API Reads: Chapter 1 of Simplicity Parenting – Finishing up

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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API Reads: Simplicity Parenting – Chapter 1

api reads logoSo far in Chapter 1 of Simplicity Parenting I have read how we as a society are encroaching on taking away the innocence of childhood. We do this by giving them an unfiltered world. We then bring these stresses to our families as we go about our every day lives.

Simplicity Parenting imageTwo passages that stood out to me are below:

  1. Page 5 — When you simplify a child’s “world,” you prepare the way for positive change and growth. This preparatory work is especially important now because our world is characterized by too much stuff. We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too much speed. With this level of busyness, distractions, time pressure, and clutter (mental and physical), children are robbed of the time and ease they need to explore their worlds and their emerging selves. And since the pressures of “too much” are so universal, we are “adjusting” at a commensurately fast pace. The weirdness of “too much” begins to seem normal. If the water we are swimming in continues to heat up, and we simply adjust as it heats, how will we know to hop out before we boil?
  2. Page 16 — For a lot of the parents I’ve worked with, the misalignment between what they imagined — what they dreamed — and what their family has become is enormous. And the disconnect is not just in the details — the white couch or the toys everywhere — it is fundamental.

If you’d like to comment on this post, you can go to our online book club at Good Reads.

Simplicity Parenting: Who are you as a family?

We have started to read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. The introduction immediately had me riveted as he explained the need for simplicity, what it means, and what is being done to our families. I just loved reading this:

“As parents, we’re the architects of our family’s daily lives. We build a structure for those we love by what we choose to do together, and how we do it. We determine the rhythms of our days; set a pace. There are certainly limits to our control…. Ask any parent of a teenager. And it often feels that our lives are controlling us, caught as we are in a mad rush from one responsibility to another. Yet the unique way that we perform this dance of daily activities says a lot about who we are as a family.”

So I ask you. What is the dance in your family life? How is the architecture laid out? Feel free to discuss at Good Reads!

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