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Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

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International authority on child development Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., joins forces with bestselling co-author of Gabor Maté, M.D., to tackle one of the most disturbing trends of our time: Children today looking to their peers for direction—their values, identity, and codes of behavior. This “peer orientation” undermines family cohesion, interferes with healthy development, and fosters a hostile and sexualized youth culture. Children end up becoming overly conformist, desensitized, and alienated, and being “cool” matters more to them than anything else.
explains the causes of this crucial breakdown of parental influence—and demonstrates ways to “reattach” to sons and daughters, establish the proper hierarchy in the home, make kids feel safe and understood, and earn back your children’s loyalty and love. This updated edition also specifically addresses the unprecedented parenting challenges posed by the rise of digital devices and social media. By helping to reawaken instincts innate to us all, Neufeld and Maté will empower parents to be what nature intended: a true source of contact, security, and warmth for their children.

352 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Gordon Neufeld

10 books171 followers
Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist who consults with parents and professionals regarding children and their problems. He brings to us his unique synthesis of the developmental literature and his exceptional ability to make children understandable. He has a widespread reputation for being able to make sense of difficult and complex problems and for opening doors for change. His style is dynamic, his approach is refreshing and his effect is to affirm intuition.

He is a husband to Joy, a father of five and a grandfather to three. Current involvements include private practice, parent education, professional development for educators and continuing education for helping professionals.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 741 reviews
Profile Image for Michael.
245 reviews39 followers
December 15, 2011
I definitely underestimated this book. This is why it languished on the shelf for a few years before I picked it up. I expected yet another underwhelming parenting book. Instead I encountered a revolutionary interpretation of the role of attachment in the lives of our youngsters and an exploration of the implications of this on our culture and our role as parents. The basic neurodevelopmental role of attachment in the establishment of natural authority is explained and the toxic influences of modern attitudes towards parenting and peer interactions on this system were carefully looked at. The implications of this are not to be underestimated. I was floored! But the truth of what Mate and Neufeld lay out in very clear and easy to read language was apparent. I found myself rethinking many of my own ideas in clinical practice and my own family and I have to say I now feel very lucky to have read this book. I recommend it to anyone with kids of any age, or plans to have them.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
33 reviews16 followers
December 20, 2011
Here is a copy of the review I did for API:

I will honestly state that I did not agree with large portions of this book and had a hard time finishing it. Because I did disagree with so much of it and knew I would need to do a review of it, I took lots of notes and I tried to analyze the authors claims and why I did or did not agree with them. So as a critical thinking exercise it was very enjoyable. It also sparked an interest in reading more scientific research directly on attachment theory (I've read entries in Wikipedia and am looking to read Handbook of Attachment). I liked considering the major ideas of why kids are drawn to peers, because I see the pattern even in young and old children in my community who I believe to be securely attached.

However, I don't think I can recommend this book for several reasons. The major one is that I disagree with the premise that peers are the reason for kids turning away from their parents. I don't disagree that kids become attached to peers but I believe the problem to be that parents hurt the relationship so kids look for attachment elsewhere. The authors, sometime allude that lack of parental attachment is the cause and other times will come right out and blame peers for causing the rift. So their message isn't consistent. I found there were many other instances of this type of doublespeak in the book.

Secondly, the reasoning that the authors use for making their argument and their theories on how to reestablish the attachment relationship reads like a parenting advice book, with lots of assumptions about the nature of parent-child relationships or peer culture. Yet scientific references are few and far between. I found I was not convinced by the case they made as they sounded more like opinions than ideas that would hold up to rigorous scrutiny. They simply didn't jive with my world view on human nature so I had a hard time buying them.

I also found that the authors used fear based techniques to attempt to persuade the audience, citing horrific case examples and painting peer groups almost uniformly negative. They made children and parents into victims with peers being the perpetrators. I don't find it kind to communicate with someone where fear is used to motivate and thus found much of the book to be disagreeable. They also frequently implied that if your child is not behaving that your attachment connection is not strong enough, without disregard for individual personality or developmental stages. I would have a hard time recommending this to anyone interested in attachment parenting who might not have an easy going child who naturally likes to please, as it sets them up for lots of doubt and wondering what they are doing wrong.

