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Anyone reading Hold On to Your Kids?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I would love a discussion or book club for this book. It's one of the most important parenting books I've read, along with the others that already have groups.

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

The subtitle contains one message of the book, but I think the more important one, or the one I'm taking away, is that it is the relationship and the parent-child attachment that makes parenting (teaching, leading, disciplining) easier, or even possible. That you cannot teach or lead a child that is not looking to you for direction... and that can happen in any number of ways when the attachment is waning or suffering. There is a very indepth discussion of attachment and how it can weaken or wane, why it needs to be reinforced and nurtured daily, and ways to do that.

I look think of it as a book for attachment parenting school age or older kids. I always thought I would read it when my kids were teens or preteens but it is exactly what I need, right now.
post #2 of 26
I am almost finished with it.

I would love to discuss it as well. Lots of great research in it. I am at the part where they are talking how to re-engage/re-attach with your "peer oriented" children.

I work with kids in mental health and I firmly believe this is a big part of why kids are having problems today. They are pushed towards being too independent too soon. Their peers ARE more important than their families and all the behaviors they talk about in this book can be very closely connected to many of the mental health/behavioral diagnoses kids are getting these days... in records numbers "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" "Conduct Disorder"...

A very interesting read. Looking forward to seeing what others think.
post #3 of 26
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, if there's not enough interest for a book club, I could just move the thread for a discussion. I would love to talk about how to apply what is in the book to our family lives. And share successes/frustrations etc.
post #5 of 26
Oh my word, the book description is exactly word for word what is happening with my 13 year old, I'm going to get this book!

post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
going to post a new thread and begin discussion...
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

Discussion of Hold On To Your Kids

Hello! please post if you are reading or interested in reading this book.

Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

I am reading it sort of not in order, and I haven't completely finished it, but I'm so glad that I found this book and began reading it now. I so needed it NOW, and I thought it was a book about teenages and preteens.

What do you think of the book? What resonates with you?

What are you doing differently in your family because of what you've read?

Have you seen peer orientation in kids? In yours? Are you trying to prevent it, or trying to reclaim your kids?

I have seen peer orientation in my siblings, and this book explains a lot of what I felt about what was happening, and confirms so many things for me.

Even still, I think my ODS (almost 6) and I were suffering from weakened attachment. It didn't start with peer orientation, but I think after the attachment was suffering, the interest in peers started going up. I'm so glad I feel like I will be able to stop that and heal our relationship now.

I totally see friends and playmates in a different light now. I think about how children are "socialized" by nurturing parents and not by "socializing" with peers. I make sure that while they are playing with their friends, I am thinking it is something fun, nothing more, and not having any kind of agenda for their playing with friends.

He is only in preschool for three afternoons a week, but I started to see the downward spiral in his behavior and attitude, the counterwill, the loss of motivation, the whole thing. It makes me sad that I didn't interpret his shyness and reluctance to be at school as a sign of our strong attachment, and I pushed him a little harder than I should have. Although I am glad that I respected his need for me to go into the school building every day with him, even though the teachers discouraged this. I still do it and he is able to tell me that if I don't go in with him he feels scared.

Until only very recently he didn't want to go to school for lunch (pure socializing time, and he was picking up very bad manners!) and I was making him. Now I think I will not make him go, and I want to work on all of our mealtimes as special family bonding time, something we have not been doing till now.

Understanding the attachment needs better has helped me rethink my strategy for schooling my kids... more about that later. But I'm really glad that we will have the whole summer to be together and strengthen our relationship before he goes back in the fall.

So my sad moment yesterday, well, we have had a ritual of sitting together on our porch swing in the mornings, I drink my coffee and we swing and sometimes read a book. There is a little girl who moved onto our cul-de-sac about a month ago and ODS has become very interested in playing with her every day. Like, if he ever sees her outside he has to *run* outside at that instant. So, she was outside and he didn't want to do anything except go see her. I knew I shouldn't have been so direct about it, but I wanted to preserve this ritual and make sure that our family time wasn't infringed on. In the past, I have found fun and easy ways of doing this. But this time, when I said he could go play in ten minutes, and he asked "Why" I said because family time was important and I wanted to spend ten minutes with him. And then he said, "Well, I don't like you." very nonchalantly.

