'Feral' family of seven has no rules, no limits

Kristine Tarbert

They don’t go to school, they swear, have tattoos, climb out windows and play with axes, but according to their parents, these kids are learning responsibility.

Mum-of-seven Gemma Rawnsley says she wants her children to have the most ‘interesting, fun and happy lives’ and so the family have no rules.

“We just wing it and go with the flow, there are no boundaries so the kids get on with life and do what they want,” Gemma told the Sunday Mirror.

Gemma and Lewis with their seven children. Photo: Channel 4

A quick glimpse behind these four walls and we meet Skye, 13, Finlay, 12, Phoenix, nine, Pearl, eight, Hunter, five, Zephyr, three, and one-year-old Woolf.

They are home-schooled, and are generally allowed to do what they want, when they want to. They can cut and dye their hair, have tattoos and piercings, eat what they want when they want, and set their own bedtimes.

Gemma, who is a mobile hairdresser, says she was raised in a ‘violent and loveless’ home and wants to offer her kids a stable upbringing and a life full of the love she never had.

The kids live with no rules or boundaries. Photo: Channel 4

“It’s about letting them make decisions, it’s not a feckless attitude where we sit back and let it all happen. It looks like we’re feral, but that’s just one side of us. Feral is left to your own devices, but these kids are brought up to the nth degree,” she says.

The UK family feature on the Channel 4 show Feral Families, where after spending some time with the group it’s clear no two days are the same in the Rawnsley household.

The children can do what they want, when they want to. Photo: Channel 4

There are chalkboards to draw on lining the staircase, ice cream available at midnight, and reading lessons if and when they want.

Gemma and husband Lewis pulled Skye and Finlay out of the education system when they were seven and six and since home school the pair.

Phoenix didn’t want to learn to read until about six months ago when he realised he needed to message his mates on the Xbox.

The only rules are no lying, hurting anyone or being offensive. Photo: Channel 4

Surprisingly there are some rules in the house. The children can’t lie, hurt anyone or be offensive.

“We’re relaxed about things other people might find shocking, but we’re probably more on it in terms of guiding and bringing them up than other people are,” Gemma says.

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