Transcript: Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld on Hold On To Your Kids | Mar 13, 2004

Gabor Mate stands behind a lectern. He is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He is wearing a black suit, plaid blue shirt, and glasses.

Gabor Mate says THE SIGNS ARE ALL
AROUND US, I WAS ON A DEBATE
THIS AFTERNOON ON TV ONTARIO,
WITH A MAN WHO'S A HEAD OF
INFANT PSYCHIATRY AT SICK
CHILDREN'S IN TORONTO.
HIS POINT OF VIEW THAT, POINT OF
VIEW WAS THAT THERE'S ALWAYS
BEEN TROUBLE WITH KIDS AND
THERE'S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE
SUN, THERE'S NOTHING TO WORRY
ABOUT.
I BEG TO DIFFER.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE, INTUITION AND
ALSO WHAT I SEE IN THE WORLD
TELLS ME QUITE OTHERWISE, AND SO
DOES THE INTUITION AND
EXPERIENCE OF MANY PARENTS,
TEACHERS, AND ALMOST ANYONE
CONCERNED WITH THE WELFARE AND
WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Gabor Mate. Co-author ‘Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Matter’. The Perils of Peer Orientation."

Gabor Mate continues NOW WHEN THINGS
GO WRONG IN A SOCIETY, WHAT'S
NECESSARY FOR THAT SOCIETY TO
SURVIVE IS A ELEMENT OF
ADAPTIVENESS AND ADAPTIVENESS
MEANS SIMPLY THAT WE LEARN FROM
WHAT DOESN'T WORK, WE SEE WHAT'S
NOT WORKING AND WE ARE ABLE TO
APPRECIATE THAT IT'S NOT WORKING
AND SECONDLY ABLE TO COME UP
WITH DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO IT
THEN THE THINGS THAT WE'VE BEEN
USED TO DOING.
AND YET, WHEN YOU
LOOK AT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN
RESPONSE TO ALL THIS BAD NEWS,
ON A SOCIAL LEVEL, ALL WE DO IS
APPLY MORE OF THE SAME.
SO THERE'S BULLYING, ANTI-
BULLYING PROGRAMS HAVE NEVER
BEEN SHOWN TO DO ANY GOOD
WHATSOEVER, WHAT'S THE ANSWER,
MORE ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAMS.
WHEN IT COMES TO PRECOCIOUS AND
PREMATURE, INAPPROPRIATE AND
HARMFUL SEXUAL ACTIVITY AMONGST
OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, MORAL
PREACHING AND ADMONITIONS AND
PROHIBITIONS DON'T WORK, WHAT
SHOULD WE DO, MORE MORAL
PREACHINGS, ADMONITIONS AND
PREACHING.
AND SO ON DOWN THE LINE AND
WHAT'S MISSING HERE IS ANY
DESIRE OR ANY WILLINGNESS, ANY
OPENNESS TO LOOK AT THE ACTUAL
DYNAMICS, TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S
REALLY GOING ON, WHAT'S ACTUALLY
HAPPENING HERE, BECAUSE IF WE
ARE TO ADDRESS THE ROOT OF THE
PROBLEM, WE CERTAINLY HAVE TO
UNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING
DYNAMICS.
AND SO MUCH OF THE ADVICE THAT
PARENTS GET THESE DAYS AND... IS
ACTUALLY CONTRARY TO WHAT'S
GOING TO DO ANY GOOD IN THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR CHILDREN.
WE'RE LOOKING AT THE QUESTION OF
WHY ALL THESE DISORDERS, WHY
FIVE TIMES AS MANY KIDS AS 50
YEARS AGO ON RITALIN, WHY ALL
THESE KIDS ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS,
WHY ALL THE CHILDHOOD DISORDERS,
WHY THE BULLYING, THE PRECOCIOUS
SEXUALITY AND BEYOND THAT, WHY
THE FRUSTRATION THAT PARENTS
EVERYWHERE ARE EXPERIENCING IN
THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR
CHILDREN, WHY THIS SENSE THAT
TEACHERS HAVE, THAT THE TEACHERS

THAT THEIR ROLE AS TEACHERS
IS NO LONGER VALUED AND WHY IT'S
SO FRUSTRATING FOR THEM TO
INTERACT WITH THEIR STUDENTS.
SO WHILE THE MEDIA HAS JUMPED ON
OUR BOOK LIKE A DOG ON A JUICY
BONE AND WE'RE VERY PLEASED AND
GRATEFUL ABOUT THAT, THAT'S NOT
THE BRUNT OF OUR BOOK.
THE BOOK IS NOT REALLY ABOUT THE
PROBLEMS, OR WE'RE SAYING
ACTUALLY THAT THE PROBLEMS THAT
THE MEDIA PICKS UP ON, THE
SPECTACULAR CHILD KILLINGS, THE
DRUG USE AND ALL THAT, ALTHOUGH
THEY'RE IMPORTANT ISSUES TO DEAL
WITH, THEY'RE ONLY THE TIP OF AN
ICEBERG.
AND WHAT'S BELOW THE SURFACE IS
FAR MORE IMPORTANT AND WHAT'S
BELOW THE SURFACE AFFECTS NOT
ONLY THE COMPLETELY TROUBLED
KIDS, BUT ALL KIDS, OR VIRTUALLY
ALL KIDS IN THIS SOCIETY AND IF
IT DOESN'T AFFECT THEM DIRECTLY,
IT DOES TOUCH THEM IN ONE WAY OR
ANOTHER.
AND GORDON'S SAYING THAT...
"PEER ORIENTATION" IS THE PHRASE
THAT HE ADOPTED AND ACTUALLY
DEVELOPED AND HE'S SAYING THAT
CHILDREN OUR SOCIETY... IN OUR
SOCIETY TODAY ARE, CONTRARY TO
WHAT HAPPENED IN ALL OTHER
SOCIETIES PRIOR TO NOW, ARE NO
LONGER LOOKING TO THE NATURALLY
APPOINTED GUARDIANS FOR A SENSE
OF DIRECTION FOR WHO TO BE...
FOR HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT
THEMSELVES, FOR VALUES, FOR
CULTURAL TRANSMISSION.
THAT THEY'RE NOW LOOKING TO A
GROUP THAT'S IN NO POSITION TO
PROVIDE THOSE DIRECTIONS,
THEY'RE LOOKING TO THEIR PEER
GROUPS, IN OTHER WORDS, IN
SHORT, CHILDREN ARE NO LONGER
BEING BROUGHT UP BY ADULTS,
THEY'RE BEING BROUGHT UP BY EACH
OTHER.
AND HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
IT SO HAPPENS THAT CHILDREN HAVE
A NATURAL ORIENTING INSTINCT,
ORIENTING INSTINCT, ORIENTATION
MEANS TO GET YOUR BEARINGS AND
EVEN AS ADULTS, WE ALL KNOW HOW
DISCONCERTING, HOW NERVE-
WRACKING IT IS TO BE
DISORIENTED, TO NOT HAVE YOUR
BEARINGS.
AND WE WILL LOOK, YOU KNOW, AND
IF WE'RE DISORIENTED, OUR FIRST
TASK IS TO GET ORIENTED.
NOW THAT'S AS ADULTS WHO ARE FAR
MORE INDEPENDENT AND SELF-
SUSTAINING THAN CHILDREN CAN
POSSIBLY BE.
SO THE CHILD HAS AN ORIENTING
INSTINCT.
NATURE WOULD INTEND THAT
ORIENTING INSTINCT TO BE DIRECT
TOWARDS THE ADULT, AS IT IS IN
ALL SPECIES AND AS IT HAS BEEN
IN ALL SOCIETIES, UNTIL VERY,
VERY RECENTLY.
HOWEVER, THE ORIENTING INSTINCT
IS INDISCRIMINATE.
IT WILL GO TO WHOEVER'S THERE.
THERE'S A GOOD REASON FOR THAT.
THE NATURAL PARENTS ARE THE
NATURAL ORIENTING COMPASS FOR
THE CHILD, BUT THEY MAY NOT BE
AROUND, THEY MAY DIE.
SO THE CHILD HAS TO BE ABLE TO
TRANSFER THAT ORIENTATION AND
THE EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT THAT
PRECEDES IT AND GOES WITH IT TO
OTHER CAREGIVERS.
OTHER ADULTS.
IT WAS NEVER...
WHAT WAS NEVER MEANT TO HAPPEN
IN THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS
IS THAT THIS ORIENTATION POINT
SHOULD BECOME PEERS, IMMATURE
CREATURES, IN OTHER WORDS.
THINK OF IT IN TERMS OF THE
DUCKLING.
