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Four Natural Parenting Tips to Help You Maintain Your Sanity

  Are you into "natural parenting"? Do you parent according to the principles of "attachment parenting"? Regardless of your label of choice, deciding to embark on a non-mainstream parenting lifestyle means making yourself vulnerable to all of its one hundred and one challenges.

  • When you choose to use cloth diapers, co-workers will call you "strange."
  • When your two-and-a-half year old son is still nursing, your dentist will refer to it as "bad."
  • Forbid your child to eat candy, and your neighbor may accuse you of "taking away her childhood."
  • When your four-year-old is still sleeping with you and your spouse, friends will tell you that "it's going to ruin your marriage."

I have not been a "natural parent" for very long; just a little under three years as I write this. But in that short space of time, I have learned some important lessons that I would like to pass on to anyone who feels at all overwhelmed by trying to do the natural parenting thing "right."

With that in mind, here are four natural parenting tips that will help you to maintain your sanity.

1. Prioritize. 
Accept the fact that you can't do everything.

Do you homeschool three kids and try to make all your food from scratch as well as wash the laundry by hand? Are you miserable in the process? I give you permission to buy a washing machine. And/or to feed your family a "healthy" convenience meal (such as whole wheat spaghetti with jarred organic pasta sauce) two or three times a week.

2. Be a diplomat. 
I've learned that certain answers to certain questions will provoke criticism. And I've learned that if I get defensive, I could cause strain in my relationships. So I answer in as courteous, yet vague, way as possible.

For example, When someone asks you, "Is your baby sleeping through the night?", simply reply, "We're all getting plenty of rest, thanks for caring!" Or, if someone asks you, "Wow, three kids and your pregnant a-gain? How many you planning to have, anyway?" make them laugh: "Well, as soon as my husband and I figure out how all this works, we'll let you know."

3. Don't major on the minors. 
Say your mother started you on solids when you were five months old and wonders why Junior, at seven months, is still exclusively breastfeeding. You could do one of two things:

  • Spend the next several months arguing back and forth, getting defensive, and hurting your relationship, or
  • Send her links to relevant online articles and tell her you're doing the best you can given the current scientific research, just as you are sure she did for you when you were a baby. And then drop the issue.

4. Delegate. 
If you have children older than four years old in the house, they should be helping with the household chores on a daily basis. If you have at least two kids over the age of eight in the house, you should be free of at least half of the housecleaning tasks. If you do and you're not, start training them now. As a veteran schoolteacher, I can promise you that children are more capable than we give them credit for.

Parenting is hard enough. Let these four natural parenting tips ease you of some of your burden, and help you find more peace in your day.

As a wellness coach, Emily Jacques' passion is to help you optimize your health in every way as naturally as possible. She shares her knowledge of natural health and green living on her blog at

Would you like to have someone cheer you on as you take steps to improve your health and well-being? Sign up for Emily's newsletter at You will receive your copy of her free report, "From Atkins to Raw: How America's Diets Are Failing Us," as well as ongoing tips, resources and encouragement to help you become the healthy, happy person you were designed to be!




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It's quite easy for most fathers to look at their kids with a critical eye.

And why not? There's a lot riding on the outcome of your kids' development. There's the nagging worry that you're not doing your job well enough and that your child will develop "problems." There's also the fear of being judged as an incompetent or uninvolved father by others. And there's the relentless presence of your children, making mistakes by the truckload while you watch.

They do make mistakes. Lots of them. And you have a number of choices about how you respond to those mistakes and how critical you are of your kids.

Let's consider some different ways of looking at this issue to see if we can get some perspective:

      Creative Goal Setting for kids and teens

An Indian guide who displayed uncanny skills in navigating the rugged regions of the Southwest was asked how he did it. "What is your secret of being an expert tracker and trail-blazer?" a visitor asked him.

The guide answered: "There is no secret. One must only possess the far vision and the near look. The first step is to determine where you want to go. Then you must be sure that each step you take is a step in that direction."

A dream is what you would like for life to be. A Goal is what you intend to make happen. A goal is the near look; what, specifically, you intend to do on a daily basis to get there.  >>> more


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