Lately I have noticed the media referring to certain types of parenting styles as alternative parenting styles. They suggest that these styles are not "mainstream" and thus are to be called alternative and considered strange. The types of parenting focused on in news reports, magazines, and books seems to be limited to attachment parenting, peaceful parenting, and natural parenting.
The word alternative means an option or selection that is different from a normal, natural state of being. Notice this has nothing to do with mainstream parenting versus not mainstream parenting. To be an alternative parent you would have to change the way in which God or nature, depending on your belief system, created your child.
For example, an alternative parent might pierce their child's ears because natural ears are not ornamental enough in the parent's opinion. An alternative parent may also choose to vaccinate their child in order to change the immune system from an intact immune system to one that has either live or dead viruses and other foreign objects. Some alternative parents would want their children to have other body modifications such as labiaplasty or circumcision in order to mold them into a certain image of unnatural beauty. There may also be some alternative parents who leave their child to cry because they consider the child's natural communicating mechanisms to be unproductive at nap or bedtime.
Alternative parenting changes what the child naturally had to begin with which alters them externally or internally and sometimes in both ways. Attachment parenting, peaceful parenting, and natural parenting are not alternative ways to parent because they focus on not altering a child. Instead, these parenting practices honor the child, God, and nature by responding to the child's needs and the necessity of having a natural, whole self.