Today, I am reviewing with you part 1 of Hold on to your kids by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate. It is called The Phenomenon of Peer Orientation. If you wish to read this book you can lend it from my lending library.
Chapter one starts with a very typical situation at home. A teen hunched on his computer and a father angry and frustrated because his son refuses to do his homework and talking hand-offish and angry to his parents. While the family never relied on punishments to parent, they are finding themselves resorting more to such and yet their child not only is not yielding yet getting angrier. And here the authors tell us:
Should parenting be so difficult? Was it always so? Older generations have often in the past complained about the young being less respectful and less disciplined than they used to be,but today many parents intuitively know that something is amiss….They are less likely to take their cues from adults, less afraid of getting into trouble.
It goes on to say how children seem to bore of everything except the company of their peers. How parents were more confident and had a greater impact on children and how parenting for many does not feel natural any more. It goes on to bare our hearts completely! I could really relate to quite a bit of what was written I will be honest. The frustration I felt for so many years and that at times still rear up I could feel it in the pages. I still need to see if my own experience so far is to do with peer orientation or otherwise but they still hit the heart of the problem nicely.
The next part in this chapter highlights exactly an important reason why parenting can be so difficult no matter if peers are ‘to blame’ or not. Attachment! Now, I look at myself and I know that while I believed that I was an attachment parent, for the first few years of my oldest 2 I wasn’t as much as I originally thought. It therefore makes sense that with my third, with whom I feel completely attached, he is more open to my cues and the easiest to handle.
For a child well attached to us, we are her home base from which to venture into the world, her retreat to fall back to, her fountainhead of inspiration. All parenting skills in the world cannot compensate for lack of an attachment relationship.
It brings us than that the most damaging to our attachment is peers, who seem to have taken over attachment from the parents and other adults and has become the norm within society. Here we are given a brief history of when peer orientation started and how it evolved – spiraling out of control I would say. Attributing the increase in aggression and suicide among other things to peer orientation and lack of adult guidance because they refuse to look at adults as mentors. This chapter, end with the good news however, that while we cannot change society, we can reverse peer orientation.