Re: Off limits
From: patjavcc (patjavccaol.com)
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 06:06:41 -0700 (PDT)
I've read each of these postings with interest.  At JPCohousing we keep saying 
that we 'should' have this in-depth conversation about children in community 
and 18 months after move in (7 years after working together as a group) we have 
yet to have this conversation!  (Aside from a few 20 minute attempts during 
break out sessions of business meetings.)
 
I am a parent of two now ages 12 and 8....but these kids were ages 1 and 4 when 
we first threatened to make policies and rules about kids.  So my kind of 
tongue in cheek advice is: "wait until you move in to make the rules and then 
don't bother making them at all."
 
But really here is some advice:  
We wanted the living room to be an adult space.  Rather than have any rules 
about this however, we just made an effort to not have any toys, books, large 
jump on squishy pillows etc in there to attract kids.  So as a result, after 
dinner or on Sunday mornings, adults that want adult time, go in there and 
there isn't anything there to attract the children.  
Regarding danger zones - keep them locked.  End of story (pool, woodshop, etc.) 
 
One of the things I've discovered is that since living in cohousing where there 
are so many neighbors around, it is possible to leave my kids in the house 
alone while I go out for an hour or so.  If I let them stay in my house alone, 
I think they should be allowed to stay in the commonhouse alone as well.  I 
trust that if there is a problem, someone will let me know.  
With regard to alcohol in the commonhouse.  We are a community of drinkers. 
(Just kidding!!)  We enjoy wine with dinner on occassion and there is often a 
half bottle left over in the fridge.  We don't see any reason to remove them 
from the fridge.  If our teens were going to drink, there are many places they 
could get alcohol.  I think they are less likely to take from the commonhouse 
where they are likely to be questioned.  I've noticed that an open bottle of 
wine stays in the fridge for weeks sometimes.
We have some little ones whose parents never let them in the commonhouse 
unattended.  So as one writer responded, commonsense has prevailed.
Good luck!
Patti
Jamaica Plain Cohousing - Boston
 
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