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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on 1 March 2009
I guess this book is preaching to the converted - you probably wouldn't buy it if you weren't just a little concerned about current parenting trends and the way children are being brought up nowadays. I enjoyed it: it's very readable and gave me confidence in my own instincts about what's healthy and what's not healthy when deciding how to deal with my own children. It does get a little repetitive at times, but it all serves to reinforce the message that we should be 'treating children as people rather than projects'. I'd recommend it to any parent who suspects that there's something wrong with the way adults impose their own agenda on children, keep them on a tight rein and try to structure their lives to make them be what we want them to be, rather then considering the wishes and interests of the child.
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on 11 March 2009
Since having my baby, I have worried about how I'm going to bring him up. My instincts tell me that children should be free to play and have fun and not bound up into endless supervised activities etc. But when everyone else is doing these activities you feel like you're the one in the wrong. However, this book has really put my mind at ease and I can't rate it highly enough for the effect it has had on me. It explains very clearly why we need to let children be children, and the benefits of doing this for both the children and the parents. Very highly recommended.
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on 11 November 2009
I came across this book purely by chance while my daughter and I were trawling the shelves at the library. I've read about research that claims that having lots of books in your house is actually more indicative of your child's academic success than whether or not you read to them every night. Based on this premise I've been taking my daughter to the library every day and leaving her amongst the books. If the research is right, perhaps this will reap the rewards of private education plus the best tutoring money can buy without all of the expense...

Clearly I don't actually do that. The book, however, is full of anecdotes about parents who do indeed go to similarly extreme measures in an attempt to secure the best future for their little darlings. They pay for extra tutors, enrol in every after school activity and only allow 'educational' toys at Christmas.

It would be easy to write a review of this book saying that it isn't all that much more than a collection of such anecdotes, admittedly well researched and thoroughly backed up with bona fide science.

The basic premise of the book is that the world has been drawn into over-parenting, that we should sit back and let children be children and just generally relax a little about the whole parenting thing. Perhaps because of this, Honore does not set out to become just another in a long line of preachers telling us how to bring up our children.

Why people would buy this book interests me. A previous reviewer said it must be preaching to the converted which is probably true, but this suggests that even people with enough common sense to reject scheduling a child's activities like the diary of a high flying executive, or tutoring them to the point of exhaustion, need some sort of external affirmation that their view is right - or at least shared.

I probably spend a little too much time seeking that sort of approval, comparing myself to others. Maybe that's what leads to the over-parenting - using children as a way for adults to compete and excel?

The beauty of this book is that, without preaching, it got me thinking about what sort of parent I am and why.

To summarise: I probably didn't need to read the book to realise that 'over-parenting' is bad. I did enjoy lots of interesting anecdotes and research and it definitely did get me thinking - which I suspect is mostly what Carl Honore intended.
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on 8 December 2012
Enjoyable and thought provoking read. I particularly liked the anecdotes and the examples from all over the world. Carl Honore writes from a parent and journalistic point of view rather than a scientist, but this means that he leaves you to draw your own conclusions rather than prescriptive parenting.
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on 25 July 2013
Any parent of a young child should read this book. It's very enlightening.
Nicely divided up into relevant chapters. Author is speaking inLondon but unfortunately I am unable to go.
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on 15 February 2013
I have read the book in Greek translation, and bought it for a friend. Book is great, I am not sure about the cover, but if not I would recommend it to everyone... :)
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on 11 August 2014
Straight to the point. Kids are under too much pressure these days and should just be let to be children.
Great book.
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Well-written clarion call, with vivid illustrations, to take a look at what we are doing to our children.
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