THE DUCKLING WILL, AT BIRTH,
IMPRINT ON THE MOTHER DUCK AND
THAT MEANS HE'LL FOLLOW THE
MOTHER DUCK AROUND WHEREVER SHE
GOES AND HE'LL DO THAT UNTIL
HE'S AN ADULT DUCK HIMSELF.
HE'LL LET GO OF
THE MOTHER'S GUIDANCE PRECISELY
AT THE POINT WHERE HE NO LONGER
NEEDS IT AND NOT A MOMENT
BEFORE.
NOW THAT'S HOW NATURE WORKS.
IN THE ABSENCE OF THE MOTHER
DUCK, HOWEVER, THAT DUCKLING
WILL IMPRINT ON ANYTHING.
IT COULD BE A HUMAN BEING, IT
COULD BE A HORSE, IT COULD BE A
MECHANICAL MOVING TOY.
AND IT SHOULD BE CLEAR TO ANYONE
THAT NEITHER HUMAN BEINGS NOR
HORSES NOR MECHANICAL MOVING
OBJECTS ARE AS CAPABLE OF
NURTURING THAT DUCKLING TO BE AN
ADULT DUCK AS THE MOTHER DUCK
HAPPENS TO BE.
SMART AS WE ARE, WE CAN'T DO IT
AS WELL AS THE MOTHER DUCK WILL.
SAME WITH CHILDREN.
NATURE WOULD INTEND THAT
ORIENTING INSTINCT TO BE
DIRECTED TOWARDS THE PARENTS AND
TO THE ADULT WORLD.
BUT IN THE ABSENCE OF THAT, OR
WHEN THAT BOND IS LOOSENED,
THERE WILL BE WHAT GORDON CALLS
AN "ORIENTATION VOID," A VOID IN
THE CHILD'S CONSCIOUSNESS OR
UNCONSCIOUSNESS THAT THE BRAIN
SIMPLY DOESN'T TOLERATE AND
THEREFORE THE CHILD WILL ORIENT
BY WHATEVER'S AROUND.
NOW WHAT'S HAPPENED IN OUR
CULTURE.
WHAT'S HAPPENED IN OUR CULTURE
IS THAT, FOR REASONS THAT GO
WELL BEYOND ANY QUESTION OF
INDIVIDUAL PARENTAL CHOICE, THAT
GO WELL BEYOND PARENTAL FAILURE
AND REALLY HAS TO DO WITH SOCIAL
AND ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL
DYNAMICS THAT GOVERN VAST SOCIAL
CHANGES, BECAUSE OF THESE
DYNAMICS, PARENTS HAVE LOST THE
ORIENTING POSITION.
WE NEVER USED TO LIVE IN THIS
ISOLATED NUCLEAR FAMILY, THAT'S
A TOTALLY NEW DEVELOPMENT IN
HUMAN LIFE AND EVEN THE NUCLEAR
FAMILY, WITH THE TWO PARENTS AND
THE HOME IS UNDER SEVERE SIEGE
AND STRESS AND VERY OFTEN IT
BREAKS UP.
AND EVEN THE ONES THAT REMAIN
TOGETHER ARE UNDER TREMENDOUS
STRESS AND NOT ONLY THAT, UNDER
TODAY'S ECONOMIC CONDITIONS, TWO
PARENTS OFTEN HAVE TO GO OUT TO
EARN THE SAME LIVING THAT ONE
USED TO 34 YEARS AGO.
MUCH BEYOND THE NUCLEAR FAMILY,
WHICH IN ITSELF IS AN INADEQUATE
AND UNNATURAL CONGLOMERATION,
THERE USED TO BE THE EXTENDED
FAMILY AND THE EXTENDED FAMILY
WAS THE NETWORK IN WHICH THE
MOTHER AND FATHER WHERE EMBEDDED
ALONG WITH THEIR CHILDREN AND
THERE WERE OTHER ADULTS AROUND,
AS HILARY CLINTON QUOTED THE
AFRICAN SAYING, IT TAKES A
VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD, AND
WHAT SHE WOULD HAVE MEANT BY
THAT, IF SHE FULLY UNDERSTOOD
WHAT SHE WAS SAYING, WAS THAT IT
TAKES AN ATTACHMENT VILLAGE, A
VILLAGE OF ATTACHMENTS TO RAISE
A CHILD.
AND THAT MEANS THE AUNTS AND THE
UNCLES AND THE NEIGHBOURS IN THE
COMMUNITY.
AND IN OUR SOCIETY, THAT'S ALL
GONE.
THE CLAN, THE TRIBE, THE
VILLAGE, THE COMMUNITY, THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD ARE ERODING
RAPIDLY, IN FACT, IN MANY PLACES
IN OUR COUNTRY AND IN NORTH
AMERICA, THEY'RE GONE.
PEOPLE LIVE IN PLACES WHERE THEY
NO LONGER KNOW THEIR NEIGHBOURS,
THE CHILDREN DON'T GO INTO THE
STREET AS A SENSE OF SAFETY, NOT
JUST BECAUSE STRANGERS CAN COME
ALONG AND MOLEST THEM, BUT ALSO
BECAUSE THERE'S NO SAFETY OUT
THERE, THERE'S NO SAFE
ATTACHMENTS OUT THERE FOR THEM.
THERE'S NO CORNER GROCERY PERSON
THAT YOU'VE KNOWN FOR 25 YEARS
AND THAT YOUR CHILD GETS TO KNOW
AND STAYS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH.
NOW WE DRIVE TO THESE BIG,
SOULLESS SUPERMARKETS AND RELATE
TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO
RELATIONSHIP TO OUR COMMUNITY.
A CULTURE THAT USED TO SUPPORT
THE ATTACHMENT TO THE PARENTS NO
LONGER NOT ONLY SUPPORTS IT, IT
ACTUALLY UNDERMINES IT.
AND WE'RE PUSHING OUR KIDS INTO
SITUATIONS WITH PEER RELATING
VERY, VERY EARLY.
SOMETIMES WE DO IT FOR ECONOMIC
REASONS, AS IN THE DAY-CARE
SITUATION, BUT AS GORDON POINTS
OUT, WE ASSUME THAT SINCE WE ARE
THE PARENTS AND SINCE WE LOVE
THEM AND SINCE WE GAVE THEM
EVERYTHING WE HAD FOR THE FIRST
SIX MONTHS OR TWO YEARS, THAT
RELATIONSHIP WILL SURVIVE
FOREVER.
THE FACT IS, THERE'S TOO MUCH
COMPETITION RIGHT NOW.
AND IN A DAY-CARE
SETTING, UNLESS WE'RE VERY
CAREFUL, I MEAN, I'M NOT AGAINST
DAY-CARE HERE, ALL I'M SAYING
THAT IS IF WE DON'T INSURE THAT
THE ATTACHMENT DYNAMIC BECOMES
CONSCIOUS AND THAT WE DON'T PUT
IT IN PLACE IN A DAY-CARE, SO
THAT WHEN THE DAY-CARE WORKER
REPLACES US, SHE OR HE BECOMES A
SURROGATE PARENT.
IF HE'S ONLY A
SUPERVISOR, THEN THAT KID WILL,
IN THAT ATTACHMENT
VOID THAT'S CREATED, WILL ATTACH
TO HIS PEERS.
AND I WILL LEAVE IT TO GORDON
RIGHT NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE
CONSEQUENCE OF THAT FOR
CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT, BUT IN A
NUTSHELL, WHAT WE'RE ARGUING IS
IS THAT THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE OUR
CHILDREN AND I AM SOCIALLY
SPEAKING OR ECONOMICALLY
SPEAKING A PESSIMIST, AT LEAST
IN THE SHORT RUN, I DON'T SEE
THESE TRENDS BEING TURNED
AROUND, IN FACT, I SEE THEM
ESCALATING AND BEING EXACERBATED
AND BEING PUSHED BY SOME VERY
POWERFUL INTERESTS AND FORCES IN
THIS SOCIETY, THE GLOBALISATION,
THE HOMOGENISATION, THESE ARE
ALL, UM, GAINING MORE AND MORE
POWER, SO IN THAT WHILE IN THE
SOCIAL, ECONOMIC SENSE, I'M A
PESSIMIST, I'M A COMPLETE
OPTIMIST ON THE MICRO LEVEL,
THAT IN OUR HOMES AND IN OUR
COMMUNITIES, WITH OUR CHILDREN
AND OUR STUDENTS, WE CAN
ACTUALLY RECLAIM THE GROUND THAT
WE'VE LOST, WE CAN REORIENT THEM
TO OURSELVES AND IF WE WISH TO
SAVE THEM FROM THE NEGATIVE
CONSEQUENCES THAT GORDON WILL
OUTLINE, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT
NEEDS, THAT WE NEED TO DO.
AND HAVING SAID THAT, I'D LIKE
TO INTRODUCE MY FRIEND AND
COLLEAGUE, GORDON NEUFELD.

The audience applauds, and Gordon Neufeld talks to a microphone. He is in his fifties, has a gray full beard, short gray hair, and is wearing a dark brown plaid suit over a green shirt.

Gordon Neufeld says THE GENERAL
THESIS IS VERY, VERY SIMPLE,
IT'S VERY, VERY SIMPLE AND IT'S
BEEN IN DEVELOPMENTAL SCIENCE
FOR SOME TIME, IT'S JUST... THE
WORD HASN'T SEEMED TO GET OUT
AND THAT IS THAT THE MOST
PIVOTAL, THE, THE MOST CRITICAL
FACTOR IN PARENTING AND IN CHILD
DEVELOPMENT IS NOT SKILL.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Gordon Neufeld. Co-author ‘Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Matter’. The Perils of Peer Orientation."

Gordon Neufeld continues IS, IS NOT A
SENSE A RESPONSIBILITY, IS NOT
HOW-TOs.
BUT IT IS RELATIONSHIP.
RELATIONSHIP IS ABSOLUTELY
BASIC, BUT IT'S NOT ONLY THE
RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARENT TO
THE CHILD OR THE TEACHER TO THE
CHILD, MOST CRITICALLY IS THE
RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHILD TO THE
PARENT OR TO THE TEACHER.
IT IS THE CHILD'S RELATIONSHIP TO US, NOT
OUR LOVE FOR THE CHILD, BUT THE
CHILD'S LOVE FOR US OR DESIRE TO
BE CLOSE TO US OR SEEKING
EMOTIONAL INTIMACY OR TO BELONG
OR TO MATTER, IT IS THAT
RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHILD TO US
THAT GIVES US THE CONTEXT TO BE
ABLE TO ACT WITH NATURAL
AUTHORITY, WITH INFLUENCE, WITH
OUR... IT IS THE CONTEXT IN
WHICH WE CAN TEACH AND DO OUR
JOB.
AND THAT GOES... AS SELF-EVIDENT
AS THAT MAY SEEM, IT'S ALMOST
CONTRARY TO THE VAST MAJORITY OF
WHAT IS BEING WRITTEN.
AS WE ASK, YOU KNOW, OR THE
BIGGEST QUESTION TODAY IS WHAT
SHOULD I DO WHEN MY CHILD DOES
SUCH AND SUCH AND SUCH?
AND IT IS PROBLEM-CENTRED, IT IS
AROUND TECHNIQUES AND SO ON.
NOW ALONG CAME DEVELOPMENT
SCIENCE AND GAVE A WORD FOR THIS
RELATIONSHIP SPECIFICALLY AND
THE WORD IS "ATTACHMENT."
AND STUDIED IT IN ANIMALS AND
ALL CREATURES OF ATTACHMENT AND
NOW WE KNOW THAT IT'S THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT, THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT DYNAMIC IN
CHILDREN'S LIVES.
AND SO IT IS THE CHILD'S
ATTACHMENT TO THE PARENT AND TO
THE TEACHER THAT IS IMPORTANT,
AND THE PURPOSE OF ATTACHMENT IS
TO FACILITATE DEPENDENCE.
IT'S TO PUSH THE RIGHT BUTTONS
IN THE CHILD, IT'S TO PUSH THE
RIGHT BUTTONS IN THE ADULT, IN
THE TEACHER.
IT'S TO EVOKE THE RIGHT KIND OF
INSTINCTS, SO THAT IT IS TO
HAPPEN NATURALLY AND PARENTING
HAS BEEN AROUND, YOU KNOW, SINCE
THE BEGINNING.
AND, YOU KNOW, FOR SOMEONE TO
COME HERE LIKE YOU ARE HERE TO
TALK TO SOMEBODY ABOUT
PARENTING, OUR GRANDPARENTS JUST
WOULD NOT HAVE DONE.
THEY WOULD HAVE NOT... LIKE
EITHER YOU KNEW HOW TO DO IT OR
YOU DIDN'T, THERE WAS SOMETHING
WRONG IF YOU WENT TO GO READ A
BOOK OR IF YOU WENT TO LOOK AT
IT FROM THE OUTSIDE AND THEY
WERE RIGHT!
THEY WERE RIGHT, BUT THEY HAD
SOMETHING THAT WE DON'T HAVE.
THAT'S EXACTLY, BECAUSE THEY
LIVED IN A CULTURE THAT
SUPPORTED THE RELATIONSHIPS OF
CHILDREN TO THE ADULTS WHO TOOK
CARE OF THEM.
THEY LIVED IN A CULTURE WHERE
THEY HAD SIT-DOWN MEALS, WHERE
THEY WENT FOR WALKS, WHERE THEY
HAD GAMES, WHERE THE CULTURE
MEANT THAT YOU WERE REQUIRED TO
GREET A CHILD AND THE CHILD WAS
ALWAYS REQUIRED TO GREET YOU.
AND IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE AND IN
LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES, THAT'S
STILL SO.
BUT WE'VE LOST THAT KIND OF
CULTURE, THERE'S NOTHING TO
PROTECT CHILDREN'S ATTACHMENTS
TO THE PARENTS, TO THE TEACHERS,
TO THOSE WHO CARE FOR THEM, AND
SO THESE ATTACHMENTS HAVE BEEN
LEFT UNPROTECTED, WHICH BRINGS
THE PROBLEM OF THE BOOK.
THE PROBLEM OF THE BOOK IS, IN
THE WAKE OF THAT KIND OF
CULTURAL CHAOS, ESPECIALLY IN
THE NEW WORLD, ALL OVER IN POST-
INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY, BUT
ESPECIALLY IN NORTH AMERICA, IN
THE WAKE OF THAT, CHILDREN WITH
THESE HUGE ATTACHMENT NEEDS,
WHEN THEY... WHO CANNOT TOLERATE
THAT MUCH SEPARATION FROM THOSE,
FROM THEIR PARENTS AND ADULTS
AND SO ON, WHEN THEY, THEY ARE
OUTSIDE OF, OUTSIDE OF THESE
WORKING ATTACHMENTS, THEY NEED
TO REATTACH, THEY CANNOT STAND
THESE ATTACHMENT VOIDS, SO
WHETHER IT'S PRE-SCHOOL, WHETHER
IT'S GRADE ONE, WHETHER IT IS
HIGH SCHOOL, IF THEY CANNOT KEEP
THE ADULT ATTACHMENTS CLOSE
ENOUGH, IF THE TEACHERS DO NOT
COLLECT THEM, AS WE DON'T DO
GENERALLY SPEAKING, OH, THERE'S
SOME INCREDIBLY INTUITIVE
TEACHERS, BUT WE'VE GOT NO
CULTURE TO SUPPORT THAT, WE'VE
GOT NO PEDAGOGY OF ATTACHMENT.
AND JUST AS WELL AS WE'VE GOT NO
PARENTING OF ATTACHMENT.
WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT THE
CHILDREN ATTACH TO EACH OTHER,
THEY SPIN OUT OF ORBIT,
COLLECTED BY OTHERS, GO OUT OF
ORBIT AROUND THEIR PARENTS AND
GO INTO ORBIT AROUND EACH OTHER.
AND THIS SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING
MORE AND MORE AND MORE WITH
DISASTROUS RESULTS FOR
DEVELOPMENT, FOR PARENTING, FOR
TEACHING.
IT'S THE, UM, IT'S THE...
CHILDREN HAVE, WHEN THEIR
ATTACHMENTS ARE UNDEVELOPED AND
MAYBE I COULD JUST SAY THIS,
PART OF WHAT THE BOOK DOES, TOO,
IS JOIN THE DOTS ON ATTACHMENT.
ATTACHMENT,
MANY PEOPLE STILL THINK OF
ATTACHMENT IN THE BABY BONDING
KIND OF CONCEPT.
ATTACHING THROUGH THE SENSES,
CONTACT, CLOSENESS, SO ON, BEING
IN TOUCH, BEING IN SIGHT AND SO
ON.
