Re: Elders vs. Kids
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 14:20:10 -0700 (PDT)

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 Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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