I am reading the book “Hold On to Your Kids, Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers” written by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate and I frequently stop, reflect and wonder. I am particularly drawn to the writers discussion of moving from mad to sad or from frustration to futility. The discussion informs how emotional development, maturation and individuation allow us to experience feelings that are complex and that when we are “mad” and “frustrated” we are provided an opportunity to struggle, rebel, initiate action, get confused and possibly shift towards something else such as underlying “sadness”, “hurt”, “disappointment” or “grief”. This struggle is the growth, exploring our feelings, gaining insight, experiencing futility and possibly letting go and moving forward.
This process as discussed in the book focuses on the critical nature of healthy attached relationships between parent (caregiver) and child. How establishing and maintaining unconditional love and acceptance for children as they grow and mature will support healthy emotional maturation. Technological advances and the evolution of a peer-oriented culture have changed and challenge the landscape of emotional intelligence and maturation. The key take away from this book is that Parents (caregivers) do indeed matter, now more than ever before.