Desperately Seeking Discipline


As a parent, I have to say that I am often completely out of my comfort zone when it comes to discipline as a practice.  How to discipline effectively, compassionately, and firmly.  I’ve been a complete victim to the awful advice of every conflicting child “expert” on the market- so much in fact, that I’m left with a head spinning, and a heart that feels overwhelmed and conflicted. At times I feel like a complete idiot as I scramble through pages to find the solution to an issue as if looking for ingredients in a recipe book.  Why is parenting so freaking difficult?  WHY oh WHY are we not required to pass a doctorate level parenting class before taking these little bundles home?

Give time outs- Don’t give time out’s
Give them choices- Don’t give them choices
Use rewards- Don’t use rewards
Praise your children- Don’t Praise your children

I’d been hearing about Kim John Payne for a couple of years, but I’ll admit, I’ve become a bit cynical.  What could he possibly have to say that has not already been said?  I mean, there is a reason my blog is called “alone” in the childerness? it’s because essentially – NO ONE has any real answers and as we all know, our babies don’t arrive with operating instructions.  The only thing anyone has ever said about parenting ( and I doubt they were an “expert”) that rings completely true is:

“Kids are like pancakes- you always mess up the first one.” (well there it is in a nutshell)

and then….. I signed myself up anyway to attend his workshop and hear him speak at our school this week, and…. I’ll be darned if I don’t feel like I actually have a good grasp on his concepts and more importantly (insert trumpeting heavenly horns) I have


The talk was so great, and interactive.  I learned concepts that are both completely obvious and entirely counter intuitive! (love that combo!) It also did not hurt that he is side splittingly funny and had all of us laughing in that omg relief laughter that comes from knowing that where you once felt completely isolated and alone as a parent, you also realize that you are in fact part of a living breathing organism of parents who all feel exactly the same way:


and utterly stumped as to how to do the very best for our own “unique” child/children.

Kim’s guiding principals are easy to practice, and completely effective (trust me I have been trying them out all afternoon!)

So, for what it’s worth – run, don’t walk to get a copy or find out when he is coming to a school or community center near you.  His new book The Soul Of Discipline is not out yet, but you can get his best seller Simplicity Parenting as a starter.

If as parents we all had the foundational tools his method explores and effectively demonstrates I think the change many of us seek in the world at large would be more readily available… discipline, I think, is an entirely rare commodity in America these days, and in finding the “soul” of discipline,  I think it’s possible that we may also find our own.


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