15 Celebs You Didn't Know Had Alternative Parenting Styles

Pregnant with the first child or a seasoned parent who has been in the game for many years, Mom's probably discovered there is a lot of advice out there about how she should raise her kids. Everyone from your doctor to family members to the stranger in Babies R US will want to give their two cents. Most of us cave under pressure with our firstborn. We take the advice of our doctors, family members and even that friend who doesn’t have kids, but has the audacity to give us parenting advice. We take the advice because parenting is scary. We have the power to make or break a human, and we don’t want to fail.

However, if you are one of the lucky ones, you had the parent who marched to the beat of their own drum. The one who may have traded in their tie dye shirts and bell bottoms for business casual attire, but held on to the beliefs and values of: world peace, sustainability, spirituality, community, organic living, consciousness, transformation, compassion, exploration, appreciation, love and music and art.

The parent who wasn’t afraid to question their doctor when they gave them textbook advice about their unique, little bundle of joy. The parent who told their mother-in-law they weren’t following a “feeding schedule” and their baby could nurse as much as he/she liked. The parent who decided they didn’t want their child’s intelligence measured by a grade on a paper, so they enrolled them in a Montessori school.

As more celebrities are being labelled as part of a counter-culture, their parenting styles have been put in the spotlight and created big debates about the “right way” to raise a child. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Alternative medicine vs. mainstream? Organic produce vs. produce grown with pesticides?

Keep reading to discover what celebrities put their bohemian lifestyles behind them for parenthood, but never quite let go of the beliefs and ideals associated with it.

15 Jenny McCarthy Sticks It To “The Man”

You probably know Jenny McCarthy for her work as an actress, model, television host, author and screenwriter, but did you know she is also an anti-vaxxer?

In an article released by Jenny McCarthy and then husband, Jim Carrey, with CNN in 2008, the couple discussed their son’s autism claiming vaccines played a role in their son’s condition.

“We believe autism is an environmental illness. Vaccines are not the only environmental trigger, but we do think they play a major role. If we are going to solve this problem and finally start to reverse the rate of autism, we need to consider changing the vaccine schedule, reducing the number of shots given and removing certain ingredients that could be toxic to some children.”

While most of society takes the media, their pediatrician, politicians and health authorities like the CDC and FDA’s word that vaccines are safe and effective, McCarthy certainly doesn’t stand alone in questioning “The Man.” In fact, more and more peer-reviewed studies that have been surfacing indicate vaccines are harmful and they aren’t effective. All the more reason to investigate the issue for youself instead of  taking someone's word for it.

14 Gwyneth Paltrow’s Holistic Approach To Medicine


You probably know Paltrow best from her roles in Seven, Shakespeare in Love and Sliding Doors, or as the wife of Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin, from 2003 to 2016.

From the organic ingredients she uses in her cooking to meditation, to her fascination with the consciousness of nature, it’s no secret Paltrow is far from mainstream.

In 2004, Paltrow arrived at a New York film premier in a low-cut black dress. Circular welts visible on her back got people talking. Alternative health and Chinese medicine practitioners guessed it had to be from cupping, “an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction.” This ancient practice is said to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

Next time Apple or Moses get wild from all that sugar in mom’s watermelon and mint agua fresca or sweet potato and five spice muffins, you better believe it’s straight to a cupping session to calm them down.

13 Julie Bowen’s Football Hold


While the uptight and reserved hideaway in public bathrooms and changing rooms to breastfeed, others pull up their shirt and whip out their boobs wherever they are. After all, what is there to be ashamed about when you are using what Mother Nature gave you for the exact purpose she intended it for? No women should feel ashamed about giving their baby the best start in life. At least Julie Bowen doesn’t think so.

Star of ABC’s hit series Modern Family, made a big impression on the public in 2010 when she released a topless photo of herself breastfeeding her twin boys, John and Gustav, in a football hold. Bowen revealed on TBS’ Lopez Tonight that ABC would not allow her to show the photo on The View. Lopez, it turned out, was a big breastfeeding advocate and happy to share Bowen’s picture with viewers of the show.

12 Mayim Bialik’s Alternative Views on Education


From Montessori to Steiner, home-schooling to world-schooling, there are many approaches to learning about and exploring the world to choose from.

Mayim Bialik, American actress and neuroscientist, best known for her role on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, has been open about her belief of attachment parenting and unschooling, so it was no surprise when it surfaced her two children were home-schooled.

In an article with the Washington Times Bialik said, "We see what our son is interested in, and gently introduce new ideas. We listen to him and try not to overwhelm him, or push him when he's not ready. Our general rule is, 'Don't fight the kid.' We don't do flashcards or sing the alphabet song when he shows an interest in letters, but when he asks 'Can I make a name card for someone?' we write out the name and let him trace out the letters."

11 Madonna’s Strict Macrobiotic Diet


American icon, Madonna, hasn’t only pushed the boundaries of pop music, but of parenting too. While most teenagers make a pit stop at McDonald’s on their way home from school, then convince dad and mom to order pizza for dinner, Madonna has encouraged her children to follow a strict kosher and macrobiotic diet which promises, “a healthier, more holistic long-term lifestyle for men, women and children.”

