Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hold on to your kids..... or So you want to be a parent.....

Blogging at almost 1 am was not what I had in mind, especially since I have to go to work in the morning.

But I have all this eye-opening, epiphany, change my life things going through my head, that I cannot sleep. I felt like if I write them out....

perhaps I can sleep.

So. I am reading this book, that I stumbled across a mention of on a blog a few weeks back. I ordered from came, and then went to my many stacks of books, to get to later.

(side note: I have this book prioritization thing. There are so many books I need to read, want to read, cannot live without reading..and more more discovered every day...that I have these levels of MUST READ THIS going on.

I have too often got a package in the mail from Amazon, several days later, which I open and think, I ordered this? Why did I order this? Why did I think I had to have this? Like I am going to read it? Where in my stack of 100 yet to be read books does this one fall? So now, depending on my sense of urgency...I either:

  • wish list it on Amazon, to get that immediate, Oh I will forget about this and I MUST READ IT urgency taken care of, to come back to later, in less of a passionate fit, to see if I REALLY MUST get it.
  • Others, I order cheap, used, through Amazon, takes longer to get it, costs less,
  • and then some I order amazon full price...gotta have it.

It then gets home and goes to various piles.

  • The three piles by my bed to get to.
  • The two piles on my dresser, a slightly higher priority,
  • the two piles on my nightstand, higher still.
  • The three books on my bed....those are the current reads....but I digress.)

Anyway, back to the point...this was in one of the dresser piles, then I read a blog today that mentioned it, and I thought, hmmmm, I thought I ordered that. so I pulled it out.

The points. READ IT. At least chapter 1, 2, and then Chapter 14 to 17.

The book is Hold On to Your Kids. subtitled: "Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers", by Gorden Neufeld, PHD and Gabor Mate, MD.

Ok, I normally would not read a book by a PHD or MD, unless I was trying to lose weight or solve some health issue. BUT READ IT!.

I am so...intense right now about this message, I hope I can get my thoughts across clearly. First. and this is another side note, I love the picture on the cover, because it is of an evidently working mom, by her dress and briefcase, hugging a son, looks about Nicks age. The reason I love it, is although I would love to be a SAHM, I am a single mom. Not an option. So I don't need another book to make me feel guilty of how my kids are losing out because I am working, etc etc. This is not the premise of the book at all...

The heart of the book is how peer influence, the book uses the word orientation, has replaced parent influence in our society and the impact of that. But more than that, what to do about it in your family. With your kids.

I am not done with the book, far from it. I made myself stop reading slightly past midnight, but then could not sleep with all the thoughts in my head....but even what I have read so far has resonated with me.

You know how sometimes you have an inkling of something, maybe an even, hmmmmm, this just does seem right, or a longing for it to be different, but then you look and hear of all around you and think, well this must just be the way it is...

That is what so much in this book has done. It has resonated with things I have felt and thought, but had nothing to back it up, did not have it crystallized or know how to articulate it well.

But... like a resounding chord, it echoed in my heart, when I read the words.

So....some of my thoughts around it...the book starts with studies and information on how, right after WW2, our culture has started changing from a parent orientation society to a peer orientated society. And how as parents we focus on trying to influence and or modify the behavior and values of our children, but often it seems, we have little impact. Goes into a lot of depth here, so this is readers digest. Goes into why and how and the impact of this...etc... READ IT.

It talks about how the relationship of parent and child...has to come first, before you have any influence on your child. Just because you have the role of parent, authority, does not mean you have your child's heart as parent and authority. And the lay down the law, I am the parent, that is why, is not effectively doing it. Right? Not for the long term..(and often not even for the short term.)

It talks about attachment, which surprised me, since I have been reading a lot of attachment related books due to adoption, but this is not an adoption related talks about attachment with any of your children...nothing to do with how they joined the family....and that lack of that solid attachment being first made and then maintained, being at the heart of the issue. We focus on behavior and trying to get our children to listen and do...when the focus should be on the relationship and just being FIRST, then focus on the guidance, etc. Without the relationship connection, they won't heed the guidance, especially over the peer "guidance" they get bombarded with as early as preschool.