I was totally surprised but I am so glad I have the ideas in this book to work with. I didn't react immediately, but I decided to bring them inside and once his friends were out of sight, out of mind, they were fine again and we sat and read and then I let them go out and play.

I have been remembering to "collect" them throughout the day and seeing a huge improvement in our connection. Also an improvement in ODS' behavior, but I want to remember that that is secondary and follows after the attachment. One thing I have been doing is to ALWAYS, always greet them and smile and show my genuine delight whenever I see them, even if they just come out of the bathroom, or wander into the room where I'm sitting at the comptuer I was so touched last night when I came up the stairs, and I was just thinking I was running up to get a diaper for the baby, and my ODS saw me and said, "Hi mommy," and sort of offered himself for a hug, which I happily gave him. It was a huge difference to see that he had come to expect that, to expect that I would want to hug him, that he had become used to being greeted that way. No more sideways hugs from him!

Another thing I was reading last night and am thinking about doing more is "matchmaking" between my children and those who will care for them. We have a history of my ODS being very slow to warm up and not having close relationships with the grandparents. I think I can really make a difference in this area as well.

My YDS is only just three and I am just becoming aware of how I need to monitor our connection. When they're little and nursing and you're carrying them all the time, maintaining the connection is effortless, but now he's this totally independent little person and even though my relationship is smoother with him than with my ODS, it is still going to require my attention and effort. Sometimes it's just overwhelming to me to think how big our family is now, and how I have to be aware of my relationship to each one individually -- my husband, and each of my kids.

Those are some of my disjointed thoughts. Would love to read what others think and are doing with this information!
post #8 of 26
I responded on your other thread, I had to put the book on hold at the library, so as soon as I have it in hand I'll come back and tell you what I think.

I'm very excited to read this book.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
I've been restructuring our daily activities so that we can get the summer off to a good start and prioritize family time. We had such a great day today. We went and had lunch with DH at his work and spent most of the afternoon there, then came home and blew up the kids' pool and played together in the back yard.

I see such positive changes in the family dynamic. I want to enjoy my kids and the time I spend with them. I don't want to wake up and think, "oh gosh how are we going to get through another day." I want them to know that home is a place where they will find unconditional love and acceptance. (Not that "I want to be their friend"! That's something else entirely. I want to be their parent first and foremost. )
post #10 of 26
Moving to the book club forum.
post #11 of 26
Never mind, I see you already have a thread in here. I'm going to merge the two threads. Please don't start another one.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

feeling very sad...

I think I've tracked the beginning of ODS behavior problems to the time period when he was about 3.5 and YDS was about 6 months. I was having a really rough time handling both of them. There was some sibling rivalry maybe, I remember ODS started pushing the baby over every time he would sit up, several times a day. I reacted pretty badly. Then there were huge problems at naptime and bedtime. I couldn't take the crying and the baby waking up, so I would gate the stairs or lock the bedroom door and leave ODS wailing outside. One day I did this while other people were in the house, people who he wasn't yet comfortable with. He is shy and sensitive to new people and I just can imagine he felt abandoned and ashamed. I know he just wanted to be close to me. One day my grandma was also here and observed some of this and she said to me, "He just wants you to love him." I think I was so overwhelmed with the two boys I couldn't respond lovingly to them all of the time and couldn't see how I was pushing him away.

From there it started to snowball, the attachment slowly weakened or he began to defend against connecting to us and the behaviors started to slowly detoriate. We began to focus on the bad behaviors and he felt worse and worse, and the worse the felt the worse he acted. I thought he had something wrong with him but now I just think it was attachment and feeling bad about himself. For awhile I even spanked him, it was definitely not intentional it just happened a few times without me thinking about it .

He was in preschool for about six months, he was very shy and quiet there and didn't talk to anyone. I almost took him out and then he started to like it. He started to make friends but also started to pick up bad behaviors there and to act out more. Now I feel like the attachment is not strong enough and I don't have enough natural parenting power. Maybe he has the start of an attachment void that could be filled by peers. I have been focusing these last weeks on really rebuilding the attachment. I am letting go a lot of behaviors and focusing on really enjoying him and trying to communicate unconditional acceptance. It feels like such an uphill process right now. I really wish I could go back to that sweet, attached 3 year old who "wanted to be good for me" and let him know that he was good, that he was not bad, that we love him no matter what and take back the angry outbursts and the pushing him away.
post #13 of 26
I really really really liked this book, even though my DD is younger than the age range on which this book focuses. Even though I've read multiple books about gentle discipline, I apparently needed someone to spell out to me how my natural authority as a parent and ability to discipline laid in my attachment to my kid. I think that's made it much more easy for me to feel better about focusing on reconnecting with my kid when she misbehaves rather than worrying about "rewarding" bad behavior.

