Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best parenting book I've read (and I've read a few....!)
This is a superb book which has helped me to re-think the way I parent. My children were over-stimulated and overscheduled due to overkeen parenting and my 5 year old watched way too much television as a toddler (he was a poor sleeper and very lively so I thought TV would help me and him in some way but it made matters much worse as I believe excessive TV contributed to...
Published on 16 Mar 2009 by J. M. Bezzant

versus
88 of 88 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas but overall, poorly expressed.
I agree with another reviewer here; The Idle Parent is infuriating. It has the potential to be a good read but there are far too many inconsistencies in Hodgkinson's theory. Plus, he has an awkward humour and style of writing, and his name dropping is tedious.

I agree with Hodgkinson's general principle that we should avoid over-parenting and that mindless...
Published on 3 May 2010 by Kado


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

88 of 88 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas but overall, poorly expressed., 3 May 2010
By 
I agree with another reviewer here; The Idle Parent is infuriating. It has the potential to be a good read but there are far too many inconsistencies in Hodgkinson's theory. Plus, he has an awkward humour and style of writing, and his name dropping is tedious.

I agree with Hodgkinson's general principle that we should avoid over-parenting and that mindless consumerism is bad for us, however, he struggles to fill a book on this topic. As well, it seems as if he hasn't quite thought through his manifesto; he chooses which rules suit him, whenever it suits him.

Example: in one chapter where he talks at length about how 'childcare' has become outsourced, he warns against the hiring of nannies and talks about how the hiring of theirs was a terrible thing and how they became dependent on her. Yet, in another chapter he recommends hiring a nanny to make life easier, how theirs was the most wonderful thing and that she enabled them to get some sleep. There are many similar inconsistencies throughout the book.

Also infuriating are his many generalisations and silly assertions that range from the naive (all schools should aim to be more like Eton) to the absurd (the reason the examination results of his former school, Westminster - which he raves about - were better than everyone else's is due to their term time being 2 weeks shorter. Apparently, it had nothing at all to do with Westminster attracting the cream of the crop).

The chapter on No More Family Days Out is his strongest, genuinely amusing and insightful and giving us food for thought. I wish the rest of the book had been as effective as this one. The weakest chapter is Down With Schools, which comes across as smug and elitist and irrelevant. The book would have been better off without it.

I wanted to like this book as it showed promise. I did love the faithfully researched historical references and found those fascinating and you can't fault his enthusiasm. But the last straw was his list - an indulgent 12 pages long - of recommended children's authors: Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Conan Doyle, J.M. Barrie, Blake...you get the idea. It's not that I don't also recommend these authors, but he goes on to rubbish all modern children's literature and says to ban them from the house - this, after telling us not to ban anything. Apart from the fact his, frankly, cliched list adds nothing to the book or the manifesto, surely the idea of a parent imposing on his children his idea of what makes for good reading goes against the very principles of Idle Parenting; of leaving children to be who they want to be, and, I presume, read what they want to read, be it Alex Rider or Peter Pan?

Finally, he ends the book by claiming, "It is far better to be poor in money but rich in time," but you've got to wonder a) just how poor this guy has ever been and b) how many of those actually living in poverty would agree with him. I can just see all those unemployed, struggling to survive, saying to themselves, ah! but I have time!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


100 of 106 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars really hard to rate as I hated a lot of it but agreed with the initial premise!, 21 July 2009
This review is from: The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids (Hardcover)
I have not encountered such an infuriating book for a long time. I am broadly speaking a continuum concept, idle parent sort of person, but this book had me chucking it a couple of times. I know how I parent and am happy with it, so I was in no way reading it as a guide, which is just as well as this book is not aimed at people like me.

The main issue I have with this book is that its demographic is clearly ONLY the middle class professional who has plenty of money, a garden and lots of choices about how and where they live. I first chucked this book when people living on the 10th floor should get allotment space so the children can be left to potter. I live on the fourth floor - I assume that this also applies to me - but where am I going to find an allotment?! I live a mile from the City of London! And even if I could find one I wouldn't be able to afford the few quid it costs.

