Re: raising children brochure
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2021 16:11:08 -0700 (PDT)
> On Apr 5, 2021, at 10:41 AM, CJ Q <homeschoolvideo [at]> wrote:

> I'm thinking of making a brochure on raising children in cohousing for
> forming communities. What information do you think would be helpful?

There is so much out there on how to raise children that adding to it would be 
very difficult if you want people to read it.

> I know the main thing I"ll encourage is to try to set up expectations of
> children's behavior before they move in. 

And this is impossible. Children are totally unique and their parents have many 
ideas about how children should be treated and what they should be allowed to 
do. I remember kids having different rules when I was kid, but I thought by 
2000 in a liberal community there would be some agreement. Other than they are 
all invested in their children, there is almost no agreement. It was one of my 
surprises about cohousing.

And remember that most of the people are parents — not just the people who have 
babies and school children at home. Parents with adult children do know 
something about kids, and since they now have to live with yours, they should 
be involved in conversations to the extent that they desire.

Schools are a problem in DC. We have public schools that used to be very bad 
but getting better, charter schools that are newer but of uneven quality and 
ambition, private schools of all kinds that have competitive admissions, and 
home schooling communities. Many children go to public schools outside of their 
school district. Thus none of our children went to the same schools. A couple 
of teens when to the same school for one year or so but otherwise not unless 
they were siblings. No car pools or homework clubs.

What might be helpful is low pressure conversations around topics:

1. If a child is allowed to jump and climb on furniture at home, should they be 
allowed to in the CH?
2. What do you think about indoor voices and outdoor voices? Are children’s 
voices uncontrollable and they should be free?
3. Who should correct a child — the adult close by or only the parent? If your 
child is outside playing do you think other kids or adults should come get you 
to take care of it?
4. Should children be able to run in the common house, particularly when meals 
are taking place or people are sitting around talking? As in 10-20 children.
5. Should soda or other foods that parents don’t want their children to have be 
allowed in the CH? Should everyone agree on a good food standard?
6. Should children who are arguing or fighting be left to sort it out 
themselves or should adults help resolve the situation?
7. Can other adults occasionally give your children cookies, ice cream, or 
carrots without calling you first?

There are lots more questions. When I say low pressure, I mean with no effort 
to change anyone’s mind or make rules — only to share thoughts. People will 
change over time when they hear the responses of others, and experience what 
living with a whole bunch of kids is like. It was culture shock for some of  us 
when we had 20 children under 14, even those who had raised 2-3 children.

Sharon Villines
affordablecohousing [at]
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