Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance- From Toddlers to Teens” as Want to Read:
The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance- From Toddlers to Teens
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance- From Toddlers to Teens

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  419 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In this groundbreaking book, parenting expert and acclaimed author of the bestselling book Simplicity Parenting Kim John Payne, M.Ed., flips the script on children’s challenging or defiant behavior and lays out an elegantly simple plan to support parents in establishing loving, age-sensitive boundaries that help children feel safe and settled. In short: What looks like mis ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Ballantine Books (first published March 10th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  419 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance- From Toddlers to Teens
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Parents, Grandparents, Caregivers
Recommended to Rachel by: my Waldorf School
If you have read Simplicity Parenting and think that you do not want to read another Kim John Payne book, I recommend you re-consider and try The Soul of Discipline. Simplicity Parenting, while I agree that the premise of the book is spot on, to some people it feels heavily opinionated. I have just seen Mr. Payne speak and I don't think that is his personality. I think he was just trying to make things simple for all of us. Please try to take away the gist of Simplicity Parenting: Buffer the cul ...more
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall, I really liked this book and gained some valuable perspective from it. Now, I found myself not 100% agreeing with everything and found some of the approaches a little tedious (with several steps to resolve a problem) but as a whole I really related to the approach. It is refreshing to find a book that stresses the importance of maintaining family values no matter what...even when dealing with very minor issues. I also appreciate the scope of this book, from toddler to teenager, because ...more
Jaclyn Harrison
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Revisiting this review: I have actually noticed a difference by implementing some of these techniques.

My favorites are (for birth to age 9):

1. Telling rather than asking my child to do something. Example, instead of politely asking, "Can you get your coat on?", I politely tell him, "Go get your coat on." The author's theory here is that by asking, your child thinks he has some say in the matter, when he really doesn't because he needs to go get his coat on. So when he refuses and then you get a
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
OMG. I LOVE this book. It was written for me and my parenting trials and tribulations. Actual instruction instead of just warm, fluffy ideals. In my opinion . . .
Heather O'Neill
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because it is by an author that is highly referenced in the Waldorf community for his book Simplicity Parenting (I still need to read that book). I was interested to see what he had to say about discipline as my kids need it sometimes :). He basically says that there are three stages of parenting kids and during each of those stages the parents have to take on a certain role. The first stage birth-7-9 the parents are the Governors. We tell the kids what they need to do and ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Some great advice I've already started to implement, most of which could be summed up by the phrase "an incarnational approach." Come down to your child's level and discipline them with love.

One example: prepping my daughter for transitions (from house to car, say, or from playtime to bedtime) by sitting next to her, showing interest in what she's doing, and then clearly telling her what's going to happen next. It helps her be less disoriented when things change around her.

Not written from a Chr
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Focused on the governorship sections sine that's where we're at--will revisit when we get to gardener. It was really calming to read this and the items I've been able to apply so far have definitely made a difference. Especially re: "When you are about to give a direction to a child, stick to these five essential steps: 1. Pause and Picture 2. Start Small 3. Stay Close and Calm 4. Don't Negotiate--Insist 5. Follow Through."

* your world-my world-our world
* parallel parking (sit beside playin
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance - From Toddlers to Teens by Kim John Payne, who is a school and family counsellor for more than thirty years, is a path-breaking resource book most parents with toddlers and teens will find extremely useful. The book is designed to provide children with well-defined boundaries and save parents from the feeling of free fall when confronted with challenging disciplinary situations.

From her own experience the
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have read a lot of parenting books. I mean, A LOT of parenting books. Some have been great, some very good, many are pretty basic or so simplistic that I cannot remember one word of it after I am done. The Soul Of Discipline is very good. I really appreciated that there was solid information about the middle years which can be hard to find. It is sensible, accurate and rooted in parenting through connection. I liked the developmental approach and I can imagine using it as I navigate the challe ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. The idea of us parents being a Governor/Gardner/Guide to our children through their developmental stages just resonated with me. Also the concept that children and not disobedient but just disoriented! Brilliant! Within a few hours I started to implement some of Kim's ideas in my parenting methods and my daughter who is strong willed began to respond in wonderful ways! Cannot wait to hear him speak in a town close to mine soon! Thank you! In my minimal ...more
Courtney Clark
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Payne's Simplicity Parenting almost defined my parenting style. It was that important to me, when my oldest was a toddler. So maybe I expected too much from this book? Seems like your average parenting guide. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Two words: GAME. CHANGER.
I loved this book! I took it out from the library but will absolutely be buying my own copy as there are chapters I plan to refer back to for years to come as my kids grow and change.
Candice Cleniuk
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best parenting book I have ever read! Highly recommend for all parents to read this regardless of how old your children are.
Gold Dust
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
How this book differs from other discipline books:
Your child’s apparent disobedience is your fault (158).
Don’t give your child time warnings (76).
Give your child polite commands, not choices (99, 114).
Instead of forcing your kid to make eye contact with you, sit side by side with them (111-112).
Don’t give your kid too much praise or too much stuff (244, 23).
Don’t use empathy statements, unless you like your kid using them back at you (241-242).
Incorporates spiritual or philosophical things like
Keeton Christian
Kim John Payne is a genius. He reminds parents to trust themselves and their common sense. He advocates for children’s rights to be children. His book is both practical and enlightening. I will undoubtedly come back to his calming words again and again throughout my journey as a parent.
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Since I didn't finish this, I'm not counting it towards my challenge. However, since I got 2/3 of the way through it, I thought I'd share.

