Family Parenting

Idle parents make for happier children

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Parenting isn’t that hard, right? According to Tom Hodgkinson‘s book, The Idle Parent, it needn’t be.

The 2009 unorthodox parenting book promotes laziness among mums and dads. The author thinks that being an idle parent means happier children.

Beers in the woods

A theme throughout is the prioritisation of parental pleasure. This can be sleeping, drinking or just lazing about the house. Hodgkinson’s ideal arrangement for childcare is a beer tent for adults, situated next to a field or woods, where kids can roam. While this may not fit everyone’s ideal, the message is important: Parents are to enjoy themselves during these challenging years of raising children.

Anything that inhibits their enjoyment of life is best banished. For example, family days out, which he calls an “absurd invention of modern industrial society”.

Responsibly neglected

Hodgkinson believes that all this will help your children in the end.

He says, “It’s about responsible neglect. Leave children alone – you’re nearby but let them get on with it. Life is overscheduled so the summer holidays, for example, should be a time to live in the moment. To have fun and be creative without an authority figure lurking in the background.

It teaches you self-sufficiency, the ability to entertain yourself and how to look after yourself. These skills may not be useful in corporate life or if you want to suck on the nipple of the state but they are if you want to be a responsible grown-up human being.”

Idle manifesto

Hodgkinson has gone so far to write a “Manifesto of the idle parent”. So if you’re feeling idle, here are a few of the manifesto’s highlights for you to chew over…

• 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 birth
• We drink alcohol without guilt
• 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
• Time is more important than money