“Hold On To Your Kids” Chapter Three

So we are moving along with our book study of Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate’s “Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers.”

Chapter Three is entitled, “Why We’ve Come Undone.”  The opening premise of this chapter can be summed up in the first sentence:  “How is it that, in today’s world, children so readily transfer their attachments from nurturing adults to each other?  The cause is not individual parental failure but an unprecedented cultural breakdown for which our instincts cannot adequately compensate.” 

So, this chapter essentially breaks down and analyzes the causes of attachment failure.  It is a very interesting read; I encourage all of you to really spend some time with this chapter.

On page 32: “One result of the economic changes since the Second World War is that children are placed early, sometimes soon after birth, in situations where they spend much of the day in one another’s company.  Most of their contact is with other children, not with the  significant adults in their lives.  They spend much less time bonding with parents and adults.  As they grow older, the process only accelerates.”  The authors go on to discuss how most early childhood providers, educators, and teachers are not taught about attachment theory at all (see the work of John Bowlby if you are interested) and how the importance of adult connection is not appreciated or fostered.  They emphasize that the damage is NOT caused by parents who work but caused by the lack of consideration of attachment by society at large.  If we considered attachment, day cares and mother’s morning out programs and such things would have a specific way to foster and nurture children. 

The authors go on to write that after day care and kindergarten, children generally go to school and that this is an environment with even more peer orientation and less adults around. 

The lack of extended family is also problematic.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles often “were better able than parents themselves to offer the unconditional loving acceptance that is the bedrock of emotional insecurity” but now are not frequently in the same place as the children who really need them.  Moving frequently also is problematic because “our children cannot be co-parented by people whose names we hardly even know.”

The authors point out the importance of such figures as the family physician, the storekeeper around the corner and artisans in the village who knew the whole family for generations and how this is also disappearing if not gone.  Also, the attendance of people at a place of worship has declined, so that a community of caring people from church or synagogue may also not be present. 

Whew!  And I am going to stop there for now.  It all is rather depressing, isn’t it?  However, the one thing that gives me HOPE for our children are all the parents I meet just like YOU who are making mindful decisions and trying to get back to the real roots of childhood development!  Thank you all!

Much love,


2 thoughts on ““Hold On To Your Kids” Chapter Three

  1. Thank you Carrie for reviewing this book. I’ve thought about reading it but realize I do not need to be convinced to keep my kids at home. And yes, it just makes me sad for the children with parents who cannot or will not keep their kids at home (or closer, whatever the solution). I like getting bits of it, thank you.

  2. Pingback: “Hold On To Your Kids”–Chapter Four « The Parenting Passageway

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