As a professional biohacker, spending countless hours examining, optimizing and studying myself, I’ve stumbled upon some really incredible ways to bring optimization into nearly every aspect of my life. But the most profound discovery I’ve found over a long career is how to utilize holistic practices in my parenting to build an emotionally intelligent, spiritually and physically healthy, and most importantly, a consistently happy family.
I met my wife, Kellie Rastegar in 2011. We immediately knew that our connection could serve as the cornerstone of an amazing family, and so we married soon after. It’s been a great road so far, mostly because we shared similar values, and visions for our future.
And if there is one thing in our union that Kellie and I have always agreed on, it’s that we both needed to live our lives off the beaten path. We have always wished to exist on our own terms and most importantly; we have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And that philosophy has infused itself positively into so many aspects of our life, the least of which has been how we have elected to raise Victoria and Kingston, our two amazing, inquisitive, and vivacious children.
To some, our parenting practices may seem a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible, but yeah- unconventional! And frankly, we take great pride in that. Because it is only in the unconventional where I believe true growth can be found. By questioning the world around us, we actively combat stagnation, we discover unbelievable new developments, and we find solutions to problems that perhaps we didn’t even know existed.
For Kellie and I, the foundation of a holistic parenting methodology is centered around one simple concept; do not treat children like children. The generations preceding us have trained parents to think of the relationship between adult and child as strictly defined, separate and fragmented. Children engage in “kids things”, and adults in “grown-up things”.
But I find this fragmentation to be extremely detrimental to the development of a child. As it stands, we are training our young ones to think of themselves as something lesser, something unfinished, and something that needs to be diminished or treated with less intelligence. But the truth is; children possess a great amount of emotional intelligence, maturity and they come into this world naturally equipped with a stunning amount of energy and creativity. By integrating children into the same practices, activities, and discussions as “adults”, I have found that this only serves to accelerate the development of these key traits.
For Kellie and I, there is little to no separation between our activities and the children’s. We exercise at the gym together, we eat the same foods, and we take similar vitamins. We made the critical decision early that as parents we deserved to live our lives and that in tandem, our children deserve to learn and engage authentically with who we are as people. This lifestyle becomes not only an accelerant for the education and maturation of our children but also leads to a greater overall sense of happiness for the parents. Win/Win.
And that point also leads us to what is certainly considered the most controversial, but in my opinion, the most effective parenting tactic; we let Victoria and Kingston curse.
That’s right, we let our children curse.
And this is because I fundamentally believe that the responsible use of language is a critical component in raising intelligent, thoughtful, and purpose-driven children.
Now, this is not to say that we let our children curse wildly without abandon. In our household, the rule is simple. If a curse word is relevant to a discussion, Victoria and Kingston are allowed to say it once and only once in the context of the conversation. And what may surprise you is the result of this has been a dramatic decrease in instances of cursing. By generally allowing our children permission to use a curse word, they are considerably less likely to take advantage of that word and use it with frequency. Not only is this in effect reducing the instances of cursing, but it is also teaching them to be purposeful in their language; a skill that will only compound in importance as they grow older.
And finally, and most importantly, Kellie and I ensure that our children start each and every day with specific exercises to help promote positivity. These exercises ensure that Victoria and Kingston are prepared to find success in whatever they set out to do that day, while priming their minds towards cultivating positivity over negativity, and building a healthy sense of control over their own emotional lives.
The exercises, modeled after the Tony Robbins Priming Method, are simple, intuitive, and have proven extremely effective in boosting happiness, productivity, and fostering a general sense of contentment. Together, we recite recordings of incantations such as “All I need is within me now” or “I am happy, healthy, and full of energy” while jumping around and dancing. The recordings were produced simply in my own home studio, and they allow me to perform the exercise alongside my children either at home or in the car on the way to school.
And now my daughter Victoria has taken these introductory exercises and progressed one step further by developing her own meditation practice.
These exercises have not only boosted the happiness and positive thinking of my children, but they have also served as a productive and fun means of family bonding.
Ultimately, I am very much aware that to many, my child-raising practices may seem a little different. But when it comes to parenting, I’ve stopped thinking of different as bad. In my estimation, different means productive, creative, revolutionary.
Different means good.
When it comes to the wellbeing of our children, we cannot afford to avoid experimentation, for it is only in experimentation where we can find real breakthroughs.
Through safe, responsible, and creative parenting methods- Kellie and I have been blessed to watch our children grow into responsible, intelligent, and well-rounded world citizens. And I know with an adventurous spirit, and a few new tactics- you too can achieve the same results.