One thing that seems important in cohousing is the variety of interests and
needs that multi-generational, non-ideological communities bring. It would
be nice if a child were not the only disabled or adopted or blue-eyed blond
in the group but if all the children shared the same needs it could create
an odd unbalance in values and world views.

When my daughter was about 10, we spent a whole dinner hour with her in
tears, listing off the all the problems with her life. I was very concerned
and shared with a friend my fear that this unhappiness was caused by a
recent divorce and my being too busy with my own interests. My friend, a
totally child-centered, full-time mom with a devoted husband and partner who
shared fully the care of his children, responded, "We spent last night at
dinner listening to exactly the same complaints from our oldest daughter."

Instead of spending the next night trying to "make it up" to my daughter I
went on as if life were just fine--and she did too.

When I supervised a residence for wayward teenagers, the professional staff
members (all young) were quite regularly identifying as deviant the normal
behaviors of healthy teenagers. It was the two women who worked in the
kitchen and had teenagers at home who were most helpful in "normalizing" the

Sharon Villines
Synergy Cohousing, Delray Beach, FL
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