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  • A Couple Is Raising Their 7 Kids Without Rules: No Bedtime, No School

    The kids don't have bedtime, can eat whatever they want for dinner, and don't go to school.
    by Jillianne E. Castillo .
A Couple Is Raising Their 7 Kids Without Rules: No Bedtime, No School
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • All families need rules, right? For one thing, how else can you have discipline? In the home of Gemma and Lewis Rawnsley, though, there are no rules for their seven kids at all. 

    The kids don’t have a bedtime rule – they sleep whenever they want, and there aren’t any rules on what they can and can’t eat. They don’t go to school either. The children are homeschooled instead, which include spontaneous trips to the park on sunny days. 

    “I'm not criticising people sending their kids to school, by any stretch. But I do think to myself, it's a little bit like they're penned in there and then [my children] are just, free. And I think that's the most important thing,” Gemma said in a promotional video posted on the UK's Channel 4 Facebook page. The family, who live in Yorkshire, England, is featured in the channel’s documentary series Feral Families where modern parents explain the unconventional ways they bring up their kids. 

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    Gemma and Lewis’ two kids, 12-year-old Finley and 13-year-old Skye, did give school a “trial” test, but soon decided it wasn’t for them. “I enjoyed making friends and socializing with people, and I liked some of the learning, but some of the learning I felt…like the bad side was some of the learning was pointless,” said Finley. 

    “It did bring structure but it was just repetitive, and I had to do it every day. Sometimes you need a break, but you just can't take a break,” he added, explaining how he much preferred spending some days outside. “I enjoy being places like this, on beautiful days like this. This is what I enjoy,” said Finley amidst a backdrop of his parents and siblings enjoying a picnic on a hilltop. 

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    Smart Parenting shared the short clip of the documentary that featured the family on our Facebook page. We were interested to see what Pinoy parents thought about the Rawnsley’s unconventional household. The comments showed a variety of opinions.  


    #1 Different family, different technique

    #2 It should not bother you that it works for them  

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    #3 Families need rules. 

    #4 Time will tell whether the no-rules rule worked. 

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    Take note, however, that the Rawnsleys short preview clip did not mention a few other important details. For one, the seven siblings — whose ages range from 1 to 13 years old — do get to make their decisions, but there is an exception. The parents' condition is the kids don't lie or hurt anyone, reported Mirror.co.

    Gemma and Lewis may let their child wield a pickaxe, for example, but they will explain and teach the child how to use it. There is still a lot of parenting involved, and the mom and dad are very hands-on.

    “It’s about letting them make decisions; it’s not a feckless attitude where we sit back and let it all happen,” the mom said. “I make calculated decisions, so if something seems dangerous I know it has risk attached, but the benefits are that they learn responsibility.”

    And the parenting style does work for their family, Gemma added. “We really think about how we bring them up, and we get so many compliments about how amazing the kids are. So it seems a bit wild on the surface, but it works.”

    The parents believe they are just doing what they think is best for the kids. Said the mom, “I didn’t have a stable upbringing. My mission has been about helping my kids have the most interesting, fun and happy lives in a house filled with the love I never had.”

    Have thoughts you want to share as well? Leave a comment below.

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