The journey of parenthood is one of the toughest yet the most fulfilling jobs in the world. It is an experience unique to every parent, and as they go along in this journey, parents discover new things about themselves and their children. They also gradually learn to come up with different tactics that serve them the best. But we must understand that the methods that work for one parent might not be suitable for the rest.
For instance, a Mumbai-based couple named Biplab Dutta and Anamika Sengupta, have ventured towards ‘barefoot’ parenting—something that is not heard of daily. The couple is raising their six-year-old son in a gender-neutral and natural environment. Neo enjoys a gadget-free childhood and actively engages in maintaining and harvesting an edible garden while living in complete harmony with nature (1).
While interacting with a news website, the couple, also the founders of Almitra Sustainables—a lifestyle brand providing an eco-friendly alternative to plastic products—spoke about their unique parenting style. They also talked about the challenges faced in the journey and the importance of a gender-neutral environment for a child.
What Is ‘Barefoot’ Parenting?
In their interview, the couple stated that barefoot parenting is synonymous with ‘natural parenting.’ They described it as trusting your instincts while raising a child. They added that the approach to barefoot parenting also included learning from nature to care for a child.
Why Did They Take The Barefoot Approach?
Neo’s mother, Anamika, revealed that she is always seeking ways to stay connected with nature. She added that parenthood came as a perfect opportunity to go back to basics. Anamika stated that there was no turning back once her son was born as she felt that it was the only way to go back to her natural-self and learn from her instincts.
The Route To A Sustainable And Natural Parenting
The couple revealed that their unique approach to parenting came with a set of challenges. In a world filled with cosmetic energies, they found it challenging to find the most natural alternatives for their child. The couple go by the adage— We are harming ourselves by harming nature! When their son got his first tooth, they designed a bamboo toothbrush for him. They stated that the mere thought of introducing a plastic toothbrush in their son’s mouth, the first thing in the morning, felt quite disgusting to them.
Kids Need To Stay Close To Nature
Talking about how their son actively engaged in planting and harvesting, Neo’s parents weighed upon the importance for kids to stay connected with nature. The couple stated that it was a pity to see how kids are losing their connection with nature, as parents are forced to raise them in closed and concrete walls. They added that the higher our skyscrapers, the more we lose touch with our soil. As for Neo, his parents don’t term farming as an activity, but as a natural day-to-day life skill—a skill required to grow your food.
Neo’s parents added that he is entirely a gadget-free child. They revealed that they don’t even have a television at home! But fear that Neo might become too attracted to gadgets in his growing years. His parents often have an open discussion with him, explaining to Neo the drawbacks of getting too dependent on gadgets, and the need to use them only in essential circumstances.
The couple is often inspired by Neo’s maturity and his ability to manage in the outside world. While visiting his friend’s place, Neo is known for requesting them to switch off the TV, and most of his friends have willingly accepted Neo’s decision to live sustainably.
Importance Of The Gender-Neutral Approach To Parenting
The couple stated that they don’t consider gender-neutral parenting as an approach, but a part of the natural means of parenting. They believe that gender stereotypes are man-made and not connected with nature. The couple added that they are equal partners in raising Neo and don’t follow any stereotypical roles in their house. They revealed that the key is to judge your instincts rather than follow pointers thrown by the system.
Anamika and Biplab’s unique parenting approach might seem like an unconventional path to some but is indeed inspirational. The approach seeks to create a natural environment for children while teaching them inclusive and holistic values. And for parents willing to partake in barefoot parenting, Anamika and Biplab say, “You need to follow the natural cues of your children, and allow them to experience the gloriousness of nature!”
What do you think about barefoot parenting? If you found our article interesting, share it with fellow parents.