BALANCING 4 OBJECTIVES OF
-aARTH, kaam, DHARm
IS BEING FORGOTTEN...
AND SHOWS AS BREAKDOWN
IN FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
The above phenomenon in progress is a widespread consensus in the parents of
Indian origin communities in Europe, UK and North America.....And this
phenomenon is not confined to Indian origin communities only but is rampant in
all communities in western civilization....The continually evolving destruction
of fundamental child-parent relationship does not bode well for the survival of
humanity as per the SCIENCES OF CREATION AND LIFE
The root cause of this child-parent relationship is attributable to the loss
of knowledge of human relationship and practice thereof based on the 4
objectives of human life: aARTH, kaam, DHARm
and moKSH....these 4 life objectives
must be balanced in daily life...when these 4 life objectives are not balanced
then life starts defaulting....and the distress signs in life shows such as:
- breakdown of family relationships between spouses,
- breakdown of bonds between parents and children,
- breakdown of inter-human relationship in a society;
- breakdown of human relationship between races, communities and
Humans in western civilization in current times starting with industrial
revolution are focused on creation of wealth only and their search of knowledge
is alos focused on creation of wealth only...this creation of wealth is
aARTH part of 4-objectives of
life....and kaam part which is taking
care of all the daily pleasures and recreations is left out to only 2 weeks of
holidays in a year or forced daily unwillingly....DHARm
part of life which is to do everything and all kARm in life with moral and
ethical values is seriously compromised and corrupted in greed for attaining
either aARTH or
which is the pursuit of life to liberate oneself from the pain of
suffering is not even thought of on a daily basis due to overburden of
kaam which are lived without
All of the above science knowledge of balanced life is being now discovered
in western scientific research....But 2 Vancouver, Canada clinical
psychologists have a research theory about today's children in North America,
but grownups won't like this research
THE PARENTAL BOND WITH CHILDREN IS
WITH HARROWING AND DEADLY RESULTS.....
You can read about this research by visiting
Canadian Globe and Mail
or by scrolling further down this page on this PVAF web site....
By ALANNA MITCHELL
Canadian Globe and Mail: Saturday, January 31,
2004 - Page F1
The two boys are wearing identical outfits -- baggy, chemically faded jeans,
oversized winter coats and immaculate white runners, laces untied and tongues
jutting up over the cuffs of their pants.
The two girls have a more revealing uniform: ultra-skinny jeans and puffy coats
that skim the waist, one in brilliant white with a belt at the bottom and the
other in tan.
They've claimed a sweet vantage point in the mall, right at the entrance to the
Famous Players theatre. It's a game of "see and be seen," of scanning the packs
of passers-by, checking out the swagger and identifying the various tribes here
in the natural element of the mysterious, modern teen.
Few adults appear. When they do, they're in pairs, determined to make their
movies on time. They glance almost furtively at the four teens monopolizing the
corner of the entrance and at the throngs of other teens descending on the mall
on a bustling Friday evening.
From a distance, the kids seem fresh and full of potential. They can't be
anything like the ones who have spawned the parent-freaking headlines of the
past few years: suicide, gangs, early sex, pregnancy, alienation, Littleton,
Taber, Reena Virk and other random acts of violence from coast to coast.
Or can they? Let's try talking to them.
White coat bolts straight away, without making eye contact, and flees in horror
to the embrace of the rest of her pack several metres away. Tan jacket stands
her ground with the boys, a hostile look on her face. So what is it with teens
today, they're asked.
Delivered by one of the boys, the brush-off is immediate and absolute. "We're
kind of busy," he says, with a hard look on his face. Then he turns his back.
When Gordon Neufeld hears this story a few days later, he laughs. An experienced
clinical psychologist in Vancouver, he recognizes the symptoms all too well.
This is a sign of what he calls "peer-orientation" or "peer-attachment
disorder," which he contends is a modern blight responsible for today's
dangerous teen landscape and getting worse all the time.
According to Dr. Neufeld, teens who are peer-oriented dress alike and reject
contact with adults. Their obsession with their friends and acquaintances
supplants any real interest in adults to the point that they are emotionally
detached even from their parents.
In fact, they despise grownups and often shun them. They have no stake in
pleasing them any more because their emotional compass has switched from their
parents to their friends. They're almost impossible to nurture or teach. And
they certainly feel no obligation to explain themselves to an adult in a
"I'm convinced that peer-attachment disorder is the greatest disorder of our
times," Dr. Neufeld says, adding that the problems of 90 to 95 per cent of the
patients he sees are rooted in a skewed attachment.
