Natural Parenting: What is Natural Parenting?

Natural parenting ...
... means following the rhythms of life, rather than letting rigid schedules dictate how you raise your child. When my children were born, I let them determine our schedule. Rather than forcing than to eat or sleep at certain times, I let their needs determine when I nursed them and when we took our naps.

Although many parents fear that doing this will make them lose control of their lives, this is not about power. It's about raising children to trust their instincts from the start, to express what they need, when they need it and to satisfy their needs without rigidity. It's my belief that the overall psychological health of our society would improve if we raised our children in this way.

Natural parenting is child-led. Although some parents can't imagine being led by the erratic whims of a child, these are the very parents who miss the miracle of their child's unfolding. More than that, they turn down their child's invitation to transport them back to their natural state in which the world was a place of play and wonder.

Much of what we've learned about natural parenting, we've gleaned from Native American spirituality. Click on the link to learn the many ways in which we have adopted these values.

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Natural parenting is about living in concert with the Earth and raising your children to do the same. It means being resourceful, taking only what you need, sharing with others, using holistic formulations for health and healing, preparing natural, life-giving meals and honoring this gift that is your life. Of course, raising kids naturally means more than just buying organic food, it involves surrounding ourselves and our children with organic bedding, baby furniture sets and toys that are safe, natural and toxin-free. It is a way of being that recognizes the interrelatedness of everything and relishes the moment while seeing the bigger picture. Living in such a way creates an intimacy with life that generates an inner joy, regardless of circumstance.

Of course, this also means doing our best to live naturally in an increasingly synthetic world. For instance, if you have hyperactive children you can use natural means to help your children overcome this disorder which greatly impacts their brain. Of course, raising kids naturally means more than just buying organic food, it involves surrounding ourselves and our children with organic bedding, furniture and toys that are safe, natural and toxin-free. This is one way to ensure our children lead healthy lives and it starts in the nursery.

It also means taking a look at how you parent. For more on this read my article on the 3 parenting styles. In it, there is a quiz to determine which style you tend to operate from.

Natural parenting has its roots in attachment parenting and indigenous cultures who saw themselves as caretakers of the children, the people and the Earth. Native American culture has long been noted for its focus on stewardship. To learn how to raise your children in this way, read, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. This award-winning book combines ancient native concepts with cutting-edge psychology to show parents (of any creed or culture) how to raise children to develop their natural strengths and lead fulfilling lives in concert with the Earth.

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