Once you’ve found the right housemates, making a partnership with other families work can still be challenging. Here are some simple guidelines for success.
- Stay Focused on Building a Home for the Children – All of Them
- Focus on the best interests of your own child, but you must also keep the well-being of all the children in mind.
- Each group member must share a common goal of building a community of support for all of the individuals living in the home.
- Respect the Choices and Lifestyle of Other Families
- When working on a collaborative project, families will have to share a lot of personal information, opening themselves up to criticism and ridicule.
- Offer criticism sensitively and only when an issue affects one’s child.
- Voice Concerns as They Arise
- One of the biggest mistakes is not to speak up when something bothers you, so as not to “rock the boat.” Subsequently, a laundry list of problems accumulates.
- At some point, you’ll reach a breaking point, often blind-siding the other parents with a list of problems.
- Bringing up concerns, tactfully, as they occur allows everyone to tackle one small problem at a time.
Go ahead, rock the boat! Voice your concerns as they arise.
- Accept That Some Issues Will Not Be Perfectly Resolved
If an issue affects your child adversely, address it as tactfully as possible. If the issue does not affect your child, leave it alone.
- In order to make a project work, each person needs to be willing to make some concessions.
- Be clear from the start about the priorities and preferences on which you can compromise and those on which you cannot.
- Make It About the Children – Not the Parents
- Many conflicts are about issues that upset the parents and have little to do with the people who live together. Don’t put the children in the middle.
- Conflicts between the children are usually resolved with some minor compromise. Those among parents are often more complex and require more work.
- Remember, It’s the Children’s Home
- Parents need to agree about how involved they will be in the household, and the preferences of the housemates need to be considered.
- For instance, should all the family members have keys to the home? Should family members call ahead before visiting?