It talks about all the ways we throw our kids to the peers (my wording) and have never questioned. One they mentioned, the whole playdates, get them in preschool early, have kids come over to occupy them so I can get a break...yea..that would be me.... is just starting early that peer attachment vs the parent attachment. Does not say you can't have these things, but the parent attachment needs to be healthy, strong, be the greater attachment.

That was a big eye opener to me. One thing I thought of, though not mentioned in the book, at least not yet, I am not done, is the whole BIG birthday party thing. I have longed for a small intimate family birthday party for my kids, but have bought into the big party, gotta have multiple friends over that is they way we do it in this society. Or the way a lot of us do it. :) And even when I put a plan in place to try to not do that EVERY year, with EVERY one of my children, it was more a financial motivation, not a relationship motivation. But let's face it....who cares most about celebrating the day of my child's birth? Me, their momma, their family....or a bunch of kids that are just their for the entertainment, goodie bags, and would not even realize it is my child's birthday, or care, if I did not send out notices to ask them to care. And the fact that they would prefer all the friends vs just family, shows how much they are already peer attached. And that I might think, well when I was their age, I wanted to be with my friends more too, if I think that, shows, that I too, was raised after WW2 and lost my parent attachment for my peer attachment. EYEOPENER!

ok, here is another one... The book starts in chapter 14 with how to reclaim (if you have lost your hold) or hold onto if you have it...your kids. and begins with four sequence tasks in collecting our children.

The first is collecting our child after any separation...sleeping, home from school, or even disengaging from an activity, like watching a movie, or playing alone or with someone else. And it talks about eye contact, talking, a smile and connection....etc.

I thought about how fast we live and how busy we are, and how many times we get up and rush rush rush to get out the door, and same we get home and rush rush rush to get dinner on the table and then...etc. And not making that solid connection. I see you, I hear you, I love are you... vs, do this do that, don't do that.... Guilty our of ignorance.

It is interesting, that in focusing on attachment with Mary, one of the things I thought of on my own, before even reading this, was to be the person who woke her up in the morning, and to gently talk to her, touch her, smile at her, love on her, and THEN let her focus on getting dressed. So this really resonated..

So this is as far as I have gotten...but it is making so much sense to me. Things I have thought and felt, but did not understand, or did not want to go against the flow...

I know in the reclaiming, there will be some battles, some misunderstanding of why we are not going to do this or that when 'everyone else is doing it'...but I will cross that bridge and endure that issue. I just have a sense this is going to be better for all of us in the long run.

And I do see some self-sacrifice involved. No more babysitting by peers, ie...sleepovers and playdates, when I let the kids entertain and care for themselves, so I can relax or read a book. or???? whatever.

I know this blog is long, perhaps I will be able to sleep soon, but one last thing.

I really saw how this train of thought echoed God's relationship with us. How he is more interested in the relationship he has with us, than our behavior or dos and donts...that the attachment is what makes all the rest fall into place. And that after any separation, (sleep, busyness, etc) he wants to collect us, reconnect with us, and fill our hearts with love, before we move on in our day. and without that connection, we are too much influenced by our peers or those around us.

I guess it makes sense that it would mirror, as he is THE ROLE MODEL of a loving parent.

So I will share more as I read more...but I would suggest picking up the book, if you have children at home or even are a teacher, or grandparent.....

Now, maybe I can sleep.

Thank you Abba, for opening my eyes, and helping me see more clearly where you were already tugging me.

1 Things Others Said:

renee stauffer said...

Sandee, thanks so much for posting that! I am a hard core attachment parent, since my first kid (bio) was a newborn, basically *because* I didn't have that attachment to my parents, and it made my life very difficult growing up, because I was always trying to please my peers (and they recognised how vulnerable I was, and used that to their enjoyment). A healthy relationship with my kids/husband is really tops on my priority list, and I think you just helped me with a problem I've been having with church issues, but I digress... I tried to get this book through inter library loan but it never came. I may have to order my own copy!