His ideas are sound. I really like the 'Governor, Gardener, Guide' philosophy at the center of this book. I think that if I had read his earlier book first (Simplicity Parenting), I might have been more open to this. But in reading the Governor sections, which would apply to my children's ages, it just seems overwhelming, and not really my style.

There were ma
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love how he sets out a framework for thinking about discipline and how he makes it more proactive than reactive. I've started using some of the suggestions already and they work amazingly quick! I especially liked the chapter on screen time. It is a very scary world that our children will be growing up in, but maybe that's what every generation thinks?
This book has helped me check my own behaviors and reactions and pause before I react to something my kid is doing. An excellent read!
Textbook parenting

This wasn’t a book filled with new ideas for me, as I felt it largely drew on basic material in the field of study. At times I felt like I was reading a textbook for one of my college classes. If you haven’t read that type of material I believe it would be fairly informative. It did have some good ideas it shared, but wasn’t anything especially new. This is a good basic parenting book to read.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book provides a framework for providing discipline from the toddler years until your kid is in their teens. I think it may be helpful for older kids, but the stuff for toddlers isn't practical. You're supposed to insist that your child do what you say, but never repeat an instruction? Good luck with that! ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So I have a feeling I'll be reading this book several more times. It was enlightening, terrifying and gave concrete examples. Now if I can get Todd to read it :) Too much screen time... all of us - too much. ...more
Loved this book for both its philosophy as well as practical parenting tips. I first checked it out from the library; however I ended up buying it because it's a book I can come back to over and over as my son grows. ...more
Michelle Corder
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. I read his other book, Simplicity Parenting and loved it so much that I had to read this one too. I already follow the approach he talks about, but he provides new ideas and perspectives, because some times parenting is a real challenge. Definitely recommend!
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, parenting
I found the frameworks described in this book incredibly helpful in thinking about our changing roles as parents with regards to discipline and leadership. I skipped the teenaged section but will definitely return to it in 10 or so years.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting-family
About 1/3 of the book was relevant as the other chapters discussed discipline for tweenagers & teenagers, but I enjoyed what I read. Not quite as transformative as Simplicity Parenting, but worth a read.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Some good ideas buried within a lot of tedious information and metaphors.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Repetitive but helpful.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting-books
There are a few good points in this book. It's not a book I would recommend, though. ...more
Kimberly Allen
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Little tidbits of information, but overall it was nothing new. I really enjoyed the last chapters on media usage.
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
A note for me.....I'd like to own this one. ...more
L Jones
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I did what I like to think was a diligent search on parenting books before reading about this one and thinking it probably connected the most with how I want to parent. The book delivers what is promised, 'a warm, firm, and calm' approach. My daughter (and only child) is very young. In fact, she's probably still too young for the majority of the "Governor" section, or the section dedicated to young children, to apply to her (much less the other sections). But there were a handful of things I tho ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
  • You Are Your Child's First Teacher: What Parents Can Do with and for Their Children from Birth to Age Six
  • Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know  to Do It Once and Do It Right
  • Down to Earth: Laid-back Interiors for Modern Living
  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
  • There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge)
  • The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired
  • The Autumn House
  • The Winter House
  • The Festive House (The Seasonal House Series Book 5)
  • The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Crafts and Recipes--Over 175 Family- Friendly Activities
  • A Year of Puttery Treats
  • The Christmas Countdown: Thirty Days to Festive Bliss
  • The Art of HomeMaking
  • The Seasonal Scrub
  • The Couple's Quiz Book: 350 Fun Questions to Energize Your Relationship
  • More Than Enough: How One Family Cultivated A More Abundant Life Through A Year Of Practical Minimalism
  • The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child's Education
See similar books…
A consultant and trainer to 250 U.S. independent and public schools and school districts, Kim John Payne, M.Ed., has been a school and family counselor for more than thirty years. He has also consulted for clinics, training centers, and educational associations in South Africa, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. He has served as the p ...more

Related Articles

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." -Benjamin Spock Calling all parents who have ever found themselves wondering:...
35 likes · 10 comments
“1. Pause and Picture: Pause, allowing your child a moment to orient herself. Even more important, center yourself as well. Picture yourself giving your child a direction that she fulfills well. Allow yourself to imagine” 0 likes
“The same hormonal cascade is triggered in children who get shouted at aggressively. Shouting” 0 likes
More quotes…