Children today, and particularly boys, need extra time, love and support in the fast paced world in which we now live.

Kim John Payne, founder of Simplicity Parenting, talks specifically about the development of boys, and much of what he shares is also true for girls too.

When we provide an environment for children with less stuff, more time, less adult talk and where purposeful work is the daily undertaking for the kindergarten teacher (and parent at home), we see children content in their world. The following are the key points from the talk ‘Overwhelm of Boys’ and some ideas you might like to try at home.

The Overwhelm of Boys talk by Kim, is available to watch here, it’s a fantastic way to spend 46 minutes and learn more about how our beloved boys think, do and learn! Below is a summary.

Boys need time and LOTS of it! They process life at a much slower pace and they need more time to work through things. Boys are much more affected by being hurried.

Boys learn largely through doing. They love action and find their way into the world through doing. Doing takes a lot more time than thinking. Thoughts are quick and so is emotion. Doing-learning isn’t instant and it takes tools, nature and lots of space.
Boys need to feel industrious and to have a sense of purpose, if they don’t this leads to feeling unworthy. Boys love to help with jobs that have an outcome.

Intensity isn’t wrong.  Boys can be intense but they can’t hurt others. Allow them to express anger without hurting. Boys relate to the world with intensity, they conquer; they take hold of things and get fully immersed into it. Give them space to be and feel vulnerable. Support them through this. Responding to their anger with fear or aggression doesn’t support them.

For boys, an intolerance of differences can be played out on a gender level. This can begin with parents setting boundaries with their boys during intensity. By redirecting behaviour when boys are physical with girls, we set firm boundaries and teach tolerance and respect for differences.

Boys only want to know 3 things:
Who’s in charge?
What are the rules?
Are the rules consistent? Will they be upheld?

When there is lots going on for boys, especially the extroverted child, and they are feeling overwhelmed and flooded by life, they push back. This can be physically or verbally.
The child who is more introverted will fall back and retreat into themselves.

Boys who will succeed in life are boys who understand how their actions affect others.
Girl’s brains have hooking axons that set up large neural pathways for empathy. Girls understand cause & effect much more naturally than boys do.
For boys, they have a much smaller window for the development of empathy. We can further slow down this development by taking unstructured time away from them and not allowing boys the space for their brains to develop. When this happens we activate the fight and flight brain (the amygdala) which doesn’t allow for the development of empathy. They become wired for survival. The ‘dissing’ that comes from boys, comes from those boys who have been subjected to too much, too fast, too soon, exposed to too much. They become emotionally exhausted and turn to ‘dissing’.

The survival (palmer) reflex is one that all children are born with. Many of our boys are not shedding their primal reflexes. It would be normal for a boy aged 2-5 years to have let these go. The child who has been unhurried, given lots of time and space would know that they are safe and no longer have a need for these. These reflexes inhibit time and appropriateness behaviours.

Too much developed stuff does not help our boys to grow. Boys are makers, they are doers. Nature is key. Hold back ‘stuff’ – take away lots of the toys and books. They need action and to move. Action leads to empathy.
Rhythm and predictability. Girls can adapt much more quickly to changes in routine. Boys need rhythm, they long for it. They feel secure.
BOYS need more time.

Way LESS information, LESS screens, LESS adult conversation. Boys need a lot more time to process information. They can’t digest stuff quickly. Boys have a backlog of processing that gets overloaded with screens and adult conversation.

To explore and support you further:
The book; Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
The book; The Soul of Discipline by Kim John Payne

Join a Simplicity Parenting series of 4 gatherings, held weekly.  The first series for 2021  will begin in May.  Please email to register your interest.  Cost is $80.00 for the full course, and free for kindergarten whanau.  Be in touch with Traceylee or to discuss Simplicity Parenting further:

Ph: Kindergarten 07 378 8042 or Traceylee mobile: 021 520 118

Back to all articles