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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring Natural Parenting
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...
Published on Feb. 8 2004 by Paul Miniato

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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great message, BUT....
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...
Published on April 16 2007 by Maverick MOM


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring Natural Parenting, Feb. 8 2004
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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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
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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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time!, March 3 2004
By 
Pamela Whyte (Winnipeg Manitoba) - See all my reviews
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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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great message, BUT...., April 16 2007
By 
Maverick MOM (Van. Island BC Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More (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 (Southern Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More (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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most valuable book on parenting, Feb. 12 2004
By A Customer
As important as are Dr. Neufeld's insights into how peers can replace parents, even more valuable is the comprehensive framework for understanding psychological/emotional development that he outlines, showing what fosters healthy development, how development can get stuck and what to do when it does. These insights alone were more than worth the purchase price of the book and truly answer the question *why* parents matter. I've read other books that say some of the same things, but don't explain *why* they are true. This book is more comprehensive and more in-depth than any other I've read. It is truly the most important book on parenting that I've ever read. Hold On To Your Kids is not an overtly religious book, but those familiar with the Bible will recognize references to scripture, and those who believe in "grace-based discipline" (a la Biblical Parenting) will find much to agree with, although there are some differences.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an invaluable resource for any parent who is concerned about the effects of peers on their children, Oct. 30 2012
By 
Darlene (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More (Paperback)
I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

This is an invaluable resource for any parent who is concerned about the effects of peers on their children.

The advice given by Drs. Neufeld and Maté really resonated with me, and it validated my instinctual parenting practices. I have always been a proponent of attachment parenting, and I consider my children's attachment bond to me (and vice versa) to be extremely strong. However, this book still gave me some useful advice on what I can do to improvement our relationship even further. I found the psychology of attachment as explained by the authors to be very interesting.

As a mother, I am extremely concerned about the influence of peers. It is harder to be kid nowadays than it was when I was growing up. This book holds the key to helping parents to foster the attachment to the parent and not to the peers. For most parents, the desire to foster attachment to babies is automatic: They respond to a baby's needs, soothe and comfort the baby as needed, talk to baby about what is in her environment to help the baby relate to what is around her, and so forth. As the baby passes on into the toddler stage, many parents feel that the child needs to interact with other children so that they "learn to get along with others." The torch of teaching is unwittingly passed, so to speak, from the parent to a child's peers at any early age and the child is put into situations (for example, through play-dates and daycare) where they are expected to attach to their peers. The authors explain why socializing is not equivalent to socialization:

"The belief that socializing begets socialization persists in the absence of any evidence to support it. Despite its popularity, this assumption cannot stand up to even the most cursory examination. If socializing with peers led to getting along and to becoming responsible members of society, the more time a child spent with her peers, the better the relating would tend to be. In actual fact, the more children spend time with each other, the less likely they are to get along and the less likely they are to fit into civil society. If we take the socialization assumption to the extreme - to orphanage children, street children, children involved in gangs - the flaw in thinking becomes obvious. If socializing were the key to socialization, gangs and street kids would be model citizens."

Drs. Neufeld and Maté discuss a study conducted by Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner and his research team at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York which found that "the children who preferred spending time with their parents demonstrated many more of the characteristics of positive sociability" compared to the children who gravitated to their peers. "The kids that spent the most time with each other are the most likely to get into trouble." Not surprising!

The authors are not against peer bonds but suggest that the manner in which they are made (socialization via maturation versus socialization via attachment) is the key:

"True social integration requires not only a mixing with others but a mixing without losing one's separateness or identity."

The authors also describe a process of "collecting" our children or making a connection with them at the outset of each interaction with them. I know that I have sometimes asked my children multiple times to do something and they say "okay" but still don't do it! It is so frustrating! If I follow the advice of the authors, I should "get in the child's face - or space - in a friendly way" which entails making a connection with the child through eye contact, trying to evoke a smile, and if possible a nod of the head. Rather than calling from the kitchen and asking one of my kids to do something, I should go to the child to "collect" her first: Get her attention and establish eye contact (a touch on the shoulder or bending down to eye level makes it easier), try to evoke a smile and a nod of the head (I might say something like, "That game sure looks like a lot of fun!" which will probably get a smile and maybe even a nod of the head). Once I have "collected" her and have her attention, I can ask her to do whatever it was that I needed her to do: "Could you please go downstairs for me and bring up a jug of milk from the refrigerator?" It takes a little bit more effort on my part, but it also saves me the headache of asking my kids to do something repeatedly with no response. It is such a simple thing, yet very effective.

Collecting the child in this manner is the first step in trying to re-establish a connection to a child who is already showing signs of "peer orientation," where peer bonds have replaced parental bonds. There is an entire section of the book devoted to educating the parent on how to reclaim the child.

The information is presented in a manner that is very easy to follow, and the authors include real-life examples for further emphasis. This book should be required reading for all parents! Highly recommended!

The narrator of the book is Daniel Maté. His pace was very good, and his style was engaging. My only complaint is that there is often "dead air" at the end of each chapter. The first time it happened, I had to glance down at my iPod because I thought the battery was dead. No, it was just dead air. It was as long as 44 seconds in one instance! Other than that, there were no technical glitches.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So helpful...., June 27 2014
This review is from: Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More (Paperback)
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. This book is homework for parents at the treatment program we eventually had to admit him into because he had spiralled so far from our control. I couldn't believe this book....had I read it when my son was first in trouble, I would have done so many things differently and he may never have needed the program he's in now. And I can see it's applicability for so many of the kids we see in our business. I've never believed in parenting books. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timely Message, April 6 2008
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More (Paperback)
Gordon Neufeld, a prominent Canadian child psychologist, has written a very timely and informative book on why and how parents should attempt to stay connected with their children right into adulthood. He believes many children have become socially endangered by the questionable relationships they foster with their peers at the expense of their parents. According to Neufeld, it is absurd to think that an immature teenager can derive personal security from fostering friendships with other equally immature peers. Hence, making friends with one's peers is not a high priority in Neufeld's thinking, However, the concept of filial attachment - the effective bond between parent and son or daughter - is the critical core of Neufeld's thesis. It is incumbent on parents to learn how to direct and nuture their children to eventually becoming mature adults. To that end, he offers some very practical ideas by which Mom and Dad can effectively offset or counter any negativity or immaturity arising from peer orientation. There is plenty of evidence out there to show that this generation of children/teens (Y) are rapidly disconnecting with parents and family in a misguided effort to assert its own independence. More than ever before, the casualties from this mad rush for freedom is a growing number of teen-age pregnancies, a greater incidence of sexually transmitted diseases,and a rising tide of youth violence. In this book, Neufeld shares not only the practical intervention strategies that allow parents to reconnect with their children, but also the wisdom and compassion that is needed to make sure they happen. Kudos to Neufeld for leading the way in offering hope to parents who feel powerless to help their struggling child. The one caveat here is that any solution that Neufeld may offer comes with a large demand on one's time to rebuild the broken bridges and cisterns. This doesn't mean that parents are given a blank check to manipulate and control their chldren's lives. Such extensive dominance can have an equally disastrous effect as having no influence at all. Moderation, persistence, and wisdom are the secrets to being successful in saving your child from a life of misery and disorientation.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging, Oct. 14 2004
By 
Greg Tomkins (North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's not every day you see a book with all five-star reviews, but this book deserves it. It challenges many near-universal parenting beliefs, and it'll make you think, even if you think some of its ideas are from left field.
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Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More by Gabor Mate M.D. (Paperback - May 10 2005)
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