Finally, the authors' tone frequently betrays a world view where not only is an adult more powerful but also right or correct or justified in manipulating children, aka adultism. They frequently come off as patronizing and ignoring the individual that each child is under the guise of parenting or worse, when attempting to reestablish the attachment connection. I found this most disturbing and disrespectful of an entire class of humanity.

About the only portion of the text that I did like and got something out of was chapter 17, "Don't Court the Competition." In this chapter they identify common beliefs in mainstream parenting, like not being fooled by early peer orientation, shyness as a negative sign, children learning social interaction skills, children needing friends, etc. Again, I didn't always agree with the why's of their theories around the ideas, but I think they are correct in bringing up these so called truisms for scrutiny. I might be inclined to recommend this chapter alone to parents, particularly those with small children who are trying to understand how kids get along or how preschool fits in or if they are worried about a shy child.
Profile Image for Brandy.
370 reviews21 followers
July 3, 2013
This was one of the least helpful parenting books that I have ever read. It is partly an attachment parenting book and partly an "I miss the good old days" whine fest. To be fair, I know a LOT about attachment parenting. (I'm a foster mom and have parented kids with attachment disorder and had lots of classes, therapy sessions, and read many books on the topic. I get that I am a tough judge.). But really this books spends more time whining about modern America and romanticising pre WW2 America than providing helpful parenting tips. Honestly, what exactly was so great about the good old days? The racism? The sexism? The absentee dads who never lifted a finger at home? The Jim Crow laws? The ambition and career free wives? Clearly I am no nostalgia fan, but here's an idea. Lets raise our kids in the decade in which they are actually living. Books that cover how to manage that task are much more helpful.
Profile Image for Genet.
131 reviews
April 19, 2008
My favorite parenting book of all time. While it is not extremely well-written (in a literary or organizational sense), I absolutely love and believe in the ideas presented in this book. Neufeld very clearly identifies the underlying problems in our culture that pull our children away from us. Children need to attach to parents, grandparents, and other adults who can help them develop a true sense of self. We are robbing our children (and ourselves) when we push them too quickly out into the world without giving them something to hold onto -- US!
141 reviews
May 5, 2009
Polarization occurs in relationships, which explains why youth shun their parents when they attach to their peers... they can't see how to have both connections. It is soooo important for parents to spend plenty of time with their kids in fun engaging activities.

For me, this is one of the main reasons I homeschool... I could never find enough time to spend with my children when they were gone from 8am to 4pm and then racing off to other activities when they weren't at school. Now, I can actually have quiet conversations with them!!! Hooray for home and family--the key to healing the nation, and the world.
Profile Image for Ruth Barone.
149 reviews3 followers
August 21, 2010
This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. It explains so much about peer-dominated culture, why it keeps getting worse, and why kids succumb to it at younger and younger ages.

As our kids grow up, they are put into far too many situations where they are expected to develop dependent relationships on their peers rather than on mature adults. Classroom sizes are too big, parents are too busy with work or life stresses or only one parent is present, families are often isolated from extended family that used to have such a large role in raising children, and adults that children can develop meaningful relationships with are few and far between. Instead, our children develop dependent relationships with peers that are too immature to offer them the wisdom, guidance, and most importantly, the unconditional love and acceptance that their parents should be providing them with. Once a child has shifted his attachment from parents to peers, parenting power is lost and the parent's input is no longer valued. These kids then try to win the approval of their peers by conforming, bullying, rejecting adults, engaging in dangerous behaviors, seeking to form bonds through sexual experiences at younger and younger ages. They seek the unconditional love that other immature children cannot give them, and when they don't get it the results are anger, suicide, self-mutilation, alcohol and drug consumption, and just about every other ill that is plaguing the youth of today.

Kids who attach to other kids rather than mature adults are not free to develop their true selves. Peer-oriented kids are expected to conform, to hide their differences, to not seem too interested in anything that is not "cool," to spend all of their time trying to connect and manage unwieldy relationships with their friends, to stay on top of who is doing what with whom, all the while burying their vulnerable feelings, their curiosities, their unique ideas. These kids never have the ability to actually grow up, to embrace their true selves, to mature into a unique, confident individual. Now we have kids who have graduated from college with no idea who they are or what they are interested in. All of their energies during their formative years have been spent on fitting in with their peers. They have no self confidence, and are unable to behave like responsible adults. When adult influence is cut out of their lives at such a young age, it's no wonder that these young people have stunted maturity.

