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The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids Paperback – May 13, 2010
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From 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."
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"The most counterintuitive but most helpful and consoling child-raising manual I've yet read."
--Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrow of Work
"The most easy-to-follow-without-being-made-to-feel-inadequate parenting manifesto ever written. Hodgkinson is right on almost everything"
--The Sunday Times
"Add liberal doses of music, jovial company and deep woods to play in--all central to idle, not to say Taoist, life--and you have a recipes for bright, happy people who with need of neither television nor shrink. Who could ask for more?"
--The Evening Standard
“If you wait long enough, you will find a parenting book that endorses your style of mothering. Mine was just published … the book that argues why laid-back parents raise healthier and happier kids. Appropriately titled, The Idle Parent is a refreshing change to most of the parenting books on the market.”
"Wise, funny, practical and personal, The Idle Parent puts the fun back into parenting."
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I must say I've never been so glad to have been proven wrong (by my wife and Tom)! This book works!
-John Konrad author of Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster