Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Notes: Hold onto your Kids, Gordon Neufield


Six ways of attaching:
  • Senses
  • Sameness
  • Belonging and loyalty
  • Significance
  • Feeling
  • Being known

"Parenthood is above all a relationship, not a skill to be acquired." P55

"It's the child's attachment to the adult that fosters goodness." P70

"Children do not internalize values --make them their own-- until adolescence." P 71

" Even if a child was never able to measure up to your expectations or realize his own intentions, it would still be important to trust in his desire to be good for us. To withdraw that trust is to take the wind out of his sails and to hurt him deeply. If the desire to be good for us is not treasured and nurtured, the child will lose his motivation to keep trying to measure up. It is children's desire to be good for us that warrants our trust, not their ability to perform to our expectations." P73

" His attachment to his parents renders him highly vulnerable in relationships with them but less vulnerable in relationship to others. There is an inside and an outside to attachment: the vulnerability is on the inside, the invulnerability on the outside. Attachment is both a shield and a sword. Attachment divides the world into those who can hurt you and those who can't. Attachment and vulnerability - these two great themes of human existence - go hand in hand." P100

" Frustration is a deep and primitive emotion, so primitive in fact, that it exists in other animals as well. Frustration is not something that is necessarily conscious, but like any emotion it will move us none the less." " The greatest source of frustration is attachments that do not work: loss of contact, thwarted connection, too much separation, feeling spurned, losing a loved one, a lack of belonging or being understood." P131

" It is not a given that frustration must lead to aggression. The healthy response to frustration is to attempt to change things. If that proves impossible, we can accept how things are and adapt creatively to a situation that cannot be changed. If this doesn't occur, the impulses to attack can still be kept in check by tempering thoughts and feelings - in other words, by mature self regulation. It is quite possible to become intensely frustrated and yet not be driven to attack. In peer oriented children, acceptable outcomes to frustration are likely to be blocked in ways I will now explain. These children become aggressive by default." P133

3 deficiencies in peer oriented children that lead to frustration erupting in aggression:
1. can't effect change
When we feel frustrated, our first inclination is to change whatever isn't working for us.
2. less able to adapt
Frustration that comes up against impossible obstacles is meant to dissolve into feelings of futility. Frustration engenders adaptation, causing us to change ourselves when we are unable to change the circumstances. A child able to adapt does not attack: adaptation and aggression, both potential outcomes of frustration, are incompatible." P133-135

" There is a great difference between sexual contact as an expression of genuine intimacy and sexual contact as a primitive attachment dynamic. The result of the latter is, inevitably, dissatisfaction and an addictive promiscuity, as seventeen-year-old Nicholas experienced." P155

" It takes little courage to reveal something that is not the least bit intimate. There is nothing to be discreet about if one doesn't feel exposed. When sex is divorced from vulnerability, sex fails to touch us deeply enough to hurt. What should be highly personal and intimate can be broadcast to the world." 161

" Children learn fast when they like their teacher and they think their teacher likes them. The way to children's minds has always been through their hearts." P173

" We face too much competition. To compensate for the cultural chaos of our times, we need to make a habit of collecting are children daily and repeatedly until they are old enough to function as independent beings. The good news is that nature - our nature - tells us how to do that." 179

" In short, we need to build routines of collecting our children into our daily lives. In addition to that, it is especially important to reconnect with them after any sort of emotional separation. The sense of connection maybe broken, say, after a fight or argument, whether by distancing, misunderstanding, or anger. The context for parenting is lost until we move to restore what psychologist Gershon Kaufman has called " the interpersonal bridge." 182

" Perhaps we feel free to invite the dependence of adults because we're not responsible for their growth and maturity. We don't bear the burden of getting them to be independent. Here is the core of the problem: we are assuming too much responsibility for the maturation of our children. We have forgotten that we are not alone - we have nature as an ally. Independence is a fruit of maturation; our job in raising children is to look after their dependence needs. When we do our job with meeting genuine dependence needs, Nature is free to do its job of promoting maturity." 187-188

1 comment:

  1. That is thick and gooey to wade through! I think it would change from mud to almost-set jello if I read the book, but still thick and gooey. And delicious, and beautiful. This is powerful common-sense stuff. Thanks for sharing.