By Emma Dunn via SWNS
This Texas mom lets her "free-range kids" drink coffee, go barefoot, eat sand and wash outside in puddles.
Mara Doemland, 29, says she adopts a mixture of parenting styles to raise her brood but "doesn’t want them to be restricted" in what they do.
The mom-of-four goes barefoot herself as much as she can and gives her children - Emmy, nine, Murphy, seven, Ripley, five, and Indy, two - the option to the same if they want to.
She encourages them to play out in the rain and doesn’t restrict what they eat. She says that has caused them to often choose to eat fruit and vegetables on their own.
She said: “I don’t want them to have a negative relationship with food.
“I make sure all food is available for them which doesn’t categorize certain food as ‘special’ or a treat.
“It actually stops them craving sweet things if it is all available to them.”
Mara even allows her daughter, Emmy, to shave her hair and lets her boys wear pink clothing and dresses if they ask to.
Mara, a stay-at-home mom, from Corpus Christi, TX, said: “I’m a barefoot person and have strong feet.
“I let my kids go barefoot if they want, unless the pavement is too hot.
“Emmy and Indy love to be barefoot.
“I let them drink coffee if they want to try it but they don’t drink it as adults do.
“They're not doing shots of espresso all day.
“When it rains, I make sure we all get out in it and just have fun.
“It’s freeing but it is a mess.”
Mara has gradually built her own 'free range' style of parenting after having Emmy at just 19.
“I was mean and had no patience when I first had Emmy,” she said.
Mara and her partner, Christopher Mareth, 36, a reseller, also encourage their children to dress how they want.
“We want them to be comfortable and wear what makes them happy,” Mara said.
“Emmy has her head shaved and is only wearing black and oversized clothes at the moment.
“We let our boys wear dresses if they want to.
“It’s what they like.”
Mara also doesn’t force her kids to share, and she thinks it’s important for them to have time to themselves if they want to.
“If one of my kids is playing with something and another other wants to play too, we don’t make them share if they don’t want to.
“We have taught them phrases such as ‘give me space.’
“As adults, we don’t always want to share things so I don’t think it’s something that kids should have to do.”
Mara also lets her kids eat sand and play with marbles.
“Kids always put things in their mouth so I don’t stop them eating sand so they can work out for themselves that it’s not something to eat,” she said.
“They’ll spit it out again and say ‘yucky.'
“They’ll probably do it a few times before they learn.
“I’d rather they learn than be fearful and scared of it.”
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