I wrote this months ago way before the Slap that was heard around the world at the Oscars 2022. The Slap is a novel and it was made into a TV series in it’s homeland of Australian and then into a show in the US – with a few of the original actors.
It is an excellent series to watch before moving into cohousing. It’s more about family, economics, class divide but it touches on an issue that happens a lot in cohousing – behavior of the children, response or lack thereof from the parents, and response and effects on everyone else and their children.
As the title suggests, there is a slap. One family, Rosie and her artist alcoholic husband are raising a child, Hugo, as their equals. No time outs. No limits. At a huge family gathering, that child destroys property and then swings a bat at the other children. One father slaps the child. Then the whole story unfolds. How each party responds.
Rosie and her husband end up suing the father for abusing their child. They are trying to blame the father for all the problems though the child is out of control and gets kicked out of preschool for their wild behavior. In the Australian version, he hits his babysitter and insults a man walking by.
It is interesting to watch each version since the American version is so American. Has a moral lesson (the judge tells Rosie and her husband that they n eed to teach their child and have some limits) and Americans won’t touch the abortiion issue on TV (usually) and ends with an almost 100% happy ending.
As far as cohousing, it begs the question of what to do if someone wants to step in and correct a child. And you don’t like how they choose to do it? I’d say most would disagree with slapping the child and that’s’ part of the book’s themes. But when you move into an intentional community, there is a bit of an assumption that you realize what one person does affects everyone (or you hope so) and I always thought it’d be nice to have a village help raise your child. But in my village, they’d rather hide away with their curtains closed than step in and and figure out what’s best for the kids. I was working under the assumption that if it was my child, I’d like someone to protect them. I was wrong but then again, I did the best thing and moved my kids out of there and now they are safe again.
Does a neighbor have the right to punish your child? That’s one of the many questions in the book. Is a slap too far? What does it say about the slapper? The child? The parents of that child? And for this story, how it has ripples across their family/community.