Holistic parenting, as with a holistic lifestyle in general, can be many things. But there are certain core principles I believe are crucial to the practice. They all involve taking a step back and gaining a wider perspective and awareness. We must ask questions we never thought or wanted to ask before.
1. Commitment to whole nutrition through whole foods (organic and/or personally-grown foods when possible), pure water, sunlight, and plenty of love. It is not just the food we eat that becomes food in our bodies; from respect for the sun to the ways we handle both stress and love, everything is energy we integrate into our beings.
2. The emphasis of connections. It is essential when growing a whole family that we emphasize to our children the importance of connections–to us, to Nature, to food, to peers, and perhaps most importantly, to their own true Selves. “Who am I and what is my purpose here?” is a fundamental human question we all struggle with throughout the drama of life. If we nurture this innate wondering in our children from the start, they are likely to find their answer more readily and easily than perhaps we did (or are).
3. Right along with the concept of connection goes the concept of respect. Respect for us as parents, other family members, friends, strangers, Nature, food, and themselves. Not only should children be taught to respect themselves, but they deserve a great deal of respect from us, something that is not often encouraged in conventional culture. I believe the younger the person, the closer he/she is to Source, and that deserves an enormous amount of appreciation. Children can be our teachers if we let them; sadly, the wisdom they are born with is conditioned out of them by modern life. We aim to reclaim that realization and nurture it throughout their lives.
4. Seek a wider view and perspective on the meaning of “health.” From over-medicating school-age children with toxic pharmaceuticals to mass vaccinations to the growing problem of chronic childhood health issues, it is clear that the current state of medical affairs must be re-evaluated–not just in the United States, but all over the world. We all want health and happiness for our children, but so many people are helplessly driven into the cyclonic arms of the rudimentary medical system, which often only perpetuates the true problem because it cannot find the root cause, merely its symptoms. The importance of nutrition has only recently come into the scope of the medical community but is still not emphasized during their medical training. How can we make intelligent choices for the health of our families? Recognize if there is a problem, and seek out the solutions. Question, discuss, experiment. Never stop questioning, even when you meet adversity (and you probably will). Ultimately the solutions will be decided by your own spirit, though. Lovingly take what you need from others, but only you can know what resonates with you.
5. Seek out alternative methods of communication and discipline. Unless we grew up with holistic parents ourselves, we can all look back and shudder at some of the situations and fights that transpired between us and our parents/siblings/grandparents. Hasn’t there got to be another way? There are a number of theories out there as to what discipline is and how far it should go with a child.
6. Whatever else you find important! My list may be either incomplete or too crowded for you. Like I said, only you know what resonates with you. Anything that you believe encourages the healthy, complete, and conscious growth of your family can be called holistic parenting.