AND WHAT I TRY AND DO IN THE BOOK
HERE IS BRING ALL THE MATERIAL
ON ATTACHMENT TOGETHER, TO
DISTILL IT, BRING IT TO
SYNTHESIS, BUT IN SO DOING, WHEN
I HAD ASSIGNED MYSELF THE TASK
OF DOING IT, I SAW SIX THEMES
EMERGE, SIX WAYS OF ATTACHING
AND IN DOING IT, I ALSO BEGAN TO
SEE THAT THERE WAS A SEQUENTIAL
NATURE TO THIS AND SINCE THEN
I'VE HAD PLENTY OF CLINICAL
EXPERIENCE IN WORKING WITH VERY
STUCK KIDS, WHO HAVE TO BEGIN TO
ATTACH, EVEN 10- AND 11-YEAR-
OLD, IT UNFOLDS JUST LIKE A
FLOWER, ATTACHING IN ONE WAY AND
FIRST OF ANOTHER... THE FIRST IS
THE ATTACHING THROUGH THE
SENSES.
BUT THEN, AS
WE MOVE TO THE SECOND YEAR OF
LIFE, IT'S ATTACHING THROUGH
SAMENESS, WE FEEL CLOSE TO THOSE
THAT WE HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON
WITH AND CHILDREN ATTACH THROUGH
IMITATING AND EMULATING AND
COPYING AND SO ON, THIS IS A
VERY, UH, VERY UNDEVELOPED YET
AND THEN COMES BELONGING AND
LOYALTY, VERY, VERY IMPORTANT.
THREE-YEAR-OLDS ALWAYS TAKE THE
SIDE OF THE ONE THAT THEY'RE
MOST ATTACHED TO, IT HAS NOTHING
TO DO WITH WHO THEY THINK IS
RIGHT, IT IS WHO IS THEY... WHO
THEY'RE ATTACHED TO AND THEN IT
GOES TO, UH, WE, YOU KNOW, WE
KEEP CLOSE THAT WHICH MATTERS TO
US AND SO THEY WANT TO BE
SIGNIFICANT AND SPECIAL TO US
AND THEN, OF COURSE, THE FIVE-
YEAR-OLDS GET THEIR HEARTS
INVOLVED AND THEY FALL IN LOVE
WITH WHO THEY'RE ATTACHED TO AND
BRAYNE, MY YOUNGEST CHILD, I
HAVE FIVE CHILDREN, SO THAT I
CAN FINALLY GET IT BY THE END
AND NOW THREE GRANDCHILDREN, SO
THAT I CAN UNDERSTAND, BUT WITH
BRAYNE, WHEN HE REACHED THAT
AGE, HE GAVE HEART RINGS TO ALL
OF US IN THE FAMILY AND PROMISED
THAT HE WOULD NEVER LEAVE US,
ANY OF US AND HE MARRY US ALL.
AND IT'S THAT KIND OF VERY, VERY
HEARTFELT KIND OF THING AND THEN
THE SIXTH WAY OF UNFOLDING IS
THAT BY SIX YEARS OF AGE, GIRLS
ESPECIALLY, BECAUSE THEY CAN
SEEM TO BE ABLE TO TOLERATE THE
VULNERABILITY INVOLVED AND BOYS
NOT SO MUCH, THEY FEEL THE
CLOSEST TO THOSE THAT THEY HAVE
SHARED THEIR INNERMOST SECRETS
WITH, THEY HAVE SHARED THEIR
HEARTS WITH, IN A SENSE OF
PSYCHOLOGICAL INTIMACY AND SO WE
HAVE ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT WAYS
OF ATTACHING.
CHILDREN, WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE
DEVELOPED ATTACHING...
ATTACHMENTS, WHEN THEY CANNOT...
NOT ONLY CAN THEY NOT KEEP US
CLOSE, BUT THEY ARE PREDISPOSED
TO ATTACH TO THOSE THAT APPEAR
TO BE THE SAME AS THEM.
AND SO THEY AUTOMATICALLY SELECT
NOT THEIR TEACHERS, NOT THEIR
GRANDPARENTS, NOT THEIR AUNTS,
WHO THEY COULD EXPECT TO BE MORE
UNDERSTOOD BY AND HAVE MORE
EMOTIONAL INTIMACY, NO, THEY
SELECT AUTOMATICALLY AND ARE
PREDISPOSED TO ATTACH TO OTHER
GOSLINGS, SO TO SPEAK, OTHER
CHILDREN, BECAUSE THEY'RE THE
SAME AS.
AND IN THAT, THEY CANNOT BE BOTH
THE SAME AS THEM, THEY CANNOT BE
THE SAME AS ADULTS, THEY CANNOT
TAKE THEIR CUES FROM BOTH PEERS
AND ADULTS, THESE RELATIONSHIPS,
IN TODAY'S WORLD, BECOME MORE
COMPETITIVE.
AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH
PEERS, PROBLEM IS NOT WITH
CHILDREN HAVING FRIENDS.
IN AN INTACT VILLAGE, WHERE THE
CONSTELLATION, WHEN IT'S WORKING
PROPERLY, CHILDREN'S
RELATIONSHIPS WITH FRIENDS
COEXIST WITH RELATIONSHIPS WITH
PARENTS.
PEERS AND PARENTS, THEY...
CHILDREN LOVE TO HAVE THEIR
ATTACHMENTS UNDER ONE ROOF.
YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE FROM A SPLIT
PARENTING, THEY LOVE TO HAVE THE
STEPPARENTS TOGETHER, THEY LOVE
TO HAVE ADOPTED... EVERYBODY WHO
THEY'RE ATTACHED TO, THEY LOVE
TO HAVE IN ONE PLACE.
BUT IF THERE IS COMPETITION IN
ATTACHMENTS, IF THEY CANNOT KEEP
CLOSE TO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME,
OR IF THE CUES ARE DIFFERENT,
THEN WHAT HAPPENS IS IN PURSUING
CONTACT AND CLOSENESS WITH THEIR
FRIENDS, BELONGING, LOVE,
SIGNIFICANCE, THEY AUTOMATICALLY
RESIST IT WITH MUM AND DAD, THEY
RESIST IT WITH ADULTS, WITH
TEACHERS AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM
THAT IS ESCALATING.
IS IN BECOMING ENDEARED, IN
BELONGING TO THEIR PEERS, THEY
ARE RESISTING, THEY ARE, THEY
ARE PUSHING AWAY FROM, THEY ARE
ALIENATING, IT, UH, NO LONGER
THEY, THERE'S HOSTILITY THERE
AND THAT IS INCREASING, THAT'S
INSIDIOUS, IT INCREASES WITH
AGE.
AND THAT IS A PROBLEM, IT'S THE
COMPETITION AND THE IMPLICATIONS
FOR PARENTING ARE PROFOUND,
AGAIN, IT'S THE CHILD'S
RELATIONSHIP TO US THAT MAKES A
CHILD EASY TO PARENT, YOU CAN
HAVE A PARENT WITH THE SAME
LOVE, THE SAME SKILL, HAS TWO
CHILDREN.
ONE WHO IS IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE PARENT, WHO LOVES THE
PARENT, WHO SEEKS TO BE CLOSE,
WHO WANTS TO WITH, THAT
PARENT... THAT CHILD WILL BE
EASY TO PARENT.
AND THE OTHER CHILD, WHO
DOESN'T, WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE
CLOSE, WHO DOESN'T SEEK TO BE
WITH, THAT CHILD WILL BE VERY
DIFFICULT TO PARENT.
IT'S NOT A MATTER OF SKILL, IT'S
A MATTER OF RELATIONSHIP AND
IT'S THE CHILD'S RELATIONSHIP TO
US AND SO AND, AND AS WE LOSE OUR
NATURAL POWER AND AUTHORITY,
WHAT DO WE DO?
WE SEEK FOR LEVERAGE.
AND SO WE BECOME PREOCCUPIED
WITH LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO
HOLD OVER A CHILD.
WITHDRAW PRIVILEGE, YOU OFTEN
HEAR PARENTS SAY, I DON'T KNOW
WHAT ELSE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE
CHILD.
WE USE
CONSEQUENCES, WE BEGIN TO USE
THINGS IN CONTRIVED PRIVILEGE
AND ONE OF THE WORST KINDS OF
THINGS WE DO, IN ALMOST A
DESPERATE INTUITIVE ATTEMPT TO
GAIN SOME CONTROL, IS WE USE THE
RELATIONSHIP AGAINST THE CHILD,
SO WHEN IN TROUBLE, WE SEND THE
CHILD AWAY FROM US.
WE EUPHEMISE IT BY CALLING IT
TIME-OUTS, WE DO VARIOUS OTHER
KINDS OF THINGS, IT'S ACTUALLY
THE OLD KIND OF WAY OF SHUNNING
THAT WAS USED, IT'S BASICALLY
SAYING, I WITHDRAW MY LOVE, MY
AFFECTION, MY... I WILL... MY
CONTACT AND CLOSENESS WITH YOU
UNTIL YOU COMPLY.
