April 2, 2024

Book Review – ‘Hold on to Your Kids. Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers’ By Gabor Maté, Gordon Neufeld

‘The most important gift we can give our children is our attention, our presence, and our genuine interest in their lives.’

Welcome to our April Blog (and the first one for 2024). I became a grandmother for the first time in January. What a beautiful event it was to witness the birth of an incredible new human into the world. Having watched my amazing daughter transition into motherhood over the past 11 weeks, I have been observing this process with fascination and awe. I have a deep interest in attachment and the early development of healthy nervous systems, and I am now armed with all of this knowledge that I didn’t have when I was having my own children. I have observed our little granddaughter, Blair, develop a strong, secure attachment to both of her parents, who are parenting from a gentle, child-centred space and taking care of their own nervous systems in the process. I am observing a very secure little human with a nervous system that feels safe in her environment. She has all her basic needs met, but more importantly, she feels safe. It is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever witnessed.

In their book Hold Onto Your Kids, Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté highlight the crucial importance of secure attachment and relationships in children’s lives. I am currently reading this book, and it is timely. I work with many parents who are struggling with their children, who, at younger and younger ages, develop more interest in their peers than their parents. This can bring up a lot of difficult emotions and needs to be worked through carefully, with empathy and compassion.

In a world where peer influence and technology are increasingly dominant, the authors encourage parents to prioritise building strong connections with their children to counteract these external pressures. They highlight that a child’s primary attachment should be to their parents, as this forms the foundation for healthy emotional development and resilience.

One key takeaway from the book is that children who feel securely attached to their parents are more likely to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. The book also highlights the impact of modern-day distractions, such as social media and peer relationships, on a child’s attachment to their parents and provides valuable insights into how parents can navigate these challenges.

Throughout the book, the authors offer practical tips and strategies for building and nurturing secure attachments with children of all ages. From setting boundaries with love to fostering open communication and empathy, ‘Hold Onto Your Kids’ provides a roadmap for parents to strengthen their relationships with their children.

As counsellors, we know that relationships are the most important aspect of our lives. And I believe that the insights and strategies in this book can be incredibly valuable for parents and caregivers in building strong and lasting connections with their children. 

Speaking of which, you may not realise that at Calm Kids, we not only work with children and adolescents, but some of our most significant work happens in our Parent Coaching sessions. If you feel that you would like to chat about any challenges that you are having with parenting, attachment, relationship-building, etc., please know that we are here to support you and your children. Both Laura and I have some availability at present, and you can book via our website or by emailing us at admin@calmkidswellbeing.com.au or phoning 0475293027

I hope you found this month’s blog post helpful, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.

With Gratitude