Simplicity ParentingSometimes we need to remember what's at stake.

What happens if we let a generation of world-wide youth slip away because they're chronically overwhelmed? Would you let a child you love get lost in distractions and paralyzed by inaction?

My guest for this Smart and Simple Matters episode, Kim John Payne, believes there's a war going on inside most of our kids. And when combined with an external battle of glowing screens, stressed-out parents, and checked-out communities, bad things can happen (and already have).

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Kim's Simplicity Parenting model is a case study in the power of less and a return to a more intuitive, history-tested parenting style. It's been cultivated through his overnight “action shifts” at group homes for troubled youth, volunteer work in refugee camps after the Vietnam War, and with his own daughters.

Now we get to ask different questions.

What if we could get our kids out of survival mode and the constant flood of stress hormone that hijack their thoughts?

What would a world of intentionally wandering, curious, and creatively bored children look like?

We may have the answers to important questions like these if Kim has his way.

Anyone who claims they're a perfect parent should come with a health warning. – Kim John Payne

Just click play to re-imagine what it means to raise kids and connect with children the way they need to be reached.

You're about to Learn …

  • Why parts of our brain are literally shrinking and devolving.
  • The common traits of troubled youth in gangs, refugee camps, and your own community.
  • How our chronically overwhelmed culture leads to an undeclared war on childhood.
  • Why we've gotten centuries ahead (or is it behind?) in dealing with stress.
  • Why you need to give kids the gift of boredom.
  • What household distractions emotionally and physically separate us from our kids.
  • Why all kids need to “myelinate” their brains.
  • When to shift your parental role from Governor to Gardener to Guide.
  • Why our kids need us to be a big heart with ears.
  • How to replace opinions with words that teenagers actually listen to.
  • Why peak stress can be as dangerous as peak oil.
  • How simplifying helps kids find their inner voice and trust their gut instincts.
  • Why “you may” choices work so well for kids.



Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode:


  • [06:36] Kim's seeds of awesomeness
  • [14:09] The narrative thread underneath the undeclared war on childhood
  • [21:33] The benefits of the Simplicity Parenting model
  • [27:45] Keeping your kids' stuff (and sometimes kids) out of sight
  • [35:33] How parents' roles can evolve with their kids
  • [38:32] Giving your kid “you may” choices
  • [47:05] How you can contribute to Kim's work
  • [48:25] Why so much of family life feels amiss

Extra Gratitude and Special Mentions

Emily McDermott of Simply Emmy recently left me a wonderful iTunes review with the subject of, “Joel is the best companion for my commute!” and here's what she wrote:

“I’ve recently been introduced to the amazing world of minimalism, simplicity, living intentionally, and making decisions in my life based upon the value it brings to myself and to others. Joel has a great conversational style, asks insightful questions, and is always concerned about bringing value to the listeners. This is a refreshing approach and keeps me coming back for more. In addition, the show notes are extremely well-organized and contain the essentials of what he discusses in the show without any fluff!”

Jay Listening to SASM in the CarAlso, a big shout out to Jay who took this picture of himself listening to Smart and Simple Matters in the car. Thanks for showing everyone what the show looks like in the wild, Jay!

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