|Re: Don't discuss this in committees/children-long||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Elizabeth Stevenson (tamgoddessattbi.com)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 12:47:02 -0700 (MST)|
Regardless of the problem, if it affects the community, it's going to get talked about anyway, so you might as well have that in the controlled environment of a general meeting. An ad hoc committee composed of people who are known to be caring and good at problem solving, or an already existing conflict resolution committee can help to clarify the issues beforehand, and help facilitate discussion with the family. It is one of the things that is difficult in community; all that sharing is great when things are good, but maybe not so great when sensitive issues arise. We have had our share of these. One past incident involved some pretty serious illegal activity by a teenager, and included stealing from the community. This unfolded over many months, so I can't say or remember everything that was done. But the issue had to be discussed, because it did affect everyone. It was painful for the mother, but she understood the need. There were times she did not want to be present when we were discussing it, and did as Sharon described below. Having one person who was a go-between helped her save some dignity and us to speak freely about it in the meeting. At all times we needed to keep uppermost in our minds that these were valued members of our community, and not to let the conversation degrade into gossip or bad-mouthing. The go-between also served as her support in this bad time for her, being the person she could talk to with no fear of private conversation being repeated unless she wanted it to be. My advice would be to discuss the issue, as sensitively as you can. It is painful to know that people are talking about you, but at the same time, each member has a responsibility toward the community to deal with problems that become public. I have had to do this before, and the support that has come from the community can be a pleasant surprise to one who is suffering. I'd like to add something related to this discussion: In the case of children's behavior, these kinds of problems are very thorny. All kinds of very deeply felt emotions are ready to erupt. Parents trying their best, childrearing differences, community frustration, gossip masquerading as concern, concern being misinterpreted - it's a mine field. One thing that has helped our community grow in a whole wonderful new way is the new tradition (okay, that's an oxymoron, but bear with me) that we have of "inservices" on our children at general meetings. It started with one child, when we found the need for people other than his parents (me and my husband) to know how to deal with his special needs. I gave a presentation, and the outpouring of support was overwhelming. It turns out many people had misperceptions and everyone appreciated the new information. It went so well that we decided to do it for every child. The parents talk about how the child reacts to different situations, how they parent the child, what they want you to do when their child is doing something you don't want them to do, etc. This allows for all the parents to feel that their parenting style is being respected, and the children can then expect a certain degree of consistency from the adults. It's not all about problems, it focuses on strengths as well. "My child would love to do gardening with someone, since I hate it, and he loves it." That sort of thing. In this way, too, the people without children get to know the parents and children better, and know more about what their role is, and what is expected of them. Living in community is an opportunity to change how we relate to each other in a positive way, to rethink old patterns. If we don't take advantage of that, it seems a shame to work so hard to build it. -- Liz Stevenson Southside Park Cohousing Sacramento, California tamgoddess [at] attbi.com > From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at] sharonvillines.com> > > On 11/21/02 11:54 AM, "Becky Schaller" <bschaller [at] theriver.com> wrote: > >> Some people felt that the community needed to respect this persons request. >> They were already going through such a very difficult time and community >> discussion would only add to their distress. Others felt like this was a >> community issue and we needed to discuss it and deal with it as well as we >> could. This was an issue which was dividing the community into different >> camps and needed to be dealt with. > > It isn't clear from your description which issue is dividing the community > -- the issue that was upsetting one household or the issue of how to deal > with the issue upsetting one household. > > We have had more than one instance where one household had a personal crisis > that they were not ready to talk about. The way this was dealt with was one > person was asked by the household to be the designated link and > communicator. That way someone close to the household had all the > information including what the household wanted shared and how they wanted > it shared and could assure the rest of the community that things were going > as well as could be expected. People could also approach this person with > offers of help and that person could make arrangements with the household or > tell the person offering the service that it wasn't necessary. > > This has worked very well for all concerned. The household had their privacy > and the rest of the community felt that they were doing all they could and > would be informed if anything else was needed. Explaining a difficult > situation to 43 other households can be very difficult. > > We have also had very good experiences with parents sharing information > about their children and how they wanted them treated on the private list > for members. Things like what to say and not say to my child about my > illness, how to cope with my child's difficult behavior, etc. A tremendous > help. > > Transparency is so important in building trust and comfort. Share > information. > > Sharon > -- > Sharon Villines > Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC > http://www.takomavillage.org _______________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list Cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org Unsubscribe and other info: http://www.communityforum.net/mailman/listinfo/cohousing-l
- Don't discuss this in committees Becky Schaller, November 21 2002
- Re: Don't discuss this in committees Sharon Villines, December 11 2002
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