Simplicity Parenting may not have stacked up in the category of best books I’ve ever read, but it was one of the the most important books I’ve consumed. It will be a long while before I read a book with a message that is as powerful and resonate.
Simplicity Parenting is a guidebook for parents. It lays out the rare and compelling case for reduction in childrens’ lives. The list of possible benefits is endless. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving emotional intelligence and familial relationships; the authors, Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross, site a variety of studies and published works that back up their stances and findings.
Reduction and minimalism are tough pills to swallow for any individual. They may seem even more daunting when considering one’s own child or family. These days the television can be a convenient distraction, or even a babysitter, and parents have the means to spoil their offspring with material items and opportunities that are unrivaled by previous generations. The concepts featured within the book are distinctively counter the common trends of thought and action with regards to modern parenting.
The authors claim that less toys equals better engagement and more creativity. Less screen time means less passivity and increased cognitive ability. Less scheduled time leads to reduced stress, strengthened independence, and again, improved creativity. And finally, pulling back on over-parenting contributes to a combination of all these, as well as many additional benefits.
One of my biggest takeaways from Simplicity Parenting came toward the end of the book when the content shifted to the idea that parents should loosen their grips on their children more. The authors laid out the case that parents talk too much. They are either critical, controlling, or cushioning. The over-communication hinders childrens’ social, emotional, and psychological development.
They recommended parents consider the age-old adage of asking oneself, Is it true? Is it kind? and Is it necessary?, before verbally engaging with their kids. This final form of reduction is set-up to clear the air of much of the clutter that cannot be seen, but is heavily felt.
Immediately I considered how much I talk; not just to my own brood, but in general.
After reading Simplicity Parenting, I have committed to utilizing this concept. I wish to limit the ease with which blame, complaints, criticism, sarcasm, and stupidity escape my mouth. Talking less, and more importantly, carefully considering my words, I hope that when I decide to speak, my words will carry more value and weight.
I am the parent of a young child. I also have tendencies toward addiction and over-consumption. I know I am not alone in any of these. I am one of the billions of cogs in our modern consumerism-driven society. Simplicity Parenting spoke to my sensibilities and desires, as well as the world as I perceive it.
Child and family minimalism definitely should lead to better bonds and more openness in communication as children grow and mature. For the parents it begins and ends internally; starting with looking inside first.
The more information I consume with regards to personal development and improvement, the more I recognize the focus needs to be on myself, and my own behaviors and beliefs. Regardless of what my child or my family now owns, I personally possess too much stuff. I shouldn’t expect paradigm shifts from my family if I cannot implement them within my own lifestyle first.
I must continue the process of reduction with regards to my own material goods. I hope to significantly ramp up this process which I have begun already. I believe it will lead to many benefits for myself and my family. The least of which being stress and conflict reduction. The positive momentum we experience will lead to significant growth and strengthened bonds within my home.
In conclusion, Simplicity Parenting was a very good book, but not because of the style of writing or sentence structure. It was due to the quality of the content delivered. Again, this was one of the most substantive books I’ve ever read.
I plan to reread the book. Next time I plan to pair my reading with rigorous note-taking. It will empower me to implement many of the concepts that I think are actionable for myself and my family. I believe that I will gain as much personally from the concepts delivered in the book as my child and my family does.
I recommend Simplicity Parenting to any and all parents. In fact, I believe it should be required reading. It will lead to the raising of much more socially and environmentally conscious children.
The younger the children, the more valuable and actionable the book’s concepts will be. Much of what is inside will be difficult for many parents to digest, and harder still to implement.
At worst, readers will gain new perspective and insightful new methods of parenting that are uncommonly and refreshingly wholesome. At best, they will feel empowered in their family’s well-being. They will find positive control over their family and relationship situations that readers never knew they had.