We are up to Chapter Six in Kim John Payne’s “Simplicity Parenting” entitled, “Filtering Out the Adult World”. This is my favorite chapter in this book for so many reasons. It really sums up to me the difficulties with parenting in this day and age and gives some great concrete suggestions for parenting. The chapter begins with the story of a mother and how she said her feelings toward motherhood could be summed up with the word, “worry”. The author goes on to detail stories of parents where the parents are wondering if their children are being tended to enough by coaches or teachers. He doesn’t address homeschooling families, but I think worry can be doubled in homeschooling families where parenting and teaching hats are shared!
“Worry and concern are sewn into the cloth of parenting; they’re integral parts of the experience…..Worry may be an aspect of parenthood, but it shouldn’t define it. When it rises to the top of our emotions, coloring the waters of our relationship with our children, something is not right.”
Simplifying the daily life of both you and your child often helps in decreasing worry and anxiety. However, another place to simplify may be just how involved we are with our children. Societal pressure has turned some parents into helicopter parents; and it is not just in the United States but all over the world. Here is an interesting article from the NY Times about the “the cure for hyper-parenting” and how “hyper-parenting” is occurring all over the world.
Kim John Payne’s suggestions include:
- Simplifying time spent watching screens, including television, computers, video games, handheld electronic devices. By doing this you “install valves to stop the all-day, every-day rush of information and stimulation pouring into your home”.
- Respond to your child’s needs in order to provide a secure attachment for children from which to grow. Attachment gives a child a “base camp” from which to explore and grow.
- We, as parents, need to relax and deal with our own fears and anxieties in order that our children can also be relaxed.
- We, as parents, can limit our own media over-exposure. We spend time with people who are optimistic about parenting children in today’s world.
- We can stop “sportscasting”. Kim John Payne defines this type of parent as a parent who “drowns a child in words. In real time (that is, blow-by blow) they telecast everything the child touches, does, is wearing, or even what they may be thinking.” See page 183 for more information.
- We can understand there is a world of children and a world of adults. This is not a popular view anymore as the adult world filters down more and more and children are treated as miniature adults. Having a world of children and a world of adults doesn’t mean that the two worlds never intersect, but it does mean that one is conscious that some topics are for adults only and not for children. See page 188 for more details about this important topic. From page 188: “When we let children in on too much information – adult verbal and emotional clutter – it rushes them along, pushing them ahead without a foundation.”
- Respect requires some emotional distance and separation. You are the parent, the child is the child. Family is love, and family is wonderful but you don’t need to dish out every detail of your adult life in order to be honest with your child or to be close to your child.
- Are your words true, kind and necessary?
- Stop emotionally monitoring the children – see page 198 for details. “Many of us parents take our children’s “emotional temperature” several times a day. We monitor their feelings, asking them to describe those feelings, to express them, to talk about them. We expect our children to have a complex awareness of their own emotions, with the insight and vocabulary to convey that awareness….[this emotional monitoring has an unexpected effect.] It rushes kids along, pushing them into premature adolescence.” Allow your child leeway and privacy with their own feelings.
- Remember and celebrate the ordinary moments of the day, especially right before sleep.
Please share what you loved about this chapter.