Book Review: ‘Simplicity Parenting’

Book Review: ‘Simplicity Parenting’

December 31, 2011, Epoch Times



As holiday time winds down and the calendar beckons a fresh, new year, many will resolve to do things better this time around, consulting a plethora of books to guide them in their pursuits of less weight, more money, reduced stress, increased joy, or any number of personal goals.

If it’s calmer, happier children and a harmonious family life you’re aiming for this year,Simplicity Parenting, Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross is worth a read.

An experienced education consultant and counselor, Payne asserts that “our society—with its pressure of ‘too much’—is raging an undeclared war on childhood.”

“It doesn’t come as a throwaway comment,” Payne explained to Whole Living in an interview, “it is very serious. I think our children are suffering from sensory overwhelm, like a sensory tsunami. But we, unlike a lot of wars that we see in the world, can declare peace in our homes.There’s so much booming and buzzing in the world, so wanting to have a peaceful home is just establishing a balance.”

Simplicity Parenting takes aim at all that is overloading our senses, and more specifically, those of our children, and calls on parents to embrace a less is more philosophy. “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.”

Through detailed examples and thoroughly fleshed out analysis about the realities of modern life, the authors make a strong case for the need to simplify when it comes to kids. “Simplification is not just about taking things away. It is about making room, creating space in your life, your intentions, and your heart. With less physical and mental clutter, your attention expands, and your awareness deepens.”

A plan focusing on four areas: the environment, rhythm, schedules, and filtering out the adult world is prescribed to offer peace and security to children in their formidable years and, as a consequence, to the family at large.

Some recommendations may shock the reader upon a first pass. What reaction might children have to cutting their pile of toys in half and then in half again? What might the members of the household think of less “screen time” and (gulp) giving up television?

The family stories presented in Simplicity Parenting,  however, drive home what most of us inherently realize—that the excesses and busyness our children are subjected to may actually be doing more harm than good.

From television and computer time, to participation in competitive sports, to the predictability of the unfolding of each day’s events, to sleep patterns, to academics, to meal time, to clutter, to wardrobe, and even the issue of too many books, Simplicity Parenting addresses familiar concerns of parents and flies in the face of the pressures they can feel to give their children every opportunity to advance early and succeed in life.

Simplicity, the authors argue, and quite convincingly, “will provide your child with greater ease and well-being.” Whether it is some general inspiration, specific ideas to implement, or a new way of life you are looking for, “Simplicity Parenting” is an eye-opening read (especially around the holidays which can bring along a unique brand of excess) for modern-day parents.

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