Idle parenting means happy children!

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/family...

Interesting article, should we steer away from the "pushy parent" philosophy and become more "idle parents" ?

Here's the idea in a nutshell :

Manifesto of the idle parent
We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work
We pledge to leave our children alone
That should mean that they leave us alone, too
We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children from the moment they are born
We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals
We drink alcohol without guilt
We reject the inner Puritan
We fill the house with music and laughter
We don't waste money on family days out and holidays
We lie in bed for as long as possible
We try not to interfere
We push them into the garden and shut the door so that we can clean the house
We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small
Time is more important than money
Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness
Down with school
We fill the house with music and merriment

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Amie - posted on 06/02/2010

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I think a lot of this is coming to how this article is being interpreted. That is if it's been read and not just going off this list.

He states that parents like being lazy and children like being busy. That our liberal laws prevent child labor so we should exploit our own children.

His children learned how to make breakfast and get themselves ready in the morning because he and his wife refused to get out of bed. He even wrote a cute little sentence about their 6 year old bringing them tea in bed one morning because they refused to get up, probably because they were hung over. /:) That is disgusting.

He goes on to say that an Idle parent is a more responsible parent because they have respect for their child. That they do not hand off their children to various authorities for their education and care. Idle parents do not resent their children. That the sacrifices parents make for their children are in vain if they end up not doing well (clubs, extra curriculars, etc.).

He has even gone so far as to state that an Idle parent is a stay at home parent, they are thrifty. They are thrifty though because they don't work hard. It sparks creativity though.

Those are some of the worst parts about that article. I have no respect for this man. Especially after reading his little story in the article about his Idle parenting, falling asleep and his toddler BURNING his hands on their stove because of it.

His idea of Idle parenting, does not seem to be what so many on here are fighting for. Free range is a whole other ball field than what this man is doing. He's lazy and shrouding it in some cooked up BS that it's better for his kids. If you don't want to be there to guide your children, if you honestly think they should just learn everything on their own, don't have kids. Ever.

Carolee - posted on 06/01/2010

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Okay... my replies are in ( )'s...



We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work

(Even pregnancy is hard for a lot of women... why wouldn't raising them be hard work, too?)



We pledge to leave our children alone

That should mean that they leave us alone, too

(Then why have kids in the first place?)



We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children from the moment they are born

(This one, I actually agree with for the most part.)



We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals

(You can see a moral in pretty much any story. If it has a definate beginning, middle, and end, there is typically a moral there... it may just not be obvious.)



We drink alcohol without guilt

(I would edit that to be "responsibly drink alcohol without guilt".)



We reject the inner Puritan

(There's no reason to be a prude, but there's also no reason to purposefully be 'bad'.)



We fill the house with music and laughter

(I agree with this one, too.)



We don't waste money on family days out and holidays

(It's not a waste if you're not forcing all the family members to do it.)



We lie in bed for as long as possible

(I love my 'cuddle time', but we have it on the couch... I think it's the same concept, though... kinda...)



We try not to interfere

(Within reason. I don't see helping kids find solutions as interfering, though... some people do.)



We push them into the garden and shut the door so that we can clean the house

(When age-appropriate... but I would still prefer to be playing with the kids.)



We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small

(We make sure the bills are paid and we try to have a little extra.)



Time is more important than money

(As long as it is 'quality' time. Just merely sitting in the same room as somebody without interaction doesn't count for me.)



Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness

(This person must have looked at my house!)



Down with school

(Not at all. Yes, the school system need to be 'tweaked', but there is not one part of our community and society that does not. It's the best thing we've got, and kids need to learn structure, otherwise they will never be able to keep a job.)



We fill the house with music and merriment

(Yep.)

Charlie - posted on 06/03/2010

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Yeah well i will admit i didnt read the article , i read the list , had a laugh , and in all honesty didnt take it that seriously .

I mean anyone can come up with a parenting style or type , that doesnt mean it should be taken as the holy gospel , personally i take it with a grain of salt , i smile and nod at the parts that make sense to me and disagree with the parts i dont like , i know how i parent works magnificent for my family all other little tid bits that random people like to write up are just interesting reading .

Amie - posted on 06/01/2010

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Makes me wonder how long before society as a whole will stop taking everything to one extreme or the other and find a balance.

It's not that hard. I know a lot of the women on here have found that balance for their own families, as I have my own.

Parenting is never black or white, it's a whole shade of grey.

It's like my gramma's generation went to the extreme of children are seen and not heard. Use corporal punishment to keep them in line. Now we're getting to the other end where kids are just given a free for all. /:) Neither are any good.

