While attending church, we have always gone to the building that allows children to attend with their parents, instead of opting for weekly childcare. When the church recently added a building for high schoolers to participate in a church service with their peers, that felt off to me. Isn’t attending church a family event to do together, not separate? Unless they are homeschooled, children are at daycare or school with peers, up to 5 days a week. Why would a 6th day at church be an additional option or offering? I’m definitely not the only one that feels this way, because I do see some small tots to high schoolers with their parents during the service.
Recently I was led to a very intriguing book titled, Hold on to your Kids by Gabor Mate’. This book provides profound information on the reasons that children are most often choosing to bond to peer groups, rather than parents, as early as 8 years of age. The book also cites the detrimental outcomes of children’s confidence, emotional development and even vocabulary by having an allegiance to their peers. The dramatic increase in peer bonding is a fairly recent occurrence in society.
To get a flavor of the in depth information in Gabor Mate’s book, listen to this eye opening talk on the basis of peer group orientation. It is a topic typically brought up by parents who are disgruntled and exasperated, yet regretfully accept that their children avoid communication with them and only want to be with their friends. The link below and his book give perspective on a behavior that is believed to be “normal” for children, but in reality it is not normal, nor is it optimal for child development.