Re: Children: Letting them work it out or micromanaging
From: dahako (
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 15:14:10 -0800 (PST)
Hi -

I have two kids who have mostly been raised in cohousing, or in cohousing-in-development. The best parenting advice I have ever come across is to look at everything a kid does as this question: "How do I belong?" (Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson). Both times we have moved into a new cohousing community, my two kids have tested their environment (and everyone around them) to find out how they belong in their new space. If no one sets limits, they just test some more, or they unwittingly continue some behaviors that are inappropriate, dangerous, or destructive. And I have really good kids - ask my neighbors.

In the beginning, the adults need to be around a lot (Robert may have forgotten this, but we usually had an adult actively in earshot all the time in the early days of Eno Commons.) Adults help the older kids (about 5 years and up) figure out how to belong in the community. A few basic rules get set, and a sort of culture sets in. Then most of the younger kids just follow suit over time. In my experience, it takes going through all the school year, seasons, and holidays before everything gets completely sorted out, though the pattern of a "regular" weekday and a "regular" weekend day fall into place in the first three months or so.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland
"Where my daughter says she is going to grow up to live in cohousing after she is done with her therapy because it is weird."

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