In effect, he says, children are bringing up other children, and that's a recipe
for dystopia straight out of Lord of the Flies. It's the death of parenthood.
This is the hypothesis that Dr. Neufeld and co-author Gabor Maté, a family
physician and therapist in Vancouver, outline in their new book, Hold On To Your
Kids: Why Parents Matter, published today in Canada and to appear next year in
the United States.
Already the topic of controversy in the medical community, Hold On is a product
of a billion-dollar industry devoted to counselling troubled parents striving to
figure out what, if anything, is really wrong with their kids. One school of
thought holds that it was ever thus -- causing parental angst is almost a
childhood rite of passage.
But the thesis of these two specialists is anything but reassuring. They contend
that the current generation of parents has pretty much lost its authority over
children, either through negligence or indulgence, leaving them in an emotional
void. To fill that void, kids bond with people their own age and wind up
This theory has its roots deep in the brain's biological survival instincts.
Infants attach themselves to the grownups who take care of them and the
grownups, in turn, attach to the children. As a result, babies will "make
strange" with other adults. They want their parent and no one else.
But as the child grows older, reaching the age of 8 or 9, some parents withdraw
their attachment, thinking they are acting for the best, and push children to be
independent. Faced with an unbearable and unnatural attachment vacuum, the
authors argue, such lost children will cling instead to whomever else is around.
The brain, programmed to attach, goes for what's there, even if it's someone
This process has gained increasing momentum ever since the Second World War, as
families have become more mobile and been allowed to break up more easily, and
mothers have gone back to work and technology has advanced. Children have become
attached to their peers and then been given little incentive to beak that bond.
In effect, they've begun to make strange with their own parents.
As a result, parents lose the power to direct their children -- even if, as the
Supreme Court of Canada ruled yesterday, they have a right to get physical with
the younger ones. If kids don't care what their parents think, why do what they
What follows, according to Dr. Neufeld and Dr. Maté, is the death of curiosity,
of maturation, of proper development with an aberrant society rising in its
Dr. Neufeld, who has pieced together this theory over 20 years of clinical
practice and research, likens the situation to what could happen to a mother
goose and her goslings. In the past, it didn't really matter if one or two of
the youngsters wanted to follow other goslings because, as a group, they still
traipsed behind the mother. But today, things are so topsy-turvy that she's now
chasing the goslings, begging for a piece of the action.
At least she realizes that something has gone wrong. Today's parents, Dr.
Neufeld says, grew up with a similar attraction to their peers, remain that way
and so are often blind to what's going on. They think kids should be with other
kids and work hard to make sure they are.
A couple approached him for help recently, upset that their 13-year-old son
wanted to be with them all the time. "That's what it's come to," he says,
sighing. "We see children who are adult-oriented as being aberrant."
Dr. Maté puts it another way: Even when the generations get together, they're
Think of the last party you went to -- it's unlikely that kids were invited.
Even if they were, chances are they simply had a party of their own, gathering
around the television set and ignoring any grownup bold enough to draw near.
Back at the Scarborough Town Centre, evening is becoming night. More adults have
shown up, but they are still vastly outnumbered in the promenades, music stores
and Old Navy by the tribes of teens.
The kids roam around in tightly defined groups of five or six, warily eyeing
each other. They are concentrated most densely at the food court now, the girls
sipping on diet pop, boys munching on fries. Almost every one of them brandishes
a cellphone, evidence of the technological bubble in which they exist. Many keep
checking the phones for coded text messages, some of which, to judge from the
hilarity and waving, are from friends a few metres away.
Three girls sit primly at a round table, feasting on McDonald's food and so less
likely to bolt if approached. They look identical, right down to the silhouette,
the colours, the long hair, the heavy eye liner and thick makeup. One has just
put down her cellphone to launch into a tirade about her boyfriend.
Perhaps they would like to offer their views on today's teens?
One responds with a withering look. "It's not a good time right now," she says
dismissively. The girl just off the phone doesn't miss a beat, as though
grownups are invisible. "That speech I just gave," she tells her friends,
gesturing to her cell, "he didn't hear a word. He hung up on me."
To the authors of Hold On, that kids can behave this way illustrates abject
failure for parenthood. But to U.S. researcher Judith Rich Harris, parenthood
never had a chance -- it's been next to irrelevant all along.
Ms. Harris is the author of The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the
Way They Do, a 1998 book whose subtitle says it all: Parents Matter Less Than
You Think and Peers Matter More.
