Twelve months ago I set out to write a book. Why?
Because there was a story that needed to be told.
A story about babies and the depth of gratitude one can only find in the quiet black stillness of 3:38am, softly swaying and singing to our babies as they drift back to sleep.
A story about children and the emotional elasticity they awaken in adults; reminding us that life wasn’t meant to be so serious and that the journey is more important than the destination.
And a story about mothers and fathers who are choosing to parent in a way that humans are hard-wired to parent; whether these practices are deemed to be normal by modern day standards or not.
It’s a story that deserves to be told with boundless passion and unwavering conviction, because those of us who believe in the magical, fairytale-like quality of parenthood are too often challenged to abandon our instincts by mainstream advice.
To comply, nod politely and go along with the crowd; prioritizing the wants of adults over the needs of children in the process.
But, what if we pull back to veil on conventional parenting advice and don’t like what we see? What if we want to make conscious parenting decisions based on fact, rooted in science and backed by evolutionary history rather than popular opinion? What if, as inconvenient as it may be, we’re more fulfilled taking the slow route as we soften our hearts and respond to the emotional and biological needs of our children?
One mother recently wrote to me and captured the sentiment perfectly, saying: “I often long to be a chimpanzee mother in the wilds where natural is normal.” She’s right; those who go against the new and acceptable normal by following a more traditional path are labelled as abnormal. And this is why I wrote The Lost Art of Natural Parenting.
Because those who choose to parent this way shouldn’t feel the need to go underground and lie about their choices for fear of judgment. Because natural parenting is normal, proactive and backed by science.
Because natural parents should feel pride for choosing a path that prioritizes empathy over authority, guidance over control and responsiveness over premature independence.
Collectively, we’ve been encouraged to bury traditional parenting customs; creating habits that have a detrimental effect on the mental and emotional well-being of our children. Many conventional practices arise out of a subconscious belief that babies and children are adversaries or problems to solve. This superficial view results in actions that disconnect families and leave children feeling isolated in an adult world they’re yet unable to comprehend.
As confronting as it may be, if we dare to strip away personal emotion, leave guilt at the door and look at what neuroscience, our evolutionary history, developmental psychology and human instincts can tell us about how we can best serve our children we have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
As parents we have the power and responsibility to provide our children with the emotional foundations they need to become resilient, confident and self-assured adults, but we need the knowledge and the tools to do it. The Lost Art of Natural Parenting provides those tools. And ironically, fancy gadgets, rules and schedules only add unnecessary layers of complication.
Because by trusting our instincts and following our child’s lead, we choose to go with rather than against the grain of childhood.
We find ourselves effortlessly sidestepping many of the modern day parenting pitfalls. Disrespectful terms like terrible two’s and threenagers simply don’t enter our vocabulary. This form of parenting is as old as mankind itself and all we need is the freedom and support to honour our instincts.
I hope to fuel a natural parenting renaissance that will help the next generation of children become happier. And my generation of parents feel more deeply fulfilled, connected and closer to their children.
If we listen, our instincts are intact ready to serve us; deep down we know what’s right for our children. Let’s silence the noise of society and raise emotionally intelligent and mentally secure children. Let’s foster cohesive, peaceful and happy homes where our sons and daughters can thrive. And let’s support each other as we bravely parent OUR way.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead