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ERIC Number: EJ868729
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
Holding On to Our Kids in a Peer Culture
Mate, Gabor
Education Canada, v50 n1 p61-63 Win 2009-2010
The chief and most damaging of the competing attachments undermining parental and elder authority and love is the increasing bonding of children with their peers. The disorder affecting today's young children and adolescents is rooted in their loss of orientation toward the nurturing adults in their lives. For the first time in history, young people are turning for instruction, modeling, and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to people whom nature never intended to place in a parenting role--their own peers. Children are not manageable, teachable, or maturing because they no longer take their cues from responsible adults. Instead, they are being brought up by immature persons who cannot possibly guide them to maturity. They are being brought up by each other. The term that seems to fit more than any other for this phenomenon is "peer orientation." It is peer orientation that has muted parenting instincts, eroded parents' natural authority, and caused parents to parent and teach not from the heart but from the head--from manuals, the advice of "experts," and the confused expectations of society. Parents and other child-rearing adults may not be able to reverse the social, cultural, and economic forces driving peer orientation, but there is much they can do in their homes and in their classrooms to keep themselves from being prematurely replaced. Because culture no longer leads children in the right direction toward genuine independence and maturity, parents and other child-rearing adults matter more than ever before. Nothing less will do than to place the parent-child (and adult-child) relationship back onto its natural foundation. Just as relationship is at the heart of current parenting and teaching difficulties, it is also at the heart of the solution. Adults who ground their rearing of the young in a solid relationship with the child are acting intuitively, whether in the home or the classroom. They do not have to resort to manuals if they act from understanding and empathy. If parents know how to be with their children and who to be for them, they need much less advice on what to do. Practical approaches emerge spontaneously from their own experience once the relationship has been restored. Parenting and teaching techniques, while useful, need to be secondary to the relationship and need to flow from the relationship. They are no substitutes for it.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada