Working Effectively Together

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
    • 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.
  • If an issue affects your child adversely, address it as tactfully as possible. If the issue does not affect your child, leave it alone.
  • 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?

Proudly Presented By