Reducing Family Stress Through Simplicity Parenting

What does family counsellor and renowned author Kim John Payne want most from the children he counsels?

“To be beautifully bored!” he says laughing. “It’s a gift. It’s out of boredom that self motivation comes.”

Payne goes on to explain that the over-structured environment of most children today – school, homework, piano lessons and sports activities – is the product of a time, the 1950s, that no longer exists.

“The world today – especially the work environment – is unstructured,” says the author of the acclaimed book Simplicity Parenting. “Having a structured life today doesn’t prepare kids for the new reality. In the United States, a person stays in the same job an average of less than two-and-a-half years. In the modern world, the demand is for very creative, innovative and adaptable people. Workers need to build their own structures. If we surround kids with super- structures that are created externally, we are not preparing them well. The world is changing fast. No one is going to keep the same job forever. We don’t want the kids to be placid, weak, reliant or dependant.”

Payne will be at Southminster United Church in Ottawa on September 28, 2012, to talk about bringing balance into a family’s life.

“Many of today’s behavioral issues come from children having too much stuff and living a life that is too fast,” says Payne. As part of his counseling practive, he helps parents create their own simplicity menu for their family, breaking it down into five layers: simplify the environment (books, toys etc), meal times and food, schedules and information. The man who has helped thousands of young families purge their bulging toy closets asserts that many of today’s child behavior problems comes from TMS – “Too Much Stuff.”

“All children are quirky, that’s what makes them lovable, who they are,“ says Payne. “But these cumulative stresses slide those quirks along the behavior spectrum into disorders – the dreaded “Ds.” Payne says his simplicity parenting approach is a way to slide children back down the spectrum.

“(Simplicity Parenting) is about warmth and connecting,” says Payne. “In simplifying parenting we get closer to our children, they no longer have to fight for our attention, everything becomes easier. It’s actually achieved by doing less. So don’t get confused by the word simplicity. It’s not about slow. It’s about giving people the proper support and space so they can unleash their individual genius and achieve greater levels of success.”

Childhood counsellor Kim John Payne, author of the bestselling book Simplicity Parenting,  will speak at Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue (at Bank Street) on September 28th at 7:30 p.m. He will also host a workshop with the theme The Soul of Discipline on Saturday morning, September 29th, 9 a.m. at Trille-des-bois public school, 140 Genest Street in Vanier.

Tickets for both events are available at In person, you can get them at Singing Pebble Books, 202 Main Street in Ottawa, 613 230-9165, and at Collected Works bookstore, 1242 Wellington Street West, 613 722-1265.

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