I have just started reading a book, “Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate, recommended by regular commenter HappyHousewife, and wanted to share the simple premise so far and how it explains much of what we see happening in our culture today.
Simply put, human babies and children form a primary attachment that guides them as they learn and grow. In years past, this attachment was naturally to the parents, who were the primary caregivers when most families lived an agricultural based, small village lifestyle.
This lifestyle can still be found in places today, such as Provence, France. Children socialize as part of their family’s socializing. Everyone knows everyone. Multi-generational groups are the norm. Children were rarely apart from their parents, and when so were with people they knew through them.
Compare this to today’s post-industrial urban lifestyle where both parents work, children are often in group daycare from a young age, spend more time in childcare than with their parents, then the pattern is continued with schooling, often coming home to an empty house. Rather than bonding to their parents as the primary bond, these children attach to those they interact most with — their peers.
This sets kids up in a blind leading the blind sort of way. Language, learning, motor skills, and many other things are delayed because they are learning from these peers, who understand or master such skills just as little as they do. Also bad, peer attachment can be brutal, as it is not based on the unconditional love parent attachment is, but can be very fickle.
Additionally, whomever the child considers the primary bond is who they will follow, listen to, try to please, develop morals from, etc. Children who are not listening to their parents, the author speculates, don’t have a behavior problem, they have a relationship problem. The solution isn’t punishment and rules, it’s reestablishing yourself as the primary attachment in their life (I have not got to this part of the book yet, the “how to” part.) Without it, you are fighting a losing battle.
As I said I am just starting the book, but already I can see there will likely be lots of post topics springing out of it.
It is a great time for me to be reading this book because so far, I still am the primary source of attachment in my children’s lives, and now I can see even more why I want to keep things that way until they reach adulthood.
Today, many children in the pre-teen and teen years become peer focused, causing the many problems we see today of formerly “good” kids suddenly not listening to their parents anymore, because they are listening to their friends (and other influences like media) instead. While society says it is, “normal” this author speculates it is not, and it is something parents should be aware of preventing. If their friends rule, trouble ensues.
Looking back at my own childhood I can see I peer attached at a rather young age. How about you? Thoughts?
What peer attach to you did?
How effective it would be?
I can see this happening and it makes sense.
I have to wonder who Yoda attached to. With the exception of the camera shy Mrs. Yoda, he is the only one I know of.
@ Yoda I had one friend in childhood who was predominate, and not in a good way. She was not a nice person, highly manipulative, deceitful. She would act like your best friend while at the same time spreading rumors behind your back. She was the one who introduced me to (or tried at least) everything forbidden. Luckily I had a good inner code so I didn’t go along with a lot of it, but then of course she mocked me for “being a baby” or “goody two shoes” whatever. I didn’t even realize she was doing all that behind my back stuff for years. As soon as I realized it, I terminated the friendship. But she had entirely too much influence. Just about every bad decision made during my teen years, she was somehow involved in egging me on.
FNU MNU LNU said:
does she like fat retired old guys? and if so, do you still have her number? lol
I remember. The ones who would egg me on as a “goody two shoes” were the ones who never got into trouble somehow.
In Jedi Training when young I was.
Many seasoned Jedis mentors they were.
My mother was born into a family of nine children. I was born in the city she was raised in. The entire extended family was very close as long as my mother and her siblings lived, now not so much. So city vs country may not matter.
When I was five we left this province and moved to the east coast where my father was raised in a family of eight children who were not very close. This by the way was a mostly rural setting.
But the constant in our life was my mother who was a stay at home mom and my father who did the providing.
When I was eleven we returned to the city of my birth and again became part of the extended family of my mother. I won’t speak for my sisters but I have always been very bonded to my parents and as an adult I considered them my best friends.
I have always been a bean pole nerd and very much an introvert (INTP).So peer pressure on me was minimal at best. My youngest sisters who are very outgoing were a different story and both peer pressure and societal programming had quite an effect on them.
I do agree that their theory is good but I am not sure if during the teen years children will not rebel to some extent no matter what. I think that is some what normal as they prepare themselves to leave the nest. I have been witness to it many, many times. The good thing is, is that once adulthood comes on the bonding usually returns.