WHAT IT
COMMUNICATES TO THE CHILD, OF
COURSE, IS THAT THE RELATIONSHIP
ISN'T IMPORTANT.
IT ALSO IS FAR MORE... FAR TOO
VULNERABLE FOR CHILDREN TO
HANDLE... IF OUR PARTNERS EVER
TREATED US THAT WAY, AFTER THE
SECOND, THIRD TIME OF
WITHHOLDING CONTACT AND
CLOSENESS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T
APPROVE OF SOMETHING THAT WE
DID, WE WOULD START SHUTTING OFF
THE RELATIONSHIP.
NONE OF US COULD WITHSTAND THAT
KIND OF WOUNDING.
CHILDREN CAN'T, EITHER.
AND SO WHAT THEY DO IS CLOSE OFF
ON THE EMOTIONAL, CLOSE
RELATIONSHIP AND WE LOSE EVEN
MORE POWER.
AND WHEN WE LOSE EVEN MORE
POWER, WHAT DO WE DO?
WE LOOK FOR MORE CONTRIVED
LEVERAGE, WE CALL IT PARENTING.
AND THAT IS WHERE PARENTING HAS
COME TO TODAY.
WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT
PARENTING, THEY ASK, HOW... WHAT
SHOULD I DO WHEN?
HOW DO I DO... THIS ISN'T
PARENTING, PARENTING IS A
RELATIONSHIP, IT'S A NURTURING
RELATIONSHIP, BUT THAT IS WHERE
IT'S COME TO AND IT'S... AND THE
MORE, THE MORE WE DO THOSE
THINGS, THE MORE WE USE THE
RELATIONSHIP AGAINST, THE MORE
WE SEND AWAY, INSTEAD OF
PRESERVING THE CONTACT AND
CLOSENESS, AGAIN THE MORE
IMPOTENT WE BECOME.
THE MORE WE ASSUME THAT SOMEHOW
IT'S OUR IGNORANCE RATHER THAN
OUR IMPOTENCE AND SO TODAY THE
BIG CRY WITH PARENTS IS, THEY
WEREN'T BORN WITH A MANUAL.
WE ASSUME THAT WE HAVE TO KNOW
HOW TO DO... OUR GRANDPARENTS
AGAIN, THEY WOULD HAVE NEVER,
EVER THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING
THAT HAPPENED INTUITIVELY, BUT
WHY COULD THEY PARENT
INTUITIVELY?
BECAUSE THE RELATIONSHIPS WERE
THERE, WHAT THEY HAD IS FAR MORE
POWER AND AUTHORITY THAN WE DID,
YES, SOME OF THEM ABUSED IT.
BUT THEY HAD THE POWER AND
AUTHORITY TO DO THEIR JOB.
TODAY'S PARENTS ARE ANAEMIC IN
COMPARISON TO OUR PARENTS'
PARENTS AND OUR OWN CHILDREN ARE
GOING TO EVEN BE IN A WORSE
SITUATION, IF WE DON'T REVERSE
THIS INDIVIDUALLY.
THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE
CHILDREN ARE ALSO VERY SEVERE,
IT'S... CHILDREN REQUIRE THE
ATTACHMENT WOMB, YOU KNOW, WITH
AN ADULT TO HELP THEM GROW UP,
THE ATTACHMENTS, JUST LIKE THE
PHYSICAL WOMB IS TO THE PHYSICAL
SELF, THE ATTACHMENT WOMB IS TO
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SELF, TO
BECOME ONE'S OWN PERSON.
IT NEEDS A SAFE AND SECURE
ENVIRONMENT THAT ONLY A CARING
ADULT CAN PROVIDE.
IF THE CHILDREN, IF THEY PREFER
EACH OTHER'S COMPANY, IF THEY'RE
SEEKING CONTACT AND CLOSENESS,
IF THE PEERS REPLACE THE PARENTS
AS THE PRIMARY OBJECTS OF
ATTACHMENT, THEN THAT WOMB
DOESN'T EXIST.
YES, CERTAINLY, THE PEER
ATTACHMENTS ARE THERE, BUT PEER
ATTACHMENTS DON'T DELIVER.
THEY DON'T DELIVER
INDIVIDUALITY.
THEY DON'T DELIVER PERSONHOOD
AND SO CHILDREN ARE STUCK IN
IMMATURE, ROBERT BLY, IN HIS
SIBLING SOCIETY, CONCERNED ABOUT
THE EPIDEMIC IMMATURITY IN OUR
SOCIETY AND WHAT I'M SAYING IN
THIS IS GOING A STEP FURTHER, IS
ONE OF THE BIG REASONS FOR THIS,
IS THAT CHILDREN ARE NO LONGER
ATTACHED LONG ENOUGH IN THE
WOMBS OF CARING ADULTS TO GROW
WHOLE, INDIVIDUAL, IT TAKES SOME
TIME TO GROW THIS KIND OF
PERSONHOOD AND PARENTS ARE THE
BEST BET.
PARENTS ARE BY FAR THE BEST BET.
ALSO THE IMPLICATIONS ARE
BECAUSE PEER ATTACHMENTS DON'T
WORK, THEY CAN'T PRESERVE THE
CONTACT AND CLOSENESS AND YET
ATTACHMENTS ARE THE MOST
IMPORTANT THING FOR CHILDREN, IT
GENERATES INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF
FRUSTRATION.
BUT BECAUSE THE VULNERABILITY IS
TOO GREAT, THEY DON'T GO FROM
MAD TO SAD, THEY DON'T GO FROM
FUTILITY TO THE SADNESS AND SO
THEY'RE LEFT WITH RESIDUAL
FRUSTRATION, FALLOW FRUSTRATION,
WHICH PERMEATES THE PEER CULTURE
IN THEIR DRESS, IN THEIR ART, IN
THEIR LYRICS, IN THEIR MUSIC AND
ALSO IN THEIR ACTIONS.
SUICIDE HAS QUADRUPLED WITH
YOUNG ADOLESCENTS IN LESS THAN
50 YEARS.
IT'S NOT WORKING FOR THEM, IT'S
REALLY NOT WORKING FOR THEM.
SO IT'S... WE ALSO HAVE
BULLYING, WELL, WHY BULLYING,
WHERE... HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?
WELL, ATTACHMENT, THE WHOLE
PURPOSE OF ATTACHMENT IS TO
FACILITATE DEPENDENCE, THE
PRIMARY PURPOSE OF IT IS TO
FACILITATE DEPENDENCE.
SO WHAT IT DOES NATURALLY, WHEN
ANY CREATURES OF ATTACHMENT COME
TOGETHER, BE IT YOUR DOGS, YOUR
CATS, WHATEVER, IS
AUTOMATICALLY, IF THEY BECOME
ATTACHED, IT SETS THEM INTO A
HIERARCHY, ONE IN A DEPENDENT
MODE, ONE IN A DOMINANT AND ONE
IN THE DEPENDENT MODE.
NOW, SO WHEN CHILDREN BECOME
ATTACHED, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT
HAPPENS THERE IS, IS THE
ATTACHMENT FORCE PUTS ONE IN
DOMINANT AND OTHERS IN A
DEPENDENT.
NOW THEY'RE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR
EACH OTHER AND SO YOU'VE GOT
SOME TRYING TO LORD IT OVER,
PREOCCUPIED WITH DOMINANCE,
WE'VE GOT A BULLY-MAKER.
AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS
IS A
LORD OF THE FLIES
KIND OF THING, WHEN CHILDREN,
INADVERTENTLY MAROONED BY
PARENTS, FOR US... FOR MYSELF,
TOO, I ASSUMED THAT I COULD TAKE
THE RELATIONSHIP OF MY CHILDREN
FOR GRANTED.
I ASSUMED THAT BECAUSE TAMARA
AND TOSHA, MY OLDEST TWO
DAUGHTERS, WE WERE SO CLOSE,
THIS WOULD LAST THE DISTANCE AND
I DIDN'T TAKE CARE TO MAINTAIN
IT, I DIDN'T TAKE CARE TO
PRESERVE IT AND BY THE TIME THEY
BECAME ADOLESCENTS, THEN IT, UH,
THEY, THEY, TOO, FILLED THE VOID
WITH THEIR PEERS AND I'LL GO
BACK TO THAT IN A BIT IN TERMS
OF HOW TO WIN THEM BACK.
BUT WHEN CHILDREN DON'T HAVE
THAT PROPER ADULT COVERING, IT
SETS A STAGE WHERE IT LEADS THEM
IN TO BECOMING DEPENDENT ON EACH
OTHER OR DOMINATING EACH OTHER,
WHICH IS A HARMFUL THING.