This book gives great advice on how to keep this from happening to your own kids, or for reversing it if it has already happened. We need to connect with out kids as the first part of any interaction we have with them. So often parenting turns into a management exercise rather than a relationship exercise. I am guilty of this myself. We need to be the pole that our children are magnetically drawn to, the safe place that they seek out when they are hurt or confused or need guidance. They need to feel loved, cherished, and accepted despite their shortcomings or even their behaviors toward us. We also need to encourage our kids to develop relationships with other children who have strong attachments to their own parents. We need to become more family oriented in our activities, rather than having parent-only and child-only interactions. Most of all, we need to give our children the attention and unconditional acceptance that they need in order to develop properly. If they don't get it from us, they will try to find it somewhere else - and the results might be disastrous.
Profile Image for Muwaffaq.
133 reviews
March 17, 2018
I am surprised at how highly this book is rated. I understand that it gives a somewhat alternative view to parenting to most mainstream "systems" and there are some interesting insights to be had. The problem is the authors make the same point repeatedly. By repeatedly I mean over and over and over and over and over again. I do not understand how an editor could have missed how dull and unnecessarily long this tome was unless they are getting paid by the page.

Let me save you the trouble of reading it in about 3 lines. 98 per cent of problems stem from your kids need to attach to somebody. If you do not nurture that attachment to yourselves as parents they will attach to their peers and that is bad as they will not learn what they really need to learn when they need to learn it. That's it basically.

Even if you accept the premise one could have hoped for some practical advice on how to strengthen or foster attachments but the advice is nebulous at best.

Finally, there really is no objective evidence to back up the suppositions. As noted by other reviewers, it seems like just the writer's opinions based on clinical observation. In the year 2018 we all know how biased and off base our opinions can be so I am surprised the authors did not seek to confirm more of their opinions in scientific study of their hypothesis.
Profile Image for Jen.
24 reviews1 follower
January 11, 2010
Here's what I put on my blog about it:

A few months ago a friend blogged about a book she had read. Seeing how it seemed to have an impact on her and respecting her as a seriously amazing mom, I decided to pick it up. She was right. It was one of those books that I would try to relay to Ryan after every chapter I read. (And he even listened, which is sort of, um, rare.) It's obviously a little older than the stage my kids are at, but I'm glad I read it before I get to that point where your kids are annoyed when you're around and just want to be with their friends, because it also seems like something you should just make your lifestyle. Practice makes perfect, and it would be nice to get it figured out before you really need it, you know? Besides the fact that it's not like it happens overnight, and I was amazed to see how early on the seeds of peer orientation are sewn.

Part of the basic idea is that the natural order is for things to be passed on from older generations to the younger ones - knowledge, ideas, values, how to act, talk, dress, etc. It's that way in all of nature - animals and humans. Or it used to be. In the last few generations there has been a huge shift in that kids now look more to their peers for this information rather than adults. So much so, that I didn't even realize it wasn't normal when I was first reading this book! But as the author says, anyone reading the book probably grew up that way and so we don't even realize it's a problem. So now we have generations of immature children - being raised by other immature children. Even language and vocabulary has dropped as a result because they're getting their language (or lack thereof) from each other. His idea is that this has resulted in a whole lot of the issues that we see in society now - children who want nothing to do with adults, can't socialize with adults, children who are more aggressive, more calloused, don't feel emotion, don't engage in meaningful relationships, have their curiosity stamped out because it's not "cool," are more sexually promiscuous with less feeling about it, families falling apart, parents who have lost the power to parent their children, and kids who will follow their skewed instincts to stay close to their peers at all costs. His theory is that we all have a basic instinct or need for attachment, and when that is not met or strong enough with parents, kids will shift that need to peers to fill it, with the costly loss of parental attachment, which causes parents to lose the power to parent their children because the children are no longer looking to them for cues about anything.

