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on August 11, 2016
I'm so happy to review this book because it absolutely changed my life and my daughter's life forever! I will be honest with you and tell you that I was at my wit's end. My 13 year old, who used to be a sweet kid became constantly defiant and depressed at home. The kid who obviously loved me, I'm a really cool mom, now ignored me and rolled her eyes. Her grades were suffering and she began stitching into her skin during school. This is when someone sews shapes into their skin with a needle and thread. So I got this book.

I read the book very quickly because it resonated so strongly with all I was going through. Our society values peer influence so highly and at such a superficial level that we are losing our kids to isolation and hopelessness disguised by technology and unhealthy friendships.

I pulled my daughter out of school in her last semester of 7th grade. This meant that she would have to repeat 7th grade and be a year behind. As a single mother with her and a baby, as well as a full-time career I committed to homeschool her. We worked out a strange schedule of night and weekend study focused on real life skills and developing her values system. She was first. After the first two weeks things started to ease. She began applying herself more, she softened, started taking great love and responsibility with her sister and with our home. I followed the advice of the book and rebuilt our relationship and the tenderness we have for each other. She was honest with me! She broke down and told me about all her fears and walls.

The girl that just wanted to be on the internet or texting in bed was now going to the gym several times a week, going for walks with the kids around the neighborhood, volunteering to help younger students learn to read and really working on improving our family relationships. She stopped yelling at me and ignoring me!! She reached a healthy weight, she was way too skinny.

During that one school year we did two years of work and caught her up. She entered high school today, right on schedule! She held my hand as we drove to the bus stop. She was excited about meeting new kids and really applying herself at school. This week she received an award for her volunteer service over the past year. Also, on a daily basis, I have people tell me what a remarkable and intelligent child I have. Last year, she was depressed and aloof, people were concerned about her.

Reading this book led me to make a very difficult decision that I thought was absolutely beyond my capacity as a mother. I believe if I hadn't put her first and done everything I could to get her away from her unhealthy friendships that I would've lost her forever and her academic possibilities and life possibilities would have suffered severely. No one agreed that I was doing the right thing! (The school, her father, my mother, no one understood why I needed to this.) This book gives practical step-by-step instructions to get your kids back from unhealthy destructive behaviors that are becoming more and more prevalent as a result of our current culture. If you are losing your child people act fast and be brave. It was the best decision I ever made.
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on April 20, 2015
I'm a physician. An M.D. I've raised 3 children, ages 33, 30, and 28. I've struggled through multiple drug abuse with one child, and gross insecurity in 2 others. Although I have been a believer for several years in unconditional love, I struggled with the application in my relationships. Until this book. A parenting book that explains unconditional acceptance. With the book half-finished, convicted of its truth, and with tears in my eyes, I began practicing unconditional acceptance with my children several months ago as i slowly digested the remainder of the book. The rewards, especially with my child who was a drug addict for 14 years, have been nothing short of miraculous. If you buy only one book on parenting in your life buy this one.
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on March 14, 2017
I felt uncomfortable reading parts of this books, upset and anxious at some point. I was torn between being unable to put it down and wanting it to end. It was like intense therapy. I felt the book was talking about my past, how an insecure attachment relationship led me to a very powerful and toxic peer oriented relationship with my neighbour. Unfortunately these patterns don't change unless 1. we understand how they came about (early relationships) and 2. Have a good hard look at our lives and make a conscious effort to reparent ourselves either with a good therapist or alone, I believe this is possible with the right tools and understanding. Those with children might feel panicky after reading this book, as I did, why does my eldest always want to do stuff with other kids..?
The book is beautifully written, its so articulate at explaining something as complex as attachment theory not only from a psychological standpoint but also from a social and also physiological (how our early adult relationships wire our brains). If you're interested in learning about parenting or developmental psychology, this is your book.
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on September 8, 2017
For the first few chapters of this book, it's a page turner with many valuable insights. This may be one of the most critically important books a parent can read (and I've read many). In my degree, we had to study the human mind, behavior, and the subconscious, so I have basic knowledge. This book offers something important most other books overlook. My copy is dog-eared on almost every page - each page contains a gem.
Intuitively, we understand the concepts Neufeld outlines - about children, peers, and the harm that comes from inappropriate attachments to peers and from weak parental attachments. But society thrusts upon us the notion that peer relationships are so necessary and healthy, kids must be "socialized" from infancy on, and children naturally stop being close to their parents in grade school and it's normal for them to rebel completely and want nothing to do with their parents by - or before - adolescence.
I grew up in the big city public schools and saw firsthand the negative behaviors and saw how girls were taken advantage of. I saw how kids sell their true inner selves out just to fit in with a bunch of (equally clueless) kids. I saw how everyone desperately tried to "fit in" with a false image sold to them by the media. I watched as they lost their self esteem. Many kids became absolute nightmares to their parents. Others were outwardly respectful, but led double lives and were up to no good.