I think it's also what's made me okay with limited peer interaction for my DD. As a SAHP of one, a lot of people seem very concerned with my child's social needs. While I'm not convinced that a child can either be attached to adults or peers but not both (I do think, though, it's important that children have a stronger attachment to the parents), from reading that book I've become a lot more cautious about peer interaction. I know that I want her socialized into my values more than that of her peer culture. I think this has been particularly important after going to a LLL meeting where my DD acted uncharacteristically aggressive and I made the decision for at least the summer to avoid large groups of kids - that it's okay at two for her not to have a super active social life.
post #14 of 26
I read this book a while ago and found it extremely interesting. I have to go, but subscribing!
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm so glad I have a place to think this through and vent a little.

Things are going so much better for us. I'm so laid back with the baby and I'm so careful about the messages I'm giving the older ones. I'm proud of myself--I haven't once gotten mad at anyone for waking the baby up!

Last night for example my ODS came into the bedroom where I was nursing the baby to sleep, and I responded with a smile and a "hi" and got a sweet hug and kiss and he was coming in to give me a beautiful painting he made me. If I would've been upset at him for coming in right when the baby was falling asleep, I would've missed all that. He even said as he left, "have a nice time with Adrielle" he's such a sweetheart.

I've really been thinking alot about "connection before direction," both in a big picture sense (the relationship/attachment has to be strong before the children will willingly follow) and in-the-moment, remembering to connect before I give direction. We've had a couple really great days in a row where we've been busy and gone out to run errands and both of the boys have been listening really well.

My ODS' obsession with the neighborhood kids, and one girl in particular, which was very recent, has calmed down, too. He'll play if they are out, and he's no longer upset if I tell him he can't play, because we're doing stuff in the backyard together. He even seems to prefer family time to friend time again!

boigrrrlwonder, ITA with all of your post, esp. understanding now that young children don't need a busy social life. It also affirms for me my preference for having family play dates and parties. We always invite the families and not just the children. So far my children's friends are mostly my friends' children, and I'm happy about that.
post #16 of 26
I picked the book up yesterday, and began reading. It's rather dense stuff though I'm not sure how quickly I'll be able to process it with all the psychology lingo.

I'm working on it though. So far highly interesting.
post #17 of 26
I just got this from the library; I've been wanting to read it for a long time! I'm just on Chapter 2 right now, so I'll check in again when I get more into it.

I have often thought it bizarre (as a high school teacher) that we send our teenagers off to be herded around in this HUGE mass on high school campuses, with a sprinkle of adults, and let them just be together. It seems so different from what it must have been like with more vertical relationships in the past. I'm hoping this book helps reinforce our leanings to homeschool
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
St. Margaret, yes! That reminds me of my first year of teaching full day kindergarten. One student was having really serious behavior problems (which I now realize was due in large part to his having missed the first week of school and never having been collected) and during a meeting with the parents and the principal of the school, I said something like, "It must be so hard for these kids to be on their own all day," and a wierd silence followed. The principal looked at me like I said something wrong. I'm sure they were thinking, "they're not alone, they have you" but of course I was thinking "alone without their parents, their guiding compass". I still think all day kindergarten is hard on most kids.
post #19 of 26
Have to find my book.
post #20 of 26
Although this book is in no way a book about homeschooling, and his own kids are public schooled and of course you can use all this stuff with public schooled kids, I still felt that it really, really reinforced homeschooling for me and further calmed any lingering fears I had that they need peers to be socialized properly. Looking back, my 17 year old hung out mostly with my niece and my bestfriends twin girls when he was little. Why? Becuase thats who happened to be around due to the adult relationships. He didnt really choose his own friends until he went to school. We were very very close until about second or third grade when he began not to want to show any affection to me whatsoever in public. Although, when he wanted to stay over at a friends home, I went to meet the parents and he and the little boy became best friends (still are) and I became very close the entire family, parents and other children included!
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