She contends that adults have no lasting effects on the personality,
intelligence or mental health of their children, apart from providing the raw
genetic material. In other words, it's game over at birth. All the hugs, music
lessons, bedtime reading, homework homilies and walks through the park make no
real difference in the long run.
The very best thing parents can do? According to Ms. Harris, it's make sure that
your kids look good, because their peers will notice and that's what really
Published around the world, the book was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and
the 1995 research paper that first outlined her views won an award from the
American Psychological Association. She has eminent defenders in the academic
world (as well as many detractors) and her intention was to relieve parents of
guilt. If the kids don't turn out, it's not your fault, she told them. It's
either because of their genes or their friends.
But to Dr. Neufeld and Dr. Maté, this kind of advice is badly mistaken. Peers
may well have lots of influence, but they shouldn't, they say. Instead,
children's compass point must be their parents.
And parents, far from giving up, must do everything they can to hold on. They
need to establish the hierarchy of the family and of the generations and "embed"
children in it. They need to glory in their children's dependence on them, at
least until the children are mature enough to go off on their own. Friends are
fine. It's just that they can't be the be-all and end-all.
The duo recognize the irony in their theory. It's a U-turn from the prevailing
attitudes on how to raise children. Advice from the reigning parental experts
assumes children need to be pushed toward independence, urged to do for
themselves, coaxed to derive their self-esteem from other kids. To help them do
that, parents gobble up advice from self-help books, boning up on the latest
tricks of the parenting trade.
A classic example, Dr. Maté notes, is the advice from experts to give a
misbehaving child a so-called time out. He says parents do so faithfully for
years, thinking it's the right thing even though it runs counter to a child's
biological need to attach to the parent.
This and other means of thrusting children away, Dr. Neufeld says, are rampant
but "developmentally illegitimate." Parents are running around trying to figure
out what to do, when they should be re-examining who they are to their children.
Dr. Maté tells the story of what happened when his niece had a baby and took to
holding the child on her belly. By the third day, the neonatal nurse had had
enough, and told her to stop before she spoiled the baby.
"Try telling a monkey that," Dr. Maté says. "The fundamental thing is, we're
trying to awaken people's parental intuition."
At least one expert on the childhood mind calls all this bunk.
Jean Wittenberg is head of infant psychiatry at the Hospital for Sick Children
in Toronto and president of the Canadian Alliance for Children's Health Care. He
also represents a middle ground of sorts, arguing passionately that parents
matter, but dismissing the theory expressed in Hold On as far too simplistic and
a misapplication of developmental attachment.
"It's like there is one secret or one answer to everything," he says. "Life is
too complex to reduce it to one idea. There is no magic bullet."
A psychiatrist trained in attachment theory, Dr. Wittenberg describes it as just
one of many key factors, along with such things as discipline, play and
As well, he says, the Hold On theory fails to take into account the march of
human development over a lifetime. A parent's job is to help a child move from
the breast, to toddlerhood, to school, to summer camp, to university, to the job
market, learning to cope with friends and acquaintances along the way.
"It is tremendously important for our children to be successful with their
peers," Dr. Wittenberg insists. "It's very important for parents to help them.
If a child is failing with his or her peers, it's misery."
In his view, a 13-year-old who seems distant from her parents is more apt to be
going through a necessary struggle for independence rather than losing her
attachment to her parents.
Neither does he see a dystopia looming. Roughly 20 per cent of Canadians have
some psychiatric problem, and the other 80 per cent are fine, he says. Children
are still growing up, remaining close to their families, having children of
their own, caring for their relatives. Parents are still heavily involved with
their children, as they should be. Even in the families of his young patients at
the hospital, where the relationship is by definition not ideal, Dr. Wittenberg
says he sees a great deal of love.
So what are parents supposed to do in these troubled times? Be there for your
children in appropriate measures throughout their lives. Acknowledge that being
a parent can be difficult, and try to walk in your child's shoes with what he
calls a "sophisticated empathy." Understand what the child is thinking, feeling,
doing, before trying to make a diagnosis.
The mall is really getting busy now. Friday is, without question, the busiest
night of the week for many teens.
A boy of 5 or 6 walks by, all bundled up. His mother tugs him along at a good
clip and he follows obediently. Duelling experts aside, how do you get from him
to the self-absorbed tribes all around?
