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Attachment Parenting
My DH has been helping me/us look for ways to help strengthen our relationship with SD before she reaches the full bloom of her teens. I have also been having problems feeling emotionally unconnected from SD, mostly due to my own defense issues, and have been trying to find positive help.

And my DH found:
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Matter
by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate, M.D.

Brief synopsis, as I understand things. (Warning: I have just started the book and DH has almost finished it, so please don't take my idea of things as gospel.) Before you can parent, before you are able to discipline effectively, you must have your child's HEART. According to the author, parents often assume that our children always know we love them--he says this just isn't so. He says if we don't have our children's hearts our parenting and discipline will drive them right into the arms of their peers, where our children will be taught about life by other kids. Not ideal. Neufeld claims peer orientation is a fairly new thing and that parents are dead wrong when they assume teenagers will always distance themselves emotionally from their parents, always become difficult, snide and disinterested. He claims many currently accepted parenting models only make it more difficult for children to give us their hearts (consequences, time outs). He thinks our current society no longer supports and helps parents keep their children's hearts and all the parenting advice in the world won't help if we don't have their hearts.

At first I struggled with this idea, but the more I read, the more I know, the more I think: Well, duh! What I have realized is my "defense" is sending a message loud and clear to SD that I don't want her heart because it is just too darn hard FOR ME. That hurt like hell to realize, but it has also helped me to see that this isn't a STEP issue, it is a parenting issue. Many parents go through something similar when their children rebel for whatever reason. Now I am trying to learn to escape the rut we have made, to establish new, more positive reactions, and to win back my SD's heart.

DH liked the book so much we splurged and ordered a series of talks on the same subject by the author. We have been watching one talk every evening SD is not with us. It isn't rocket science, it is common sense really, but I have realized how far away from common sense parenting theory has come the last decade or so.

If you want to build your relationship with any age child this book is a must read. This book will open your eyes. I promise.

Thanks for posting about this book. I'm putting it on my list of books I wanna read.
Thanks Beth - I'll be looking for this one.
I love his book and took the Power to Parent course (which is available on video too), which is a program by Gordon Neufeld as well. I found both to be really helpful, and have taken the course 3 times, because each time I learn something new. Definately recommend trying his suggestions, when your children are connected and collected, it is amazing how easy parenting is.


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