I'd love to tell you all the great ideas from the whole book, but I wouldn't do it justice and really you should just read it. It really has made me think a lot about my own life, my own parenting, and did make me notice a lot of the things that did go right. Like my mom always having lots of big family dinners. We always had extended family around and always intermingled with the generations, playing games and talking. I also think of how much the church is inspired in this way - from it's strong emphasis on families and family time, to always ensuring that there were caring adults who played a big part in your life (leaders and Sunday school teachers and such) and helped your own parents get to know people you were associating with better, along with their families. It also made me resolve to be a better friend to other kids - to get to know my friend's kids better or other kids at church who could benefit from another caring adult in their life. I'll admit - this is hard for me. I've never been a real kid person, so having my own children I've had to be totally focused inward just to take care of my own little family, especially once the twins came along. I have a hard enough time paying attention to my own kids, let alone someone else's, but I always love it when friends have a genuine interest in my kids. And that's part of his suggestions is to have a big network of caring adults, family members, and friends to be a part of your children's lives. To help them attach to other positive adults rather than to a bunch of peers you know nothing about and that they want to leave your company to spend every waking minute with. He says, "The greater the number of caring adults in a child's life, the more immune he or she will be to peer orientation."

It did, however, make me more anxious about sending my kids to school here, especially given their personalities, and made me realize where you live and what kind of neighborhood and school area you're in could possibly have a huge impact on how your kids grow up - for better or worse. I was also interested to see how much applied to teachers and teaching and how much attachment plays a part in learning.

I even thought some of the advice was applicable to my marriage - like remembering the relationship is more important than the behavior. That's a good one. And that filling someone's need for attention when they're begging for it really doesn't fill the need; it's only when it's spontaneously given that it really satisfies. (Um, ok, that one wasn't actually for me. HINT.)

The one thing I didn't like as much was that even though the things he was suggesting seemed to point to it, he never said much about how staying home with your kids rather than working would be a good idea. I'm pretty sure his own wife and mother must have worked out of the home because he just sort of brushed it off as not being practical in today's world and just told you how to deal with it since you would probably be out working. It just seemed like so many other things he was suggesting were different from the societal norm that it seems like he could have given it some weight as at least being beneficial to your children and worth the effort to make it work.

Anyway, all in all, the author is not saying friends are bad, just that there should be adults around, and ideally you would be involved with your children and their friends and their families. He even goes into better ways to discipline to help preserve your relationship with your kids rather than hurt it. That's going to take some creativity on my part and I'll have to see what works for us.

Even with how much I liked the book though, I'll have to say it did take me about 3 or 4 months to read it. I just have trouble when they're not gripping page-turners! Alright, enough already, but I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for reed.
357 reviews6 followers
October 15, 2010
I picked this up because I heard about the author's concept of counterwill - that innate human tendency to resist when someone tries to control you. But I was turned off by his "kids these days" rhetoric. Didn't make it past the first chapter.
Profile Image for Heidi Thorsen.
221 reviews4 followers
August 2, 2011
I thought the first part of the book where the author gives examples of the horrors that can result when kids are "peer oriented" went on a bit too long, but did find the chapters where he eventually got around to explaining concrete steps to take to maintain parental attachment while avoiding or reversing peer attachment to be useful.

Before reading this book, I thought kids would "attach" to their parents based largely on the sheer quantity of time they spent together, but the authors have explained that it is more complicated than that. It is easier than I supposed for kids to become "unattached" to their parents, but then on the flip side it shouldn't be too hard to get them back if you catch this early.

I also appreciated the chapter describing the ways peer orientation *seems* to be a good thing in young kids and that's why society pressures parents into getting their kids "socialized" at a young age. Although it may be too complicated to explain to people who disagree in a social situation where this would come up, the book does give the reader encouragement to be counter-cultural and foster parental attachment way beyond the time most parents in our culture have relinquished that role to peers.

Profile Image for Eszter Pálmai.
15 reviews12 followers
July 19, 2015
This book was a huge disappointment to me. I'd love to quote paragraphs or terms exactly from the book, but I only have it in my mothertongue, so i may free-translate it's statements i'm going to refer to.
Well, I was really interested in the idea of peer-orientation itself, as it is an existing, serious issue nowadays, but my big hopes started perishing as early as the 3rd chapter, that is about the reasons why children prefer their peers to their elders.

