As time is progressing, more speculation and weariness is emerging regarding what our culture demands from kids and their caregivers. Young children are often expected to meet adult behavioral standards. Yet often overlooked are the developmental needs of kids that require principles of trial and error, exploration and learning along the way. A recent debate concerns natural parenting in a world that is becoming more and more individualistic, independent and fast-paced.
What is natural parenting?
Natural parenting is based on “a desire to live and parent responsively and consciously.” There is no single definition, but there are several largely agreed-upon principles of this lifestyle. These are ideals that natural parents tend to keep in mind as goals.
- Attachment parenting
Attachment parenting involves extensive preparation and information-gathering regarding pregnancy, birth and parenting beforehand, alongside maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Exclusive and full-term breastfeeding is an important component that delves deeply into the concepts of organic diet, baby wearing, bed sharing and cosleeping. Parents essentially characterize their responses by sensitivity, consistent and loving care, practicing gentle and positive discipline. Parents strive for communication and mutual respect and avoid harsh or physical punishment. Families seek to balance the needs and wants of each family member.
- Ecological responsibility and love of nature:
Families endeavor to lessen their ecological footprint by living conscientiously and making Earth-friendly choices. These choices can involve choosing organic, using cloth diapers, supporting local economies, and finding toys and clothing made of natural materials among many others. Spending quality time outside enjoying the nature is preferred.
- Holistic health practices
Parents make informed decisions regarding all health care by doing their own research. Common topics include circumcision, vaccinations, medical interventions and medications. Many families choose to use alternative or natural health care such as herbal remedies, chiropractic care and natural childbirth.
- Natural learning
Children learn through everyday activities rather than formalized education. This may include unconventional education methods such as alternative classrooms, home schooling or unschooling. Parents try to teach without traditional didactic interactions to encourage children to ask questions, learn at their own pace and develop their critical thinking skills in an atmosphere of cooperation and harmony.
Where is it going wrong?
Critics argue natural parenting to be highly deterministic. It promotes a view of children as a means for parental action and ambition instead of individuals with needs, desires and dreams that may differ from their parents.
Practices such as bed sharing, baby wearing and cosleeping might not be ideal for a working mother. Many criticize natural parenting as advocating women to give up their careers and ambitions to take full-time care of their babies.
A balancing act
Ultimately, it comes down to striking a balance that not only works for the baby but for the well being of the mother as well. With time communities are becoming more fragmented which calls for a greater need to emphasize upon family values and bonding. Yet, the evolving societal demands, especially for the working cannot be ignored and sacrificed entirely.
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About the author
Sana Ahmed is a journalist and social media savvy content developer with extensive research, print and on-air interview skills, Sana has previously worked as an editor for a business magazine and been an on-air news broadcaster. She writes to share the amazing developments from the mental health world and unsuccessfully attempts to diagnose her friends and family.