Unlike so many of the younger kids, Melissa Pupo, 18, and Farzana Farook, 17,
have a few thoughts to offer. Both are in Grade 12 and, since their companions
have wandered off for a few minutes, they politely agree to an interview, a
sign, in Dr. Neufeld's analysis, that they are properly parent-oriented.
Fiddling slightly with the metal in her pierced lower lip, Ms. Pupo says she
sees signs of trouble already in the Grade 4 kids she helps to teach in her
co-op program: They have "attitude." If they don't get what they want, they just
get mad. "Kids don't care any more about anything except their friends."
They've got no respect, Ms. Farook adds, her eyes scanning the crowd non-stop.
Their parents haven't disciplined them properly; they don't respect their
Ms. Pupo says she has 15 friends who already have kids, although just three of
the dads are still in the picture. She knows another eight girls under 18 who
Both young women say they care deeply what their parents think. They confide in
them. This is the secret to good family life, they say.
"I talk to my mom about everything. I can tell her everything. She knows
everything there is to know," Ms. Pupo says, affection in her eyes.
A few shops away, Lynsey Ross, 16, also has a few thoughts to share, although
her two friends have categorically refused to talk and stalked off in their
puffy jackets. But she wants to let grownups know what she's thinking, which is:
Friends are just friends. Parents are forever.
She knows because her dad died when she was 13 and she went off the rails until
last year. She and her mother fought like there was no tomorrow. Finally, her
mom broke through, telling Ms. Ross that she was responsible for her own life.
Everything changed after that.
Her advice to worried parents? Don't give in too easily. And don't let go. Never
Alanna Mitchell is a senior feature writer at The Globe and Mail.
Signs of trouble
Timing: The switch in allegiance from parents to peers can begin as early as 5,
according Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté, authors of Hold On To Your Kids: Why
Parents Matter. The problem often comes to a head at 12 or 13.
Behaviour: Some signs are subtle, and others brutally obvious. When with other
kids, peer-oriented children can seem animated, talkative, even demonstrative
but, when a grownup approaches, refuse "even the most elementary rituals of
attachment, such as eye contact, greetings and introductions."
They feel they must meld with their peers, which includes looking exactly like
If such children come to visit, they will appear uncomfortable, answer in
mumbling monosyllables, and try to herd your children away from you. On the
phone, they will refuse to identify themselves or to greet you by name.
Rejection: Disengaged children spurn any notion that they resemble their
parents. They will go out of their way to take an opposing point of view and
embrace different preferences, opinions and judgments. "If these children could,
they would walk on the opposite side of the street in a contrary direction," the
Results: Such children make a parent's life difficult. They are hard to teach,
aggressive and disobedient. Not caring what grownups think, they are immune to
most forms of punishment.
Parents can find themselves feeling acutely rejected, if not crushed, neglected
and even outright angry at being emotionally rebuffed.
What parents can do
Be aware: The most important thing is to understand the theory of attachment and
recognize when it has gone wrong, Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté say. Most often,
it's not that a child is behaving badly, but that the relationship with the
parent has been ruptured and replaced with a dependence on peers.
Be wary: For example, the authors don't suggest abandoning daycare although they
contend the "seeds of peer-orientation" are sown there. Instead, parents with
kids in daycare may want to take extra care to nurture their attachment with
Control access: One specific suggestion, Dr. Neufeld says, is to keep your
children's peers "out of their face." For example, don't automatically turn to
peers as a cure for boredom. Don't encourage a child to gain self-esteem from
them. Try to make sure that he or she is exposed to adults and learns to
interact with them at social gatherings, rather than being with other kids all
Be bold: If the attachment is lost, don't give up. It can be revived. "In may
ways, peer orientation is like a cult, and the challenges of reclaiming children
are much the same as if we were facing the seductions of a cult," the authors
write. "The real challenge is to win back their hearts and their minds, not just
have their bodies under our roof and at our table."
Be assertive: Once you realize what has happened, you can train yourself to put
your attachment with your child first and to reinforce it every day. Then it's a
question of relying on your natural parenting instincts. "What we're really
saying is that you don't need us, you don't need experts. You'll know what to
do. Nature will tell you," Dr. Maté says.
Radical surgery: In extreme cases, one suggestion is to separate the child from
the peers so that he or she, faced with an intolerable void, reattaches to the
parent. But be cautious. "It is important not to reveal one's agenda, as this
can easily backfire."
Meet the authors: Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté are scheduled to appear Feb. 9
at Alumni Hall as part of the University of Toronto Reading Series. Four days
later, Dr. Maté will be in Peterborough, Ont., for an appearance at Showplace