Raising kids in cohousing – again

There is probably no bigger issue than children in cohousing. Many people want to live in cohousing because it looks like a wonderful place to raise children. That’s what I thought too.  And it can be but some things to consider.

Many families decided not to live in our cohousing when other families couldn’t move in for whatever reason or not and that meant there wouldn’t be children of the same age.  That can happen anywhere. Many neighborhoods have kids the same ages, and sometimes not. We had neighbors with the same ages in our previous town but they had to move away. Same with some of my children’s friends – people move.

Having different ages playing together can be a good thing.  It’s one of the things I loved about homeschooling. It is the public schools that decided the same age had to be exclusively together.

In communes and cohousing, the kids can become their own group. It can be cool to see their own world and language. However, if some children behave in ways that troubles other families, it can influence the whole group.

The days are long but the years are short. A saying about raising children.  They grow up. What I noticed with my children is when they are young they’ll play with anyone but as they get older, they want to be with people with their own interests.  So, it is a small window that they’ll have neighborhood playmates.  Also, if you move into cohousing for your children, what happens when they grow up?  I’ve heard some move out. Other communities all the kids grew up and now they are a community with no children. I have one rule in my house – no growing, but they keep disobeying it.

Another reason people move into cohousing is so that their child can have other adults in their lives.  I heard that about homeschooling too and my eldest has had amazing influences through homeschooling parents and church leaders. The problem is when the adults don’t act like adults.  Stop talking to your kids because they are mad at you (I”ve heard a few examples of this).  Arguing, yelling, and screaming matches in front of kids.  Or you aren’t okay with their lifestyle and your kids seeing that – nudists, polyamourous, whatever.

I have also heard some people upset that they feel like they live in a preschool. If the community is too focused on kids, it may feel unbalanced.

Just things I’ve heard and seen and to think about.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in bad behavior and bullies of any age, parenting, time and family balance, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Raising kids in cohousing – again

  1. Flower says:

    I was trying to run a search on reasons why people leave cohousing and not coming up with much, but I did find some wrote, “Despite all of this, the fact remains that differences in attitudes about how to bring up children seem to be the single most contentious issue for communities. such ”

    Not exactly a shocking revelation, but I don’t see much written about the subject. I see much more about the benefits such as:

    “This is something you can have no comprehension about until you actually live in community and then, after a while you will take for granted that your three year old is off somewhere out of site, playing, and you have no idea where, but you are not the slightest bit worried about it. This is ALWAYS disbelieved by parents when I tell them this because it runs so absolutely counter to their current experience. Most people are exhausted trying to keep tabs on their kids all the time to keep them safe, and spend hours amusing their kids, taking them places, etc. And yet in every cohousing community I go to, even ones very urban, its the same kid and parent scene. The parents I meet say, oh yeah, I have 3 kids…. They are around here somewhere or other. This in itself, will buy you huge amounts of free, private time. Maybe more than you want.”

    So reading this the focus is on not having to worry about where you kids are and that it allows parents huge amounts of free time. So in essence “free babysitting”. Other articles are even more upfront about the childminding benefits of cohousing.

    I really had no idea that suburbia was considered so unsafe or worrying or isolating. I didn’t check to see the date on how long ago those comments were made. Certainly given our current circumstances most cities have seen a serious uptick in crime.

  2. Flower says:

    I don’t know where or if you’ve covered this subject, but I tend to read this in articles about cohousing.

    “The nuclear family is a lie and the idea that there is nothing we can do to undo this culture is also a lie. We are trapped, so many of us, by what our world thinks we should and shouldn’t be or should or shouldn’t have.”

    And this:

    “In and out of lockdowns, the headlines have decried the myths of the nuclear family. All at once, we are feeling the costs of our society’s obsession with individualism and suburban idealism, alongside the systemic ignoring, or in some cases, stripping, of family-first policies.”

    I don’t understand the current trend of bashing the “nuclear family” saying that it’s lie. It is NOT A LIE for a lot of people. If someone feels that they are living a lie then maybe they need to problem-solve or get help. I find such comments confusing and offensive. I also don’t get why this person feels such a need to undo “this culture” or why they would think it a LIE.

    Then the comment, “We are trapped, so many of us, by what our world thinks we should and shouldn’t be or should or shouldn’t have.” Who is “we”? Isn’t life about figuring out the path that is right for you? I believe we are lucky to live in a country that allows us this personal freedom. If she feels trapped it is her own thinking that is the prison.

    I know the trapped feeling well and I would certainly feel it in a cult and more than likely in cohousing, which I think could possibly have the potential to take a toxic turn.

    Then they write “In and out of lockdowns, the headlines have decried the myths of the nuclear family.”

    What myths? Yes, I’m fully aware of the incessant bashing of the “nuclear family”. There’s a lot of interesting discussions about this trend of tearing down and degradation of traditional families and why it is happening.

    “All at once, we are feeling the costs of our society’s obsession with individualism and suburban idealism.”

    What costs? I also hear a lot from certain writers about society’s alleged obsession with individualism. This is so over-the-top and I wonder if this is taught in schools as there’s a pattern that I’ve observed–a focus on collectivism as being the answer. I don’t get why there’s this need to vilify and attack suburban life? Plenty of people are perfectly content to live in the suburbs. Many people find community there. It is what you make of it.

  3. CJ says:

    Yes that’s another talking point about cohousing. Being counter culture but some people have realized that just bashing the culture doesn’t mean you form something better. I do love the idea of it takes a village to raise a child, however, my community didn’t like my input! So, it’s a pipe dream. I also believe your comment about most people are motivated by their own interests. For me that manifested in motivated to protect my children. I was hoping cohousing would be a great place for my kids to play with other kids, have adults watch over them and care for them, and understand my autistic son growing into a man. But, people could care less what the kids were doing and didn’t want to talk about some of the hurtful behaviors. Some of the kids are terrible kids for the others to play with. And it seemed the total opposite of a safe place for my autistic son. I high tailed out of there! My sister found a lovely house in the suburbs where the neighbors did watch out for the kids and it was a great place to raise a family. It just depends on individuals who move in.

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