RE: Children: Letting them work it out or micromanaging
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 18:27:45 -0800 (PST)
Welcome to life in community. Parenting differences are normal and can be
quite difficult and uncomfortable, depending on how dogmatic parents are. It
is the ONLY issue which has caused people to move out of my community. (some
VERY dogmatic parents) Kids and their differences have engendered more
meeting time than any other issue in my community. This is not a bad thing.
There are no easy, one size fits all solutions that I know of, although
getting parents on the same page whenever possible helps. Parents of similar
age playmates should plan to invite each over regularly for tea and
conversation.  My own daughters created the need for a "wisdom circle" which
regularly involved all the girls (8 at the time) and most of their mothers
and sometimes fathers.  In these circles the girls talked about how they
were feeling, parents helped facilitate and set structures and boundaries if
needed, plus of course offered lots of encouragement and positive feedback.
This went on for about 2 years, meeting randomly as needed or wanted. At one
point it became a mother-daughter sort of bonding thing and they did moon
circles and other group development stuff. The end result is that these
girls are a tight group of sibling like relationships even though 4 of them
are now living offsite. They still have their occaisional fights, but they
negotiate them easily since they are all secure in the knowledge that they
are loved and accepted.

This group of girls grew up to be our childcare providers and sort of
brought their learnings with them and have done a great deal of work with
the younger kids, and they are all widely loved and admired by their
charges. We got lucky that way I guess. It's amusing to me to overhear the
kids say something like....that's not the way KARA taught us how to do

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Cohousing
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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