Re: Children: Letting them work it out or micromanaging
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 13:35:57 -0800 (PST)

I think the only time you can expect children to "work it out on their own" and have a good result is if

(1) they have been taught how to work things out, and
(2) are equally capable of working things out.

To expect a five-year-old to defend themselves against three ten-year-olds is not sensible. To expect a quiet four year old to protect their books and art work from a destructive two-year-old who has just learned how much fun it is to tear paper is not reasonable.

In a new community, children, like adults, will have to be guided toward common values and those values will have to be worked out on a community basis. To just throw them together and expect inclusive and compassionate play to follow means you have some kids from some planet I've never heard of. Would parents do this with learning to read or learning to play soccer?

Often the parents who want to let the kids work things out also have the most aggressive kids, the kind who always get their way because they are bigger, louder, older, smarter, or more verbal. The parents are tired of hearing complaints about their child and blame the other parents for creating the problem. In this situation, teaching the kids how to play cooperatively rather than complaining to the parents often works best because these parents often are overwhelmed themselves.

Sharon Villines
Building Community: A Newsletter on Coops, Condos, Cohousing, and Other New Neighborhoods

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