Friday, April 25, 2008

Parenting Idle

From the Daily Telegraph in the UK comes an advocate for 'idle parenting.' Tom Hodgkinson literally recommends that parents do 'bugger all.' They should abandon their children, lie in bed and not bother with planned activities. Go on, read it. Don't tell me you aren't tempted.

On idyllic idleness, one thing that we have discovered is the Sunday morning lie-in. We have made a deal with our children: do what you want so long as you get your 3 year old sister breakfast and we don't hear any of you. Of course, this means they have breakfast full of sugar and watch a couple of hours of television (which is pretty much their only viewing on a regular basis). But what is more, the fear of an argument bringing about noise, allows them to compromise on what would ordinarily be some disputes. Unlike the article, we aren't hung over, we just want some peace for a short time.

When it comes to activities on the other hand we are not doing so well. Let's look at our kids' 'out of school' activities:
  • Child No.1 (9 years): swimming, music theory (don't ask), basketball and taekwondo (twice plus a monthly full contact session)
  • Child No.2 (7 years): swimming, piano, gym, probability theory (again, don't ask) and taekwondo
  • Child No.3 (3 years): swimming.
Now I have long thought that this was way too much but any attempt at reduction brings howls of complaint from the children themselves. Indeed, they would happily do more. Personally, I think that if we offered a bit more TV up in return for dropping an activity, we would have a deal. But, apparently, such deals are about as socially acceptable as selling a kidney.