I also think that it is good for children especially teens to develop peer friendships and learn how to get along/deal with people who are not part of their family. These are necessary skills for those who have to enter the workforce. It also allows them to see that friends may come and go but family can be constant.
I believe all children are born with a personality. And that different personalities will respond differently to the same stimuli. Raising children is essentially a crap shoot.
Fortunate you were.
Most humans only classmates they have.
Bad sources of guidance they are.
Good news: The Electoral College voted today and confirmed the election results. There were a few turncoats but, they affected nothing.
Luckily I had a good inner code
Where this come from it did?
How create it one can?
FML, I am sure you can find lots of gals like her anywhere. Mean girls are a dime a dozen 😉
Exactly Fuzzie, this gal always left someone else holding the bag!
Agreed Linny, I don’t think it so much the “where” a family lives (rural/urban/etc.) as in the “how” the family lives.
@ Fuzzie, I heard the actual count isn’t until Jan. 6? Or maybe I misunderstood that. Hopefully bc I am so darn sick of the loopholes people have been trying to squeeze thru! Give it up, people. He won. Let’s all make the best of it.
@ Yoda I will ponder on it but I think it comes from here: My mom always explained the “why” of a rule, so that it wasn’t just forbidden, it was for our own good. I have done the same w my girls every chance I get. I’d rather they do things because it is the right thing to do than because “it’s the rule.”
I suppose the 10 Commandments were part of the internal moral code, too. “God sees all!” so I knew He was always watching.
Also, I just wanted to be “good” and “a good person” so I never felt right about doing stuff I knew I shouldn’t. There was no “thrill” of rebellion like some would get.
There may be other reasons, too. I will ponder it.
ANd not that I didn’t make some bad choices anyway, but so many times my internal code would say, “Nah, better not…” I could have gotten in FAR more trouble, I guess we could put it that way. The “opportunities” were there. I mostly turned down those “opportunities” bc of the above.
Farm Boy said:
As an INTJ tyke I valued competence. I soon realized that kids did not know much, so I paid attention to adults.
FNU MNU LNU said:
you just keep on refusing to help a brother out!
FML, She contacted me after many years when we were around 30. I never replied. She was in Florida I think then?
Trust me, I’d be NOT helping a brother out to recommend someone like that one!
How about a nice church girl?
A recommendation from RPG about a nice church girl may be what the doctor ordered.
I wouldn’t reply to her either.
@Fuzzie, she was downright not nice. For YEARS I wondered why certain girls wouldn’t talk to me. Or would stop talking to me. It was bc of this girl, turned out, telling them “Don’t say anything but rpg said she thinks you are a bitc#” or whatever. I mean, who does that? Then of course, I was isolated… Convenient for her. W friends like that, who needed ememies!!!
Yeah, nah. No time or need for that stuff…
Do you think that she was motivated by jealousy? You have admitted to being good looking and you are modest, so it must be an understatement. Maybe there is an advantage to being a boy. Social backstabbing like this is not normal.
Maybe there is an advantage to being a boy. Social backstabbing like this is not normal.
Yes, an advantage this is
She was very good looking Fuzzie, I think more so than I but it’s hard to judge that objectively… I was nicer, for sure!
True Yoda, girls can be far more underhanded and backhanded — not only in love but friendship, too! I don’t really get it but girls often feel it is some kind of competition…
And perhaps this peer attachment is even more harmful in girls because of this? Draaaaama.
Guys can be really cruel to each other, too, I have seen. But it’s more in the open I suppose? And often one boy targeted rather than equally, as with girls. So that’s no fun either I imagine.
Odd that she was good looking and pulled this stuff. You would think that she wouldn’t need to compete. Insecure? In any event, you got through it intact.
Who knows Fuzzie, like you say, who needs complication like that? Whatever her reason, peddle it elsewhere sista!
