I used to be the Food Police. I was obsessed with every morsel that went into my children's mouths. I admit it, I was a pain in the ass and I was very strict to the point of my kids gorging themselves whenever they had a chance on the "forbidden" food.
The thing is I did it because of fear.
I was SO scared that eating anything less than organic whole foods was going to lead to a demise in health and cause illness. It made me very anxious and there is a lot of propaganda around and other parents that fed my fear. It's also a bit of a status in the hippy-la-la(TM) community to bring the healthiest of sugar-free, home baked treats with you. I'll admit to being scared of being judged in certain circles based on what was in our lunch bag.
Before you let me know about toxic food etc let me say that I still believe in a diet mainly of whole foods for health. But I'm not frightened of the other stuff now. I eat well because it feels good to do so, I feed my kids healthy food because I want them to feel good too. I don't, however, limit their choices to just what I think is "optimal" anymore. They have many, many opportunities to choose for themselves and sometimes they pick the chocolate. You know what? Sometimes I do too.
It might sound like a small distinction but I don't think that it is.
I clean up for Tannah because I prefer the house clean and I'm not scared that she will NEVER learn to clean up herself. I let them watch as much TV as they please because I'm not scared about all the "damage" that it will do (like I was in the past) but I can see that they learn lots and enjoy watching. I also know that if there is something else on offer they might just choose the other activity rather than fear that they will sit in front of the box all day.
I feel like a lot of the eco based messages, some of the attachment parenting and even some of the radical unschooling info out there really gets you to buy into the fear. Don't buy this because your kids will die of toxic poisoning, answer every babies cry not because you want to be there and meet their needs but because you are damaging them otherwise and never, ever say no because you will be stifling your childs learning experience. I know there is lots of fear in mainstream parenting too but the hippy-la-la (TM) stuff is what I know so I'm writing from experience.
I would describe myself as all of the terms mentioned above. I'm eco aware, I'm an attachment parent and I'm a radical unschooler. I think are lots of great reasons to live the way I do. But now I'm not under the pressure of being perfect that comes with the fear of failure.