The author blames such abstractions like 'society' 'culture' 'economics' 'technology' and claims that it is not the fault of the parents. A few pages later he even mention divorce as another thing predisposing children to turn to their peers; also as a fault of our culture. First, these terms do not exist in the empirical reality. They don't make decisions, don't think, don't act, don't determine nothing. The only ones holding responsibility for their own thoughts, actions and choices are the individuals, in this case the parents themselves.

Second, if the food is given, you don't spend all your time on the search of it. If emotional stability, and safe, warm, peaceful connection were given to these kids by their parents, they wouldn't spend their life despairingly chasing it elsewhere - howsoever the technology improves or cultural habits disappear.

Also he often claims how obidient and respectful were kids in the 20th century, to support his argument. Well, the parenting norms throught and between the first and second world war were based on enormous phisical abuse. (read about it in https://freedomainradio.com/free/#ori...) A child at those days acted the way their parents wished because of fear and helplessness. From 3rd to 7th chapter the book was written in this mentality, he didn't spent a word blaming the only ones responsible for their kid's turnaway - the parents, who didn't give them the attention, stability, peace and love they needed.

He wonderfully describes the issue itself and it's symptoms in the 8-12 chapters, they really made sense - except discussing the topic of agression. For example he begins the 10th chapter with the sentence: "Agressive people had always lived between us, as everyone knows, who have read the classical writing Tom Brown's School Days, for victorian boys, and know the bluster, but coward boy, Flashman." The writing he mentions is a novel. A fiction, the product of someone's mind. It's like saying: "Wizards had always lived between us, as everyone knows, who've read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and knows the shy, green-eyed boy Harry Potter." And he continues building his arguments on fictive stories like the Lord Of The Flies, murderous sociopath exceptions, and the behaviour of elephants.

He mentions a patient of his who was regularly beaten by his stepfather, then become agressive himself, accepts that it caused the stepson's abnormal behaviour (the effects of child abuse were also proven scientifically, as it is written on http://www.acestudy.org/) then a page later he writes: "It's a common falsehood, that agressive behaviour is the result of child abuse, moral failure or agressive television programs. Some of it's aspect may lead to agressive behaviour, but my belief is that it's true reason is the missing of connection." He just contradicted the empirical evidence and his own statement.

Just as he did in the beginning of the book saying that culture turns the children away, and later using himself as an example, writing about how his daughter asked him after they spent a holiday together: Father, why did you leave me? He started arguing that the opposite happened, but then realized, that the daughter was right, he was the one not paying enugh attention to her needs. So he seemingly accepted that he, the parent was responsible for the peer-orientation in this case - and still claimes the opposite all along his book.

But the reason I finally put down the book was the advice in chapter 15, where he writes that he usually tell his patients - the parents -, that if the parents had enough, disappointed or got really tired of the child, maybe they should send the kid far away, for example to a boarding school, or to distant relatives.
He writes this in a chapter titled "Save the connection, that authorize us to the parental role!"
He writes this after claimed how destructive distance from parents and rejection for the child.
He writes a book on how important to understand and handle peer-orientation is, how harmful it's nature, how is it lead to suicidal thoughts, lifelong instability - then advice the parents to send away their kids if they no longer enjoy parenting.

Parenting is not like a job man can quit anytime, if it isn't enjoyed anymore. Parents have full responsibility in the existence and the behaviour of their child, since they had choice in giving birth to the child, had full controll over the enviroment he borns into, also over the effects that influenced the child's mind - while the kid had not. They can send the child to a student hostel if they got tired of him, but the kid can't make them leave, when they become insultive. They're responsible for what happening with the kid, since the child can't place changes in the situation, but the parents can. By advicing the fellow solution, the author just erasing the weight of the parents' mistakes and bad decisions (likely including his owns), as if dealing with the consequences would be something optional, if it gets too hard, just get rid of the kid and put the weight onto the shoulders of a relative, some teachers or some fellow kids. If he sees nothing wrong with that, it's pretty hipocritical to write a book about the harmful effects of the peer-orientation and the parent's unavilablity (then blame 'society' for it).

