Like countless other parents, doctors Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté have had to confront their children becoming secretive and unreachable. Focused more and more on their friends, they recoiled or grew hostile around adults. Why? The problem, Neufeld suggest, lies in attachment; children are increasingly forming stronger attachments to their friends than to the adults in their lives.
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. This 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, none of which are impossible or even costly to undertake.
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 parent and satisfy their children’s inborn need to find direction by turning towards them for their source of authority, contact and warmth.
Daniel Maté's warm and sensitive narration, gift with dialogue, and engagement with the authors writing make this an enjoyable and informative listen.