I know that I have been fairly open about some of the "alternative" parental decisions Josh and I make, but right now I want to really share some of the reasons.
1. We raise John as a vegan - I chose a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons. To me it is the only way that I can live that supports my beliefs. We chose to raise John in the same manner for two reasons, one is health. John will have the amazing benefits of never having consumes cholesterol, a much lower sodium and fat intake and far fewer processed foods than most children his age. We also chose this lifestyle for him because, as his parents, we have to make his ethical and moral decisions for him until he can choose for himself. It would be so foolish of me to say that it is ok for John to consume animal products when I absolutely believe the opposite. What kind of mother would that make me?
2. We don't allow John to watch television or 99.9% of the movies out there. I say 99.9% because he does have a box of Scholastic books on video that we watch about once a week. Along with this, we don't allow him to own branded, commercialized or tied in merchandise. - First of all, let me say this, he doesn't NEED them. John has plenty of toys and clothes. Secondly, advertising and marketing to children is disgusting. Businesses are preying on children's desires to have fun and to love. These companies count on the fact that children fall in love with their characters and then sell them cheap, disposable toys until they can find something else to make kids love. Third, almost all toys in the typical market today, ESPECIALLY those that have media tie-ins have almost no educational or imaginative value. Small children like John learn and grow through using their imaginations. That is just not possible when a toy is designed to imitate something that a child has seen on tv or when the toys talk and act things out leaving no real room for imaginative development. At least with his tractors, Legos, cars, wooden toys, etc he has to come up with scenarios for them to be involved in. He builds them carwashes, garages, barns, silos and workshops.
3. We don't let John "cry it out" - It just doesn't feel like the right decision for our child. The same goes for spanking.
4. I don't force him to do things just because the books or other parents tell me he should be able to - John is 2 and a half and he isn't potty trained. Do I think my son is smart enough to be potty trained, absolutely. Does he want to go on the potty, no way. I flat out refuse to force him to sit on a potty at scheduled times, it doesn't help me and it doesn't make him "trained." It works for some parents, it doesn't work for us.
Along with these four decisions, he will be homeschooled/unschooled. He will attend church services with his father while learning pagan spirituality from his mother. He will sleep in a crib until he decides to move to a big bed or outgrows the crib and he will have long, crazy hair.
Now, and here is a little rant (I know, hasn't it all been a rant so far), is it reasonable to say that Josh and I may reevaluate a decision at some point? Maybe we will decide that Disneyland is something he just shouldn't have to miss or that there is a great show on TLC that he could learn from. Do we have that right? YES, we are his parents! Does anyone else have a right, just because they are related or babysitting or well-meaning? NO! We do these things because we believe in them and we think they are best for him. No one else can do that for our child as well as we can.
We don't make these decisions to hurt people or to make it difficult for them to have fun with John. We don't do them because "extremism" sounds fun and romantic. We certainly don't do them to get back at anyone or to prove that decisions they make are bad ones. Nope, we just want to raise our child the way we feel is best.
So, if you have a problem with the way we are raising our kid then Fuck Off!!!! He is ours, not yours. If I decide to put him in nothing but pink clothes for the rest of his life then I will do it. If we decide to sell every non-wooden toy or change his diaper until he is 15 then that is what we will do. I am sick and tired of people who "care" making us feel like we are doing something wrong.