Re: creating cohesive cohousing kids' culture
From: dahako (
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2008 10:06:02 -0700 (PDT)

Having lived with my kids in 2 cohousing neighborhoods now, I strongly agree 
with Sharon that open discussion of issues is the key to establishing a 
workable culture.  Pay attention to how you are all affecting each other, point 
it out to kids as it happens (look, John is unhappy with your running under his 
feet; Sierra really likes how you lowered your voice indoors), and give 
parents, non-parents, and kids "permission" to safely raise issues. Then live 
it for a few years before you make more than a very few rules.

At Eno Commons, I think we had 6 or 7 rules. The two most important in the 
early going were: You can't say 'you can't play' in common space, and Be kind 
in all things. The parents also unanimously gave the non-parents permission to 
send any child home at the non-parents sole discretion, provided the adult 
followed up later with the parent. 

One of my kids is 17 and she has been in and around cohousing almost 
continuously all her life. She is definitely a better person for it, and we 
have been better parents because of it. She contributes to the community in her 
own ways and she has learned to listen to others. She also expects to be heard, 
because she has always been listened to. 

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, MD
"Where different households have different rules inside, and it all works 
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