Ignoring your children and still living guilt-free

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December 20, 2018
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December 25, 2018

Ignoring your children and still living guilt-free

Bare Minimum Parenting:  The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child  by James Breakwell, BenBella Books,  US $16.95, Pp 252, November 2018, ISBN 978-1946885326

In modern societies, both parents and children live under unbearable stress. Most parents believe they are not doing enough for their children while children feel their parents’ over-parenting is choking them. The reason is that every parent believes their child is a one-of-a-kind human being the likes of which the world has never seen. In Bare Minimum Parenting, James Breakwell argues that the chances are they’ll lead an ordinary life not that different from your own. There are literally billions of amazing, creative, and brilliant people who will never do anything particularly amazing, creative, or brilliant.

Breakwell argues that your child doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-generation talent to lead a good and happy life. Being a genius at something does not come with a high job satisfaction rate. He writes, “Tortured artists seldom die of old age surrounded by loved ones. It’s almost impossible in a world of drugs, guns, and sandwiches on toilets.” Why work harder to be a great parent when your kid will turn out just as well if you’re a mediocre one? James Breakwell writes, “Most parents do not want to hear this. They expect their kid to set the world on fire and earn the rewards that come with it: wealth, prestige, and happiness.” James Breakwell argues that your child will turn out better if you don’t try for any of those goals — not even the last one — because the best things happen in life by an accident.

Breakwell says that Bare Minimum Parenting is not meant to be a book about overachieving as a parent. This isn’t even a book about achieving exactly the right amount. This is a book about doing as little as possible without quite ruining your child. Breakwell says that the goal of bare minimum parenting is to turn your kid into a functional adult using only a fraction of the effort spent by overachieving parents. He writes, “Your kid will be just as good as their kids — if not better. Often, the easiest approach for you is also the best approach for your child.”

Breakwell argues that over-parenting is killing kids today — not literally — although he wouldn’t put anything past health-food nuts. No one knows about the long-term effects of kale. Many overachieving moms and dads assume the harder they work, the better their kids will turn out, but the evidence doesn’t bear that out. In fact, most parents who do too much raise a child who amounts to too little. Those are the cases he focuses on, not because they’re statistically relevant, but because they prove his point. Bare Minimum Parenting tells you how to do as little as possible. To avoid over-parenting, you cannot simply under-parent. You must be strategically lazy.

Breakwell says that many times, the course that takes the least effort today will create amounts of work down the road. This book will save time and energy overall. Parenting is all about the long game. It has to be. Kids grow up too damn slow. To succeed as a parent — and outperform most overachieving parents in the process, Breakwell says that you simply need to raise a kid who hits these three benchmarks: 1) They can support themselves; 2) They aren’t a social deviant and, 3) They don’t blame you for everything that’s wrong with their life. In Bare Minimum Parenting, James Breakwell explains how you can achieve these not-so-difficult-to-achieve goals. He says that your goal as a bare minimum parent is to achieve all three in the easiest way possible. The result will be a functional adult you can be proud of, or at least one you can make move out of your house.

Bare Minimum Parenting is no less than a revolutionary idea that will make your life less stressful as a parent and make the life of your child a lot more enjoyable. James Breakwell shows that more attention to your children is not likely to turn your child into a success while less attention will provide them with an environment in which they will be able to use their potential optimally. Over-parenting actually kills the creative faculties in your children. Most importantly, it will prevent you from going insane if you are thinking that you haven’t done enough for your children. Read this if you want and live guilt-free.

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