Communally raising children is a hotly debated issue.

The Effects of Raising Children Communally

by Angeliki Coconi

Raising a child communally has its good points and its bad ones. Of course, the exact outcome always depends on both the people that the little one spends time with and the needs of the child. If you're wondering what communal child-rearing actually involves, it’s important that you have a look at the purpose of this approach. Most child-raising communities exist to create an ideal social situation for the child -- an environment that can be controlled by a community of like-minded adults.

1. Field Study

To understand the whole process better, look at a case study carried out by members of the Global Leadership Center at the Ohio University. They had a look at a Hare Krishna community in Virginia in order to observe the various patterns that emerge out of this approach to parenting.

2. Group Support

The report found an amazing sense of group support. In a commune, the raising of children is always carried out within groups. This allows for all group members to get involved and help out with the cooking, the cleaning, the disciplining and the educating of the children being raised. It provides the parents with that much-needed support. If circumstances get too intense, there will always be somebody to help out, which also helps the child.

3. Early Signs of Maturity

Researchers also observed that many of the children growing up in the Hare Krishna community began to show early signs of maturity. Many of the children in this environment showed heightened levels of generosity, cooperation and confidence around others. It becomes evident that group interaction aided them in becoming more tolerant and more open to others.

4. Heightened Stress Levels

On the downside, it was also noted that a lot of the time, some sides of communal-rearing caused more stress among parents. For some, allowing their children to sleep out of reach -- usually in community-funded facilities -- would cause more worry than if they had complete control over their child’s bedtime situation. A lot of parents simply deem a family home a more appropriate place for their child to spend nights. One new community member by the name of Devikala stated that she had found it difficult to fully trust some of her fellow community members.

5. Abuse Issues

Another issue that was voiced came from a member whose child had suffered from a minor case of abuse within the commune. Her child had been open to all members of the community and had suffered as a result of too much freedom granted to members outside the immediate family. This led her to question the overall safety of a communal situation.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images