The one star I gave is for realising an issue rarely discussed and for chapter 8 and 9.
Profile Image for Jen Holman.
146 reviews2 followers
September 30, 2012
Hands down one of the most important parenting books I have ever read. If you considered yourself an "attachment" style parent when your child was a baby, this philosophy is a perfect extension of that. The authors propose that we "let our kids go" too early, and therefore switching their natural attachment from their parents to their peers before kids have had the chance to benefit from our raising of them. Very interesting. The author discusses the extensive ramifications of this phenomenon - from the individual, the family, the school, and society at large.
4 reviews
October 9, 2020
Basic premise of the book is that children are either "peer oriented" (= "bad") or "parent oriented" (= "good"). These two orientations are portrayed as strictly competing. Shaky parallels, sometimes even pseudo-science is used ("People orientation is like a compass needle - it cannot point to two different directions at once" etc.)
There are several problems with this approach. First, relationship of parents and children is describe as strictly hierarchical, patronizing and asymmetric. Parents are wise, know everything better, have the right values. Children are immature, confused, incompetent, cannot recognize what is right and what is wrong. Hence parents must guard and closely guide the kids on every step, because if they don't do so the kids are swayed by their incompetent peers. If kids rebel, it is not because parents micro-manage them, it is because the forsaken peer orientation. There are only two options - you have to win over the peers or lose your children.
Book sometimes reads like it is rather about training a dog than raising a human being to her full potential. E.g. attachment to a parent is important, because then the child will want to please the parent and thus behaves well. Ouch, I don't want my kids to live to please anyone elses, not even a parent, they should be allowed to build a self esteem from their young age. I essentially believe that peers and parents play a complimentary role in growing up, and blaming parental failures on peers is a terrible hypocrisy. If you want neurotic kids who depend on you for the rest of your life, have a low self esteem and cannot decide for themselves, then follow the book.

Father of three thriving teenagers.
Profile Image for Christina Burt.
54 reviews
April 10, 2018
This is not just another parenting book! I think anyone could read it and gain an incredible understanding on the people we interact with every day.

It is very eye opening to the cultural shift that has happened over the last 70 years: peers have become the main attachment figures for many children and teens rather than parents and other adults which has lead, among many things, to children not really knowing who they are, having the inability to be vulnerable or to take risks or to stand out in a crowd, and leaving them with very few tools for meaningful connection with others. It doesn’t take a lot to see how true this is and what the impact has been!

While this book does talk a lot about the dangers of peer orientation, I did not come away from it feeling like I need to shelter my children from having any friends at all, ever. It gave me more of a greater confidence in my instincts as a parent, that my husband and I are vital in the development of our kids’ relational maturity, that meaningful relationships with our kids will do more good than any discipline tactic out there, and that there is no need to fear parenting through the teen years.

The last chapter on the digital age is probably the most practical, relevant, true, and hopeful information that I have come across. If you never read the whole book, at least read the last chapter! It gives very good insight to how we can approach social media and technology with our kids in this age when we as young parents are still trying to figure out how to navigate it ourselves.
Profile Image for Anna Shelley.
22 reviews
June 3, 2022
First time reading a parenting book and, I must say, I enjoyed it. This book feels helpful for anyone working with kids and/or parents, or anyone part of a community that includes children (family, close friends, neighbors). I feel more inspired and equipped to foster true connections with the kids in my life.

The issues brought up in this 2014 edition only feel more relevant now, as technology and social media are increasingly present during kids’ development.
Profile Image for Zane Nuts.
Author 6 books62 followers
December 26, 2022
Grāmata, kuru iesaku izlasīt visiem vecākiem. Es tajā atradu lērums līdz šim nedzirdētas, bet noderīgas informācijas.

Man traucēja( vienlaikus bija interesanti), ka praktiskie piemēri bija iz amerikas dzīves. Secināju, ka ASV ir patiesi sačakarēta un nopriecājos, cik labi ir dzīvot Latvijā. Tomēr rakstītais, lai gan ne tik traģiskā apmērā, attiecas arī uz mūsu platuma grādiem.