I noticed some negative reviews said Neufeld is too cynical and kids really need strong friendships. I think those people are misguided - or maybe they haven't witnessed what really goes on with kids these days. Maybe they believe it's normal or don't realize that - throughout the history of mankind, this was not the case, and this behavior and societal structure is completely unprecedented. Which is not to say kids don't need friends. But Neufeld's book suggests they need to "follow the leader" and it needs to be a trustworthy, solid adult leader. Not other kids. Kids shouldn't "lead" other kids. Who better to learn manhood and womanhood from, but from grown adults? Traditionally, men and women taught their sons and daughters to become men and women by being with them, children would work with or help out their parents. Relatives and neighbors helped, peers were more peripheral as they would be likewise busy with their own families. Which is not to say human life throughout history was nirvana! But school simply didn't exist as it does today. Young humans didn't spend all their time with same-age companions, largely unsupervised.
So, I think Neufeld's book is very insightful. And yes, as some negative reviews noted, he sounds a bit melodramatic. But as a therapist in the trenches for decades, hearing families discuss the battlefields in their homes, can you blame him? When kids are peer-attached, it is often extremely dramatic - and traumatic.
The reasons I didn't give 5 stars:
The author thinks it's not that parents are any less loving, competent or devoted than always, it's just kids are peer-attached due to modern social structure. I partially disagree. While the modern social and economic structure doesn't help matters, I believe many parents are distracted by electronic devices, careers, personal interests, or other things. In that void, kids find attachments to fill the void, and many parents are (at least until the behavior problems start) relieved when their children busy themselves with gaming, peer attachment, or whatever else keeps kids busy and out of their hair. Parents could examine their own behaviors and ensure they don't drive children to peers for their own convenience.

A second reason is, the book would benefit from better editing. The first few chapters are fascinating but it becomes repetitive and - as another reviewer noted - sometimes wordy which made it a bit tedious, but didn't lessen the value of the work. I've seen the author speak on youtube, he's brilliant but rambles a bit.

The third reason is, at the end, things are worded oddly. It sounds rather manipulative the way he advises us to get our children back if they're peer-attached. I actually get what he's saying, but some passages come off wrong, they make it sound like he's advising sneaky emotional manipulation. He probably doesn't mean it that way... Or maybe he does feel "all's fair in love and war" if children are strongly peer-attached and out of hand. Still, it is worded in a way that could put some people off if they take it wrong.

In any event, Gordon's concise, intelligent, insightful explanations of child attachment, of behavioral issues, of the dynamics leading to this situation are worth reading. It could prevent many problems experienced by parents, prevent the sad disintegration of emotionally healthy childhoods, the tearing apart of families. Most parenting books contain helpful tips but they're - at worst - misguided, and mostly teach about putting a band-aid on the parent-child relationship wound. This book is about preventing the relationship wound, or - if it's already been inflicted (however innocently) - cleaning it out, healing it, and preventing further injury.
His ideas may seem quaint and old fashioned to some, but that doesn't make them any less valuable. Worth reading.
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on February 24, 2018
It is not an exaggeration to say that this book is changing my life (and therefore the lives and trajectory of my children). I keep telling people it is like a giant permission slip to parent as your heart initially tells you to! We give birth to these precious humans and we just want to protect them, shower them in affection, and delight in them. This book lays out in easy-to-understand terms why we should focus on maintaining a close relationship with our kids instead of fretting over behaviors we don't like. It hands back the responsibility and onus to parents in creating and keeping close, secure attachments with our children and making sure we are there for them as they move through developmental stages.

