Summary and book reviews of Hold On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld

Hold On To Your Kids

Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

by Gordon Neufeld, Gabor Maté

Hold On To Your Kids
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 304 pages

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Book Summary

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.

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.

Part One: The Phenomenon of Peer Orientation

Chapter One: In Our Own Backyard

Something has changed. We can sense it, 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 were more confident, more certain of themselves and had more impact on us, for better -- or, sometimes, for worse. For many today, parenting does not feel natural. Through the ages adults 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?

Today's parents love their children as much as parents ever have, but the love doesn't always get through. We have just as much to teach them as parents ever did, but they seem less interested in following ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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 does not give a child the opportunity to establish the healthy identity that most parents hope for their children. Instead, ironically, it does the opposite, causing them to suppress their individuality, curiosity and intelligence in order to fit the group norm.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (182 words).

Media Reviews

Quill & Quire

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.

Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary School Principals

The thoughts and perspectives presented by the authors are informative - even inspirational - for those who choose to dedicate their lives and energy to students.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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.

National Post

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.

The Edmonton Journal

Though this is Neufeld's personal theory, Mate (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 Globe and Mail

Rare and refreshing. . . . Here you will find family stories, an accessible description of brain development and sound information. You will also find hope.

The Vancouver Sun

An utterly sensible and deeply moving book written for a general audience.

Winnipeg Free Press

May serve as a loud wakeup call for mothers and fathers...his one offers what many of the others do not - that rare commodity known as common sense.

Author Blurb Dr. Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other
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.

Author Blurb Peter A. Levine Ph.D., International teacher and author of Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma and It Won't Hurt Forever, Guiding Your Child through Trauma
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.

Author Blurb Raffi, children's troubadour, founder of Child Honoring Society Institute
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.

Reader Reviews

Dora

If you love your kids, READ THIS BOOK
This is the book that gives all the other parenting books a proper context to work from. Dr N is with the times and knows the source of all the problems that today's children and teens are suffering. Every single page is an Aha moment. Really, you...   Read More

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