Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers” as Want to Read:
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,338 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
International authority on child development Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., joins forces with bestselling author 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 fos ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 15th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 mo ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all parents, and anyone thinking of becoming a parent!
Recommended to Genet by: Alison Bennett
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 wor ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Thystle by: API
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'v
Heidi Thorsen
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 exp
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-nonfiction
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
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Alanna Truong
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The only parenting book I've read cover to cover (though I've started at least half a dozen this year!)! My first child was a preemie, and once I (finally!) got her home, she never left my side until I had to go back to work. I carried her in a wrap, she sat on my lap while she ate, and slept with us. I had thought that was attachment parenting, until just a few months ago, when trying to wrap my head around some family trials I was watching some loved ones go through. It was only then that I re ...more
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 a
Jekaterina Dmitrijeva
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
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 ...more
Jen Holman
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 - ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I make an attempt at trying to read a few books that are also related to the teaching profession. My colleagues and I have attended Gordon Neufeld's talks and we have participated in professional development workshops on Anxiety and Aggression. So, you could say that we have readily accepted and have " attached" ourselves to his line of thinking. The audience is largely targeted to parents, but often references teachers and is certainly relatable to the classroom environment.

Like Neufeld, I s
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 nurt ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 f
Craig Howson
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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!!!!
Eszter Pálmai
Jul 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life changing. You'll never look at yourself, society or culture the same way. If you are struggling with behavior issues with children, or looking to understand your own upbringing in a new light look no further. Sometimes the answer lies neither directly with our child or ourselves, but actively cultivating the attachment relationship.
Daniel Mate does a phenomenal job narrating the audio book, amazing voice!

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book. Just go ahead and read it.
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book. I’m almost at a loss to sum up! I finished it several weeks ago, and I feel like it is still sinking in.

First off, if you are looking for a parenting book that will give you a handful of “quick fixes” on some of your child’s annoying behaviors, look elsewhere. As much as I had heard about this book from a couple of very good friends, I was still surprised at its content. I had no idea I would be getting such a fresh angle on parenting. Much of what is here flies in the face of ma
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The premise of this astounding book is that in today's culture, more and more children are living their lives being more attached to their peers than their parents. Sound mind-blowing? Maybe not, but at the soul of this book is the idea that our attachment to our children is the one crucial thing that our children cannot truly grow-up without. The book goes in-depth into attachment theory, but not so deep that you can't find your way out again and understand how necessary it is. We learn about h ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I am not a fan of parenting books at all, but I very highly recommend this one to all parents, no matter if your child is a toddler or a teen. The main point that the book makes is the importance of parents over peers in a child's life. In the name of independence and socialization, parents these days are pushing their children to spend more time with their peers (playdates for babies?) without recognizing that this practice ultimately backfires on them and leads to challenges in many different ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. Not the best writing, but the content makes up for it. Provided a very simple answer for why parenting today is so much harder/different than it used to be years ago, why "kids don't respect adults like they used to", etc--being that our culture no longer supports or values the parent-child relationship which is the MOST important thing in raising children.

It reaffirmed a lot of what I already try to do, gave me a whole new perspective on them needing "friends", and has motivated me
May 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
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 t ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, nonfiction
Really interesting. Definitely adds to the discussion on attachment parenting, which mostly centers around infants. This includes infants but naturally is much more geared to kids old enough to actually interact with their peers.

If you liked the book Unconditional Parenting or How to Talk so your Kids will Listen, you'll find this adds another dimension to the discussion in those books. And, oddly enough, it also adds another dimension to the discussion of the so-called "tiger mom": many of the
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is an important book about maintaining your connection to your children as they grow older. Neufeld argues that having teens pull away from their parents and orient to their peers is not a natural process (only developing in the last few generations) and is very unhealthy for kids and society as a whole. I thought he spent too much time on his explanation of the problem, though. I would have preferred more discussion of strategies of maintaining and strengthening attachment.

I forgot to
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
if i could file-copy Neufeld's brain and upload it into my own I would be there in a heartbeat! lol. his passion seems to be in regards to the attachment of children to their parents, and the need for children to be attached to a caring adult rather than to their peers. his DVD seminars are great as well!

Neufeld is also against 'time outs.' i'll butcher the reasons he gave and you really ought to read the book, but basically he calls for a 'time in.' the need to re-collect our kiddos, kind of li
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Conceptually this book is well thought out and it gives solid examples of how connecting with our children in a mindful way is beneficial in the long run. This book explores our education system and culture and how it has influenced a more peer-oriented culture.
I always wish the authors of these types of books would give a more thorough look at an average week in their lives with their kids. The examples are helpful, but what are these author's doing to connect with their kids while they are bu
Keren Threlfall
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
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ok so this is not the best written book ever but the ideas in it are essential for any parent wanting to raise their kids in the most conscious way. It explains the whys and how's of all of those niggly gut feelings over the years that told me something was amiss in society in supporting me to parent my son. As Nuefeld says, just because something is normal it doesn't make I natural or right. I am going to buy copies of this book for every friend I know. Please read this book.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all parents, maybe educators
Neufeld suggests children lose attachment to their families as they slowly develop attachment to their peers. This makes perfect sense and the way he lays out the background of family/friend contact over history really seemed plausible. This whole topic fascinates me. I also agreed with his ideas about how to rebuild attachment. I did find myself disagreeing with a few things the author wrote -can't exactly remember them, sorry. But overrall, his ideas were inspirational to me.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
  • Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear
  • Kids Are Worth It!: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline
  • Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation
  • Playful Parenting
  • Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children
  • Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-Out, Spanking, Punishment, or Bribery
  • Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children
  • You Are Your Child's First Teacher: What Parents Can Do with and for Their Children from Birth to Age Six
  • Adventures in Gentle Discipline: A Parent-to-Parent Guide (La Leche League International Book)
  • Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime
  • The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost
  • Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family
  • The Successful Child: What Parents Can Do to Help Kids Turn Out Well
  • Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way
  • Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent
  • Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication
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 ...more
More about Gordon Neufeld...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
    $14.99 $2.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Come to the Edge
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Communicating
    $9.49 $2.99
  • American Jezebel
    $8.24 $1.99
“The key to activating maturation is to take care of the attachment needs of the child. To foster independance we must first invite dependance; to promote individuation we must provide a sense of belonging and unity; to help the child separate we must assume the responsibility for keeping the child close. We help a child let go by providing more contact and connection than he himself is seeking. When he asks for a hug, we give him a warmer one than he is giving us. We liberate children not by making them work for our love but by letting them rest in it. We help a child face the separation involved in going to sleep or going to school by satisfying his need for closeness.” 21 likes
“Children learn best when they like their teacher and they think their teacher likes them.” 21 likes
More quotes…