From the book jacket: 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
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 behavior. 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.
Comment: As children grow it is inevitable, and a good thing, that they start to gravitate away from their parents to establish identities for themselves. However, Gordon Neufeld makes a very strong case that the modern-day trend for children to become peer-orientated at increasingly early ages, often actively encouraged by their parents, does not give a child the opportunity to establish the healthy identity that most parents hope for their children, but, ironically does quite the opposite, causing them to suppress their individuality, curiosity and intelligence in order to fit the group norm.
Neufeld, a Canadian developmental psychologist, suggests that in order to reverse the trend towards "tribalization", parents need to recognize how vital the adult-child relationship is to their children, and he offers effective strategies for preserving or restoring a caring adult-child hierarchy in which our children can grow into the happy, productive adults we hope they will be.
His book quickly hit the bestseller charts when it was published in Canada about two years ago, having received glowing reviews from both "experts" and parents. His advice is both timely and well-written. For more about him and his views, visit BookBrowse or his website at www.gordonneufeld.com.
This review is from the October 5, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.
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