How To Raise Simple Kids In A Complicated World

School shootings, bullying, terror attacks, divorce, natural disasters, child abuse, drugs, poverty, gangs, teen sex, political unrest, racial tension. Our world is increasingly becoming more and more difficult for us (adults) to comprehend. As such, we cannot expect our children to be able to navigate the minefield which our culture has become. {Not if we have any hope of keeping their childhood intact}. Short of confining our children to a secluded off-the-grid cabin in the middle of nowhere, how can we as parents protect them while striving to raise simple kids in a complicated world?

How to Raise Simple Kids in a Complicated World

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How to Raise Simple Kids in a Complicated World

The allure of childhood used to be that it was a time for innocence and simplicity. The life of a child once consisted of a rhythm and predictability that could be relied upon. Not too very long ago, a child’s days were filled with carefree wonder, endless exploration, and unlimited imagination with little fear or knowledge of the dangers around them.

Those days, it seems, are long gone.

Is there a way that we, as parents, can help our children reclaim (or hold onto) the simplicity of childhood for just a little bit longer? I’m not talking about discouraging emotional maturity or responsibility. Rather, is it possible for us to shield our impressionable children from the chaos that surrounds them until they are actually mature enough to handle it? What if they have already been exposed to the “real” world? Is it too late to rekindle their lost innocence?

Simple Kids Complicated World

Call me naive, but I think we can. With boundaries, kindness, and frequent communication, I believe we can {at the very least} attempt to combat the relentless cultural assault on our youth.

I’m confident it is still possible to raise simple kids in a complicated world. Here’s how.

Set clear boundaries

Children feel safe and protected when they have clear-cut guidelines to follow. Remind your child regularly what is permissible and what is not in your home. Make sure they understand that it is illegal for a minor to consume drugs and alcohol, steal, and vandalize other people’s property.

Show them they are valued by giving them responsibilities in proportion to their age. Kids, like adults, love to feel valued and needed. What better way to accomplish this than by letting them know they are responsible for helping you run your home?

Teach your child to respect his/her elders. Explain to him that even though he may not always agree with what his parents, teachers, and pastors (etc.) say, he still needs to follow the rules without complaining.

{The exception to this, of course, is if an adult requests something illegal/immoral of the child.}

Raise Simple Kids in a Complicated World


Growing up, in my family at least, children were to be seen and not heard. If your goal is to raise simple kids, I don’t believe this is the stance you should take.

We need to be communicating with our children daily. Ask your child what’s bothering him when he is angry or sad. Talk openly to him about his fears and concerns. If he asks questions, be sure to answer them as honestly as possible.

Share your own experiences/failures with your child, but be careful not to give your child too much information too soon. For example, if you were abused as a child, there’s no need to go into detail when explaining to your ten-year-old daughter the reason why you don’t spend Christmas with your parents. Simply tell her that your parents weren’t always kind and that they sometimes hurt you. Explain to her that you love her and that your job as her parent is to protect her. When she is older, you can add more details about the situation.

Establish routines

Since becoming a parent 18 1/2 years ago, I’ve discovered the importance of a routine in my own children’s lives. From the early days of dealing with the fallout of a missed afternoon nap to experiencing the meltdown of a kid who didn’t get to wear his favorite pajamas to bed, I have learned a thing or two about how essential routines are in the life of a child.

Much like when a child understands his/her boundaries, having an established routine helps your child to be able to rely on something stable in an otherwise unstable world.

Raising Simple Kids in a Complicated World

Encourage their imagination/creativity

Oftentimes, children use their play as a tool to help them escape an otherwise harsh reality. Our kids understand far more about the world than we give them credit for. Imaginative play can help a child work through feelings of aggression, sadness, fear, or loneliness.

Encourage your child to act out their feelings through creative outlets. A younger child may choose to create “monsters” out of playdough. A teen may prefer to draw, paint, or write in a journal.

My own children like to use action figures and stuffed animals in their imaginative play. Sometimes, I (secretly) listen to their scenarios and I am often surprised by their insight.

Cultivate a spirit of kindness

If our desire is to raise simple kids in a complicated world, it is important for us to communicate to them that we are all in this together. An “us against the world” mentality will ultimately create aggression in a child.

Not only do we need to show (and tell) our kids each and every day that we love them, they need to actually witness us showing love and kindness to our fellow man.

I know this is sometimes easier said than done. It’s easy to help a sweet old lady cross the street. It’s not so easy to forgive someone who has hurt you (or someone you love).

We still need to try for the sake of our kids…

Raise Simple Kids in a Complicated World

Simplify the noise

While it is impossible to completely cut-off your child’s communication with the outside world, (as tempting as that may sound), you can at least limit their exposure to media (information) which they are not yet mature enough to handle.

We live in a society where we have access to the news 24/7. {Remember when the news was only on at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm?} As such, some people tune-in to “breaking news” and leave the tv on while the newscaster recounts every bloody detail (because, if it bleeds, it leads) over and over again until a new (even bloodier) detail emerges. All the while their son/daughter is absorbing the horror being depicted on the screen.

Do yourself, and your kids a favor, and simplify the media coming into your home. Choose instead to create a sanctuary where negative media is not welcome.

It is entirely possible to raise simple kids in a not so simple world

Unfortunately, I do not see the world growing any less complicated any time soon, but we can’t let that stop us from aspiring to raise simple kids who have a love for others, respect for their elders, rules they adhere to, and a support system for coping when the outside world begins to overwhelm them.

How to Raise Simple Kids in a Complicated World. Sweet words of wisdom we should all try to follow!

How to Raise Simple Kids in a Complicated World. A must read for any parent who is trying to keep their child innocent for as long as possible!



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About Cheryl Lemily

A wife, mom of 3 boys & 2 dogs. A minimalist raising a minimalist(ish) family. Living a small, slow, simple life. Helping others declutter & simplify.

2 comments on “How To Raise Simple Kids In A Complicated World

  1. Great article.
    Not sure if you ever heard of a book “Simplicity Parenting”. I can honestly reccommend to any parent on a decluttering journey.

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