OUR BLIND SPOTS, WE SEEM TO HAVE
BLIND SPOTS, WHY ISN'T THIS,
LIKE WHEN YOU SAY IT, WHEN YOU
JOIN THE DOTS, IT ALMOST SEEMS
SELF-EVIDENT, IN FACT, SOMETIMES
I FEEL EMBARRASSED TALKING ABOUT
IT, BECAUSE HOW CAN SCIENCE TALK
ABOUT SOMETHING THAT'S SO
ABSOLUTELY THERE?
WELL, SCIENCE ALWAYS COMES
LATELY TO WHAT IS RIGHT
UNDERNEATH OUR NOSES, BUT IT
SEEMS THAT THIS IS UNDERNEATH
OUR NOSES, WE'VE BEEN BLIND TO
IT, WE HAVEN'T REALLY SEEN IT,
SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM, WELL, I
THINK THERE'S A COUPLE OF THINGS
THAT ARE CAUSING OUR BLIND
SPOTS, ONE WAS A VERY GOOD
THING, WE BECAME CHILD-CENTRED.
BUT THERE'S A PROBLEM IN IT IS
YES, CHILDREN NEEDED TO BE PUT
IN A SENSE OF, OF THE CENTRE OF,
OF, OF OUR LIFE, BUT WHAT
HAPPENS IS WE PUT CHILDREN IN
THE LEAD.
AND THAT'S NOT THEIR RIGHTFUL
PLACE.
WE WERE TAKING THE CUES FROM
THEM AS TO WHAT THEY NEED,
WHAT'S IMPORTANT AND THOSE KINDS
OF THINGS AND SO NOW WE HAVE THE
GOSLINGS FOLLOWING THE GOSLINGS
AND THE MOTHER GOOSE FOLLOWING
ALL THE GOSLINGS IN BEHIND.
NOW WE ARE
IN, WE ARE FOLLOWING THEM AND SO
WE'RE TAKING OUR CUES, SO IF OUR
NINE-YEAR-OLD OR 11-YEAR-OLD
SAYS, YOU KNOW, WELL, YOU KNOW,
EVERYBODY'S GOING FOR...
EVERYBODY HAS A SLEEPOVER EVERY
WEEKEND.
OH, IF THAT'S THE WAY IT IS,
THEN I GUESS THAT'S NORMAL.
AND SO WE FOLLOW THE KIDS IN
TERMS OF, OH, THEY BELIEVE, WHEN
THEIR ATTACHMENTS ARE SKEWED,
JUST LIKE IF GOSLINGS GOT
IMPRINTED ON GOSLINGS, THAT
WOULD BE SELF-EVIDENT FOR THEM
AND OUR CHILDREN, THAT ARE PEER-
ORIENTED, IT WILL BE SELF-
EVIDENT FOR THEM THAT CHILDREN
BELONG WITH CHILDREN.
ONLY WE KNOW BETTER.
THAT NO, I'M YOUR BEST BET,
HONEY.
UNTIL YOU'RE
OLD ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO HOLD ON
TO YOURSELF WITHOUT, WITHOUT
FOLLOWING YOUR PEERS, THAT YOU
CAN HANG ON TO YOURSELF, I'M
YOUR BEST BET, BUT WE'VE GOTTA
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, WE DON'T
HAVE CULTURE WORKING FOR US
ANYMORE AND HENCE THE BOOK IS TO
INCREASE THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF
THIS, SO TO BE ABLE TO, TO, TO
DO THOSE KINDS OF THINGS.
MANY OF US PREFER TO BE WITH OUR
PEERS THAN OUR PARENTS.
AND SO IT SEEMS TO US THEN TO BE
NORMAL.
AS LONG AS CHILDREN ARE
DEPENDENT, THEY NEED TO BE
DEPENDENT UPON THOSE WHO CARE
FOR THEM, SO OUR OWN PEER
ORIENTATION BLINDS US, IN FACT,
SOMETIMES I'VE HAD CLIENTS WHO
SAY TO ME, I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S
WRONG WITH MY, YOU KNOW, 13-
YEAR-OLD OR 11-YEAR-OLD, ALL HE
WANTS TO DO IS HANG OUT WITH US.
IT'S NOW BECOME THE EXCEPTION.
NOW IT'S BECOME THE EXCEPTION,
AGAIN, IF YOU GO TO CONTINENTAL
EUROPE, WHERE I SPENT A YEAR IN
PROVENCE WITH MY FAMILY, PUTTING
THIS MATERIAL TOGETHER, THERE
YOU SAW, YOU KNOW, AT THE
VILLAGE FOUNTAIN, THE
ADOLESCENTS HUNG OUT WITH THE...
ELDERS, THE SENIOR CITIZENS,
THEY WERE IN THERE.
THE FAMILIES WENT TOGETHER, WHEN
YOU SOCIALISED, YOU NEVER WENT
WITH THE SAME AGE, YOU ALWAYS
WENT IN, YOU KNOW, AUTOMATICALLY
YOU INTEGRATED THE OTHER
CHILDREN.
THE VILLAGE FETES, THE DANCES,
THOSE WERE THE TIMES OF THE BEST
HIERARCHICAL INTEGRATION.
THE GRANDPARENTS DANCED WITH THE
GRANDCHILDREN, THE TEACHERS WITH
THE STUDENTS AND SO ON, IT WAS
ALL HIERARCHICAL.
THESE WERE THE THINGS THAT WE'VE
LOST, WE'VE LOST THAT SENSE.
THE BIG BLIND SPOT IS THAT WE
HAVE PUT A HUGE VALUE ON WHAT IS
NORMAL.
AND TAKING OUR CUES IN THIS WAY
IN TERMS OF WHATEVER IS MUST BE
THE WAY IT SHOULD BE.
INSTEAD OF WHAT IS NATURAL.
AND THERE THE BOOK IS, I MEAN,
IS A COMMITMENT TO THE
DEVELOPMENTAL DESIGN, HOW WERE
WE MEANT TO BE?
FROM PUTTING THE PIECES
TOGETHER, HOW WERE WE MEANT TO
BE, WE WERE MEANT, CHILDREN WERE
MEANT TO BE INTEGRATED IN
ATTACHMENT HIERARCHIES.
AND RELATE FROM THERE TO THEIR
PEERS, BUT WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF
THE ATTACHMENT HIERARCHIES.
WELL, WHAT, UH, WHAT, UH, I'VE
JUST GOT A COUPLE OF MINUTES
HERE TO SAY WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.
AGAIN, IN TERMS OF SOCIETY AT
LARGE, I DON'T KNOW IF WE'RE
GONNA TURN THE TIDE, BUT A GOOD
ONE-THIRD OF THE BOOK HAS TO DO
ABOUT JUST HOW TO PRESERVE,
RESTORE, WIN BACK OUR CHILDREN,
IT HAS TO DO WITH CREATING A
CONTEXT OF CONNECTION IN WHICH
WE CAN PARENT AND TEACH AND I'M

MY OWN EXPERIENCE AS BOTH A
PARENT AND AS A THERAPIST, AS A
CONSULTANT, HAS BEEN THAT THERE
ARE FAR MORE SUCCESSES THAN ARE
FAILURES.
IN FACT, IT GOES A LOT EASIER
WHEN WE PUT OUR ENERGY NOT INTO
BEHAVIOUR, BUT WHEN WE PUT
ENERGY INTO RELATIONSHIP.
IN FACT, I, I'VE KIND OF
WONDERED, YOU KNOW, I GET ALL
THE PRESENTING PROBLEMS, NOW I'M
STARTING MY MENTORING PHASE IN
LIFE AND SO I HAVE THERAPISTS
COMING TO ME WITH THEIR PROBLEMS
THAT THEY'RE HAVING WITH THE
KIDS IN THEIR CLIENTELE, I HAVE
PARENTS AND I HAVE TEACHERS.
AND JUST A ROUGH KIND OF
ESTIMATE, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT,
YOU KNOW, ALWAYS THE FOCUS IS ON
THE BEHAVIOUR, RIGHT AND ALWAYS
THE FOCUS IS ON THE STRATEGIES
AS FAR AS THE ADULT, WHAT MUST
WE DO?
AND BY FAR THE MAJORITY, IN
FACT, I WOULD SAY PROBABLY 80 percent
OF THE TIMES IT'S QUITE CLEAR
THAT THE ISSUE IS NOT CONDUCT OR
BEHAVIOUR, BUT IT'S
RELATIONSHIP.
