Despite not having (nor ever wanting) kids, I thoroughly enjoyed James Breakwell’s previous book Only Dead On The Inside: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, I was excited to find out what new nuggets of parenting expertise this dad of four, known online as Exploding Unicorn, had to offer in his latest book.
With its publication scheduled for tomorrow I thought I’d share my perspective on this latest offering from the American father of four girls, whose exploits I excitedly follow online. As a reviewer of his previous book I was pleased to receive the second and eager to find out the latest insight and knowledge that this Star Wars loving nerd turned dad had to impart.
Granted, I’m not really the audience he’s probably going for, being a woman with no desire or actual children who isn’t a mad fan of non-fiction books. Despite this, I found myself laughing out loud at points while reading Bare Minimum Parenting: The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child.
Proudly declaring right from the start that his book contains no factual evidence, studies or anything remotely scientific, Breakwell has created a resource based on personal experience, which is both endearing and endlessly funny.
Going through the potential issues of different types of parenting, predominantly overachievers, Breakwell showcases how they are inherently wrong. Less anecdotal than I would have thought and liked it to be, the book nonetheless draws on the author’s experiences raising four young children to offer a completely new approach to parenting.
Defining and describing his pioneering strategy in detail, Breakwell makes an utterly hilarious case for simply letting children become who they are going to be, only shaping them when they steer too far towards the bad side of crazy. As Breakwell aptly states on page 28: ‘If you’re looking for a life goal, a good one is, “Don’t raise a serial killer.”’
Ultimately, Breakwell’s approach can be summed up by a popular saying: Don’t sweat the small stuff. He repeatedly reminds his readers that young kids forget pretty much everything, and as such they aren’t going to care if you weren’t there enough or gave them too many rules (within reason). This combined with his witty remarks and humorous asides about his own children make Bare Minimum Parenting a great read for anyone who has, wants or interacts with kids and is frightened that whatever they do will somehow influence them and change their lives for the worst. Spoiler alert: James Breakwell doesn’t think it will.