Although we’d like to say she is crazy, Madonna is proof the diet can work. After all, Madge recently celebrated her 59th birthday, and doesn’t look a day over 40.

What does a macrobiotic diet look like exactly? WebMD says foods commonly associated with the macrobiotic diet include: organically grown whole grains such as rice, barley, millet, oats and corn, organic vegetables, beans and bean products like tofu, miso and tempeh and sea vegetables such as seaweed, nori and agar.

10 Julia Roberts Goes Organic

Advocates say organic food is safer, possibly more nutritious and often better tasting than non-organic food. Many celebrities including Julia Roberts agree.

Roberts, mother of Henry, Hazel and Phinnaeus, isn't just encouraging her children to eat organic foods, she is teaching them to grow them.

Roberts said in an interview, "The children love it and I think it's the best training for them, I think when children know their food sources they're more inclined to eat what they're growing because they're so proud of it. To watch my kids eat kale is a pretty proud moment for me as a mom."

How does organic food stack up to food grown with pesticides? Should you only be eating organic? Alice Mackintosh, Nutritional Therapist, has some good advice. She recommends we refer to the EWG's "Dirty Dozen" list, featuring the 12 most toxic fruits and vegetables to guide you through what non-organic grown food is safe and the ones you should avoid.

9 Pink’s Attachment Parenting Style


From her pink hair to her explicit lyrics, singer and songwriter Pink! has the attitude of a genuine rock star. She is who she is and doesn’t care what people think or say and that’s true to her parenting style too. When she gave birth to daughter, Willow, in 2011 Pink! said, “I support attachment parenting 100 percent and have a very happy and healthy little girl to show for it.”

Surely you’ve heard the term, “attachment parenting” before, but what is it exactly? It focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can have with their children, promoting things like breastfeeding, baby wearing and co-sleeping.

Is it for everyone though? Arguments against attachment parenting say “Being immediately available to respond to your baby’s needs almost always means keeping him in continuous close proximity especially in the first year” and “Baby wearing, sleeping with your baby and exclusive breastfeeding can be very intense for some mothers especially if there are frequent night wakings.”

If you are pregnant or a new mother remember, whatever way you are leaning, attachment parenting isn't cut and dry. Today many moms alter attachment parenting to make it work for their family's specific circumstances.

8 Gwen Stefani Suits Herself


Co-founder and lead vocalist of No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, is a great example of a parent who has chosen certain practices of attachment parenting while leaving the others in the dust. In an interview, Stefani told Stylist co-sleeping is all about living a life without regrets despite her jam-packed schedule. "I don’t want to look back and say, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t sleep with Zuma that time because I was too tired,’ so I’ll just snuggle up with him tonight,” said Stefani.

While co-sleeping, parents who sleep with their children, has its cons, it has been practiced in many cultures outside of the United States throughout history according to the Baby Sleep Site.

For the first six months of life, it is recommended the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib in your bedroom. However, babies often end up in bed with mom and dad, so it is best to know and follow the safety guidelines on co-sleeping with your little one. Baby Center recommends that: you never fall asleep on a sofa or armchair holding your baby, ensure the mattress you use for co-sleeping is firm, keep bedding light and minimal, keep your baby warm not hot, sleep with your baby in the “C” position and never leave the baby alone in bed.

7 Melissa Joan Hart Goes Disposable


The first disposable diapers emerged in the late 40s, and they’ve become very popular sense. So popular in fact, it is estimated that 27.4 billion single use diapers are used each year in the United States alone. 92% of those end up in landfills. It takes 250 to 500 years for each diaper to decompose.

Disposable diapers aren’t only ruining our environment though, they are breaking our banks. It is estimated that the cost of one disposable diaper is $0.20 and the average child uses around 2,700 diapers each year. That’s a total of $550.00.

With those statistics in mind, cloth diapers aren’t looking as gross as they once did. In fact, it’s an investment worth making, even if it does mean scraping poop into the toilet for the next few years. Melissa Joan Hart, best known for her lead role in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, thinks so. After the birth of her son, Brady, Hart said, “I use the cloth diapers on Brady only, and at home only some of the time — usually mid-day. Just trying to create a little less trash in the world.”

If saving the planet and money doesn’t get you excited, maybe the cute designs of the cloth diapers will. Unlike disposable brands, cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers are sold in all different colors, shapes and patterns.

6 Bettany And Connelly One With Nature


Hippies have embraced eutierria, “a good and positive feeling of oneness with the earth and its life forces” since welcoming the philosophies of Buddhism, Hinduism and Native American mysticism during the 1960s.

While some of these philosophies may be too “far out” for some, we’d all agree a little time outdoors does everyone some good. Studies have found time spent outdoors does everything from boost the immune system to improve mental health.

