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I’m having a bit of a love hate relationsip with this book. I’ve only just started to read it and there’s been a few sentences that have nearly had me throwing the book across the room. In particular the advise to mothers to leave their children and go on holiday - citing an example fo where a friend left her 1 yr old twins to go on holiday with his missus and when they came back the twins were no longer difficult to get to sleep, not as whiney, clingy etc and the mum saying “I don’t know what I did wrong, but I know it’s my fault”. Ohhhh I growled at that bit.
The basic ideas he’s presented so far I do agree with and have naturally done myself anyway. I don’t believe that I should be my son’s entertainment and have done what I can to foster self reliance. From a very young age Rye has been able to entertain himself for long periods of time. He doesn’t need me to be there in the thick of it with him every single minute. And again, I agree that scheduling children’s time with a dozen activities is counterproductive - far better to get them out of doors. Not sure I exaclty agree that playgrounds are the dismal soul destroying places Hodgkinson protrays them - personally, I find them very useful and have met some lovel people there.
And I do agree there should be balance between my needs and his needs - he shouldn’t come first all the time, it’s give and take. However, i don’t agree that with his claim that mothers should be stricter when children are very young and become more hands off as they get older. Sure keep rules to a minimum, don’t force behaviours allow them to develop naturally through role modelling etc - find and dandy, I think, my problem so far with this book is the language. He’s a bit too cavelier, the language he uses I find uncomfortable - he talks of manipulating children to do work but make it playful..he talks of the “natural child” and uses John Locke and Jean Rousseau as examples to support his brand of childrearing. Perhaps, its because I’m not the least bit interested in having the time to consume alcohol, I’m not interested in going on holiday on my own and I don’t think of Rye as a burden, which is the impression I get from how he views his children - but again perhaps it’s just the language and i need to read a bit further.
I’m not entirely convinced by the manifesto too. A lot of what I’ve read so far does fit in with my ideas of autonmonous learning and giving Rye freedom to direct his own development, fostering an unmaterialistic outlook, shielding him from the consumerist ideals of Western society for as long as possible etc.. all great stuff in my opinion…. it is the way he talks about it.
Has anyone else read this book? What do you think of it. I haven’t made my mind up yet as I am only a few chapters into it…. although so far i’m conflicted.
i have just borrowed it from the library so i will let you know!!
lucky Mum to two daughters aged 6 and 3.
Interesting to read your thoughts on the book Joxy as I was looking at this online only the other day and was wondering wether to have the library order it in for me, I think Il ask them when I go in on friday
What you said is not selling it to me… It doesn’t sound like a book I can take things from and apply to our life, which is what I’m looking for in parenting books.
(Lets number 63)
I’m beginning to get use to his laconic tone and starting to enjoy the book a bit more. It’s also a bit contradictory in place, like I wrote last night, he advocates being strict with very young kiddies… and yet in later chapters he advises reading the Continuum Concept and is enthusiastic about holding babies and bed sharing etc.
There are nuggest of advice I like a lot:
Spend very little on babies and toddlers - instead make toys or have materials available so they can make their own.
Create a community feeling, encourage friends and neighbours to come around with their kids, leave the kids to it to play and enjoy adult time with your friends - and vice versa.
Early bedtimes/naps/ asking for help - he is passionate about the need for sleep - and hey we all know how cranky we get when we’re sleep deprived. He talks of fitting in a midday nap as much as possible - good for the kids ad good for the parents.
Shield kids from consummerism, limit TV & internet etc and get the kids outside in nature.
Be spontaneous, avoid “activities”.
Basically, he’s advocating a community mentality and advising parents to lay off and just let our kids be.
I think for most parents on this forum this book will offer little insight - I think most of us tend live ina similar manner to Hodgkinson’s book anyway - I think it could be a great book for new mainstream parents who only know about CO, CIO, and are constantly advised not to pick the baby up when it cries and think they have to have every latest gadget in order to be a “good” parent. For such parents the book would seem quite radical AND perhaps revolutionary. I do love that Hodgkinson strongly suggests that parents work as little as possible during their children’s early years, so they can spend time with them, he points out that chlidren do not need a plethora of toys and gadegets, designer clothes, expensive holidays, which are the very things that often make us think we have to work to be able to pay for it all. In short he’s a bit advocate of nature being our children’s playground and leaving them to explore their imaginations.
My slight grrrr is that I’ve noticed when he’s extolling the virtues of one of his ideas he uses “he”, when he’s complaining about children being a handful he tends to use “she”. Misogynist is too strong a word, lets just say I have resorted to telling the book to “F off” a few times… so it definitely evokes a strong reaction.
I recommend it as a book to read and to shout at, ocassionally giggle with the author and other times think “well, duh!” and I would most definitely recommend the book as a gift for those pregnant friends who think of us as oddballs…Hodgkinson does present a natural parenting style in a unique format, which may appeal a little bit more to your average parent to be, than say the “Continuum Concept”.
Ive been waiting for someone to start a debate about this one!! Have been unsure whether to mention I enjoyed it as some bits could really have some people up in arms…I have really enjoyed reading it and found a lot of it really funny, but the odd sentance has had me drawing in breath shocked…I think you have to read it as a good fun take on parenting and not as a parenting book…im pretty sure he is not pretending to be ay kind of expert or give expert advice…but definately not a book for anyone who takes everything literally or seriously…I was pleased thinking it is quite a main stream book that has been widely reviewed in the press so hopefully lots of parents will read it and maybe relax a bit? I have found it quite useful in terms of trying to get a bit of me back now dd is 8….and it made me feel a tad better about choosing to send dd to a private school from september, which goes completely against my all things should be fair attitude. Hoping others can enjoy a giggle. The way he puts things is so funny, but maybe a bit too daring for some…obviously a bloke that enjoys being contentious (which is maybe why I like it!!)