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Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers Paperback – August 15, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Like countless other parents, Canadian doctors Neufeld and Maté woke up one day to find that their children had become secretive and unreachable. Pining for time with friends, they recoiled or grew hostile around adults. Why? The problem, Neufeld and co-writer Maté suggest, lies in a long-established, though questionable, belief that the earliest possible mastery of the rules of social acceptance leads to success. In a society that values its economy over culture, the book states, the building of strong adult/child attachments gets lost in the shuffle. Multiple play dates, day care, preschool and after school activities groom children to transfer their attachment needs from adults to their peers. They become what the authors call "peer oriented." The result is that they squelch their individuality, curiosity and intelligence to become part of a group whose members attend school less to learn than to socialize. And these same children are bullying, shunning and murdering each other, as well as committing suicide, at increasing rates. The authors' meticulous exploration of the problem can be profoundly troubling. However, their candidness and exposition lead to numerous solutions for reestablishing a caring adult hierarchy. Beautifully written, this terrific, poignant book is already a bestseller in Canada.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Hold on to Your Kids blows in from Canada like a Blue Northern, bringing us genuinely new ideas and fresh perspectives on parenting. The authors integrate psychology, anthropology, neurology and their own personal and professional experiences as they examine the 'context' of parenting today. This is a worthy book with practical implications for mom and dad."
—Dr. Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other
"Hold on to Your Kids is visionary book that goes beyond the usual explanations to illuminate a crisis of unrecognized proportions. The authors show us how we are losing contact with our children and how this loss undermines their development and threatens the very fabric of sociey. Most importantly they offer, through concrete examples and clear suggestions, practical help for parents to fulfill their instinctual roles. A brilliant and well written book, one to be taken seriously, very seriously."
—Peter A. Levine Ph.D., International teacher and author of the best selling books: Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma and It Won’t Hurt Forever, Guiding Your Child through Trauma
"The thoughts and perspectives presented by the authors are informative — even inspirational — for those who choose to dedicate their lives and energy to students."
—Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary School Principals
"With original insights on parent-child attachments and how parents can restore them, this is a book for revitalizing families and rekindling the song in their children’s hearts."
—Raffi, children’s troubadour, founder of Child Honoring Society Institute
"With simple ideas and steps, this book is directed not only to parents, but to all those — educators, social workers, counselors — whose lives and work bring them into contact with children."
—Quill & Quire
"Though this is Neufeld's personal theory, Maté (Scattered Minds, When the Body Says No) has expressed his colleague's ideas in precise and hard-hitting prose that makes complex ideas accessible without dumbing them down. The result is a book that grabs hard, with the potential to hit many parents where they live."
—The Edmonton Journal
"[M]ay serve as a loud wake-up call for mothers and fathers….this one offers what many of the others do not — that rare commodity known as common sense."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"With the benefit of 30 years of research and experience, Neufeld has crafted a coherent, compelling theory of child development that will cause an immediate frisson of recognition and acceptance in its readers. His approach has the power to change, if not save, the lives of our children."
"The authors present doable strategies to help parents help their kids. If their advice is taken to heart, there’s hope there will be more warmth and security all round."
—The Georgia Straight
Praise for Scattered Minds by Gabor Maté, M.D.
"Rare and refreshing. . . . Here you will find family stories, an accessible description of brain development and sound information. You will also find hope."
—The Globe and Mail
"An utterly sensible and deeply moving book written for a general audience."
—The Vancouver Sun
From the Hardcover edition.
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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 indignant...at 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.
I am the parent of a 13 yr old boy and almost 10 year old girl so we're on the precipice of big changes. So far, we've been able to maintain a reasonable balance between time with friends and time with family. The technology component is more challenging.
One final note, I'd have given this book a 4.5 star if I could. I have not given a 5 star because the authors almost sound like other techniques don't work. I personally believe techniques that motivate children or modify their behaviors have their places; it's just they are effective only when the children are attached to us. I like the over-all approach of Sears's attachment-based method, but Hold On to Your Kids absolutely drive home the importance of attachment. Again, this is a great book to read, even important for parents or teachers who'd like to be more effective on rearing their children or teaching their students.