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Review: Soul of Discipline lecture with Kim John Payne

I was blessed with the task to attend and review a lecture By Kim John Payne. He is the author of ‘Simplicity Parenting’ and a collaborator in many other books along the lines of simplicity and parenting.

photo by goodreads.comPin
photo by goodreads.com

I was excited to attend his lecture, as his book is one that I have read cover to cover in my first year of  motherhood. I loved the idea on simplifying and allowing children to sink back into childhood without out the complexity of  ‘so many choices’. Although my family may not adopt all of his theories in simplicity and raising children, we have benefited from many of them. His ideas and research seem to constantly be the in forefront of my mind when I am struggling with raising my children.

This lecture was more directed towards discipline and children. What an intense topic. He has a new book coming out in about a year. It is called ‘The soul of discipline’.  He  was focusing on discipline and how to create respectful kids in a disrespectful society.

He explained that research has time and again shown that children’s brain synapses are not yet evolved to allow for them to make the amount of choices we are asking of them.  Our societal parenting styles have become one of child-run vs  our goal of child geared. We ask our children to make the choices, direct the day. We are creating chaos.

We busy the day’s of our children in hope that they will feel become more excelled and socialized when really we are taking away their most valued possession, their childhood. We have taking away their boredom, their ability to sink into deep play and process their world.

Along with child -directed daily lives, we are also giving up our control to our kids by letting go of our sense of discipline. We are afraid of the word discipline, and it does have a certain aura to it. But discipline is necessary in creating family formation. With discipline we are taking away what  does not work for our family values.  It helps us to define out families. We need to learn to discipline and direct our children in a warm, calm and firm direction.

He also explained that in all the years that he has been working with families and in the school systems, he has never met a ‘disobedient’ child. He has only seen ‘disoriented’ children. Our children are lost, and when they are lost they need our direction the most. When they are at their worst they need us at our best. When they act out, they are asking us to help them, to orient them on their path. They need us to connect and direct.

As parents we are the gatekeepers to our children’s  lives. The gate-keeper is usually not very popular but necessary.  We are the ones that allow the flood gates to open and the flood gates to close. We let whatever information in. We make the choice, and right now there is too much choice. Too fast, Too much and too overwhelming.  Our children are drowning and need us.

This just scraped the iceberg on the research he was relaying.  I was floored at how eye-opening it all was. How simple he made it all seem. It was an incredible experience.

I left the lecture feeling like it was OK that I was not a perfect mom. No one has perfected parenthood and that is OK. He just seemed to take the veil of complexity away and allow for simple and directed parenting tips.

His lecture was one of the most enlightened parenting information sessions I have been blessed to be a part of. If you have never read his books or seen him speak, I highly recommend doing so, as it is an experience you will not forget as a parent.

“Independence isn’t doing your own thing; it’s doing the right thing on your own.”
-Kim John Payne


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  1. Hi Jessica,

    I went to that talk as well! I, too, liked his take on what ‘discipline” means. The issue of choices definitely made me think of whether I offer too much choice in the aim of letting my kids feel a sense of autonomy. Seems he was suggesting that the choices be limited– like his example of two cereals you’d be okay with their having. (So maybe I’m not too far off…)

    He was pretty funny, too, and a good storyteller. I had to read Simplicity Parenting after hearing him speak. (Great book)

    I enjoyed reading your summary, to remind me of parts I’d forgotten about, and reinforced others. Sometimes I was too busy thinking about one point to really catch the next!

  2. I really enjoyed this review. I too feel that children these days are kept far too busy and don’t have enough time to just be themselves. Often they seem not to be able to choose which toy to play with as there are too many on offer. It was much simpler when my children were small, there were only 2 types of cereal in the house and far fewer toys too. Wanting to offer and give a child everything one can is not always a wise choice.


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