While I'm definitely not one to judge any parents, especially those that identify as "non-hippie parents," I truly believe there are things every hippie parent gets right when it comes to their parenting choices. I promise it's not just because I consider myself to be a kinda-sorta hippie or proudly label myself as such. At a time when so much of our world is processed, manufactured, and, let's face it, digital; I totally respect any attitude that questions the status quo and encourages us all to return to our roots. That, in a nutshell, is hippie parenting.
My own experience working in the beauty department of a health food store for eight years definitely fueled my own desire to question why and how we have strayed so far from "natural," as a collective society. The more I learned about the potential damage certain ingredients could cause, especially when used long term, the more pared-down ingredient lists I searched for.
That, of course, spilled over into the rest of my life. The more closely I looked around, especially at what was being sold for kids' consumption, the less happy I was with it all. I think that kind of questioning, along with trying to parent more instinctively, is what I love about hippie parents in general. While I know you may not entirely agree with everything they do, I think you have to admit these are nine things every hippie parent gets right:
Trying To Feed Their Kid Whole Foods
I think it's been pretty firmly established by science that we don't want to be feeding our kids food that has been overly processed and has 36 ingredients, many of which you can't pronounce. Making meals from scratch, and limiting the crap our kids eat, is just good parenting in general.
Questioning What Is Safe Enough For Their Kid
I think, up until recently, most parents have blindly trusted the companies trying to sell stuff to kids, whether it's toys, soap, mattresses, diapers, or any other number of products. Instead of taking their word for it, hippie parents carefully examine companies — and whatever it is their producing — carefully, often, and usually end up choosing alternatives that don't boast a bunch of unnecessary additives.
Questioning Whether Every Food Made For Kids Is Healthy Enough For Them
Food that comes ready to consume is super convenient, guys. Trust me, I know, and I'm certainly not going to judge anyone for choosing those options whenever necessary (I do it plenty of times myself). That said, I know that the "fruit" gummies I bought for my daughter are 100 percent juice-sweetened, but also very high in natural sugars. Hippie parents know green-washing when they see it.
Following Their Parental Instincts
Attachment parenting, something many hippie parents practice, is kind of based on a parent's natural instincts and what they just feel in their gut is best for their child. When your baby is crying, isn't every fibre in your being screaming at you to go pick them up? Welcome to attachment parenting, people.
Limiting Screen Time
Sure, everyone knows they're supposed to limit screen time for their kids, but some of my favorite hippie parents don't even have a TV or cable, and don't let their kids use tablets or smartphones either. I think there's a balance in here, somewhere (my 2-year-old son is currently on his third hour of TV, for instance, but he's home sick from daycare, so all bets are off), but erring on the low side of screen time will never hurt a kid.
Listening To Their Kid
To be clear, I'm not talking about listening when your kid complains they didn't get to watch enough TV or they didn't get a treat today. I'm talking about paying close attention to your kid's non-verbal signals, especially when they're younger. My daughter just really needed to be held, in order to sleep for longer during the day, so that's what I did. My son? He could sleep for hours on his own, but only shorter periods when I wore him.
It is mind blowing just how much sugar is in everything we eat. Whether it's yogurt or turkey deli slices, there's an insane amount of it basically everywhere you look. Getting kids used to how things actually taste without the sugar will hopefully prevent them from developing too much of a sweet tooth later on in life. At least, that's my plan.
Respect For Nature
Making sure your kids respect nature's impermanence and teaching them to be good custodians of the surrounding natural environment is going to take this planet a long way. Taking them on hikes, teaching them about why spiders are useful and not just settling for your kid being afraid of them, facilitating wonder; it will all have positive, long term effects on both your kids and the environment.
Letting Kids Be Kids
Whether you want to call it "Free Range Parenting" or "Hippie Parenting," letting kids do their thing is something (I think) more parent should feel comfortable doing. Hovering around them at the playground and making sure they never fall may save them a few scraped knees, and even a broken arm, but what about the balance, confidence, and experiences they may be missing out on?
I'm not here to say that any of these practices make the hippie parent a better one, because people who spend time judging other parents need to GTFO. What I am saying is that maybe there are some hippie parenting moves that other parents could get on board with, instead of laughing them off. Parenting in general should be about balance, right? There are things about the hippie ways of parenting that are worth taking a second look at, even if you don't adopt the entire lifestyle.