Meet The Family With Seven Kids And Absolutely No Rules!
As parents we all try to raise our kids the best way we know how. There are no instruction manuals handed out in the delivery suite so we’re pretty much left to our own devices. Parenting styles are so very different but at the end of the day everyone just wants well adjusted, healthy kids who are independent and above all happy!
While things like food, water and shelter are unequivocally non-negotiable when raising kids sometimes rules and expectations are.
Meet the Rawnsleys. The West Yorkshire family consists of mum Gemma and dad Lewis who are raising their kids Skye, 13, Finlay, 12, Phoenix, 9, Pearl, 8, Hunter, 5, Zephyr, 3, and Woolf,1 with absolutely NO boundaries.
Their free-range parenting style is the subject of a new UK show called Feral Families. It gives viewers an insight into their lifestyle which consists of no school, allowing the kids to play with axes, dye their own hair, swear and eat whatever they like whenever they like. Plus the children have no bed time and are permitted to pierce their bodies and get tattoos.
Gemma says, “I make calculated decisions so if something seems dangerous I know it has risk attached, but the benefits are that they learn responsibility.”
The only stipulation the parents have is that the children don’t lie or hurt each other. The ‘off-grid’ parents say their children are all taught reading and writing at home, with education inspectors checking in every year.
“We just wing it and go with the flow,’ Gemma, 35, told The Mirror. “If the weather is good we sack it off and go out for the day, if it’s raining then it’s a good day to stay in and do stuff. There are no boundaries so the kids get on with life and do what they want.”
One of the kids Phoenix, didn’t want to learn to read, but eventually changed his mind because he wanted to send his friends messages on his XBox.
Mum Gemma says she doesn’t care that her kids are falling far behind other children their age. ‘They’re behind their peers in terms of academics, but I’m not bothered,’ she said. ‘GCSEs are a memory test, it’s not about being intelligent.’
Who knows how this will pan out? Are the Rawnsleys onto something? Perhaps the structured and almost regimented way we’re raising our kids isn’t working. Maybe we need to look at other options such as ‘extreme free range’ parenting to try and nurture street smart in our kids instead of chasing academic success.
Or maybe this will backfire completely with the kids growing up feeling isolated from the greater community. Without a formal education will they be disadvantaged when applying for jobs? Will this way of life hinder them in the long run?
We’ll just have to wait and see how this one pans out. In the meantime you can watch a preview of the series here- VIDEO.
Photos: CHANNEL 4 UK