And as my husband and I have been shifting our perspective in alignment with the ideas discussed in this book and implemented some of the advice, we have noticed a marked difference in our home. Behavior seems to be improving, but more prominently, we are ENJOYING our time with our kids more. I cannot recommend this book enough!
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on January 29, 2016
This book was incredibly helpful to me. I have one son, and since he was little, I always arranged a great deal of playdates, fun programs during the entire summer and encouraged him to have lots of friends. Besides all the fun activities, I did spent a fair amount of time with him and we were pretty close. As my son moved into the early teens I realize that I had pushed him to make his friends his family, instead of my husband and I. My concern had been that he would be too lonely if I did not arrange all the social activities. Thanks to this book I am now trying to remedy this and show him that friends are important, but they come and go; family has been there for him and will be his support for the rest of our lives. I think I got the message across, but will have to make a concerted effort to reinstate the importance of a close family relationship,
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on July 2, 2017
One can just follow popular opinion that the kids will follow their peers or instead become a loving presence in your kids lives so they try to become a better version of you. What a concept!

Good parenting will save the kids a lot of anguish in their young and old age. The authors make a strong case for how parents can shower their kids with unconditional love so that the kids don't need to keep searching for it outside home... very enlightening read, I will refer to this book again and again... Thank you Gordon and Gabor, you guys have helped me a lot...
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on October 8, 2013
OK, so I wrote a self help book for teens. People assume that I must know about parenting teens. The thing is, my book is for teens about how to survive *being* a teen! How to parent a teen? My parents did some things right, but I needed more to go on with my own teens. I read some other great books (I have a list mania list of the ones I love). This one gave and continues to give me the strength to open my heart and smile again and again during some of the most trying times in a parent's life.

The first two thirds of the book tell you why you need the book. It drove me nuts and I wanted to get to the meat of it already. But the authors kept saying "keep reading" so I did. I'm glad I did, it was really good stuff, though I did feel anxious to get to the "how to" part. The last part of the book, changed things for me with my teens dramatically. We were doing alright, but I have to credit what I learned in this book with raising the bar for success and peace in the home between parents and kids.

I've shared my learning with other parents (who still think I know a thing or two about parenting teens, and now I really do). I've also recommended this book to parents of younger kids: put the loving foundation of bonding into your relationship with your kids. This book will give you strength to carry on during what can be turbulent years. It's a brilliant investment in your family.
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on October 21, 2014
A great read, and eye opener.

My parents are immigrants, and raised us in the US.

The culture of "friends" to them is so foreign. Growing up, they never understood why we were so attached to our friends, and it was a major source of frustration for them. It was also frustrating for us, because we couldn't understand where they were coming from either.

As the book explains, kids are born attached to us--physically, emotionally, mentally. And as the years go by, this dependency decreases. We are our kids' idols in the first 7 years (for sure), maybe 10 if you're lucky. Ironically, those are the years we brush them aside, because, to be honest, at times, they can be suffocating.

However, as they hit their teenage years, their life begins to revolve around their friends, and the problem with that is, their sense of right and wrong comes from them too. Unfortunately, their peers lack the wisdom and experience as well as the sincere desire parents have for their kids to be successful. If parents haven't nourished their attachment to their kids, then this stage is tough.

This book helped me understand my parents' point of view. Now that I have 2 kids of my own, I am interested in their perspective, esp. bc naturally, one reflects on decisions and choices one made in adolescence. I believe this, in combination with ScreamFree Parenting, are two good books to help develop a proper Parenting Philosophy.
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on April 10, 2018
Fantastic! Provides a blueprint to accessing your child when there doesn't seem to be a way. Great insights to why kids do what they do and how to relate to them when it is difficult and/or its the last thing you want to do. My daughter is just entering her early teens and I was starting to feel less important and alienated from her. By applying a couple of things I've learned in the first half of the book I've reconnected to her. Almost like magic, and she has been the one to seek me out. I'm only half done the book and have learned so much. I was tempted to skip to the last half of the book for the techniques to use but the first half is important to understand why the connection becomes broken. I highly recommend this book not only to understand your own kids, but other people as well, whether they be students, friends, employees or coworkers.
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