An Alternative Parent In Ireland

I believe people who are perceived as alternative parents, are actually really not that alternative at all. I just believe that deciding to raise your child a little outside the boundaries of what others are perhaps not familiar with, may label them as alternative; Or as I write it, “alternative”.

I suppose what may class my husband and I as alternative parents in Ireland today is that we are choosing to raise our son vegetarian, because of our own beliefs towards animals for food.

There is no dress code or protocol to being an alternative parent. For me, it is all about other people’s views on your ethical choices and how you choose to bring your children up with those ethics that make you alternative in comparison to other parents.

Is this what comes to mind when you hear the words "alternative parent"?

Is this what comes to mind when you hear the words “alternative parent”?

I think it is important now for people to indulge in opening a child’s mind, especially with the fact Ireland is becoming so diverse with different religions, races & beliefs that they will most likely have friends who are from many a culturally diverse background.

I suppose what may class my husband and I as alternative parents in Ireland today is that we are choosing to raise our son vegetarian, because of our own beliefs towards animals for food. I think, especially in Ireland, people find that a hard concept, “but what will he eat?!” And because we are not christening our son and, like many parents now, are choosing to send him to an Educate Together school program.

We will bring him up with an ethical belief system which encourages respect for life, animals and humans alike

We have a boy who has a purple buggy and an array of colourful clothing, not just the standard blue, because that is what his sex tells us he should wear. We will bring him up with an ethical belief system which encourages respect for life, animals and humans alike, and he will learn from a young age what we regard as morally right and wrong in those aspects.

Should he ever turn out to be gay, we want him to not be ever afraid to tell us; and his lifestyle choice, once he is healthy, happy and kind and respectful of others will never be judged by us.

alternative parent

I feel as though I am losing track of what I am trying to convey because I have so much to say. I don’t feel a boy should not be allowed play with a buggy, or a girl play with toy car because their sex says we should define who they are. As an Irish parent in Ireland 2013, I would like to think of myself as someone who is thinking in modern times.

Do I consider myself an “alternative” parent? I suppose I do yes, because I still think some people, though definitely not everyone, still lives by a certain belief system in this country and until everyone feels more comfortable to question it, I will remain so.


Do you consider yourself an alternative parent? why?


Jenny McGrath is a vegetarian mum who blogs at The Alternative Parent and other parenting websites.

One thought on “An Alternative Parent In Ireland

  1. Great post and I couldn’t agree more.
    Which adults of tomorrow will ask the hard questions that will improve our society from today. I think it will be the children who are given choices as children.

    As a toy shop owner we have regular occrances in the shop when a wee boy comes in and plays with our play kitchens.
    Regularly parents will shoo him away to the construction toys we have, some even comment “well he’s not getting a kitchen !!!”. We try to explain that play for a child is to them “pretend work”, and kitchen, pram and dollhouse play should be encouraged.
    …and then you get the open parents who are delighted that he takes an interest in any toy.
    I know which boys will consider a wider set of career and life style options, likely leading to more balanced happy adults. – Mimi

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