I bought the book, Hold on to Your Kids, because the description sounded interesting and I liked the fact that the authors were Canadian.
When I began reading it, I was reminded of a point I noted in an earlier parenting post about how educational television for children spends too much time developing the conflict and not enough time resolving it: like those well meaning television producers, the authors of this book spend 2/3 of its page count presenting the evils of peer-orientation and how it can lead to everything from aggression and bullying to drug addiction and sexual promiscuity in your child. The horror of a peer-oriented child is expounded upon through pages and pages of anecdotal examples. For my liking there was not enough reference to scientific research and study much of what was presented seemed to be theory, but the examples were compelling and the theory is interesting and plausible.
Peer-orientation is blamed on many factors, but seems to come down to simply being the state of modern life. Less time with your children due to busy lives is one culprit. Too many scheduled activities that take your children away from time with you, whether it is sports or music or some other extracurricular activity it doesn't matter. Modern technology such as cell phones allow for chronic teen to teen texting and parents with a constant Blackberry distraction. All these things add up to parents and children who are disconnected from one another, but more importantly, according to this book, children who are connected to their peers instead of their parents.
When I finally got to the part of the book that explained what you can do to keep your children from becoming peer-oriented or to claw them back from the gaping jaws of their peers (so to speak) I was relieved to find the solutions sensible and as-advertised, somewhat intuitive. They basically come down to spending more time with your kid, not giving up your critical role as Moral Compass and Life Guide for your child no matter how exasperated you are, and taking every opportunity to initiate interaction with your child and not just be reactive to their demands for your attention. Common sense for some perhaps, but according to the authors of this book, the plague of vulnerable and troubled peer-oriented children would indicate otherwise.
Find a link in the Bedside Stack list on the right hand column of the blog if you are interested in reading the reviews or purchasing via Amazon.
I wanted to add one thing to this review - if you are having qualms about using 'time-outs' as a disciplinary approach or 'crying it out' methods for sleep training, this book may have some insights for you to consider. The authors really urge you to trust your instincts and I can tell you that my instincts did not like 'crying it out' approaches. After reading the ideas in this book I am glad we didn't follow through with that method of sleep training and I have no intention of using 'time-outs.' That's just my approach, everyone has to do what works for them, but this book certainly added something new to the debate over those methods for me.