The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids

Overview

This wise and funny book presents a revolutionary yet highly practical approach to childcare: leave them alone.

"The Idle Parent came as a huge relief to the whole family. Suddenly, it was okay to leave the kids to sort it out among themselves. Suddenly, it was okay to be responsibly lazy. This is the most counterintuitive but most helpful and consoling child-raising manual I've yet read."-Alain de Botton, author of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and The Consolations of ...

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The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids

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Overview

This wise and funny book presents a revolutionary yet highly practical approach to childcare: leave them alone.

"The Idle Parent came as a huge relief to the whole family. Suddenly, it was okay to leave the kids to sort it out among themselves. Suddenly, it was okay to be responsibly lazy. This is the most counterintuitive but most helpful and consoling child-raising manual I've yet read."-Alain de Botton, author of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and The Consolations of Philosophy

"The most easy-to-follow-without-being-made-to-feel-inadequate parenting manifesto ever written . . . A godsend to parents."- The Sunday Times

"Add liberal doses of music, jovial company and deep woods to play in- all central to the idle, not to say Taoist, life-and you have a recipe for bright, happy people with need of neither television nor shrink. Who could ask for more?"- The Evening Standard

In The Idle Parent, the author of The Freedom Manifesto and How to Be Idle applies his trademark left-of-center theories of idleness to what can be one of the thorniest aspects of adult life: parenting.

Many parents today spend a whole lot of time worrying and wondering- frantically "helicoptering" over their children with the hope that they might somehow keep (or make?) them flawless. But where is this approach to childcare getting us? According to Hodgkinson, in our quest to give our kids everything, we fail to give them the two things they need most: the space and time to grow up self-reliant, confident, happy, and free. In this smart and hilarious book, Hodgkinson urges parents to stop worrying and instead start nurturing the natural instincts toward creativity and independence that are found in every child. And the great irony: in doing so, we will find ourselves becoming happier and better parents.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Daily Telegraph parenting columnist Hodgkinson, author of How to Be Idle and editor of The Idler magazine, argues for the primary parenting principle of "leave them alone" in this witty, welcome guide to raising happy, self-sufficient children. Beginning with a 21-point manifesto ("We try not to interfere"; "An idle parent is a thrifty parent"; "We reject the inner Puritan"; "We embrace responsibility"), and quoting extensively from such unlikely parenting authorities as Rousseau and D.H. Lawrence (the source of "leave the children alone"), the married father of three explores a range of child-rearing issues, from sleeping and mealtimes to whining, and repeatedly makes a convincing case for the power of letting children be. Citing damage done by overzealous parents, he's critical of television, the Wii, scheduled activities, all toys but the most basic ("simply pluck a branch from a tree"), and anything else-including school-that gets in the way of a child's imagination, sense of freedom, and independence. While his suggestions may seem disquieting, or put well-meaning parents on the defensive, they're grounded in a solid sense of reality, a sincere interest in fulfilling children and parents, and experience: "We wasted hundreds on absurd devices, like the thing that they sit in and use to walk around the room. No: they learn how to walk on their own."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585428007
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 952,496
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Hodgkinson is the author of The Freedom Manifesto and How to Be Idle. Editor of the British magazine The Idler, he also has a parenting column in The Daily Telegraph. He lives on a farm in Devon, England, with his family.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Idle Parent Manifesto 11

1 Bring Back Child Labor 13

2 Stop the Whining 26

3 Seek Not Perfection, or Why Bad Parents Are Good Parents 37

4 The Importance of Nature 54

5 The More, the Merrier 66

6 Down with School 77

7 The Myth of Toys 95

8 Ban TV, Embrace Freedom 104

9 Let Us Sleep 111

10 The Power of Music and Dancing 123

11 End All Activities, Be Wild 134

12 No More Family Days Out 148

13 How to Enjoy Mealtimes, with Some Thoughts on Manners 160

14 Let Animals Work for You 172

15 Make Stuff from Wood and Junk 184

16 Say "Yes" 195

17 Learn How to Live from Your Kids 206

18 Good Books and Bad Books 222

19 Don't Fret About Computers, or Toward a Tao of Parenting 242

Acknowledgments 253

Index 255

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Superb read for parents everywhere

    Listen to Hodgkinson and embrace the comfort and ultimately, happiness of idle parenting. This book teaches parents everywhere to shun the preposterous standards of modern parenting. We learn that while parenting can be a tireless chore for some, We (readers of The Idle Parent) can still enjoy it while simultaneously raising wonderful and respectable children. A must read for the Bohemian young parent in the U.S. and U.K. alike!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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