Mom living in rural Australia forced to defend her parenting rules – Daily Mail | Directory Mayhem

An Australian mother has been forced to defend her unusual parenting rules after she banned strollers, high chairs, daycare and even shoes.

Alex Tucker, 25, has introduced several “controversial” rules for raising her toddlers Berkley, two, and Freya, one, to suit their rural setting on the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales.

The toddlers don’t use high chairs or strollers, instead going on five-mile hikes, and she doesn’t enforce structured play or sign up for weekly commitments like playgroup.

Her kids don’t go to daycare, Alex chooses to either take them to work on the boat with her and her boyfriend Paul, or they just don’t go to work.

Alex Tucker, 25, has introduced several “controversial” rules for raising her toddlers Berkley, two, and Freya, one, to suit their rural setting on the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales

The rural mother refuses to teach her children to swim, even though she lives by the water, and the children don’t even wear shoes, but run around free and barefoot.

After sharing her rules online, Alex received a lot of criticism from other parents, with one commenting that social services should be called.

But she’s defended her rules ever since.

She said shoes distort the shape of feet and that strollers and high chairs are not essential to their way of life.

She defended her decision not to give them swimming lessons, saying they would encourage their water-scared children to go into dangerous water to swim.

“I don’t mind people disagreeing with my ‘controversial’ rules. Moms get criticized no matter what they do, and especially online,” said Alex, who works in the fishing industry.

After sharing her rules online, Alex received a lot of criticism from other parents, with one commenting that social services should be called

After sharing her rules online, Alex received a lot of criticism from other parents, with one commenting that social services should be called

She defended her decision not to give them swimming lessons, saying they would encourage their water-scared children to go into dangerous water to swim

She defended her decision not to give them swimming lessons, saying they would encourage their water-scared children to go into dangerous water to swim

“That’s why it’s important to share the ‘controversial’ things. I’m opening up the conversation for everyone to start thinking outside the box before directly criticizing a person’s upbringing when they don’t realize how different a person’s lifestyle can be.

“I do not preach my ways and this is not a guide. That works for our family.”

Alex’s children roam barefoot on the beach, on the sidewalk, and even on their family hikes, but the mother insists it’s better for her children to go barefoot.

“It kind of shocked me that that was a big problem for a lot of people,” she said.

“In Australia it’s pretty normal not to wear shoes unless you’re in shops, at school or at work.

“Even if you’re from a coastal town like us, it’s normal not to wear shoes in shops, and it’s also common to not wear shoes when working on boats. .

Alex's children roam barefoot on the beach, on the sidewalk, and even on their family hikes, but the mother insists it's better for her children to go barefoot

Alex’s children roam barefoot on the beach, on the sidewalk, and even on their family hikes, but the mother insists it’s better for her children to go barefoot

“A big factor in this is muscle and joint development. It’s no secret that shoes change posture and foot shape, so I wonder why they distort their natural development when shoes just aren’t necessary most of the time.

“Shoes serve a purpose, like when the ground is too hot or too cold, or when snakes and wildlife pose a serious threat, or when something hurts when walking.

“Most of the time, they’re just not things that we deal with in our daily lives, so the kids don’t wear shoes.

“If you don’t wear shoes, your feet often get hard. They learn how to walk on uneven ground and as a small coastal town in Australia that’s just our way of life.”

Alex’s friend Paul owns a fishing business and Alex, who has experience as a fisherman and merchant captain, often helps out on the boat when he needs extra crew members.

The couple usually take their children to work, with Paul having them alone when Alex needs to help out on another boat.

If the weather conditions are too bad for the kids to go on the boat with Paul and Alex is busy, the father will miss his workday altogether instead of sending his kids to daycare.

“We’re a rural family working in primary production — I’m a stay-at-home mom by necessity, like most rural moms,” Alex said.

The couple usually take their children to work, with Paul having them alone when Alex needs to help out on another boat

The couple usually take their children to work, with Paul having them alone when Alex needs to help out on another boat

“I am needed at home for more than childcare and housework – we are the people on the front lines of feeding the nation.

“If it’s not a desirable day for them to come to work, one parent stays at home, that’s country life.”

Despite living by the water, Alex has chosen not to teach her children to swim – another rule many concerned parents have called dangerous.

Parents online were quick to point out that knowing how to swim could save their children’s lives if they end up in the water alone, but Alex has said there’s a big difference between water safety and swimming.

“It was difficult deciding to take swimming lessons, but I came to the conclusion that a toddler probably can’t swim out of the river on their own,” she said.

“In the river here, currents and submerged objects are a big factor in drowning and while they have a healthy fear of the water I will not encourage them to enter it by giving swimming lessons.

“We often play by the river and if a toy falls in, they freak out and ask me to get it.

Despite the backlash from parents online, Alex has no regrets sharing her alternative parenting rules and hopes she's opened up a conversation about country parenting

Despite the backlash from parents online, Alex has no regrets sharing her alternative parenting rules and hopes she’s opened up a conversation about country parenting

“When my eldest wears a life jacket, he is very reluctant to go knee deep into a boat but refuses to go any further. Honestly, I’d like it to stay that way until they’re big enough to understand how to swim out of a current.

“I’m less concerned about driving three hours to take my toddlers to swimming lessons so they can swim around a pool, although in reality that won’t really help our situation.

“Right now I want levitation to be their ONLY instinct if they kind of fall in.

“I don’t want them to think swimming is fun, at least not at that age.”

Despite the backlash from parents online, Alex has no regrets sharing her alternative parenting rules and hopes she’s opened up a conversation about country parenting.

“I don’t know if I would call them rules, it’s just how we’re doing things right now because it works best for us, so I don’t regret sharing them at all,” she said.

“I’m actually glad I saw some comments like ‘Oh I’ve never thought about it like that, makes sense.’ All toddlers are different, but as long as they are happy and healthy they are where they should be.”

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