The Kids In This ‘Feral Family’ Don’t Follow Any Rules

When it comes to parenting styles, there is a spectrum – on one side, you have the strict disciplinarian, whose goal is to instill order into their child’s lives, in the hope that it will make them a citizen in adult life.

On the other end, you have the free-wheeling ‘sunshine and happiness’ types who let their kids do whatever they want, and only care about whether or not it makes them happy.

Two parents that definitely fall in that latter area are a British couple named Gemma and Lewis Rawnsley. The two of them recently starred on a show called Feral Families—a show about the increasingly popular parenting trend of raising children without any rules.

The documentary was shown on the Channel 4 in the UK, and follows three different families who are ‘raising their children under the off-grid parenting philosophy,’ according to its official description.

 So what does this involve, exactly?

Well, Gemma and Lewis’ children, from Yorkshire, UK, are entitled to make their own decisions a do around the house – what they eat, when they sleep, etc.

As you would expect, this leads to them doing a lot of stuff that would drive other parents crazy, such as eating ice cream at midnight and even shaving their own heads.

The mother of the seven children, Gemma, said that her kids are no longer in school and they are allowed to curse, set their own bedtimes and dye their hair.

The seven children, pictured above, are 13-year-old Skye, 12-year-old Finlay, 9-year-old Phoenix, 8-year-old Pearl, 5-year-old Hunter, 3-year-old Zephyr, and one-year-old Wolf.

I suppose those are the exact kind of names that you would expect from a family like this, but anyway…

The family of seven showed up on a popular UK television show called This Morning to discuss their parenting tactics.

On the show, the two hosts, Ben Shepherd and Amanda Holden, couldn’t help but compliment how well behaved the children were. Amanda said: ‘without sounding patronizing, for this amount of children in the studio, they’re so well-behaved.’

Gemma, who earns her living as a mobile hairdresser, explains her decision: ‘my upbringing was the complete opposite. I didn’t have a happy time growing up and I always wanted to recreate and have my own family and do it right.

“When I had them I was overwhelmed with this love. When it came time for Skye to go to school it didn’t feel right, but I sent her anyway and went along with the whole thing and so many things happened that I wasn’t happy with and I thought I’m going to do this myself.’

Soon after, the 35-year-old mother went through with her plan and began homeschooling her children. On the show, she explained how she ran her homeschooling like a ‘high school.’

‘It was so strict. We had timetables for everything and it was the learning education authority that came and said ‘whoa, this is intense, you’re doing way more than they even do in school.’

This is a far cry from how her kids live today.

The kids are also allowed to eat whatever they please and dad explains: ‘As a general lifestyle choice we’re vegans so we have a lot of healthy options in the house and they’re allowed to have that whenever they want. So if me or you were hungry at 10 o’clock at night we’d go get something to eat, you wouldn’t deny yourself that option or privilege of having a snack so why should I deny them?’

I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. However, there a lot of people for whom such a relaxed attitude to parenting seems horrendous.

Gemma went on to detail how her middle daughter, Pearl, decided to shave her head but only with her mother’s guidance – you know, since Gemma is a hairdresser and all.

‘It’s hair, it’s only temporary. That’s more about us as parents –  ‘I want my daughter to have pretty lovely hair’. What about what she wants?’

The interviewers then turned to Finley, who is the second oldest child, and asked him how he felt about being homeschooled.

Finley said: ‘the freedom to be with your family and not do what you want, but do what you want to a certain degree, like do a certain kind of school work and if you want to do a certain project you can do that.’

I don’t doubt the love that these parents have for their kids for a second, but one thing’s for sure – this style of parenting definitely divides opinion.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!