JUST GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, LET'S
SAY A FRIEND CAME TO YOU, A
FRIEND CAME TO YOU AND SAID, OH,
I'VE GOT, UH, I, I... SOMETHING
IS HAPPENING.
MY SPOUSE, HE WON'T LISTEN TO
ME, HE DOESN'T SEEM TO WANNA BE
WITH ME, HIS EYES DON'T LIGHT UP
WHEN I COME INTO THE ROOM, HE
HAS A CONCERN FOR PRIVACY ALL
THE TIME, NEVER WANTS ME TO KNOW
WHAT HE'S DOING.
HE IS, HE DOESN'T SEEM TO WANT
TO MAKE THINGS WORK FOR ME, IF I
SAY SO MUCH AS WHAT I WISH, HE
GETS HIS BACK UP, HE'S FULL OF
RESISTANCE, HE DOESN'T WANT TO
DO THAT, HE USED TO WANT TO...
HE USED TO SAY TO ME, YOUR WISH
WAS MY COMMAND AND NOW I, NOW
ANYTHING I SUGGEST HE DOES.
NOW IF WE HEARD THAT, OUR WORDS
WOULD NOT BE, WELL, I TELL YOU,
YOU GOTTA USE MORE TIME-OUTS,
YOU SHOULD USE LOGICAL
CONSEQUENCES FOR THAT KIND OF
THING, YOU CAN'T, YOU CAN'T
ALLOW HIM TO GET AWAY WITH THAT.
NO, NO, NO, IMMEDIATELY WE KNOW,
HONEY, YOU'VE GOT A RELATIONSHIP
PROBLEM ON YOUR HANDS.
THIS IS A RELATIONSHIP PROBLEM.
YEAH.
YOU KNOW, HIS, HIS, HE
DOESN'T... NONE OF HIS ENERGY IS
GOING TO WANTING TO BE WITH YOU.
IT'S AN ATTACHMENT PROBLEM.
NOW WE CAN SEE IT SO CLEARLY AS
ADULTS, WHY CAN'T WE SEE IT WITH
CHILDREN?
BUT IT'S BEEN UNCONSCIOUS, WE
WEREN'T MEANT TO BE CONSCIOUS OF
IT, BUT THE POINT IS, IF ANY OF
THESE BEHAVIOURS OCCUR WITH A
CHILD, WE FOCUS ON THE BEHAVIOUR
AND LOOK FOR STRATEGIES.
BUT IF THEY FOCUS IN THE OTHER
RELATIONSHIP, WE KNOW
IMMEDIATELY IT'S A RELATIONSHIP
PROBLEM.
WELL, LET ME GO TO HOW, HOW DO
WE, HOW DO WE RESTORE, HOW DO WE
WIN THEM BACK?
WELL, IT'S NOT ALL ACTUALLY THAT
COMPLICATED.
ATTACHMENT RESEARCHERS HAVE
FOUND THAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE KIND
OF COURTING INSTINCTS IN US.
THEY'RE VERY NATURAL INSTINCTS
THAT COME ALIVE WHEN WE'RE
AROUND OUR OWN INFANTS AND FOR
VERY GOOD REASONS, IS THAT WE'VE
GOT TO COLLECT THEM, SO TO
SPEAK, WE'VE GOT TO COURT THEM,
UH, TO MAKE THEM OUR OWN,
BECAUSE ONLY IN MAKING THEM OUR
OWN WILL THEY RELAX, WILL THEY
BE COMFORTABLE, CAN WE DO THE
PARENTING, WILL THEY BREASTFEED
PROPERLY AND ALL THOSE KINDS OF
THINGS.
SO WE'VE GOT TO MAKE THEM OUR
OWN SO THAT WE CAN FEED THEM AND
DO THESE KINDS OF THINGS, WELL,
WHAT DO WE DO?
WELL, I'M GONNA HAVE TO BORROW A
BABY HERE, YOU'RE GONNA BE MY
BABY AND I'M GOING TO JUST MODEL
THAT... YOU ALL KNOW THIS, SO IT
DOESN'T REQUIRE A LONG TIME BUT
WHAT WE, WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO
IS THINK, HOW WE DO THIS AROUND
INFANTS AND THEN HOW WE
TRANSPOSE IT FOR SIX-YEAR-OLDS,
FOR 16-YEAR-OLDS, FOR WHOEVER IT
IS.
THESE ARE THE VERY SAME THINGS,
IT'S ONLY A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENT.
IT'LL GO QUITE QUICKLY.
THE FIRST THING, OF COURSE, IS
YOU GET IN THE FACE IN A
FRIENDLY WAY AND YOU COLLECT THE
EYES, THEN THE SMILE, AND THE
NOD, I GOT ALL THREE, THANK YOU,
I JUST, UH, VERY, VERY WOOABLE
HERE.
YES, I GOT THIS... MY BABY
RESPONDED QUITE QUICKLY AND OF
COURSE IT JUST WARMS OUR HEART
WHEN IT DOES, BUT THINK OF WHAT
WE GO THROUGH TO GET THOSE
RESPONSES.
IF THE BABY'S NOT CO-OPERATING,
WE GO LIKE THIS AND WE GO AND
THEN WE DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS,
TRYING TO GET THOSE RESPONSES,
WHY, IT'S JUST INSTINCTIVE, WE
DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE DOING, BUT
SOMETHING INSIDE OF US IS MOVING
TO GATHER THE EYES.
NOW IN INTACT CULTURES, IN
ACTUAL GREETING RITUALS, THEY GO
THROUGH THE SAME THING.
IF... A GREETING RITUAL WILL
ACTUALLY INVOLVE NODS, SMILES
AND EYES CONNECTING.
WHY?
BECAUSE THESE ARE VERY BASIC
ATTACHMENT INSTINCTS THAT ARE
BEING ENGAGED AND LIKE IN
PROVENCE, WHERE WE WERE, YOU
CAN'T EVEN BUY A BAGUETTE UNLESS
YOU ENGAGE IN PROPER ATTACHMENT
RITUALS, FIRST OF ALL.
YOU CAN'T DO ANY BUSINESS BEFORE
YOU START AT THE FIRST THING,
WHICH IS YOU'VE GOTTA HAVE A
RELATIONSHIP, EVEN IF IT IS A
SITUATIONAL RELATIONSHIP, YOU'VE
GOTTA HAVE ONE, HOW MUCH MORE SO
WITH OUR KIDS WE'VE GOTTA DO
THIS, BUT BY THE TIME A CHILD IS
THREE OR FOUR, THE RESEARCH THAT THE MOST OF THE TIME WE GET
INTO A CHILD'S FACE OR SPACE IS
WHEN THERE IS...
TROUBLE, YEAH.
WHEN THERE IS TROUBLE.
NO LONGER ARE
WE BUILDING THE RELATIONSHIP,
WELL, MAYBE IT WAS ENOUGH TO GO
THE DISTANCE IN PRIMITIVE
SOCIETIES, WHEN CHILDREN WERE
ADULTS BY AGE 13 AND WHEN THE
CULTURE WAS ALL ALIGNING THOSE,
KEEPING THOSE ALIVE, BUT
NOWADAYS, IT WON'T DO YOU UNTIL

EVEN UNTIL THE AGE FIVE.
WE'VE GOTTA
GET INTO THE BUSINESS OF BEING
ABLE TO ROUTINELY COLLECT OUR
CHILDREN.
STEP NUMBER TWO, STEP NUMBER TWO
IS VERY EASY, IF I GET THAT FAR,
TO... IF YOU GET TO FIRST BASE,
THE NEXT ONE COMES VERY QUICKLY,
IF YOU GIVE ME YOUR HAND FOR A
MINUTE, YOU WANNA SLIP YOUR
FINGER JUST RIGHT IN THERE,
RIGHT?
THAT FEELS SO GOOD, WHY?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
YOU'RE GIVING SOMETHING OF YOURS
TO HOLD ON TO, IN A SENSE, IT'S
A FINGER, THAT'S AN ATTACHMENT
REFLEX, THAT'S NOT A MUSCLE
REFLEX.
THAT TELLS ME INTUITIVELY AND
INSTINCTIVELY IN MY ATTACHMENT
BRAIN THAT YOUR ATTACHMENT
INSTINCTS, 35 OR SO, WHICH WE
CAN MEASURE AT BIRTH, ARE
ENGAGING, THAT MEANS YOU WANNA
KEEP ME CLOSE.
AND IN HOLDING ON TO THAT WHICH
I GIVE YOU, YOU'RE HOLDING ME
CLOSE.
