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Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More [Paperback]

Gordon Neufeld , Gabor Mate M.D.
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Paperback, May 10 2005 --  

Book Description

May 10 2005
A psychologist with a reputation for penetrating to the heart of complex parenting issues joins forces with a physician and bestselling author to tackle one of the most disturbing and misunderstood trends of our time -- peers replacing parents in the lives of our children.

Dr. Neufeld has dubbed this phenomenon peer orientation, which refers to the tendency of children and youth to look to their peers for direction: for a sense of right and wrong, for values, identity and codes of behaviour. But peer orientation undermines family cohesion, poisons the school atmosphere, and fosters an aggressively hostile and sexualized youth culture. It provides a powerful explanation for schoolyard bullying and youth violence; its effects are painfully evident in the context of teenage gangs and criminal activity, in tragedies such as in Littleton, Colorado; Tabor, Alberta and Victoria, B.C. It is an escalating trend that has never been adequately described or contested until Hold On to Your Kids. Once understood, it becomes self-evident -- as do the solutions.

Hold On to Your Kids will restore parenting to its natural intuitive basis and the parent-child relationship to its rightful preeminence. The concepts, principles and practical advice contained in Hold On to Your Kids will empower parents to satisfy their children’s inborn need to find direction by turning towards a source of authority, contact and warmth.


Something has changed. One can sense it, one can feel it, just not find the words for it. Children are not quite the same as we remember being. They seem less likely to take their cues from adults, less inclined to please those in charge, less afraid of getting into trouble. Parenting, too, seems to have changed. Our parents seemed more confident, more certain of themselves and had more impact on us, for better or for worse. For many, parenting does not feel natural. Adults through the ages have complained about children being less respectful of their elders and more difficult to manage than preceding generations, but could it be that this time it is for real? -- from Hold On to Your Kids


From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

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 the Hardcover edition.

Review

"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."
National Post

"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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring Natural Parenting Feb. 8 2004
Format:Hardcover
Several years ago, my wife and I attended a seminar by Vancouver psychologist, Dr. Gordon Neufeld. It was one of those rare educational experiences that really altered the way we related to our children. The subject of that talk, "Hold on to Your Kids", is now expanded in this wonderful new book, co-authored with Vancouver MD, Gabor Maté.
The first two-thirds deal with a cultural malaise that the authors claim is sweeping North America, making both parenting and teaching more challenging. With a wealth of both cited research and personal stories, the authors tie together issues such as bullying, early promiscuity, general aimlessness, learning difficulties, and the "flatlining of culture".
Despite the usual association with peer concerns, this is not just a book for parents of teenagers. There is something here for every age group, from preschool through high school. It's also most assuredly not just a catalog of problems, but a well-developed thesis leading to the insight necessary for solutions. Several chapters in the final section would be worth the price alone. "Discipline That Does Not Divide" is an excellent parenting primer, while "Create a Village of Attachment" will help both parents and teachers ensure that their charges profit from their school experience.
We who attended Dr. Neufeld's seminars in Vancouver had been waiting several years to see his ideas in print. The book does not disappoint. I will be rereading mine many times in the coming years. And perhaps more to come from this master of parenting.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time! March 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
As a concientious, caring parent I have been reading parenting books for years only to be frustrated again and again by prescriptive methodologies that run counter to my intuitions, and read like behaviour modification suggestions for experimental lab rats. We have been told time and again by various experts that if we give the right rewards, and enforce the right sanctions our children will behave and develop as we wish them to. Or, on the contrary, we have been told that we need not give our children any boundaries or guidelines, but must encourage them to find their own way without our input, trusting to "natural consequences" to provide them with direction. We have been told that if we are clear with our expectations our children will live up to them, only to find tht they don't. These methodologies have infiltrated the culture, and yet we have more violence, aggression, suicide, and depression, lack of direction, and boredom among our young people today than has ever been the case before.
Gordon Neufeld's book is not another prescriptive "how to" manual. He reminds us that our children are more than their behaviour. He turns our gaze to their relationship needs, and shows us clearly what happens for children when those needs are met, and describes the disastrous results for a child's emotional, social, and intellectual development when they aren't. Dr. Neufeld helps us to see what is going wrong with our children, and what needs to be done to make it right. This book touches the heart of parenting in a way no other parenting book I have ever read does. it rings true begininning to end; I can't recommend it strongly enough.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very Important Book. April 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The author of this book was my professor 30! years ago and he was interesting then. I heard him speak a year ago and could hardly wait to read his book. It was heavy going, filled with fascinating and very important ideas about how our children grow and develop and how to hold on to them until they are fully formed - also how crucial it is to hold on to them in order for them to develop fully. This book was very important for me in terms of my own children and I'd like to buy a case of them to distribute to all of the professionals in my life who deal with kids.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great message, BUT.... April 16 2007
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book after attending a 2 hour lecture by Mr. Neufeld which was a huge eye opener and was profound enough to change how I parent.This book has an impactful message, focusing on cultivating a connected relationship with your child and insight into the negative impact that occurs when children become more connected to their peers than their parents.

