Re: overburdened "kool-aid" mom
From: Shelly DeMeo (
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 11:46:01 -0600 (MDT)

After trying to get a group to agree on land for over four years, my husband
and I are giving up on Hartford and signing on to join Rocky Hill Cohousing
in Northampton, Mass.  Groundbreaking will be in the fall.

I am wondering what other parents have experienced in cohousing with the
packs of children that tend to congregate and play together.

Today, for example, I have eight children playing on my patio and in my
yard. That is great for my children to have so many friends.  What is not so
great, is that my house is always full of these children whose parents seem
to not check in or call for many hours at a time.   I actually have to call
each parent and "check in" and send the kids home.

In addition to this, I do not allow my kids to watch very much television
and limit electronics, so I end up "helping" them find something interesting
to do.  It takes up much time and energy.

It would be helpful to hear how this scenario plays out in cohousing.  My
wish is that the kids all play OUTSIDE like in the commonhouse plaza area or
woods with all of us parents sort of collectively policing and watching

While my children have a little community of their own,  what is lacking --
with my neighborhood of back yards fenced off from each other -- is
collective parenting.  I am hoping for a little more give and take...

Is this a fantasy?

-Shelly DeMeo
Rocky Hill Cohousing
Northampton, Mass.
16 sold out of 28 if anyone is interested

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 1:41 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_Consensus requirements & Dealing with

> These two threads on Consensus requirements are interesting when you view
> them together.
> On 4/21/2003 12:41 PM, "Juva DuBoise" <juva [at]> wrote:
> > Before
> > leaving consensus, I would suggest that the group attempt to discuss
> > directly with this member the identified issue, (using Non-violent
> > communication steps) giving her concrete examples  of behaviors that are
> > difficult for the community, what individuals (speaking for themselves)
> > feeling (emotions not thoughts), what they are hoping for - needing- and
> > all along the way what she is hearing (supporting her by letting her
> > that this is hard and that the goal is to get her needs met).....If she
> > not at a point of being able to hear this...then reverse the process and
> > if someone can guess (this is a group process!) what she if feeling and
> > needing.  I understand how hard and risky this is.....but just imagine
> > group strength will come out of this!  If you all are able to help her
> > clarify what she is needing everyone wins.
> I would opt for this first. This will also lead to clarification of goals.
> You can see where you agree and disagree. The group may need to split, and
> offer each other support in building two different communities.
> If you can confront the feelings around this, you will be so far ahead of
> where you are now. You will be amazed at the results for _everyone_. If
> just exclude this person, there will be another to take her place.
> including her, has to learn how to work with this situation. She is not
> problem -- the problem is working with diverse groups of individuals. You
> have to work it out now or later, and as Laird Schaub says, "If you do it
> later, the interest rates are very high." More comments below.
> On 4/22/2003 12:31 PM, "Rob Sandelin" <floriferous [at]> wrote:
> > 1. People are willing to express what they think and feel without fear
> > reprisal.
> > 2. Participants agree that the good of the group is the most important
> > factor.
> > 3. There at least one well trained facilitator to guide the group, or
> > entire group is well
> > trained enough to guide itself.
> > 4. The participants trust, or are willing to trust in the future, the
> > 5. The participants can rely on the group to hold their personal
> > fairly.
> > 6. The process is evaluated regularly so participants learn and improve
> > their skills
> > 7. The participants are willing to invest the time it takes.
> Except for 7 and the need for common objectives, what Rob is giving as the
> requirements for consensus I would call the _product_ of consensus. People
> have to be willing to put in the time to consider everyone's feelings and
> work them through to design a workable solution. The requirement of
> consensus is the only thing I've seen that makes a group of people do the
> hard work of reaching it.
> "The good of the group is the most important factor" I still disagree with
> as we have discussed before. A strong group is composed of strong
> individuals, otherwise you get group-think which is not in the best
> interests of anyone. (A group of Anyones is not very interesting either.)
> Consensus requires that a solution be found that reasonably satisfies the
> needs of all members of the group, not that all members of the group
> "conform" or pretend to conform. This is why consensus well-done can
> better and more long lasting decisions.
> Sharon
> --
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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