[deleted account]

I read the article and I don't remember reading those extreme things. Perhaps the better parts of the article were cut and pasted onto someones website in the version I read. I still don't think what's written in the OP is all bad though. And I think a lot of parents are rebelling against all this super parent stuff and find comfort in articles like this one. It doesn't mean that they are as bad as the parents they read about, but sometimes it's nice to read something written by parents who make you look good rather than expert parents who make you look bad.

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Sarah - posted on 06/11/2010

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Hardwork - It is hardwork sometimes, but not all the time. Being a parent is a hard job but it is soooo rewarding.

The only time i leave my children alone is if i go upstairs to get dressed, get washing, etc. Or if my son goes and plays with his toys in a different room. I always check on him to make sure he's ok though.

My son has a story every night before bedtime. Normally a disney book. He chooses the book, not us, so its his choice.

If my husband has a drink at night, i dont and vice versa. I just dont think its right if we both drink. Thats my opinion. I only have alot to drink when my children stay at their grandma's house.

Our house is always full of laughter, it's part of children growing up, everything is amusing to them.

We do go on days out but only when we can afford it and we'd only go somewhere that we know our son will like. For example, the zoo. And if we can't afford it, then we take him to the park.

Every morning we feed our daughter at 6am (shes only 13 weeks) and our son normally wakes up about 7ish. He walks into our room and climbs into bed with us so we have 5 minutes cuddle time. We only lie in at the weekends when one of us can go downstairs with our son while the other stays in bed for another hour.

I dont like interfering with my son (unless he's obviously going to really hurt himself) He's a lovely little boy and shares everything for everyone, except his cousin ! His cousin is very naughty and is always hurting him (punching him in the face, slapping him, pushin him over, shoving things in his face. He has smashed a metal toy car on my sons head, on his bday, and made him bleed. He's smashed a metal scooter handle into my sons eye, made him bleed and was soo close to his eyeball) So i only interfere when it comes to my nephew as im sure you can understand why. But i am a very laid back person and i dont jump up every 2 seconds thinkin he's going to hurt himself. My mother in law must think im heartless, she gives me filthy looks when im not doing that.

My son loves going out into the garden. He helps his grandad with his gardening. So if he wants to go out in the garden then he can do, unless it's raining. I never completely shut the door, i leave a gap so i dont get a massaive draft through the house.

My husband works damn hard to keep a roof over our heads. 8am until 5.30pm 5 days a week, excluding travel time. And i work part time as well. I dont believe in not working. If your not prepared to work to earn money then you shouldnt have children. We already had our jobs before we even thought about having children.

Time is more important than money- Now im in 2 minds about this. Time is important, as long as you all spend it together. But money is also important.

I used to be tidying up all the time after my son and it was pointless as he'd just make it a mess again ! So now ive stopped doing it while he's playing. When he gets down for a nap, i tidy up. And once he's in bed, i tidy up. It's impossible to have a nice tidy house 24/7 if you have kids.

I think parents need to have a mixture of both. I'm a very laid back person so my children are as well. There's no point in always being on edge with your kids, constantly looking over their shoulder. They need to learn and grow up with a little help. I do agree in discipline. I use the naughty step, i dont agree with hitting at all. My son is really testing me at the moment, he's at the terrible 2 stage and he's constantly back chatting. But it's all worth it :o)

Amie - posted on 06/04/2010

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oh no Allison. I don't see you as wallowing. I didn't get that impression. I've seen it in my daily life here is what I meant. LOL!

There is a difference between taking an interesting and reflecting to reading something and just getting down because of what was read. It's hard to explain but I think that's as close to it as I can get simply. =)

[deleted account]

Those are some good points Amie and I agree with what you say about the examples you cut and pasted from the article. I like having a laugh about articles like this, but they look like wallowing and I can see that some people who like to read them (like me) look like they are wallowing even if they are not. You are right.

Amie - posted on 06/04/2010

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No one can make a person look a certain way or feel a certain way though without you giving them permission to do so.

I get pissed off and wound up, if it's not worth it though. I let it go. It is not worth my time to acknowledge someone who is a negative influence in my life, in any way.

There is also no such thing as a super parent. People like to think their are, every single parent out there has a flaw though. We will all do something to our children that we wish we hadn't. We all have "regrets". It's all in how you look at it though. Are you going to let it be a learning experience or are you going to sit and wallow? I see more and more people wallowing. It's disgusting.

I have high standards for all parents, it does not mean I expect parents to be perfect. I expect them to be perfect for their own children. Which means, my perfection is not theirs nor is it the person in the article.

Here is a cut and paste from the article(what I was talking about):

One morning, not so long ago, V and I refused to get up. I imagine we were hung over. At about nine o'clock, the bedroom door swung open and in walked Arthur, then six, with two cups of tea. A lot can be achieved by lying in bed. Simply by doing nothing, you can train children to do useful things. During the last holiday, we found we were lying in bed till 10 or 11. By abandoning our kids, they had taught themselves how to get up, make themselves breakfast and play.

