- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vermilion (January 3, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 178504219X
- ISBN-13: 978-1785042195
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 259 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2.188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers Paperback – 3 January 2019
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"Gabor Mate's connections-between the intensely personal and the global, the spiritual and the medical, the psychological and the political-are bold, wise and deeply moral. He is a healer to be cherished" * Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine * "A 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 society. Most importantly they offer, through concrete examples and clear suggestions, practical help for parents to fulfil their instinctual roles. A brilliant and well written book - one to be taken very seriously" * Peter A. Levine Ph.D., International teacher and author of the bestselling books: Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma and It Won't Hurt Forever, Guiding Your Child through Trauma * "Hold on to Your Kids brings us genuinely new ideas and fresh perspectives on parenting. The authors integrate psychology, anthropology, neurology and their own personal and professional experiences.... a worthy book with practical implications" * Dr Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other * "Mate's book will make you examine your behaviour in a new light" * Guardian * "Hold On to Your Kids is full of easy tips for avoiding calamity" * Times *
About the Author
Gabor Mate (Author) Gabor Mate is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver's Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. For his ground-breaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country's highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Criminology, Simon Fraser University. To learn more, join his e-news list at www.drgabormate.com. Gordon Neufeld (Author) Gordon Neufeld PhD, is a Vancouver-based clinical psychologist, internationally renowned as a foremost authority on child development. His Neufeld Institute delivers many courses he has created for parents, educators, and helping professionals on several continents. He is recognized for his unique ability to unlock the clues to seemingly complex problems of child rearing and education.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I read the book very quickly because it resonated so strongly with all I was going through. Our society values peer influence so highly and at such a superficial level that we are losing our kids to isolation and hopelessness disguised by technology and unhealthy friendships.
I pulled my daughter out of school in her last semester of 7th grade. This meant that she would have to repeat 7th grade and be a year behind. As a single mother with her and a baby, as well as a full-time career I committed to homeschool her. We worked out a strange schedule of night and weekend study focused on real life skills and developing her values system. She was indignant...at first. After the first two weeks things started to ease. She began applying herself more, she softened, started taking great love and responsibility with her sister and with our home. I followed the advice of the book and rebuilt our relationship and the tenderness we have for each other. She was honest with me! She broke down and told me about all her fears and walls.
The girl that just wanted to be on the internet or texting in bed was now going to the gym several times a week, going for walks with the kids around the neighborhood, volunteering to help younger students learn to read and really working on improving our family relationships. She stopped yelling at me and ignoring me!! She reached a healthy weight, she was way too skinny.
During that one school year we did two years of work and caught her up. She entered high school today, right on schedule! She held my hand as we drove to the bus stop. She was excited about meeting new kids and really applying herself at school. This week she received an award for her volunteer service over the past year. Also, on a daily basis, I have people tell me what a remarkable and intelligent child I have. Last year, she was depressed and aloof, people were concerned about her.
Reading this book led me to make a very difficult decision that I thought was absolutely beyond my capacity as a mother. I believe if I hadn't put her first and done everything I could to get her away from her unhealthy friendships that I would've lost her forever and her academic possibilities and life possibilities would have suffered severely. No one agreed that I was doing the right thing! (The school, her father, my mother, no one understood why I needed to this.) This book gives practical step-by-step instructions to get your kids back from unhealthy destructive behaviors that are becoming more and more prevalent as a result of our current culture. If you are losing your child people act fast and be brave. It was the best decision I ever made.
Intuitively, we understand the concepts Neufeld outlines - about children, peers, and the harm that comes from inappropriate attachments to peers and from weak parental attachments. But society thrusts upon us the notion that peer relationships are so necessary and healthy, kids must be "socialized" from infancy on, and children naturally stop being close to their parents in grade school and it's normal for them to rebel completely and want nothing to do with their parents by - or before - adolescence.
I grew up in the big city public schools and saw firsthand the negative behaviors and saw how girls were taken advantage of. I saw how kids sell their true inner selves out just to fit in with a bunch of (equally clueless) kids. I saw how everyone desperately tried to "fit in" with a false image sold to them by the media. I watched as they lost their self esteem. Many kids became absolute nightmares to their parents. Others were outwardly respectful, but led double lives and were up to no good.
I noticed some negative reviews said Neufeld is too cynical and kids really need strong friendships. I think those people are misguided - or maybe they haven't witnessed what really goes on with kids these days. Maybe they believe it's normal or don't realize that - throughout the history of mankind, this was not the case, and this behavior and societal structure is completely unprecedented. Which is not to say kids don't need friends. But Neufeld's book suggests they need to "follow the leader" and it needs to be a trustworthy, solid adult leader. Not other kids. Kids shouldn't "lead" other kids. Who better to learn manhood and womanhood from, but from grown adults? Traditionally, men and women taught their sons and daughters to become men and women by being with them, children would work with or help out their parents. Relatives and neighbors helped, peers were more peripheral as they would be likewise busy with their own families. Which is not to say human life throughout history was nirvana! But school simply didn't exist as it does today. Young humans didn't spend all their time with same-age companions, largely unsupervised.
So, I think Neufeld's book is very insightful. And yes, as some negative reviews noted, he sounds a bit melodramatic. But as a therapist in the trenches for decades, hearing families discuss the battlefields in their homes, can you blame him? When kids are peer-attached, it is often extremely dramatic - and traumatic.
The reasons I didn't give 5 stars:
The author thinks it's not that parents are any less loving, competent or devoted than always, it's just kids are peer-attached due to modern social structure. I partially disagree. While the modern social and economic structure doesn't help matters, I believe many parents are distracted by electronic devices, careers, personal interests, or other things. In that void, kids find attachments to fill the void, and many parents are (at least until the behavior problems start) relieved when their children busy themselves with gaming, peer attachment, or whatever else keeps kids busy and out of their hair. Parents could examine their own behaviors and ensure they don't drive children to peers for their own convenience.
A second reason is, the book would benefit from better editing. The first few chapters are fascinating but it becomes repetitive and - as another reviewer noted - sometimes wordy which made it a bit tedious, but didn't lessen the value of the work. I've seen the author speak on youtube, he's brilliant but rambles a bit.
The third reason is, at the end, things are worded oddly. It sounds rather manipulative the way he advises us to get our children back if they're peer-attached. I actually get what he's saying, but some passages come off wrong, they make it sound like he's advising sneaky emotional manipulation. He probably doesn't mean it that way... Or maybe he does feel "all's fair in love and war" if children are strongly peer-attached and out of hand. Still, it is worded in a way that could put some people off if they take it wrong.
In any event, Gordon's concise, intelligent, insightful explanations of child attachment, of behavioral issues, of the dynamics leading to this situation are worth reading. It could prevent many problems experienced by parents, prevent the sad disintegration of emotionally healthy childhoods, the tearing apart of families. Most parenting books contain helpful tips but they're - at worst - misguided, and mostly teach about putting a band-aid on the parent-child relationship wound. This book is about preventing the relationship wound, or - if it's already been inflicted (however innocently) - cleaning it out, healing it, and preventing further injury.
His ideas may seem quaint and old fashioned to some, but that doesn't make them any less valuable. Worth reading.
And as my husband and I have been shifting our perspective in alignment with the ideas discussed in this book and implemented some of the advice, we have noticed a marked difference in our home. Behavior seems to be improving, but more prominently, we are ENJOYING our time with our kids more. I cannot recommend this book enough!