"Hold On to Your Kids. Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" by Gordon Neufeld, Ph. D. and Gabor Mate, M.D is hands down the best book I have read in a long time!
I skimmed over this book in one evening. I am now re-reading the entire book slowly, gaining more and more insights into a way of being and a way of parenting that makes BUCKET LOADS of sense to me.
Did you know that science has shown that a baby, child and teenager's brain is wired to attach and connect to someone?
Is that person a loving and influential adult or is that person someone in their peer group?
Think about this for a moment.
Either a child or teenager is attached to his/her parent or care giver, a relative, a wonderful teacher or a coach, possessing a desire and an ability to follow their lead and learn from them
a child or teenager is taking cues on how to behave in the world by other children or teenagers.
Wouldn't that be like the blind leading the blind in experience and maturity?!
Yes, pretty much.
The authors explain that kids more than ever are looking to their peers for direction - their values, identity and codes of behaviour.
"This peer orientation undermines family cohesion, interferes with healthy development and fosters a hostile and sexualised youth culture. Children end up becoming overly conformist, desensitised and alienated, and being 'cool' matters more to them than anything else"
I first watched Gabor Mate's video on youtube and I thought, yeh, that sounds kinda nice in theory but how am I meant to do that in a modern world?
I wondered if the book would offer concrete examples and solutions to stay connected to my kids now and in the future?
The resounding answer is YES!
Instead of fearing the next stage of parenting when my children will be predominantly away from me, I feel empowered and hopeful. Neufold and Mate offer both scientific evidence and practical advice on how to maintain connection with your children or how to 'reattach' to your sons and daughters if they are drifting slowly but surely away into a peer oriented culture.
The book also offers ways to help foster meaningful connections between your kids and other adults who can take the place of the primary caregiver when you're not around ie. during child care or school.
Some of the issues that peer orientation contribute to include defiance, emotional immaturity, lack of empathy, aggression, bullies and victims and an inability to learn. All of these problems are explained in the book with a positive slant that family/adult influence can be maintained and restored.
If you are a parent or a caregiver or a loving grandparent or relative, this book is for you.
If you are a teacher or an adult who cares for and interacts with children, this book is for you.
Hang it, if you have blood running through your veins, this book is for you!! :-)
This book is phenomenal.