Paradoxically, the idle parent is a responsible parent because at the heart of idle parenting is a respect for the child, a trust in another human being. It is the irresponsible parent who hands the child over to various authorities for its education and care, whether that is childminders, schools, CBeebies or the virtual world of Habbo Hotel. Or it is the parent who tries to impose his own vision on the children and does not simply let them be.

Another great advantage of being idle is that it avoids causing resentment in the parent. There is nothing so corrosive or pestilent as resentment stewing in the breast. Imagine making all those sacrifices, putting yourself out for your children, going without, and then they go junkie on you. No, there is no room for martyrs in the world of the idle parent. Our happiness comes first. And that is the right way round. As a cab driver said to me the other day: "My kids are happy because we're happy." Do not suffer. Enjoy your life.

So while I agree with the broad strokes of his parenting theories. His execution of them, I do not agree with at all. There are many mom's here I know who have similar views to me; However we interpreted this article differently.

Sarah - posted on 06/03/2010

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There's always going to some idiots that take a theory and use it to justify their bad parenting.
Hopefully none of us fit that catergory! :)

Amie - posted on 06/03/2010

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Oh I can agree there are elements of truth to it. I also realize that there are some parents who will take things such as this and use it as an example that being lazy is ok.

Charlie - posted on 06/03/2010

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Sara i agree , Look , i still think SOME of his points are very valid regardless of how extreme some of the other points are , i think we can all pick those that are extreme and choose to ignore them , i do feel many parents smother their children , I would call him an extreme free ranger , anything extreme is usually dangerous but there are still elements of truth to some of the basis of his ideas IMO.

Lady - posted on 06/03/2010

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I read the article but agree with Loureen - it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt - even his friends say it's a joke him giving other parents advice. The unfortunate thing is i know parents like him!!

Sarah - posted on 06/03/2010

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I think he's taking it to the to the extreme for sure, but i still think SOME of what he says rings true.
The amount of pressure *some* kids are placed under by attending a million clubs and activities, to me, is a bit harsh. I think that *some* parents push their kids WAY too hard, instead of letting them learn through play and living in the "real world"

The tea thing, yes refusing to get up sounds harsh, but i'll admit, the amount of weekend mornings when my kids have come bursting in at 6am and i've "refused" to get up. I've told them it's too early and to go back to their room and play. I think it's kind of sweet that his kid cared enough to bring them some tea!!

I think he's trying to say that a little less structure, and more finding out for themselves would be good for kids.
As i said, he's being extreme in his way of explaining things, but hey, the more controversy, the more publicity. :)

C. - posted on 06/02/2010

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Um, hello! The term 'idle parenting' should be a clue.. Idle means to sit and do nothing, which implies that they don't even discipline.. B/c they are idle.. They sit and do nothing!

[deleted account]

"I don't understand the need to turn parenting into science and an effort to pigeon hole everyone?"

I agree with Sharon on this one. But if parenting is going to be turned into a science then we might as well have fun with it and be pigeon holed in the lazy slacker category rather than trying to live up to all the others.

Sharon - posted on 06/02/2010

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I don't understand the need to turn parenting into science and an effort to pigeon hole everyone?

Charlie - posted on 06/01/2010

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I dont see anywhere in the post where they are saying or implying they are their kids friends not their parents , that to me would be implying that there is no discipline , you can be a free range parent AND discipline your children as your child .

Parent who view their kids as friends are the ones that have no discipline whatsoever and i dont see where that is mentioned here .

Becky - posted on 06/01/2010

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I think he has some good points, but I kind of agree with Sharon that the article makes him sound like a lazy slacker! I do agree that a lot of people overschedule their kids and buy them too many electronic and educational toys that don't encourage any creativity. And there are many times when I lie on the couch and doze when my boys have gotten me up too early in the morning, or sit on the couch on my laptop, and let them play on floor, only intervening when my 2 year old pushes or hits his baby brother or the baby falls, or one of them starts demanding something of me. sometimes for up to an hour! And I absolutely agree with the happy mess! I try not to be a slob, but housework is definitely not a priority for me.
But I disagree with a few things -
Drinking - sure, having a drink once in a while around your kids is fine, but I think, especially when your kids are young, they always need to have one sober caregiver, who is able to drive in case of an emergency.
Family outings and holidays - I do agree that they don't all need to cost money, the kids can have just as much fun at the playground as at the zoo, but there is nothing wrong with going to the zoo and the swimming pool and the farm, etc once in a while too, as long as it fits into your budget.
Education - I think education is very important. I don't want to pressure my kids into something they're not good at or hate - if they don't have the aptitude for advanced mathmatics for instance, they don't need to take advanced mathmatics (heck, I sure wouldn't!) But I also want them to do their best and not to slack off when it comes to school. I won't push them to be straight A students, but I will push them to do their assignments and to do their best.

