How Not to F*** Them Up and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 0.25 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading How Not to F*** Them Up on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

How Not to F*** Them Up [Paperback]

Oliver James
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 2.70 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 18 Sep.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 5.49  
Hardcover 17.99  
Paperback 6.29  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged 56.95  
Trade In this Item for up to 0.25
Trade in How Not to F*** Them Up for an Amazon Gift Card of up to 0.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

7 April 2011

As a mother, are you comfortable in your skin?

Want to know how best to be a stay-at-home or working mum?

Babies have very simple needs, yet many parents are overwhelmed with elaborate advice on how to meet them. In How Not to F*** Them Up, leading child psychologist Oliver James argues that your under-threes do not need training; it's getting your head straight as a parent that's important.

Drawing on extensive interviews and the lastest clinical research, James identifies three basic types of mum: the Hugger, the Organiser and the Fleximum. Outlining the benefits and pitfalls of each, How Not to F*** Them Up shows you how to recognise which style suits you best and outlines simple strategies to reconcile personal ambitions with the needs of your family.

Empowering and provocative, Oliver James will help you make the best choices for bringing up a happy, confident child.

Frequently Bought Together

How Not to F*** Them Up + They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life + Love Bombing: Reset Your Child's Emotional Thermostat
Price For All Three: 19.57

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vermilion (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009192393X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091923938
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


"Easily readable, liberating ... a book you can trust." (The Independent)

"In a perfect world every parent would have a parenting masterclass before the baby arrives. This is the next best thing!" (Arabella Weir)

"At last, something for the modern mother! A sane voice amid the shrill cacophony of childcare books" (Imogen Edwards-Jones)

"I agree with Oliver James. Caring for a baby or toddler is personal, because you have to tune in to the child's changing needs." (Sue Palmer The Times)

"Unlike other books of this sort, How Not to F*** Them Up focuses on the wellbeing of the parent as a starting point for meeting the needs of the child... This is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, and is not afraid to admit his own frailties. As a result his theories come across not as condescension, but as advice from one fucked-up-person to another." (Jake Wallis Simons The Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

Oliver James - leading psychologist and bestselling author of Affluenza - presents research and clear guidance on how to parent in a way that works best for you and your child

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather mixed 30 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book in parts interesting and in parts irritating.

The basic premise is that mothers divide into three categories: organisers (trying to return to pre-baby life asap, fans of routines), huggers (think attachment parenting types, stay at home mothers) and flexi-mums (balancing their needs and those of the babies). James' position is essentially that you want to be as much of a hugger as you can be without ending up with postnatal depression. In particular, he thinks mothers should stay at home until their children is three if possible. He comes from the psychoanalytical tradition so there is much on how your own childhood affects your approach as well as recommendations on the type of therapist to look for.

