Thursday, March 20, 2008

Because The British Are Always Right

I love this article on the BBC website. It's titled "Stressed Parents 'Make Kids Ill.'"

I'll just pause to let that sink in a minute.

Okay, anxious and depressed about being stressed yet? Because the article states that "A University of Rochester study, reported by New Scientist, found sickness levels were higher in children of anxious or depressed parents." Which is fairly ironic, considering that having a sick child makes parents fairly stressed out. Which in turn, according to these scientists, can make your child sicker. So be happy! Be cheerful! Or else!

I am so glad that something else is my fault. I didn't have enough to be worried about already.

The BBC seems to be on a bit of a crusade, actually. Peruse this article also. It's worth it, I promise. I particularly like its Manifesto of Idle Parenting on page 3. Here, I'll copy it out for you lazy ones (and thank you, Mom Bomb, for bringing it to my attention):

Manifesto of the idle parent

  • We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work
  • We pledge to leave our children alone
  • That should mean that they leave us alone, too
  • We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children from the moment they are born
  • We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals
  • We drink alcohol without guilt
  • We reject the inner Puritan
  • We fill the house with music and laughter
  • We don't waste money on family days out and holidays
  • We lie in bed for as long as possible
  • We try not to interfere
  • We push them into the garden and shut the door so that we can clean the house
  • We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small
  • Time is more important than money
  • Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness
  • Down with school
  • We fill the house with music and merriment


  • Am I allowed to copy all that into my post? I hope so. I love it.

    Well, I hear the patter of little feet; I'm off to go lie in bed for as long as possible, and then I will push them out into the "garden" so that I can clean this pit we call home. Have an idle day, y'all!

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    24 comments:

    1. "anxious and depressed about being stressed yet?"

      that sums up my daily existence -- and that was before i knew it was hard on my kids! HA!

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    2. I am SO going back to bed.

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    3. That's awesome! And that Idle guy, he's starting a column! I need to go find it...

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    4. Amen and Amen and Amen again. Studies are coming out now showing the children absolutely need unscheduled “free” playtime for proper brain development. Parents have really gone crazy with their competitive fears and are dragging their children from activity to activity in an effort to have their children be “the most successful” If you just step back from the whole thing and really think about, people have gone stark raving nuts. I wrote a piece about it sometime back, that you might enjoy: http://fromthefrontlines.blogspot.com/2007/11/frantic-family-syndrome-american.html
      So now, reading your post and a couple others from British bloggers I can see that Frantic Family Syndrome hasn’t just been affecting America.

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    5. I loved, loved the article! That British sense of humor was just oozing . . . in fact, I started reading it with a British accent.

      I loved how his definiton of child care was a large field. We have a backyard, it's pretty big . . . does that count?

      AND, I did give our boys The Dangerous Book for Boys for Christmas . . . but I forgot the ball of string. A small oversight on my part.

      Hmmmm.

      An Idle parent . . . the author Tom Hodgkinson may be on to something.

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    6. HMMM...spring break starts tomorrow. I think that is an excellent time to start "idle parenting". Of course, I will head off to Target to get the requisite ear plugs so I can't hear the results...better get a sleep mask so I can't see it either!

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    7. So much truth in that list...the idle list, that is. I think our prosperity ruins our children and this list really points that out.

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    8. I have tried and tried, but my inner Puritan is pretty much running the show!

      Yes, read Mary Alice's post; it was great.

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    9. I must be a little slow today, because I couldn't tell if the manifesto was supposed to be ironic. Musta been all that time I spent drinking alcohol in bed today. While my teen was in the garden.

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    10. I tried to fill the house once with music and merriment...but it got hard to walk around.

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    11. Thank you so much for linking to those articles!! I'm a new parent and have been feeling so anti-consumerism (I HATE DORA!). I also don't do much with my kid, we play a lot at home. My friends are all into outtings, shopping etc. and I just don't feel like joining them, I'd rather they come over and play at our house (because it's nice to let the kids play alone and talk).

      I looked up his two follow up articles and will continue to read what he puts out there. Don't know if I could handle the home schooling though....hrmmmmmm.

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    12. I can't figure out whether the Brits are always right or if they just SOUND right, with those fancy accents.

      But I'm glad my half-assed style of mothering now qualifies as a legitmate "movement"!

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    13. You mean I have to do all this and be HAPPY too????

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    14. OOOPS, I think I may have started something!

      http://domestic-hiss.blogspot.com/search?q=idle

      actually I have to credit this find to my dear Mother in law - she is the Telegraph reader in the family! I'm off to ring her - she will be highly amused!

      Big thank you to Mom Bomb for using the glorious power of the internet to pass this round!

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    15. Ps

      I think us Brits are right on this one....mainly because we are such pro's at underachieving!

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    16. Oh yes! I call this "benign neglect". But I do find it hard to convince my parents-of-one-child of its benefits (no offense, I'm sure they are out there). I'm up to four and just too tired to bother unless blood is involved.

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    17. Okay, if it's the kids that make me stressed, I perceive this as a sick cycle that will never be broken.

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    18. Can I thank you more? Aside from driving my daughter to gigs, I feel like we barely pay attention. I am busy living my life while they live theirs. Isn't that the way it' supposed to be?

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    19. minnesota matron - I sure hope so. It makes more sense than getting wrapped around the axle about every little thing your kids do, when they are only going to grow up and do what they like to anyway...

      karen - let's not think about it...

      domestically challenged - thanks! I'll make sure to give credit where credit is due.

      mom bomb - a friend of mine and I were just discussing how people with British accents can insult us so politely, we don't realize it.

      angela wd - we're serious, sweetheart...but don't worry, yours have all almost flown the nest already.

      mom24 - go for it!

      mary alice - I'm surprised the Brits are affected - they've always seemed so much more laidback than us.

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    20. I stuck my children out in the garden too so i could enjoy your blog.. wait, is a 5th floor balcony NOT a garden?

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    21. I not only reject my inner Puritan, I kick its ass on a daily basis.

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    22. Does this mean no more homework? If so, I'm in. I don't want to do any more homework.

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    23. I loved that article! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    24. Very happy to announce that I have completely overcome my inner Puritan.

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