I chucked this book a second time when the author starts going on (at some length) about private education. Did you know that you could easily save 10,000 a year if you just cut out things that you really don't need? No? Neither did I. If I wanted to free up that kind of money - double it in fact as I have 2 kids - we would all starve and have no home - 10,000 being 90% of my annual income. In this section he also completely contradicts his idle parent hypotheses by giving as an example of a woman who really wanted to send her child to Summerhill and raised the money by working a market stall! NOT very idle!

A frankly laughable aspect of his analysis of the wisdom of private education was inferring that Eton is the epitome of autonomus education and therefore fulfils all the criteria for the free thinking anarchist or autonomous parent! Methinks Old Etonians enjoy positions where they boss us little people around - THEY may be autonomous (though I suspect that they are slaves to the mighty dosh as much if not more than the rest of us), but they are certainly not striving for a freer and more autonomous society.

He also refers to Jeremy Bentham as 'evil'! Of course he is entitled to his opinion, and Utilitarianism is by no means a perfect philosophy, but it is certainly in no way evil, and nor was Bentham. The Continuum Concept (which he extols) has a good heart, but is good for making people (lets face it women) feel bad about not being able to be with their babies ALL the time. We are not all so privileged as to be able to have nannies and cleaners to make things a little easier!

I have not given this book a lower rating for not liking it - that is not the way I critique - I have marked it down due to the many inconsistencies in his hypothesis and the examples he uses to support it. It is an interesting read, but does not hold together convincingly as a result of this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Double standards, 30 Sep 2012
This book started out well, i was quite entertained to begin with and enjoyed reading his philosophy of simple old values parenting. However when he started talking about his nanny the doubts crept in. This was followed by him singing the praises of private education and to counterbalance the criticism of the masses over affordability he said most of his friends at Westminister school had parents who were "normal people " like doctors, architects, etc. For those of us who really feel we can't afford it we should give up our expensive televisions and go and work on a market stall to fund our children though an education system so that they can grow up free thinking like him Mmmmmmmm, really? i think he needs to take a look at how the masses really live.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Idle thinking, 19 May 2010
By 
P. Howarth (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
An infuriating book. Its main idea is to leave your kids alone so they grow up independent and free. Let them get back to nature, let education follow their instincts, unplug from the grid, avoid big government and big corporations and amusement parks. However, like D. H. Lawrence, whom Hodgkinson quotes a lot, there is a strong authoritarian impulse behind all this laissez-faire - but in this case, it's authoritarianism directed at you, the reader and parent. This book has more commands in it than Deuteronomy. Drop your job. Rent a field and let your kids play. Steer clear of plastic amusement parks and all other entertainments which the aspiring, over-eager, anxious lower-middle classes contaminate with their sanitised fun. Don't play with computers. Don't camp in authorised camping sites, which are full of fat people in caravans. Don't think you'll enjoy yourself going on expensive foreign holidays, because you won't, and there'll only be tears when you return, you know. Hodkinson rails against Puritanical moulding of kids into model citizens, but there's the same nagging reformism at work in his relentless prodding of their parents, a kind of authoritarian demand that you WILL make yourself free. Why, after all, must we be taught to be idle? Surely real idleness would have been not to write the book at all, but that would have spoilt a nice little earner. This book capitalises just as surely on middle-class guilt as all the corporate-driven, over-anxious, over-involved parenting it criticises.

