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Publishers WeeklyStarred 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."
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