Episode 16: Helping Parents Feel Seen: A Conversation with Kim John Payne

Kim John Payne of Simplicity Parenting and writer of the international #1 bestseller of the same name joins us to talk about how “we can be at our best when our kids are at their worst.”

We talk about how kids “ping” us. They use their trusted parents, their safest place to figure out where they are emotionally. It’s important to try to understand when our kids have lost their bearings because, as Kim says, “I’ve never met a disobedient kid, but I have met a lot of disorientated ones.” Kim encourages us to be inquisitive rather than accusative: “I wonder why you’re so lost” moves us out of the “fight or flight” brain, the amygdala, into wondering and into the “let’s play” and “let’s cooperate” part of the brain.

We talk about what it’s like to watch ourselves at our best and at our worst and acknowledge how hard it can be to see ourselves so clearly. And we dive into a huge stress for parents: feeling unseen. Eventually, feeling unseen and unappreciated builds up a toxic charge. The antidote: stop trying to make every day “the best.” Instead of the super-sized family life where every kid is scheduled to capacity and parents become unpaid Uber drivers, there’s an alternative: hit the pause button.

Kids in the Western world are suffering the same levels of stress as children in war-torn areas of the developing world. We live in an undeclared war on childhood and family life. The pace of modern life has outstripped the human body and brain’s ability to keep up. We can’t opt out - we’re opted in by being born at this time. What we can do is be the gatekeepers and make choices that offer alternatives to the new normal.

How many activities, toys, books, and most importantly, screens are in your kids’ lives? Why did Steve Jobs limit his kids’ screen time? Because he and his wife wanted their kids to be innovative and creative, and that’s not possible when you’re immersed in someone else’s innovation and creativity.

The connections they need: nature, friends, family, to the self. All of these things take time, and screens are time bandits. Average 12 year old have 9.25 hours of screens a day. The only place we can control screen time is at home. Some people respond with screens are the “real world” and that keeping kids from screens will set them up for a future addiction and set them too far behind their peers. The message Kim gave his daughters, now teens, was “a screen is a tool.” We talk about the dopamine hits that come from screens and how to “reset the brain” to help kids find pleasure and connection in the offscreen world.

Kim is here to help us avoid burying our children’s soul under a toxic landfill of pop culture. He wants to protect and “cool” family life much like we want to protect our earth and end global warming.

For more about Kim and the Simplicity Parenting Community, please visit http://www.simplicityparenting.com/

Thanks to this week’s sponsor: Plum Deluxe

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And please note that registration is open for the Practice of Being Seen Retreat for Therapist-Healers that is coming up August 13 - 16, 2017.

(Re)Vision: Explore Your Stories, Shape Your Future will be held at the Menla Mountain Retreat  New York’s gorgeous Catskill Mountains. Take advantage of early bird rates through April 30.