Lai vai kā, grāmata būtiski liek pārdomāt dzīvi.
Profile Image for Jekaterina Dmitrijeva.
209 reviews9 followers
September 17, 2015
Šī ir viena no lietderīgākajām grāmatām par bērniem un to audzināšanu, ko esmu lasījusi. Tā fokusējas uz to, cik svarīga ir bērnu un pusaudžu drošā piesaiste (secure attachment) ar vecākiem (vai citiem pieaugušajiem), kā to izveidot un uzturēt. Bet galvenais grāmatas vadmotīvs ir - kas notiek ar mūsu bērniem, ja mēs šo piesaisti neveidojam/pazaudējam. Piesaistei ir jābūt, un ja tā nav ar vecākiem, tā rodas ar draugiem, kas veido situāciju, kad bērnus audzina bērni. Grāmatā detalizēti aprakstītas sekas šādai situācijai sabiedrībā - vardarbība, apcelšana skolā (bullying), agrais sekss, emocionālā norobežošanās no pasaules, vecāku autoritātes zaudēšana, grūtības un neieinteresētība mācībās.

Klausoties to, man regulāri galvā bija "Klik, klik, klik" un vēl viens notikums bērnībā/pusaudža gados ir nostājies savā vietā. Vēl viena man pašai nesaprotamā mana rīcība vai uzvedība izskaidrota. Vēl viena kļūda skaidra (manis pašas vai vecāku), ko es varu saprast un tāpēc varu vieglāk piedot.

Nav viegli mainīt audzināšanas stilu un metodes, kas nāk no saviem vecākiem, sabiedrības uzskatiem un kādreiz iedomātām idejām. Bet šī grāmata ar savu spēcīgo pamatojumu un ļoti praktiskiem padomiem ir kā glābšanas riņķis - palīdz noturēties arī tad, kad ir grūti.

Iesaku visiem vecākiem un ne tikai. Arī tiem, kuri grib saprast savus vecākus. Un arī sevi pašu.
Profile Image for Niki.
1,089 reviews9 followers
February 28, 2021
Oh boy, I couldn't finish this book. Hold On to Your Kids was selected by a parent at my child's school as the focus of a parent book club. Keen to participate, I blindly went and got the book and started to read.

By page 5, I already felt my back up over the author's assertions. I made it to page 22, but called it quits. The main idea of the book (at least in it seemed to me) was that there is something wrong with "kids these days" and their attachment to their peers is to blame. I have multiple problems with these assertions, but really it felt like a justification for helicopter parenting. For example, "...absolutely clear is that children were meant to revolve around their parents..." (p. 19) Um, no, hard pass.

I recognize I didn't make it far into this text and perhaps I've misjudged it, but I couldn't stomach the start to see where it was all going.

Ultimately, I returned the book and chose not to join the book club and spew my negative thoughts over this book to the parent volunteer who organized it.
Profile Image for Trace.
941 reviews37 followers
August 15, 2015
August 15th: Rereading it, I can see how much this work has actually influenced so many of my parental decisions. I discovered the attachment parenting movement through this book, from there I started looking into homeschooling and so on..

Such a profound work and I recommend that all parents read it. Still a 5 star book.


This will be a re-read for me. I already know that its one of the most influential parenting books I've ever read and has been the guiding force for many of our family decisions.
Every parent needs to read this book....
Profile Image for Keren Threlfall.
Author 1 book43 followers
December 29, 2014
This book seems like a rather lengthy tome to say, "attachment between children and parents is important in establishing and maintaining long-term relationship." However, the final portion of the book was particularly and practically helpful. Probably the most valuable once you're a few years into parenting.

I found it interesting that this book essentially stressed many of the concerns about American culture and family that the NFIC (National Family Integrated Church) does, yet without some of the baggage accompanying that movement.
Profile Image for Craig Howson.
2 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2013
If you believe socialization happens through the peer group and not through deep relationship with parents and other mature adults, this book is the antidote. A must read for all parents!!!!
Profile Image for Bejinha.
79 reviews13 followers
December 8, 2020
Best book on parenting.
Explains adolescence challenges, screen addiction, and children's attention disorders and misbehaviors. Shows it's origins, how to prevent and to revert.
Profile Image for Shanna.
148 reviews5 followers
December 18, 2020
Short version: The bottom line of this book is that parenting is all about attachment. A close, bonded relationship between parent and child. Without secure attachment, kids can't mature, and if they can't mature, socialization is going to be damaging.