Just ask Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. Bettany spoke about a camping trip with his wife and children. ““Me and my missus and the kids were covered in mud for three days, camping in the White Mountains. There’s no comfort, no blow-up beds or anything — you’re just in a tent and you fire up a little Primus to cook your food, and you have to do that a long way from the tent in case the bear smells the food. Everybody stinks, and you’re cold and you’re wet and yet you see things you’d never see from a car or a hotel room.”

5 Lionel Richie’s “No Boundaries” Philosophy


Lionel Richie’s, “no boundaries” hippie parenting style was evident as the world watched Richie’s adopted daughter, Nicole, come of age.

There is no denying Nicole’s wild past. She was hammered by the media after she had several run-ins with the law for using cocaine and served time behind bars for possession of heroin all before turning 22.

Sarah Beach, a girl who grew up with similar family dynamics, writes in a piece for Salon, “But there was a dark side to this intoxicating rejection of rules and boundaries. With everyone embracing spontaneity and the mandates of the id, there was no one left to assume the adult role. People like my parents may have had the best of intentions, but in a wide-eyed quest for social change, they became children. And their actual children suffered as a result.”

While it turned out to be a happy ending for Nicole with marriage to Joel Madden, two children and the successful House of Harlow line under her belt, we have to take an educated guess and assume the story usually doesn’t turn out so good for the child raised without boundaries.

4 The Smith’s Prohibit Punishment


To a child living under their parent’s roof, the idea of no punishment sounds great. Doing what you want, when you want is a good idea in theory, but what happens when you move out of mom and dad’s house and into the real world? You have to face the consequences for your actions.

According to power couple, Will Smith and Jade Pinkett, not punishing their kids has worked for them. In an interview on parenting Will Smith said, “We don’t do punishment. The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been — it has a little too much of a negative quality. So when they do things — and you know, Jaden, he's done things — you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life."

And for all those parents out there thinking, “Kids need and crave direction,” this laid back parenting style seems to work for the Smith kids. During the interview Jaden Smith said, “Other teenagers go to parties and sometimes I be like, 'Why am I here right now?' And most of the time, I just leave right then and there. Some things I don't like to do, that other teenagers do. Everyone thinks that since you make movies, you go to parties, and I like to party, but not normal teenage parties."

3 Russell Brand Spiritual, But Not Religious


Russell Brand, known best for his edgy and sometimes lewd humor, has enjoyed a career as a stand-up comedian, actor and writer.

From back in 2001 when Brand was charged for criminal damage and indecent exposure after he stripped naked while covering the May Day protests for MTV to the time at the VMA Awards when he called Britney Spears the, “female Christ,” Brand is a controversial guy, so it is no surprise his beliefs are unusual.

While Brand is certainly spiritual, he isn’t religious, saying he believes in an “infinite creative force.” He also practices Kundalini Yoga. With its roots laying in Hinduism, Kundalini Yoga combines both spiritual and physical practices.

According to the Kundalini Research Institute, “The primary objective, of Kundalini, is to awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual; that is, recognize our awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self. Clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.”

After the birth of Brand’s daughter, Mabel, last winter we can only wonder how long it will be before Brand enrolls her in a Kundalini Yoga class for children.

2 Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi Ignorance Is Bliss


As we all very well know, when it comes to parenting one size doesn’t fit all. MTV star, Nicole Polizzi, like many other moms, seems to be picking and choosing certain methods of attachment parenting that suit her family.

In the Polizzi household, it seems positive discipline is popular. Snooki isn’t a fan of physical punishment like spanking. She said “I grew up with spanks and it terrified me.”

As far as tantrums go, the Jersey Shore star said she pretends they aren’t happening, “I literally just walk into the kitchen, ignore them… and then they come over and they say, ‘I’m okay now.’ I’m at the stage of parenthood right now where I just need to stop entertaining them. The more you pay attention to that kind of behavior, the worse it gets.”

Think Snooki’s parenting style is weird? It isn’t far off from what the experts of attachment parenting believe. Attachment Parenting International claims more and more studies are finding punishment in any form doesn’t actually help a child learn boundaries in their behavior and can actually be harmful to a child’s psychological and emotional development.

1 Angelina Jolie All About Peace and Love


In addition to being an actress, filmmaker, model and mother of six, Angelina Jolie is a humanitarian. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR  who puts efforts towards conservation and community development, child immigration and education and human rights and women’s rights. She has travelled on field missions around the world: Leone, Tanzania, Cambodia, Pakistan, Thailand, Ecuador, Kosovo, Kenya, Namibia, Sri Lanka, North Caucasus, Jordan, Egypt, New Delhi, Costa Rica, Chad, Syria, and Iraq, to name a few.

It’s no secret Jolie has encouraged her kids to get involved in making the world a better place too. This past July, Jolie and son Shiloh travelled to Namibia for the unveiling of the Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary which cares for elephants and rhinos that have fallen victim to poaching or abuse.

Sources: WebMD.com, GreenMedinfo.com, CNN.com, ABCNews.com,  EWG.org,  BabySleepSite.com, Time.com, WashingtonTimes.com, PsychologyToday.com

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