Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alternative Parenting: The Basics

I am slowly becoming the alternative mama I always knew I would be.  This is in part due to circumstance but is also attributed to my love of being different and going against the grain. I could insert a handful of pictures of what I looked like through my "alternative" phase in high school.  Oooh, ummm on second thought, I may or may not have burned those pictures.

What is alternative parenting?  It can be defined in many ways, from breastfeeding exclusively to homeschooling and not vaccinating, and even food choices, etc.  For us, alternative parenting has less to do with things like discipline and homeschooling, as I believe those are things best determined by your child's temperament, your personal beliefs (religious and otherwise), and your economic situation (do both parents have to work, health care, etc.).

What alternative parenting is for us is more defined by our choices of what our children are exposed to (food, traditional medicine, etc.) and take part in (holidays and special events), than anything else.  And yes, these choices are guided first by our religious beliefs; our commitment to Christ Jesus is the primary determinant of how we live.  For example, we do not celebrate Halloween.  Some people may think of this as alternative parenting simply because it falls so far from the "norm."  You will also not hear of the Easter bunny, tooth fairy or Santa Claus coming to visit.  I was asked at one point by a good friend, "Gosh, if you don't believe in Santa, what do you do on Christmas?"  I thought this was a strange question but replied, "Celebrate the birth of Jesus and just about everything else you do, except the Santa Claus stuff."  She was perplexed to say the least.

In fact, our Christmas Eve is usually spent canvasing the neighborhood for the house with the most awesome lights and nativity displays, we eat "junk" food for dinner and watch all the standard Christmas shows, we talk about stuff that may or may not be under the tree, and somehow Isaac and I convince the kids to go to sleep so we can finish wrapping all of their presents.  They are well aware that mommy and daddy purchased all of their presents because God gave us the wherewithal to do so.  No complicated stories to fabricate and no need to worry, mommy will not be kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe.

Alternative parenting is a process, for sure.  It requires compromise with your partner who may or may not see things as you do.  It also requires a lot of thought and research and acceptance that there is more than one way to do things.  There will be people who will openly and aggressively challenge your choices, and there will be those who support and encourage your decisions.  Either way, you have to be confident and know that you are doing what is best for you and your family.

This post was much longer but I figured if you had any interest at all in this matter, you wouldn't want to read an entire novel all at once.  So at some point I will publish the entire post in parts two and three.  Bear with me, writing this is a way to log my thoughts on a subject matter very few people I know are receptive to.  Thanks for reading!

This is a great read from a blog I love!


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