Aside from the four main parenting styles — authoritative, neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian — there are a slew of alternative methods that have stirred up some controversy over the years. There is free-range parenting, which promotes giving children more freedom, and the celebrity-favored RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), which encourages parents to follow the lead of their babies instead of the other way around. Then there is “French-Style” parenting, popularized by Pamela Druckerman’s book, Bringing up Bebé, that urges parents to punish “bad” behavior without giving rewards for the good.
They’ve all made headlines on their own and been debated amongst parents everywhere for years. But one new method, practiced by Adele and Matt Allen of Brighton, England, might just take the cake.
The Allen’s laissez-faire style of parenting, dubbed “Off-Grid parenting,” includes ditching traditional concepts like bedtimes, modern medicine, vaccines, and potty-training. Adele explains to Barcroft TV that they were drawn to it during her pregnancy with son, Ulysses, 5, and have continued to use it with their daughter, Ostara, 15 months.
From the start, her children’s upbringing has been different than most. When her children were born, Adele left the placenta and umbilical cords intact, remaining physically attached to her babies until they naturally fell off after six days. As she reasons, “If babies were meant to have their umbilical cords cut at birth, we’d be born with scissors.”
When asked about vaccines and other forms of modern medicine, Adele, who still nurses her 5-year-old son, says she thinks there’s no “need” for it.
“I don’t really see that there’s any need other than using breast-feeding to supplement them. I don’t see any need to inject any foreign substance directly into the bloodstream. If you use plants and herbs, you target the bad without attacking the good bacteria as well.”
While there are some parents who may agree with Adele’s decision not to vaccinate her children, her freeform thinking in regards to meningitis is raising some eyebrows. The mom of two believes that meningitis can be cured by fasting and maintains that “most illnesses are caused by emotional problems” and that she wants to “get to the root of them rather than fill the body with medicines that will only serve to make the problem worse.”
And that’s not all.
When it comes to education, the couple’s off-grid method entails homeschooling their children, teaching them what they believe is important and shying away from the usual curriculum. Instead of engaging with other children in classrooms, their “freestyle” education has their eldest “drawing on the walls of their home, playing hide and seek, and foraging for food.”
“I haven’t tried to teach Ulysses numbers or the alphabet because I believe children naturally start decoding language around 7 or 8,” Adele adds. “I’d much prefer he was outside enjoying nature.”
And while all that is enough to make headlines on its own, after a July 20 appearance on This Morning where Ulysses jumped on the couch and Ostara peed on the floor, people were really fired up. And, naturally, they didn’t hold back.
#offgridparenting worst behaved kids I have seen in a long time.
I think when your kid pisses live on TV and then jumps on the couch you probably have to rethink your parenting strategies.
If you don’t set children rules in the home, how do you expect them to abide by the rules of society? Quite dangerous.
As I have spent most of my life in Los Angeles, where alternative parenting methods, non-traditional kid’s diets, and bizarre baby names are the norm, I have learned to accept and often embrace other people’s alternative child-rearing practices, despite the fact that I might not agree with them. I believe that for the most part, as parents, it is our right to raise children as we see fit, inspired by our own beliefs and using the value system we hope they will, too, encompass.
I respect any parent’s desire to give their children a unique upbringing, but there are certain fundamental needs that must be met when it comes to health, education, and lifestyle, many of which are enforced to some degree by the government.
While I feel it is a mother’s right to breastfeed a child until they are 5, I firmly believe that any parent who refuses their child medication for meningitis is endangering their child’s welfare. And if parents opt for homeschooling, they should be following the curriculum recommended by their country’s government. I also agree with some of the people who have fired off against this method, especially the person who posed the question about setting rules.
If you raise your children to run free, it might work OK in the privacy of your home, but what happens once you release them into society? They will be incapable of functioning with others, to say the least.More On