Aside from rankling my feminist side, I found it frustrating that James didn't acknowledge the issue that in the UK, your job is only held open for a year while you are on maternity leave, that you may not be granted flexible working if you do return, that both of you continuing in a career is a form of risk mitigation, and that just because you are not returning to work 'for the money', it doesn't mean that you can afford a nanny. He seems to attribute any financial shortcomings to 'affluenza' but then seems genuinely surprised when he looks at the budget of one couple he interviews and can't see any way for them to cut back! I also felt that he glosses over the very real issue of sleep deprivation if you adopt a 'hugger' approach and seems to optimistically think that by 6 months, you'll be coping rather than still only getting 3 or 4 hours sleep a night as was the case with us.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I was really looking forward to reading this, mostly because I have a 2 year daughter. With hindsight, the fact that she is 2 and my son is 5 and a half should perhaps have made me wary of a book suggesting how to bring up under 3's. Inevitably, my feelings about the book are liable to become tinged with an element of guilt that I sent my own son to nursery rather than employ the nanny so strongly prefered within this book. In a nutshell, James talks us through 3 types of mothers - one that needs to work, one that needs to hug and love their children at all times and one that combines both (but not necessarily the best bits). Having helped you identify which you are he then goes on to offer advice - backed up well with references to academic studies and reserach galore - on how best to care for your children. He makes no pretence about addressing a middle class audience but even so, I think his expectations of the time and money available for psychoanalysis - which appears to be essential to good mothering - are slightly off beam. I have no doubt his advice is sound but a warning to those who have already made the bed their children lie in - this might leave you riddled with guilt. Luckily, James is currently penning his next tome 'Love Bombing' which apparently will offer us a way out of our previous mistakes....
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By DoYouHaveItInGreen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
What a brilliant book. I am not one for rushing off to write reviews about my latest read but this book has really made me think hard about the kind of parent I am, why I have arrived at that parenting style and what the real impact is likely to be on my 9 month old. I wish I had read it when I was pregnant so that I could have relaxed a little, knowing what things *truely are* important to the way a child experiences life, and how this will affect them long term. I think other reviewers are correct about it making uncomfortable reading if your child is over 3, because while Oliver James does not deal out blame in this book, just presents the evidence in an easily digestible form, you might find yourself suffering from a nasty bout of indigestion when you realise just what sort of damage imposing "detachment" parenting regimes (like cry it out and Gina Ford) can do to your baby. Really this book is ideally read early on in your parenting (while you are at the thinking about it stage would be ideal) and I think if you and your partner both read it, it will have the most impact because you have a chance to look at how both of you can either complement or pull against one another depending on your natural inclinations in the way you parent. Just fascinating. Thank you Oliver James for pulling all the evidence together in one place.
If you are struggling to decide about going back to work and who should care for your child, this book is a MUST.
Goes beautifully with his other title "They F*** you up" and also with "Why Love Matters".
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a very sanctamonious look at child rearing and will make most people feel guilty if you read it after your children are a certain age. I expected to find a book based on lifelong childrearing and not centered around the first years - somewhat misleading in the title.

Basically the concept is that young children need to be in a loving consistent environement and creches are most likely not going to provide this.

So basically if the mother is not able to look after your children and needs to work (although the author believes this in itself is not really true), the father is not able to also do so (a second best in his opinion), your parents are not able/willing/living to look after them, you cannot afford a nanny and you end up putting your child in creche while you go out to work then you will have an extremely damaged child in the end most likely as most creche's do not provide a loving environment.

The book is aimed at middle class parents as he states as only middle class parents would even care enough to buy such a book.

The examples sited to support his theories are very tailored and seem to revolve around individual interviews that he has made mixed with some scientific studies. It doesn't give me a feeling that they are particularly substantiated. They don't show any evolution of the child and how this impacts the child later in life.

It regurgitates a message that could have been made in probably 50 pages for an entire book.

If you read it before you have made any decisions on childcare there may be some valid points. However, having had 4 well balanced children go through creche who are fitting very well into society, doing well at school and are very happy; I don't agree with the book.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great product
Published 1 month ago by Diana Higham
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A few chapters in and very interesting. A good insight into parenting styles and a better understanding of other mothers.
Published 2 months ago by Chilly J
5.0 out of 5 stars How to not f them up
MUST READ! This is a powerful book offering a fascinating insight into parenting and family relationships. I highly recommend it!
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. Slm Drumm
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Interesting read but felt like it's biased towards stay at home mums over mums working part time. Made me feel rather guilty for going to work!
Published 7 months ago by Rachel Sudlow
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but not entirely helpful
If you don't agree with his basic principle of the three types of mothers this book gets tedious. There's a large portion on working mothers or not, and for me this was irrelevant... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mrs Carla Morrell
2.0 out of 5 stars Samish
Not very pleased but this is rather to the author than anything else. I see his point however he is taking this a bit too far in my opinion therefore not for every one.
Published 7 months ago by Joanna
2.0 out of 5 stars How to intimidate parents
I thought this would be full of useful insights. It turned out to be a tirade against daycare which made me feel both guilty and insecure. Read more
Published 8 months ago by AViola
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
i found this book fascinating and helpful. i read it while pregnant for the first time so i felt well prepared and informed at the start of my parenthood.
Published 13 months ago by HanaD
5.0 out of 5 stars I have no children
But bought it for a friend in the hope the cover will convince them I care about the impending introduction of a dependent idiot into their otherwise fulfilling lives in a way that... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Towerhil
2.0 out of 5 stars Where are the dads?!?
So we have it again: It is all down to us women. Yes, tuning in to your baby's needs is vital, agreed (why it has to involve co-sleeping is still a mystery to me, though...). Read more
Published 18 months ago by EW
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category