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When it comes to raising her two children, Alex Tucker is the first to admit her techniques are far from conventional. The 25-year-old and her boyfriend Paul have been criticised for many of their decisions about bringing up Berkley, two, and Freya, one.

The couple don’t use prams or high chairs, and won’t let the two children wear shoes. They’ve also decided not to teach them how to swim, even though they live by the water.

However the couple claim their controversial choices fit in with their rural lives and urge people not to judge their lifestyle.

Alex’s children don’t go to day-care and she instead takes them to work with her. Sometimes the couple even sack off going to work to look after the little ones.


Alex Tucker / SWNS)


Alex Tucker / SWNS)

The rural mum refuses to teach her children to swim, despite living on the waterfront, and they both roam around their land barefoot.

Alex shared her rules online, and has since received plenty of criticism from other parents, with one commenting that social services should be called.

Despite the backlash, she’s defended her position by claiming shoes distort feet shape and prams and high chairs are not essential to their way of living.

Defending her choice not to give them swimming lessons, she said they would encourage her water-fearful kids to get into dangerous water to swim.

Alex, who works in the fishing industry with her boyfriend Paul, and lives on the Hawkesbury river in New South Wales, said: “I’m not bothered by people who don’t agree with my ‘controversial’ rules. Mothers are criticised no matter what they do, and especially online.

“That’s why it’s important to share the ‘controversial’ things.

“I’m opening the conversation for everyone to start thinking outside the box before straight up criticising someone’s parenting when they don’t know how different someone’s lifestyle can be. I’m not preaching ‘my ways’ – this isn’t a ‘how to’ manual. This is what works for our family.”


Alex Tucker / SWNS)


Alex Tucker / SWNS)

The kids even roam barefoot across the beach, on pavements and even go shoeless when the family embark on 8km hikes.
Even though some parents may question the choice, the mum insists going without shoes is better for her kids.

She said it “shocked her” that so many people saw it as a big issue, as she claimed it’s “pretty normal” not to wear shoes in Australia.

Alex continued: “Even then, if you are from a coastal town like us, it’s normal to not wear shoes at the shops, and working on boats, it’s also common to not wear shoes.

“Shoes serve purpose, like if the ground is too hot or too cold, or if snakes and wildlife is a valid threat, or if something hurts to walk on.”

She said when you don’t wear shoes it can cause your feet to toughen, which enables you to learn how to walk on rough surfaces.
The mum said it’s just a part of the family’s “way of life.”

Alex’s boyfriend Paul owns a fishing business and Alex, who has experience working as a fisherman and commercial captain, often helps on the boat when he’s in need of extra crew members.

The couple often take their kids along to work, with Paul having them by himself if Alex is needed to help on another boat.

If the weather conditions are too bad for the children to join Paul on the boat, and Alex is busy, the dad will miss his day of work entirely rather than send their kids to day-care.

Alex said: “We are a rural family working in primary production – I am a stay at home mother out of necessity, like most rural mothers.
“I’m needed at home for more than childcare and housework – we are the people at the frontline of feeding the nation.

“If it is not a desirable day for them to come to work, one parent stays home, that’s rural life.”

One of the main rules that has concerned other parents is said to be the decision to not teach the kids how to swim.

Some parents have deemed this as “dangerous”, but Alex has said there is a strong difference between water safety and swimming.

Alex said: “Swimming lessons was a difficult one to decide on, but I came to the conclusion that a toddler probably couldn’t swim out of the river on their own.

“In the river here, currents and submerged objects are a huge factor for drownings, and while they have a healthy fear of the water, I won’t encourage them to enter it by doing swimming lessons.

“We play by the river a lot, and when a toy falls in, they freak out and come ask me to get it.”

She also said she doesn’t know if she would call her methods “rules”, as the mum claims they are just doing what works best for them as a family.

Alex said she was “happy” with some comments, as some of her ideas seemed to make sense to certain people.

Ultimately – she said “all toddlers are different” – but as long as her children are happy and healthy, she doesn’t care what people think.

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