I have been SO frustrated lately, struggling against some (lousy, IMO) advice to completely eliminate all inconvenient childish behavior from my progeny by threatening and punishing whenever they act, well, like children. Children being, of course, people who haven't finished developing into adults yet. Thing is, even though I think taking away somebody's favorite toy is tyrannical and punishishing one act with an illogical, completely unrelated consequence flies in the face of both human kindness and developmental appropriateness, I DO have a need to have a little more order around here, sometimes. But I DON'T want to rule with an iron fist and expect total obedience. I am not the Queen of Hearts! I haven't been able to verbalize how I feel to the Supernannies of the world, that it's important to me to have a family flow, but that I think this can (and does) exist without constantly punishing my children every time they argue with each other or run into the street after a ball, or using reward systems and charts to manipulate them into doing what I want them to do.
Yes!!! That's it, exactly! A hierarchy without recourse to authority. In other words, a sense of guidance on the part of the adults without use of excessive control.
Heather points out that "Idle Parenting" is generally compatible with the Attachment Parenting / Continuum Parenting that she practices. From what I've seen, I agree, although with one reservation: the Idle Parent's "Manifesto" leads with "We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work," and that, I think, is bunk. Parenting is work, get over it. But it needn't be drudgery. It isn't about running ragged and making constant crafts. To me, the work is about being mindful, which becomes less work and more habit the more you practice it, and is absolutely worth the effort.