Book review: Creating connected teens starts at birth

As someone who was a wild teen, the lens I scrutinize parenting styles by looks at how it a style facilitates (or undermines) continued connection of my child to me as a teenager.

At the recommendation of my friend and spiritual mentor Murray Kennedy who has three lovely kids (who all happen to like hanging out with their mom and dad as adults), I am reading “Hold onto your kids: why parents matter,” by Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld.

While the first 2/3rds of the book forms a rationale for why one should practice attachment parenting, it is also the most practical attachment parenting guidebook I have found. The authors outline specific practices to encourage connection between parents and children, whatever the age.

One line stuck with me in particular. Mate and Neufeld posit that while our culture is obsessed with creating independence when we attempt to facilitate independent sleeping, eating, play, emotions, etc. in our babies, we are not creating independence, rather we are creating independence from us as parents. I love this. Children are naturally dependent. We want to encourage connection to us as parents rather than have our children fill it with friends and other people who do not have their best interests at heart.


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