Re: Elders vs. Kids
From: Joanie Connors (
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 16:03:56 -0700 (PDT)
The points laid out by Sharon Villines are excellent. All this needs
to be talked about. Perhaps Sharon's wish to talk about parenting
might be reframed as community manners so you are not implying that
anything is amiss with what goes on in their own home...?

On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 4:43 PM, OC611NGC <normangauss [at]> wrote:
> In our community there does not seem to be any effort to enable children to
> be integral parts of our social milieu.  An observer can see that there are
> meetings for adults in which problems posed by children may be discussed,
> and there are meetings of a "Family Committee" that implies that only
> households with children qualify as families.  The latter is a subset whose
> focus is to improve the child-friendly environment of the community.  No
> separate group focuses on the desires of the elders, such as better
> lighting, improved safety, and a common house with indoor unpolluted air.
> Thus, children are regarded as separate inhabitants of our community who
> need to have special expensive facilities devoted to them.  The "Family
> Committee" has a separate budget which draws from our general expenses.  I
> see no effort to enable children to offer contributions to the community in
> the hopes that they can have a role in providing support to defray some of
> the costs devoted to them. We have monthly work activities, but children are
> not part of the picture. Instead, the children are an expense.  Most people
> like the presence of children.  However, some of us feel that we do not have
> a child friendly environment because we adults do not devote a lot of time
> and energy into child centered activities and we tend to complain about the
> children.
> We already have a large play room, an outdoor play area, a spa, and a
> swimming pool.  But few adults want to get involved in kids activities,
> mainly because it can be exhausting.  At one time, we did have a father who
> was actively involved in kid's fun activities, but he was chastised for
> being "too close" to the girls.  So now we have those who lament that we do
> not have more adults involved with kids, and those who terminated whatever
> activity we did have because it was "too close".
> There is a pattern followed in one-room schools where the older children act
> as tutors of the young ones.  This builds self esteem and makes a young
> person feel valuable.  When I was a child and my family had money troubles,
> we children were expected to pitch in and help wherever we could.  We felt
> valuable to the family.  If this kind of pattern could be established in our
> community, the children could contribute and value our community as much as
> the adults do.
> Leaving the children out and making the adults the sole caretakers of the
> community breeds an "us vs. them" mentality.
> Norm Gauss
> Oak Creek Commons
> Paso Robles, CA
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]>
> To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
> Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 2:19 PM
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Elders vs. Kids
>> On Jul 9, 2008, at 1:25 PM, Gloria Hoffman wrote:
>>> In visiting several cohousing developments, I picked up some vibes
>>> about
>>> issues concerning the amount of resources and tolerance going to
>>> kids vs.
>>> elders and the disabled.
>> 1. We have no issues related to disabled because our disabled are the
>> least demanding and most self-reliant people in the community. And the
>> most good natured.
>> 2. Elders only shows up in issues of kids & parents vs adults without
>> young children, not elders specifically.
>> 3. The best thing we have done in relation to tensions around kids is
>> to talk about it as a group. Many of the offensive behaviors fade away
>> after we have a session, even though we have made no "rules." Pets are
>> pretty much in the same category and talked about in the same meetings.
>> Noise is the biggest issue with kids, then running and rough housing
>> in the dining room. Ball playing in the piazza because it is an echo
>> chamber surrounded with three storeys of apartments and is noisy and
>> irritating when kids dribble or kick the balls against brick walls.
>> And then smaller things like climbing on the furniture in the CH.
>> Everyone wants more room for kids to do active play. We don't have a
>> rec room in the basement as many other communities do but parents
>> don't want their pre- and teens in a group where no one can see them.
>> We have just fenced in a piece of land where older kids can play but I
>> must say I have rarely seen them out there and my unit overlooks it.
>> We have a small kids room and tot lot, both last to about age 6. A
>> movie watching room for age 6 and up.
>> So I guess we deal with it by talking and trying to set aside
>> facilities.
>> One issue that is hard for me personally is that no one discusses
>> parenting. No one. And there are many disagreements about how parents
>> parent. Primarily around manners and community expectations -- not
>> neglect or anything. Messy food habits.
>> I feel that as a cohousing community we should have some consistency
>> and to be teaching children to be well mannered. No one else wants to
>> touch it. In addition to all the games and processes for helping
>> people design communities, I wish there was some series of structured
>> discussions designed for adults and kids to discuss manners and good
>> habits. The child centered parenting it seems should also include
>> teaching good manners and habits, not just cleaning up after them with
>> no complaints and bussing them all over town to classes and other
>> activities.
>> Sharon
>> ----
>> Sharon Villines
>> Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.