In Chapter 1 of Simplicity Parenting, part of what author Kim John Payne does is give short glimpses into the world of a few children that would be labeled with psychiatric disorders. He points out that we all have quirks and this includes children as well. These quirks become more pronounced under stressful circumstances. So what we label as a psychiatric disorder is actually a normal quirk that is under undue stress. His point being that with simplification we can reduce these stresses to where the quirks are more manageable.
I also loved how he spent time talking about neuroplasticity and neural pathways in the brain. With science backing his information, he indicates that we all have the power to change our ways even into adulthood. I learned so much and was riveted with Chapter 1 that I’m looking forward to reading Chapter 2. Below are a few of my favorite passages:
- Page 23 — Be reducing mental and physical clutter, simplification increases a family’s ability to flow together, to focus and deepen their attention, to realign their lives with their dreams.
- Page 26 — Children need to find ways to cope with difficult situations; they need to learn that they can… Building character and emotional resiliency is a lot like developing a healthy immune system… By overprotecting them we may make their lives safer (that is, fever free) in the short run, but in the long run we would be leaving them vulnerable, less able to cope with the world around them.
- Page 33 — What we “see,” what we bring our attention and presence to, is at the heart of who we are. And for our children, it is at the heart of who they are becoming. Why simplify? Because by simplifying our children’s lives we can remove some of the stresses of too-much and too-fast that obstruct their focus and interfere with an emotional baseline of calm and security. A little grace is needed, after all, for them to develop into the people they’re meant to be, especially in a world that is constantly bombarding them (and us) with the distractions of so many things, so much information, speed, and urgency. These stresses distract from the focus or “task” of childhood: an emerging, developing sense of self.
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