Natural Parenting Resources

What is Natural Parenting?

“Natural parenting” is based on a desire to live and parent responsively and consciously. While no two families who practice natural parenting may define it the same way, there are several principles that are widely agreed to be part of this lifestyle. These are ideals that natural parents tend to hold — even if we don’t always live up to all of them, we keep them in mind as goals.

1) Attachment/Responsive Parenting: Attachment parents prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting; practice exclusive and full-term breastfeeding if possible, and feed with love and respect regardless of whether it is at the breast, with a bottle, or beyond; respond with sensitivity; use nurturing touch (including babywearing and skin-to-skin contact); ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally (including bed sharing and co-sleeping, responsive nighttime parenting, and no “crying it out”); provide consistent and loving care; practice positive discipline (with no physical punishment); and strive for balance in personal and family life.

2) Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature: Families strive to reduce their ecological footprint by living consciously and making Earth-friendly choices, such as by choosing organic when possible, using cloth diapers or practicing elimination communication, supporting local economies, and so forth. Parents may choose to find toys and clothing made of natural fibers and materials. Families spend quality time outside enjoying the natural world.

3) Holistic Health Practices: Parents research medical choices and make educated decisions regarding all health care (vaccinations, medical interventions, medications, etc.). Many families choose to use alternative or natural healthcare such as herbal remedies, chiropractic care, natural childbirth, and so on.

4) Natural Learning: Families spend time together, and children learn through everyday activities. Parents try to facilitate learning without “teaching,” to help children ask questions that develop thinking, to develop consideration for others without shaming or training, to give choices while guiding the children, to listen to instinctual cues, to honor emotions and desires, to allow development to take place in its own time, and to engender cooperation and harmony without manipulation. This might include the decision to pursue uncommon methods of education, such as alternative classrooms, home schooling, or unschooling.

Above all, natural parenting is making the choice to develop a deep bond with your children and family based on mutual respect. An attached child grows into a mature and interdependent individual who understands how to develop healthy, secure relationships with others.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in learning more about attachment/responsive/natural parenting, please check out some of the resources listed below.

  • Natural Parents Network Resource Pages: NPN provides links and resources (both online and in print) for every aspect of natural parenting.
  • Alfie Kohn Homepage: Kohn wrote an excellent book called “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason.” (From Amazon) Kohn questions why parents and parenting literature focus on compliance and quick fixes, and points out that docility and short-term obedience are not what most parents desire of their children in the long run. He insists that “controlling parents” are actually conveying to their kids that they love them conditionally—that is, only when they achieve or behave. Tactics like time-out, bribes and threats, Kohn claims, just worsen matters.
  • Attachment Parenting International: API’s mission is to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful, and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.
  • Consensual Living Booklist: PDF of book resources for Consensual Living/non-violent/peaceful parenting psychology.
  • Consensual Living – The Internet Consensual Living Resource: This site has compiled articles, essays, reading lists (see below), discussions, and a newsletter for anyone interested in or practicing consensual living. (Note: There is embedded music on their homepage so you may or may not want to mute the sound on your computer.)
  • The Continuum Concept: the continuum concept is the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings — especially babies — require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution. For an infant, these experiences include many of the same principles as those fostered in attachment parenting (breastfeeding on cue, sleeping close to parent, etc.).
  • Dr. Sears: a family of AP-minded pediatricians
  • Gentle Discipline: many “natural parents” adhere to the practice of gentle discipline. If you are looking for reasons to parent gently along with alternatives to traditional disciplinary strategies/punishment, please check out the links that have been gathered here.
  • Holistic Moms Network: the Holistic Moms Network is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization connecting parents who are interested in holistic health and green living.  They encourage moms to trust their instincts, parent from the heart, use their innate sense of what is best for their children, live in balance with the Earth, and learn about the pros and cons of all healthcare and parenting options.
  • kellymom: kellymom provides extensive evidence-based information on breastfeeding, sleep and parenting.
  • Mothering: Mothering encompasses a magazine and an online community. Mothering strives to provide philosophical inspiration and practical advice about family living. Topics are as diverse as circumcision, vaccinations, organic foods, childhood illnesses, home birth, ear infections, parenting teens, web site information, midwifery, and homeopathy.
  • Naomi Aldort: Aldort is the author of “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves” You can find articles and discussion forums, sign up for a free newsletter, and even arrange for personalized phone counseling from Aldort herself.
  • Natural Child Project: Articles, books, art, counseling, and other resources fostering the importance of treating children with compassion and respect so that they feel secure and loved.
Natural Parenting Blogroll

Please visit some of my (favorite) fellow bloggers who believe in the principles of natural parenting.

And check out even more natural parenting resources and blogs!

AnktangleBecomingCrunchyDulce de lecheHobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogHybrid Rasta Mama: A reggae loving mama’s thoughts on Conscious Parenting, Natural Living, Holistic Health and General MindfulnessI Thought I Knew Mama: A window into the adventures of stay at home mamahood, natural parenting, & green and healthy livingGreen & Natural Mama Thursday @ I Thought I Knew MamaMama Eve BadgeVisit Natural Parents Network

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