Monday, March 26, 2012
Book Report: Hold On to Your Kids
This is one I'm going to strongly recommend. I think you should read it. It's a great parenting book. (Hat tip, Dede.)
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers explains the phenomenon of kids who become peer-oriented. If you have kids you've felt it--they start to care more about what their friends think than what you think. It's a problem. But you can fix it.
The authors discovered something surprising when they studied teen suicides. Kids who committed suicide often felt loved by their parents. But they didn't feel loved by their peers, which mattered more to them. Your kids' friends won't--can't--love them unconditionally. So they have a great capacity to hurt them. When kids become peer-oriented they derive their values from their peers: "For the first time in history young people are turning for instruction, modeling, and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to people whom nature never intended to place in a parenting role--their own peers. They are not magageable, teachable, or maturing because they no longer take their cues from adults. Instead, children are being brought up by immature persons who cannot possibly guide them to maturity. They are being brought up by each other."
I bought this book and read it with a highlighter. It is smart but not clinical and the problems it describes are serious but not hopeless. I think it's a really great book with good, specific advice. Some of the advice surprised me, but it made sense and felt intuitive. Neufeld and Mate write, "The parent needs to be both an agent of futility and an angel of comfort." And they remind, "Above all, we need faith in ourselves as our child's best bet."