Manifesto of the Idle Parent

One of my favorite parenting books that I read last year was more of an anti-parenting book: The Idle Parent, by Tom Hodgkinson. He includes this rather snappy manifesto that will give you a pretty good feel for the tone of the book. This is probably going to go up on my fridge or near the family calendar.


  1. We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work.
  2. We pledge to leave our children alone.
  3. We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children’s lives from the moment they are born.
  4. We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals.
  5. We drink alcohol without guilt.
  6. We reject the inner Puritan.
  7. We don’t waste money on family days out and holidays.1
  8. An idle parent is a thrifty parent.
  9. An idle parent is a creative parent.
  10. We lie in bed for as long as possible.
  11. We try not to interfere.
  12. We play in the fields and forests.
  13. We push them into the garden and shut the door so we can clean the house.
  14. We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small. 2
  15. Time is more important than money.
  16. Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness.
  17. Down with school.
  18. We fill the house with music and merriment.
  19. We reject health and safety guidelines.
  20. We embrace responsibility.
  21. There are many paths.
  1. I’m not 100% sold on this one. We’re big fans of family hikes and museum trips, and last year we took our daughter to Universal Studios. I don’t have as many kids to juggle as the author does, which is an important bit of context. 

  2. This and No. 15 are easy to say when money is of no concern. My husband is a software engineer and despite me being a stay-at-home mom, his pay his high enough that he can get away with a typical 40 hour work week. This is a privilege offered to very few. 

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