Extended thoughts:
A big focus is on peer orientation. This is when kids, instead of attaching to loving parents (maybe because parents are ill, uninvolved, dysfunctional, whatever; maybe because our society is so peer-oriented and pushes this direction), attach to other kids. "What is unnatural is not peer contact but that children should have become the dominant influence on one another's development" (6).

Not only is this unnatural, says Neufeld, but it's a problem. "Fitting in with the immature expectations of the peer group is not how the young grow to be independent, self-respecting adults" (13). Because peers are immature kids, they don't have the resources to help kids mature; in fact, they often thwart maturity.

"Any peer-oriented child knows the deal: don't say or do anything that could reflect badly on others and risk pushing them away... The world our children live in is becoming increasingly unfriendly to the natural process of maturing. In the peer-oriented universe, maturation and individuation are seen as the enemies of attachment... A child's individuality should never be the price exacted for warmth and closeness" (126). They force conformity, create insecurity, wound, manipulate, accelerate sexual development/activity, etc. (There's a LOT about this in the book.)

The way kids DO grow is in an environment of attachment to loving caregivers. "We need to release a child from preoccupation with attachment so he can pursue the natural agenda of independent maturation" (117). "Unconditional parental love is the indispensable nutrient for the child's healthy emotional growth" (118).

Towards the end of the book are lots of advice and information about how to bond/attach to kids at various ages and in various situations. All in all, though, the point is that relationship is the highest priority. Kids need to feel like their parents love them, enjoy them, know them, want to be with them.. this creates an environment where parents have influence to help their kids find emotional connection and maturity.

Bonus is that the last two chapters, added to the original edition, are all about how this applies to the Internet realities in which we're living today. So much good there about the pseudo intimacy of the very peer-oriented social worlds online, how/why to protect kids from them, etc.

Relevant for all parents. Also for anyone who grew up in a peer-oriented culture, which in American is probably most of us.
Profile Image for Caitlin Padanyi.
69 reviews
July 5, 2020
I generally agree with the overall concept of this book. I would sum it up as: as a responsible adult take the time and effort to connect to the children in your life so that they don’t end up seeing connection with problematic people instead.

However (and a big however) I felt like the tone of this book casts judgement and fear on parents/caregivers. I would much prefer to parent towards the hopes and dreams I have for my children rather than out of fear for the worst case scenarios.

I also think that young children have a natural desire to be connected to the family ecosystem and developing independence and the ability to participate can build connection rather than distance as the authors implied early in the book.

I will take parts of this book with my into my parenting. I will add peer-orientation to my list of things to check when my children are behaving in a way that is out of character for them. (Also on the list is: tired, hungry, unclear boundaries). Connection is so important and this book helped me to remember to keep making the effort to connect - ESPECIALLY when it seems really difficult!

Profile Image for Connie.
29 reviews
May 27, 2013
This book is so different from any other parenting manifesto I've come across. Gabor Mate is a brain research person so I admire his take. I didn't agree with every point and suggestion and theory but it's an important angle to consider in terms of how busy we get and how we forget what's important. Childhood is short and parental influence should be the dominating factor. If you find yourself feeling like other people think you are over-protective as a parent and you shy away from being as nurturing as you think makes sense in a situation, this book will give you the confidence to listen to yourself.
Profile Image for Chandra.
148 reviews1 follower
March 10, 2021
If pseudo-science, adultism, baby boomers shirking responsibility for their actions, and the nostalgic recall of pre-WWII American societal norms are your thang, you might appreciate this book. If not, maybe don’t bother.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
114 reviews15 followers
November 11, 2018
Paradigm-shifting. One of the most important parenting books I’ve read.
Profile Image for Ivka.
106 reviews13 followers
April 30, 2022
Túto knihu by som zaradila medzi povinné čítanie každého rodiča a v podstate aj nerodiča :). Dala mi zabrať, je veľmi komplexná, spracúva mnohé témy, mnohé problémy a ťažkosti, s ktorými sa potýkajú deti a ich rodičia, žiaľ dnes omnoho viac. Základnou myšlienkou je tu vzťah, respektíve väzba medzi dieťaťom a rodičom, jej liečivé účinky a naopak jej nedostatok alebo prerušenie pri výskyte problémov. Obsahuje neskutočne cenné informácie.
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