In this article, Gordon Neufeld, co-author of "Hold On to Your Kids", considers nature plus nurture as a team concept and explains why "letting go” of adolescents is not the way to develop independence.
"It’s only when a plant’s attachment roots find what they are seeking that it can begin to mature and grow. And that’s the whole idea about holding on to your kids. Our responsibility is to meet the attachment and dependency needs of our children so they can truly begin to spontaneously emerge as viable, separate beings."
Children and adolescents need to be dependent so they can grow as independent beings. Simple, right?
The next layer is not so simple: peer attachment is a recent phenomenon, and when it competes with adult attachment, complications emerge.
"The planets are supposed to revolve around the sun, not each other. And when children start revolving around each other, it pulls them out of orbit from their [mentors], and this is the phenomenon we’re seeing."
Peer orientation is also happening with other generations, for example, grandparents are seeking more experiences with peers and parents are often feeling pressure to deliver experientially and materially in line with peers and under the influence of competing peer attachments.
The evolution of attachment and orientation is not wrong or right, good or bad, it just is.
Dr Kaylene Henderson provides a short and sweet explanation of attachment and it's importance as a child finds their way in the world.
One of the keys to raising confident, capable children is responding to their individual needs, rather than to our own. Mentoring, whether as parent or otherwise, requires creating a secure base and a safe haven for the mentee. Then they can explore the world they live in with confidence.
Exploring these social and cultural shifts simply helps mentors, and more specifically parents, understand the challenges we are experiencing with the way children and adolescents are maturing. And most importantly, how we can adapt the way we mentor.
The village is changing, and The Collective Journey's
guiding principles of mentorship provide the foundation: connection, compassion, collectively.