C. - posted on 06/01/2010

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Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuull-honkey.. I think there should be a happy medium. I don't think you should hover and I don't think you should give children free-range.. I believe there is a perfect balance that everyone needs to find. I hate this idea of being the 'friend' and not a parent.. It's disgusting. Anyway, my parent(s) were very strict growing up (within reason, they weren't crazy psychos) .. But we still had lots of fun, too.. We were almost always goofing off and listening to music, watching movies and playing games together. But then when we were bad, we got in trouble.. Perfect balance, people.. Perfect balance.

Charlie - posted on 06/01/2010

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LOL thats pretty harsh , not unexpected from you but harsh LOL , i dont see it like that at all :)

Sharon - posted on 06/01/2010

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lazy worthless slackers, not interested in being parents or productive citizens of their society. They just want manipulatable pals to hang out with who will entertain them.

Charlie - posted on 06/01/2010

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I love this !!


We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work-I have always said there are times in parenting that will be hard but parenting itself shouldn't be hard work , i have certainly had my hard days but its a hell of a lot easier than teaching 30 , 5 year olds , 5 days a week !
We pledge to leave our children alone- When Cooper wants me , he lets me know and i am there for him in a flash otherwise i let him explore his world on his own and watch in amazement .
That should mean that they leave us alone, too-
We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children from the moment they are born- for now , his daddy has more of a toy truck fetish than Cooper does LOL.
We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals- there is always a moral we just dont emphasize them for now , hes too young .
We drink alcohol without guilt - Hoorah !
We reject the inner Puritan
We fill the house with music and laughter - always !
We don't waste money on family days out and holidays- nature provides the best free entertainment for any child i believe and so do council parks !
We lie in bed for as long as possible- love a morning snuggle .
We try not to interfere- "Try " is key , i let Cooper use his own judgment and problem solving skills and only interfere when he is in danger ,
We push them into the garden and shut the door so that we can clean the house- he loves the garden , dirt , trees , sticks and his dog which gives me ample time to clean .
We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small - we both have a lot of time for him .
Time is more important than money- True
Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness- True , i say , if there isnt any mess there hasn't been any fun !
Down with school - i would like to change that to " down with regimented , creativity stifling , overly structured type schools" Children need to learn how to express all their creative languages of learning not be stuffed into boxes and pigeon holed .
We fill the house with music and merriment - Of course !!

Sara - posted on 06/01/2010

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I'm more a fan of the Monkey Parenting method, where I just buy a monkey to raise my children while I watch reality TV.

[deleted account]

WOW! I must be the BEST mother in the world! My husband always says people need to leave their kids alone. The longer I parent (granted, all of two years) the more I agree with him. I'm not saying don't discipline or be vigilant about their safety, but just relax and let them be. Though, I agree with those of you that say a balance is necessary. We are fairly balanced, though I fall much more towards this article than the "hyper parents" thread (in the other community, I think).

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2010

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The ones i like are : Time is more important than money and
Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness.

I like family days out though, and i don't like the Down with school one either.

As Gillian said, there's some good ideas, but you wouldn't want to take it to the extreme. Balance is the key with all these parenting theories i think. :)

[deleted account]

I've read this article before and it sounds good to me.

The only parts that I don't like are those I've pasted below:

"We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals"
"We don't waste money on family days out and holidays"
"Down with school"

I like to have stories with morals and I love family days out. I'm also for being encouraging, but not too pushy when it comes to education rather than saying "down with school".

Lady - posted on 06/01/2010

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There is a little truth in it of course he's taken it far too far. But I do agree with letting your children have a bit more free time and leaving them alone to play more so they learn to amuse themselves. It's the half term break here at the moment and my 1 year old had me up at 5.30 so by 9 o'clock me and him were back in bed leaving the other three to amuse themselves - they have been playing shop all morning - making money and selling things to each other and the 11 year old hasn't asked to go on the x box once. I don't agree with leaving them all the time and I think family days out are important, I don't agree with leaving them to run about outside while you sit all afternoon drinking but if there's a pub with a play area then we do let them go and play while we have ONE drink, then we go and play with them or go for a walk and I know my children very well and know they will not bully other children or refuse to share the play equipment. I hate parents that let there kids run about with no supervision and they are real little s**ts that NEED someone looking over them at all times. I think kids do enjoy the simpler things in life given the chance and it doesn't do them any harm to be left to amuse themselves for a while but if everybody had the same ideas as this guy then the whole world would fall into ruin - there's nothing wrong with teaching your children to be ambitious and want more from life!

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