Re: Issues around Children in community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 12:36:01 -0600 (MDT)
> On the other side you have some of the parents who
> feel that the opposition is truly "anti-children".
> How to bring these people together?

Let the children negotiate the relationships. Bring the children together
with the adults. Children need contacts with all sorts of people to grow up
well. The adults will bend and the children will also. Parents need to
support their children but to stay out of the way when they go into the
world (as in leave their cribs).

Naturalists are always doing studies to find out why "organisms" do things
like outlive their biological usefulness. A study a few years ago discovered
that the function of grandparents is to take care of older children when the
babies come along. Mothers can handle the babies but the older children only
thrive if there are other adults around to replace and supplement her
attentions. Strong families (and children) are the result of several
generations of support.

When my children were small I was very active in the Unitarian Church and
almost none of my friends had small children. Most had no children. The
children often had to come to my office at the college when there was no
school. As a result they were surrounded by adults in situations that were
not designed for children.

It was a great gift. From very early, they could carry on conversations and
treat adults just like they were real people. They ate meals well, were not
destructive, understood jokes, and did not expect to act like monkeys when
they were bored. As a result they were always welcome and had good
relationships with adults who treated them like friends -- and still do.

It was of great help to me to have to expect the children to learn how to
relate to other adults. I didn't have time to run interference and it was
less of a struggle to be a parent as a result. We had a lot of conversations
about how some people expect this and some expect that. "These people will
get upset if you say these words (for example). Some people will dislike you
and others will have their feelings hurt. It is your choice."

As a result they learned how to speak up and explain themselves, and they
have incredible self-confidence.

Expect the children to be intelligent and to handle the other adults (the
way they handle you), and they will.

I hope.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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