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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 26 reviews
on September 8, 2011
After reading the The Freedom Manifesto: How to Free Yourself from Anxiety, Fear, Mortgages, Money, Guilt, Debt, Government, Boredom, Supermarkets, Bills, Melancholy, Pain, Depression, Work, and Waste I visited Tom's website to find out he wrote a book on parenting. For years I've been very much against the reading of parenting books which seem to cause more harm than good... but, being a fan of Tom, I decided to give this book a try. I'm glad I did! Yes the book needs to be read with a grain of salt but the advice is brilliant and it's so well written. In fact, the only problem I have with the book is that my wife has been doing most of these things (unplugging the tv, avoiding supermarkets, etc) for years while I have been fighting her the entire way.

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
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on March 21, 2013
Although I am not motivated by idleness but rather by what I consider to be the best interest of my children (and family), I agree with many of the suggestion brought forth by the author - relax more, let the kids do their thing, simplify life, spend more time out of doors, down with TV, down with plastic and toys and organized activities, etc. So really, I should have liked this book, for even if it didn't offer me any new ideas (preaching to the choir after all) it is nice to have one's opinions validated. But the whole thing felt like a long essay on one man's thoughts on parenting, with the occasional references to Locke and Rouseau (because they are so relevant today??) thrown in. It was nothing but anecdotes from his family (they have three kids, live in the English countryside, raise animals and drink copiously, from what I understand). Also his occasional digs at the government and at being a slave to ones job left me mostly annoyed - what about those of us who enjoy our work? Shouldn't that be an aspiration in life if one so chooses?

Another area where I feel Hodgkinson goes to extremes is in his anti-school rants, homeschooling apparently being the ideal situation. While one can certainly lament the state of education overall and the emphasis on tests and standardized curriculum in particular, there are still schools out there that are well worth sending your kids to. I found his opinions on curriculum contradictory at times. On page 81 he says "It would be a thousand times better, as things stand, to chuck overboard all the drawing and painting and music and modeling and pseudo-science and "graphic" history and "graphic" geography and "self expression," all the lot." Instead he suggests teaching just reading, writing and arithmetic. But then later on in the book he talks about how great music is and that he actually teaches kids at his kid's school how to play the ukulele. In short, I don't agree with this views on education.
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on November 9, 2011
I loved this book, it reminded me to take a breath and let my child enjoy his childhood. It reminded me to let him live his life and have fun with him and not worry so much about everything !! I want him to grow up self sufficient and brave --this is a good reminder of how you treat them in their youth will reflect in their adulthood.
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on August 13, 2013
This book is a comfort to parents who are just doing what they can -- and for parents who might sometimes feel guilty for not playing with their children every moment of every day. This book asserts that children NEED to develop self-sufficiency, and being a little more hands-off might just be a good thing for your child. HE may be a little too Rousseauian for my taste, but makes great -- and FUNNY -- points!
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on April 30, 2014
Any helicopter parent out there must read this book, a serious topic with a light hearted feel to it well worth the read!
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on December 18, 2012
Who wants to read a light book about raising kids. This is the one you need! No stress and still great kids!
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on June 11, 2010
Tom Hodgkinson's "The Idle Parent" is a frustrating mix of refreshingly anarchic parenting advice (relax, leave your kids alone, enjoy the journey) and weirdly didactic philosophical manifesto (quit your job, don't buy anything plastic, reject most societal norms) -- with plenty of tongue-in-cheek satire sprinkled liberally throughout. Hodgkinson is profoundly pro-environment and anti-capitalist, and believes in living a life as carbon-free and detached from The Man as possible -- yet the extent to which he foists his radical beliefs upon readers quickly becomes an irritant. Despite claiming that all Idle Parents should find their own way and create their own rules when it comes to parenting (yahoo!), his rhetorical style doesn't follow his own mandate -- instead, chapter after chapter outlines the way he's creating his own Idle Family (by getting rid of the dishwasher, eliminating "Family Days Out", growing a garden with his kids, etc.) and strongly intimates that unless you do the same, you're not following The Rules of Idle Parenting.

Indeed, by drawing almost exclusively upon his own experiences (which affords him plenty of opportunities for humorous self-denigration), he alienates readers who don't live on a farm in England with easy access to animals and wilderness; ultimately, he fails to provide readers with a balanced sense of their options. Living in an urban environment, for instance, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to take my kids outdoors to a nearby park -- yet Hodgkinson roundly labels all man-made parks the devil's work (!). Perhaps most egregiously, his categorical cries against both daycare and full-time work outside the house don't acknowledge those of us who find both those societal conventions to be an excellent start at Idle Parenting, given that they allow us to achieve two of his purported goals: a) widening the circle of adults to help care for our kids (daycare), and b) maximizing our own adult enjoyment of life (through meaningful work).

Finally, Hodgkinson barely addresses the world of parenting with kids under three (his three kids are ages 3-8). He touches briefly upon sleeping arrangements (he's an advocate of co-sleeping, which does NOT make life easier and simpler for all parents!), and gratuitously notes that he thinks swaddling is a restrictive practice which should be banned. (Clearly none of his kids had colic... Swaddling can be a true godsend for the Idle Parent of a Fussy Baby.)

With all that said, Hodgkinson's basic credo -- relax and stop feeling guilty about everything you're NOT doing for your kids -- is such an essential antidote to the toxicity of modern helicopter parenting that I'm willing to recommend this book to many of my friends -- with the caveat that much of what he writes (the book could/should have been about half the length) needs to be taken lightly, or ignored altogether.
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on August 15, 2011
Great book for the parent who has read all the parenting books! Honestly... while this is a funny and lighthearted read..... much of what the author says is very true and practical! We should all relax a little more and take his advice.
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on February 24, 2013
This book was humorous on a subject that seems to have become very humour-less in the past few years. While definitely not advocating neglect, the author writes how doing less is actually providing a service to your children.
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on March 23, 2012
This is my first parenting book (only 6mo pregnant right now), but it follows with what my husband and I pretty much believe (reduce plastic, don't run a restaurant at mealtime, lots of outside play time, etc.), and now I don't think that I need another book. I do agree with other reviewers that there's not enough in there about infants though, so I may need to re-read this in 2 years or so.
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