NOW I'M NOT GONNA BE GIVING THAT
FINGER, MAYBE TO THE SIX-YEAR-
OLD ANOTHER FINGER, BUT THAT'S
NOT SOMETHING THEY COULD HOLD ON
TO, THAT'S NOT WHAT IT IS, SO
WHAT DO I DO?
WELL, WHAT I NEED TO DO IS, WHAT
I'M WANTING TO DO IS NURTURE OR
PRIME THE ATTACHMENT, HOW DO I
PRIME THE ATTACHMENT?
I GIVE 'EM A SENSE OF
SIGNIFICANCE, THAT THEY MATTER,
A TWINKLE IN MY EYE.
THE RESEARCHERS SAY THE LIGHT,
WARMTH AND ENJOYMENT, THESE ARE
THE MOST NURTURING OF ALL.
WHEN WE GIVE THESE LITTLE
SIGNALS, I REALLY MISSED YOU
YESTERDAY, WHEN THE EYES LIGHT
UP, IN TERMS OF IT, WHEN THERE
IS A SENSE OF SPECIALNESS OR
MATTERING OR SIGNIFICANCE, THESE
ARE... THEIR ATTACHMENT HUNGER
IS FULFILLED, THEY'RE GOING TO
CLOSE THEIR SO TO SPEAK
METAPHORICAL HANDS AROUND IT AND
IN HOLDING ONTO THAT, THEY'LL BE
HOLDING ONTO...
US, YES, BUT AGAIN, WE ARE
GIVING THEM SOMETHING TO HOLD ON
TO, INSTEAD OF FIRST OF ALL,
SPEAKING, WHERE OUR FIRST IS A
NURTURING RESPONSE, INSTEAD OF
WHAT, YOU KNOW, DID YOU BRING
YOUR HOMEWORK TODAY?
NOW I GOTTA TELL... YOUR SHOES,
YOU GOTTA PUT THEM AWAY, HOW
MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU
TO DO THAT?
AND SO OUR INTERACTION AGAIN
GOES NOT TO OPEN THEM UP, TO
NURTURE, FOR THEM TO HOLD ONTO,
BUT RATHER TO FOCUS ON
BEHAVIOUR.
THE THIRD STEP AFTER THAT IS
VERY, VERY SIMPLE WITH THE
INFANT, IF I GET TO SECOND BASE,
THEN I... GOING TO THIRD BASE IS
I INVITE DEPENDENCE, MY ARMS GO
OUT AND IF THE INFANT IS OLD
ENOUGH AND READY, THE ARMS COME
UP, IT'S AN UNABASHED INVITATION
TO DEPENDENCE.
WE'RE SPOOKED TO THAT IN OUR
SOCIETY.
YOU SEE, ATTACHMENT IS ALL ABOUT
DEPENDENCE, IF WE WERE COURTING
SOMEBODY IN ADULTHOOD, WHEN WE
GOT TO THAT STAGE, WE WOULD...
WE WOULDN'T SAY TO THEM, NO, NO,
WAIT A MINUTE, DON'T EXPECT ME
TO DO ANYTHING YOU COULD AND
SHOULD DO FOR YOURSELF.
I DON'T WANT YOU TO BECOME TOO
DEPENDENT UPON ME.
NO, NO, NO, WE SAY, YOUR
PROBLEMS ARE MY PROBLEMS, HERE,
CAN I HELP, I'VE GOT AN IDEA
HERE.
I'LL HELP YOU DO THIS, WE'RE
GENEROUS IN THIS.
WHAT?
BECAUSE IT IS ABSOLUTELY
INTUITIVE PART OF DEPENDENCE AND
I MEAN, A PART OF ATTACHMENT,
ATTACHMENT IS TO FACILITATE
DEPENDENCE, BUT WE'RE SCARED,
SOMEHOW WE'VE LOST OUR FAITH IN
NATURE.
WE THINK THAT IF WE ENCOURAGE
DEPENDENCE, THEY'LL NEVER BECOME
INDEPENDENT.
WE THINK THAT IF WE, IF WE
DON'T, YOU KNOW, WITHHOLD AND
PUSH THAT OUT, THAT WE'RE GONNA
HAVE THEM THERE FOREVER.
THAT'S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS, ALL
DEVELOPMENT SCIENCE IS
UNEQUIVOCAL IN THIS.
THE ONLY WAY YOU GET A CHILD TO
WANT TO BECOME THEIR OWN
PERSONS, TO DO IT MYSELF, IS BY
FULFILLING THEIR DEPENDENCY
NEEDS.
OUR JOB IS TO INVITE THEIR
DEPENDENCE AND TO DO IT
GENEROUSLY.
IT'S NATURE'S JOB OR THE
DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS GROWTH TO
OUT OF THAT MOVE THEM TO BECOME
THEIR OWN PERSONS, TO STAND ON
THEIR OWN FEET AND MAKE THEM
VIABLE AS ATTACHMENT BEINGS.
WE'VE GOT IT MIXED UP, WE'RE
DOING NATURE'S WORK AND THEN
THEY DON'T HAVE ANY KIND OF HOME
BASE.
THE THIRD STEP IS THAT WHEN... I
MEAN, THE FOURTH STEP, TO DO
THAT, THE CLINCHER, IS THE FIRST
ACT OF DEPENDENCE IS TO ORIENT
THEM AND THAT GOES RIGHT BACK TO
THE THESIS OF THE BOOK, PEER
ORIENTATION.
THE ADULT TAKES THE PLACE OF
ORIENTING, THIS IS WHO THIS IS,
THIS IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO
TODAY AND AFTER THIS WE'RE GOING
TO DO THAT AND THIS IS THIS KIND
OF SITUATION AND, OH, YOU'VE
GOT, YOU KNOW, THAT... YOU LOOK
A LOT LIKE YOUR AUNT AND SHE HAS
THIS AND THIS AND WE'RE BUSY
ORIENTING AND THAT'S EXACTLY,
AGAIN, RESEARCH SHOWS WE DO THIS
INTUITIVELY TILL ABOUT FOUR
YEARS OF AGE AND THEN WE START
LETTING THE PEERS ORIENT THEM.
AND OF COURSE, WHEN THE PEERS
START ORIENTING THEM, THEY
FOLLOW THEIR PEERS INSTEAD OF
US, WE NEED TO BE THERE.
WELL, THESE ARE... WE GO OVER
THESE THINGS IN A LOT MORE, HOW
TO PRESERVE THE RELATIONSHIP,
HOW TO PRESERVE THE ATTACHMENT,
HOW TO CREATE A VILLAGE OF
ATTACHMENT, ESPECIALLY WHEN ONE
DOESN'T EXIST NATURALLY FOR YOU,
IF YOU DON'T HAVE EXTENDED
FAMILY, IF YOU DON'T HAVE
SUPPORTIVE... A SUPPORTING CAST,
THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, BUT THE
THESIS IS VERY, VERY SIMPLE.
THE THESIS IS EXTREMELY SIMPLE,
THE THESIS IS THAT THE
RELATIONSHIP IS THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT, CRITICAL FACTOR IN
DEVELOPMENT AND PARENTING.
THAT CULTURE IS NO LONGER DOING
ITS JOB AND SUPPORTING IT, IT'S
TAKEN AN ECONOMIC TURN AND IT'S
NOT IN THE ATTACHMENT BUSINESS
ANYMORE.
SO THAT MEANS THAT PARENTS AND
TEACHERS NEED TO GET INTO THE
ATTACHMENT BUSINESS THEMSELVES,
BECOME CONSCIOUS OF IT AND TAKE
CARE TO PROVIDE THAT CONTEXT, WE
CAN NO LONGER TAKE THAT
RELATIONSHIP FOR GRANTED.
WE NEED TO DO AND WIN OUR
CHILDREN'S HEARTS TO BE ABLE TO
DO THE KIND OF... TO FULFIL OUR
FUNCTIONS WITH THEM.
WELL, THAT, THAT WAS A VERY
QUICK WALK-THROUGH AND THANK YOU
FOR YOUR ATTENTION IN THAT AND I
HOPE FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT,
THAT, THAT READ THE BOOK, MY
HOPE IS THAT IT WILL RESONATE
WITH YOUR DEEPEST INTUITIONS,
THAT IT WILL FEEL AS IF YOU
ALWAYS KNEW THIS, DIDN'T KNOW
THE WORDS FOR IT, BUT ALWAYS
KNEW THIS AND MAYBE DIDN'T KNOW
THAT IT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT
THING TO KNOW ABOUT PARENTING,
BUT HOPEFULLY IT WILL VERY MUCH
RESTORE AND AFFIRM NATURAL AND
VERY INTUITIVE PARENTING.

Watch: Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld on Hold On To Your Kids