creating cohesive cohousing kids' culture
From: Karen Scheer (
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2008 21:47:16 -0700 (PDT)
After numerous conversations between parents at our newly established 13 home cohousing community, Bear Grass Village, we would like to consult with other communities about helping our children to establish relationships/ /with each other where respect and cooperation are the norm (rather than competition and disrespect which has been occurring more frequently than we are comfortable with). Others must have gone through a similar period of adjustment to this unique style of living, more akin to an extended family or tiny village than to a typical neighborhood. Also, what has helped parents learn to co-parent with other families?
The Scene:
We are working hard to develop the landscaping, finish our yards, furnish & decorate our common house, etc., so there is much transition still going on here. Our children range in age from two teeny tiny babies to one 12 year old who has avoided participating in any way. Currently, there are 2 girls in the community, 2 & 3 yrs. old; the rest are boys. We have been working together to establish simple behavior guidelines which apply to all situations that we can teach and reinforce, like "Stop means Stop" and "No means No." Most of the children are too young to generate their own list of "rules." Most of the adults are reluctant to create a lengthy list of "no's" and would rather the kids learn to work out the issues with a little guidance from adults.

Thanks in advance for your input! I hope that I have provided enough information to convey the general picture without too much labeling, which causes much discomfort to us parents who are all feeling differing amounts of frustration & protectiveness.
Karen Scheer
Bear Grass Village
Ashland, OR

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