I should be offering you cookies.
i love the attachment i have with each of my girls. i think there’s something inside them that longs for that with me … and definitely longed for it (painfully so b/c he refused 😦 ) with their dad. i know that since he died, my oldest has a subtle fear of me dying, too, and them being orphaned. it’s not a strangling fear, but a subtle, underlying fear. being their only parent, and that they don’t have grandparents or aunts and uncles, i’m very cautious with my life b/c i want to live as long as possible for them. i wish they had more close family who cared, but they simply don’t.
however, back to the OP, the attachment at almost 17 and 19 is, beautiful. it’s not unhealthy … it’s simply beautiful. i don’t demand a relationship with them; i offer it – but i offer it with honesty.
i offer the same to my step son. it’s different b/c he’s a young man who needs to forge his way differently than girls, but there’s still an attachment there. that attachment, though, has been difficult for him, especially when his dad and i first married. he said to me a couple of different times when he was younger, “Please stop being so nice to me; you’re nicer to me than my own mother.” he felt a lot of guilt for desiring a mom who was nicer to him over his bio mom. i did all i could to make that easier on them – keeping the lines clear btw his mom and me, step mom, not trying to get in her way, not taking anything personally, etc.
our family should be our core. we need all the other relationships, too, but our core centers us, grounds us. i believe we’re hardwired to need it.
thinking about this some more … there seems to be this lie poured into our culture like a slow poison that it’s bad for kids to be close to their parents … that kids NEED peers MORE than they need parents – it’s almost a desperate thing. i think it’s permeated through the public school system – i know Artisanal Toad has talked about the ‘programming’ of the public school system.
so i love what you’ve shared about this book … that parents actually ARE important! that it is healthy and necessary for our kids to have an attachment to us … and that rather than be paranoid our kids will have an unhealthy attachment to us or that they won’t grow up and become productive, independent, members of society, we should be more concerned that they actually have a good attachment to us.
how sad that culture has progressed to a point that parents think it’s bad and wrong for their kids to be attached to them.
our public school zoning feeds from a lot of UMC neighborhoods. i remember spending some time talking to the school police officer once, and she shared with me quite a few stories where these kids got all messed up. and their parents would ask her what they should do, and she’d tell the mom, “Quit working. Stay home. Spend time with your kid. Get to know them. Be available.”
she was right. but in light of this … it’s sad that culture has so distorted families and devalued the parent/child relationship that this is something parents would not even think of on their own.
@ Ame lots of good stuff to ponder, in both posts, thanks for adding that!
Yes, many times as a parent I have been “shamed” for not pushing my kids off to be independent (and I mean at months old!) Our culture really endorses “age segregation” for sure. It’s a good book, highly recommended!
I should be offering you cookies.
Bears never offer cookies they do.
For eaten before given a chance they are
Alex Stepford said:
This makes so much sense! When I first came to Australia it was also my first glimpse on Western civilisation. I come from a traditional Asian family with a housewife mother, but when I was young my parents used to say that ‘white kids’ (they were generalising as new immigrants, I know) were very rebellious because they had no real discipline or connection to their parents. There’s no respect there because of the absence.
Back then I thought they were just being narrow minded and stuck in the past..
…but boy were they right.
Disclaimer: it is on my wishlist, but I hadn’t even ordered it yet! So glad you like it anyway though 🙂
Also, I have 2 INTPs in my life who have an inborn moral compass despite coming from terrible families. INTPs and INTJs are my fav men and INFJ and INFP my fav women!
And how heartbreaking that someone says “you’re nicer to me than my own mother”. Wow.
INTPs and INTJs are my fav men
Then the manosphere for you it is
“I should be offering you cookies.”
“Bears never offer cookies they do.”
I think that, somewhere, there is a picture of a bear offering cookies to a distressed human and the caption reads, “A Demonstration of Extreme Generosity”.
We walk by faith, and not by sight, through all the emptiness to the embrace of home. Home: whether real, or imagined. Because “home” is that place that will have us, “home” in that first sentence is not always with our biological parents.
If parents create a space where their children feel accepted and cherised, even though challenged by the parents to grow, that will be the place to where the children will return. To the embrace of home.
Pity those who don’t have that.
Saracen III said:
Police sergeant to his detectives:
“Go home drunk, or go home sober. But go home.”
Yoda, it’s like a big fluffy pillow 😉
Yes. All through middle school and high school I was actually embarrassed by my parents and cared more about being cool and fitting in with my friends. This led me to rebelling and very troubling and hurtful situations.
Good point Amber, one can be too hovering over kids, in a smothering way. Somewhere in the middle of too much and not enough is probably about right…
Reading the book now and really think more people should. It’s very good. Definitely family bonded, myself 🙂