The Idle Parent is, however, genuinely idle in its thinking. It's self-contradictory, repetitive and badly organised, full of anecdotes from friends with not a shred of evidence behind them and mangled one-sentence accounts of how we can blame our educational woes on 'Puritanism' or 'the Enlightenment' without ever seeming to have read any informed account of them. It somehow manages to align dropping out of the rat-race with sending your boys to Westminster or Eton (everyone has chosen to be there, so it's free of state control, you see). It rails against colonising the virgin territory of our children's minds, and then recommends Robinson Crusoe as the ideal bedtime story. Idle in its thinking. Not idle enough in its parenting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best parenting book I've read (and I've read a few....!), 16 Mar 2009
By 
J. M. Bezzant (Solihull, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids (Hardcover)
This is a superb book which has helped me to re-think the way I parent. My children were over-stimulated and overscheduled due to overkeen parenting and my 5 year old watched way too much television as a toddler (he was a poor sleeper and very lively so I thought TV would help me and him in some way but it made matters much worse as I believe excessive TV contributed to his hyperactivity and being unable to entertain himself). My eldest has always been extremely demanding however, having read The Idle Parent, this is set to change! I've already started to make changes to the way I do things and now my ironing gets done during the day (not 10 o'clock at night anymore!) whilst my children play in the garden with the patio door firmly closed!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 9 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids (Hardcover)
Such a good book, i read it during the half term holidays and i totally enjoyed it, for the first time i took it easy and let my kids be independant, they were happy and so was i, i actually got to have a sleep during the day without any upset....i'm happy to have found this book whilst my kids are still young!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works., 22 Nov 2009
By 
Mrs. RM KLEPPMANN (Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids (Hardcover)
I read this book recently and our youngest child is 20. Hodgkinson's approach to rearing children and ours are very similar and if our family can be taken as an example, the children grow up to be lively, interested, interesting and motivated adults. My husband and I are happy to be in the background until we are needed but otherwise we let them lead their own lives, while we get on with ours. Happy solution for everyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of valuable ideas but not a childcare bible, 11 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am a big fan of all Tom Hodgkinson's books and I greatly enjoyed this one. It is a great book for getting you to rethink a blind consumerist approach and enjoying your life with your children. However, there were some parts I couldn't agree with. This certainly isn't a bible of childcare - although the author dismisses other books (despite saying he hasn't read any!), other books are much more practical for day-to-day advice. Tom also seemed to feel you could ignore children of any age without any ill effects. Maybe this is easier when they are a bit older but I think it can be quite damaging for younger children. A cynical reader might guess that while Tom is ignoring his children, his wife is organising them, helping them read, making sure they're fed etc - quite a common scenario that one ;-) As always with Tom the book is full of contradictions. One minute he's saying 'Down with School' and preaching anarchy, the next minute he's praising Eton. This didn't bother me though because as he says at the beginning we should pick and choose from his ideas and make up our own minds.

Overall though the book is full of really valuable ideas and is a useful balance to the 'buy something to solve every problem' trap that so many of us fall into. I would certainly say it is a refreshing addition to the bookshelf and will quickly pay for itself by helping you avoid spending your money on plastic junk and 'plastic days out'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinch of Salt needed (as always!), 11 Feb 2012
By 
M. Nagy "Little Old Me" (Italia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a childcare professional and a soon-to-be parent, I read this book with delight as it reminded me how important it is to allow our children to be autonomous!

For women especially (as the research clearly states) it is difficult for us to let and watch our children struggle with a challenge, but it is such an important learning experience for them. I am also a big lover of getting 'back to basics' and ditching the silly amounts of electronic and interactive toys that children these days seem to own. What ever happened to the joy of digging in the garden, hunting under plant pots for insects or making an outdoor den all afternoon?!

I also like the idea of not over-praising children for 'ordinary' tasks, but applying 'appropriate' levels of praise for each attempt or activity your child completes. (I am a HUGE believer in positive over negative reinforcement, but I also agree that over-praising can be detrimental to personal development and appropriate levels of praise can encourage our children to create goals and challenges for themselves... again, more autonomous learning!)

A great read, but as always, read someone else's suggestions with a pinch of salt and always adapt them to what YOU feel is correct. You are the parent or caregiver that is ultimately responsible for your child/children and your gut feeling is almost always right! :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top book - stop spoiling those kids...., 9 Jun 2009
By 
Mr. N. Morton "mortonn" (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids (Hardcover)
I wish I read this book when the kids were babies - lots of common sense really just nice to hear somebody say it as it really is.
Read it - It is a genuinely funny book with lots of ideas and theories which are actually easy to put into practice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids
The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids by Tom Hodgkinson (Hardcover - 5 Mar 2009)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews