Child-parent relationship expert to visit Red Deer

Parents can learn how to maintain or rebuild their relationships with their children to prevent negative peer influence.

Parents can learn how to maintain or rebuild their relationships with their children to prevent negative peer influence.

Vancouver author and doctor Gabor Maté said the child-parent relationship has been disintegrating for many years.

But now there’s more at stake.

“It is more dangerous because now we have this whole peer culture with it’s degraded values, the precocious sexuality, the drug use, and in the extreme case the violence and bullying,” said Maté, who will be speaking on how to repair child/parent relationships in Red Deer on Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Memorial Centre.

“This has been building since the Second World War. With each generation, the manifestations become more and more stark.”

The breakup of the local community and extended family, and the increasing number of two working-parent families have all allowed peers to replace parents in the lives of children, he said on Tuesday from Vancouver.

“The child has a deep need to connect. It’s not a luxury for children. It’s programmed in their brains. They are instinctively driven to attach, to connect, because that’s how they survive.

“They will connect to whoever is around, like a duckling that will imprint on whatever moves if the mother duck is not there when the duck is born.”

As a result of the breakdown of “adult nurturing networks” children are now connecting to one another, he said.

“Gradually, (children) have far more influence over one another than nature ever intended them to have.”

Maté said peer connection, reinforced more now by modern communication technology, eliminates the incentive for children to be good for their parents and disciplining techniques like time outs and tough love drive kids even further away.

Central Alberta’s Safe Harbour Society for Health & Housing organized Maté presentations, which also include a look at the cost of hidden stress on Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the Red Deer Memorial Centre and addictions on Nov. 26 at 9 a.m. at the Potters Hand Ministries.

For more information on Maté go to www,

Cost is $20 per session. Tickets are available at 5246-53rd Ave. or phone 403-347-0181.

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