So one of the most frequent questions I get about Tiny Houses is: “what if I have a family?” It is a good question. To paraphrase Jay Schaffer, “it’s not the size of the house that matters, it is the size in relation to the number of people living in it.”
But this question always bring to mind a question for me
Is it ethical to raise children in such small spaces?
Now I would love to hear you all weigh in on this in the comments section, so please, share your thoughts, I love discussion! But here is my take on it all, it might not be right, so take it with a grain of salt. It is also important to know, as a matter of full disclosure, I don’t have kids, nor do I plan on having any.
I personally think that the raising of a child is successful when the child is loved, is socialized properly, is taught life skills and intellectual ones. This combined with consistency, safety, room to be a kid and financial resources are also very important. I feel that as a young child, living in a 400-500 square foot home would be excellent so long as there is a safe place to play outside.
As a child my mother almost never let us watch TV, we didn’t have video games or a computer and if it wasn’t raining outside, out we went. Luckily we lived on a decent lot in a small town in New Hampshire. My mother would always dress me in a bright red jacket, which happened to be my favorite color (here I was thinking she encouraged it because I loved red), and I would make forts, climb trees, jump on the trampoline. In the winter it was snowmen, snow caves and munching on icicles. I couldn’t imagine having anything less for a child of my own.
The reason I tell this story is that one of the big appeals to Tiny Living is that it gets you outside and reconnecting with nature. The outside world becomes your second home. This rare in our society and it is to our downfall, in my opinion.
There are two instances where I think that a Tiny House might not be all that ethical or good for the child. These two, privacy/boundaries and evaluation of social services, really concern me. As a child gets older she/he needs their own space, they need their own privacy, a dedicated space solely to them is important in my mind. It also builds in responsibility for keeping up one’s own space, cleaning, folding, how to make a bed, personalization, and a place for solitude when needed.
The final issue that I think that is a huge issue and this has yet to be tested in the real world is how a representative of social services / child protective services would view a child living in such a small space. It is often the case that Tiny Houses are not legal, that they in fact by definition (however deeply flawed) is not a habitable space and would be condemned.
I fear that a child would be removed from the home and the custody of the parents. That the Tiny House would be boarded up, the parents might be charged with neglect. It is simply a parents worst nightmare, to have their children taken from them because they are labeled bad parents.