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No. 604, February 9, 2009

Attachment – the science of relationships

Canadian psychologist Gordon Neufeld is a real pioneer within education, leadership and personal development. His insight into the key importance of psychological attachment all through human life is paradigm-breaking.

"We follow those we feel attached to", says Neufeld in a lecture on dvd. We follow and learn from those we feel emotionally attached to, those we like and have a good relationship with. Neufeld focuses on teachers, parents and children. But the phenomena exists also in the grown-up world: We obey managers but follow true leaders.

Does this need to be said? Is it not obvious? Yes, to many people it is, but many routines at work, in schools and in society still ignore the attachment phenomena.

Man is a herd animal. We have a strong inner drive to attach to one another. Children and youth are programmed to attach to those giving them attention, and to emotionally reject those with other values. Children and youth who attach to healthy parents will reject bad company, drugs, violence and unreliable strangers. This is nature’s security mechanism to ensure the healthy influence of parents and adults trusted by parents, such as friends, relatives and teachers. But attachment takes time, which is often lacking today. Today parents and teachers must hold on to their youngsters in order not to be rejected in favour of peers and the peer-oriented youth culture of today, says Neufeld.

Each time a teacher or parent experiences a young person as difficult to teach or to parent, there is an attachment problem, according to Neufeld. Parenthood is a relationship, not a skill. When the relationship works parenting is easy. When it does not work, it is very difficult. Parental attachment makes parenting easy and also the teachers job easy – safe and motivated who want to learn and live up to the expectations of parents and teachers.

Curriculum, educational methods and technology are not important for learning, says Neufeld. What is important is that the pupil’s like their teacher.

Neufeld contends that our culture has lost the concept of attachment. Since the second world war parents and teachers have tried to be friends with the younger generation, rather than being mature and loving adults who offer knowledge and guidance.

Our culture will not survive without attachment, says Neufeld. One of our great societal problems in both school and work is the belief that we can control or influence people we lack attachment to.

Listening to Gordon Neufeld is to hear an entirely new perspective and instantly see new solutions to seemingly impossible problems at home, in schools, at work and in society. He awakes a hope for a better future. Gordon Neufeld leads the 2009 Strategies Seminar June 4 in Stockholm.

Creative regards! Jonas Himmelstrand


© 2009 Strategies to Learn & Grow Newsletter • Printable version

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