Read all the 5 star reviews to find out about the good side of this book BUT- here is the downside- as much as I appreciated the message, this book is not an easy read and I am a true die hard reader of non-fiction books (esp. parenting books!) Had I not attended the lecture I never would have persevered through to finish the book.

It felt to me that the author was more focused on proving his theory to other scholars rather than relating to the average parent. I love to pass on books that have made a difference in my life, yet I know this one would sit half read on my friends night stands due to the fact that it was too long, too wordy, and points were repeated to the point of being redundant.

In terms of message I rate this book a 5 star, because of how it was written I must give it a 3 star rating.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Thought Provoking Book April 6 2008
By Amy VG TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Last summer I picked up Hold On To Your Kids. Quite honestly, it has taken me a while to get through it (finally did today!). Part One The Phenomenon of Peer Orientation was fascinating. Part Two Sabotaged: How Peer Orientation Undermines Parenting scared the crap out of me. Part Three Stuck in Immaturity: How Peer Orientation Stunts Healthy Development was a tough read as Neufeld regurgitated the same points from part one & two with just a slightly different theme, though I still highly recommend reading this part. Part Four How to Hold On To Our Kids (How to Reclaim Them) was inspiring and motivating for raising children in a loving parent-child bond while providing gentle discipline. Part Five Preventing Peer Orientation gives great advice on how to avoid an overabundance of peer-peer socialization, however a lot of it is common sense which many parents could formulate after reading the previous chapters.

Basically, Neufeld & Mate feel we're in a state of crisis concerning our children. Children are bonding with their peers, putting them first. We're letting our children be raised by other children. Children need adults to show them correct morals and values on how to become a good human being. Children do not learn that from their peers. Adults, mainly parents, grandparents, and teachers, provide unconditional love, while peer bonds usually have many conditions.

In his book, Neufeld & Mate give the reader many wonderful tools to use to help create the parent-child attachment (part four). Basically, be attentive, connect, be supportive, offer unconditional love, and guide instead of dictate.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Every parent should read it
Published 5 days ago by Maria Walsh
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for parents
Gabor Mate has written a book that illustrates the breakdown of the parent-child relationship. We are living in the generation of the peer - parented child (peer attached), We are... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Melanie McKinnon
5.0 out of 5 stars So helpful....
I have been in the field of youth justice (Ontario) for 25+ years so I thought I knew how to navigate the teenage years...until my teenage son got into marijuana. Read more
Published 13 days ago by terri
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Very thought provoking. I'm sure as a member of the "sibling society" I can see how beneficial it is for all of us to mix with all generations possible. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Lani Gerity Glanville
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT ADVICE AND INSIGHT
I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE WITH INTEREST IN PARENTING AND/OR CHILDREN. THIS BOOK SHOULD BE GIVEN TO ALL PARENTS.
Published 2 months ago by Carey McPherson
4.0 out of 5 stars Hold on to your KKids
Peer orientation is so prevalent in our society. Our kids want us to be there compass and we need to show up for them.
This book is quite enlightening.
Published 2 months ago by samantha clark
5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading for parents
Well-written, coherent and challenging. We all need this book as parents, and as people to see where our own attachment needs lay.
Published 3 months ago by J. Bradley Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars Ideas are good, writing skills are lacking
This book could be so much more. I like the main idea (kids needing to connect with parents more than with peers) but the delivery is poor. Read more
Published 3 months ago by roxane arel
5.0 out of 5 stars Communicates what parents/adults need to hear in our complex world
I read this nearly non-stop. It was that engaging, was hopeful in tone, and made so much sense! This book reaffirms the role of parents as facilitators, protectors, advocates and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by appleomyi
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read"....for every parent, grand-parent and those who want to...
After reading this book myself I purchased a copy for each of my grown children who have children themselves now. Gordon Neufeld is sounding an alarm! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Teresa Narraway
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