While there are no laid-down rules or set-in-stone guides for parenting, society still has its expectations of anyone who decides to raise a child. There’s no perfect way of raising kids but you are obliged to look after your children, keep them safe, well-fed, and healthy, and to bring up functional and decent members of society – somehow.

According to sociologists, parents are either disciplinarian (the know-best authoritarian approach that insists on total obedience from the kids), permissive (allows the children utter freedom to do as they please), or authoritative (a caring and loving approach while still maintaining their roles as figureheads). Normally, the average parent would assume their role without consciously choosing a parenting style. They are either raising kids the same way they were brought up or in the total opposite.

Most parents are just figuring things out on the go. Letting love lead, providing basic needs and then some, being there as much as the hustle allows them, and doing their best to raise children as society approves.

Well, emphasis on “most”. For Irish bodybuilder and entrepreneur, Kim Constable, her entire household revolves around her four children. Her young ones go to bed when they want to, wake up whenever they choose, decide their own diets where junk food is not discouraged, and despite what people assume at first thought, her children are well-mannered and thriving in life.

“My four-year-old can go up in a restaurant and use my bank card and pay the bill and come back to me with the receipt,” Kim says. “People ask a lot of questions about our lifestyle, but it works for us. My children are well-mannered and well-educated.”

Raising children as friends

Photo credit: Kim Constable, with permission.
Photo credit: Kim Constable, with permission.

Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she still resides, Kim is the founder and CEO of The Sculpted Vegan, an online platform that provides premium nutrition and workout plans of variable intensity for people looking to build dream bodies on a plant-based diet. Kim was a former yoga teacher who decided to get ripped and pave the way for other vegans who may have a hard time finding a supportive diet.

She is married to Ryan Constable, a former Rugby player turned sports manager and contractor, and together they have four kids – Corey (14), Kai (12), Maya (10), and Jack (8).

Between running a seven-figure company and her business-coaching programs, one would assume that Kim is the incredibly busy mom who rarely sees her kids. Truly, she is busy, supported by a housekeeper and a personal chef, but establishing a real work-life balance had always been important to her. For starters, all her children are homeschooled or as she terms it, “unschooled”. At first, her husband wasn’t excited about the idea but as time passed, they got on the same page regarding what was best for their family.

We decided to homeschool our children because we wanted them to grow up following their own principles rather than learning someone else’s,” Kim said. “I don’t want to wake up when I’m older and worry that I have missed out on time with my family, so I make time for them. It’s very important to me – kids grow up so fast.

Kim opines that raising children with countless restrictions could prevent them from learning to self-regulate. She relates with her children as though they were adult housemates or perhaps, friends who can communicate freely but respectfully with each other.

Photo credit: Kim Constable, with permission.
Photo credit: Kim Constable, with permission.

Family is everything

In 2016, Kim and Ryan went viral online and were featured in most major news outlets across the US and Europe for their unorthodox approach toward sleeping plans. The family of six sleeps together on an 18-foot bed in a practice called co-sleeping. The parents allow the kids to decide their own sleeping times, so when everyone is ready for bed, they snuggle in and enjoy their sleep in the company of everyone else.

Normally, co-sleeping with a single child is a controversial topic, regarding how it affects the maturity of the child and the parents’ relationship. Kim and her family raised the bar several notches higher as three more kids were added to the equation.

Of course, as with everything else in their unorthodox family, they are happy with it as it allows them to spend every spare hour of the day together, even while sleeping.

It all started when Corey was a baby and he started sleeping in beside Ryan and me to help keep him settled at night,” she explains. “Then, as more children came along, they wanted to sleep in with us, too. When the older ones moved out and a younger one moved in, they would come back and say that’s not fair – we want to be in the big bed with you all, too.

Kim believes that allowing children to grow into independence is far healthier and more reassuring than forcing them into it, which may cause them to grow up afraid of their own shadows.

With hundreds of thousands of followers across her social media platforms and a top podcast on iTunes, Kim certainly has a lot of people paying attention to her life. While she mostly receives positive comments of cheer and support, not everyone seems to agree with the unconventional family care methods.

However, conformity never paid anyone’s bills, and to Kim, as long as their children are growing up happy, healthy, and fully confident in their personalities, they are doing a great job at parenting.

“I work in an area that I am passionate about, I spend every day with my kids and we travel a lot and visit amazing places. If I were to die tomorrow, I would have zero regrets,” Kim affirms. 

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