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How Not to F*** Them Up Paperback – 7 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vermilion (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009192393X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091923938
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"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

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Copycreate on 13 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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....
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DoYouHaveItInGreen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hazelg on 9 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this in hope that it would enlighten me on what went wrong with my first child and how not to screw up the second one who is a few weeks old now. Coming from a psychological background I'm already familiar with a lot of the well known theories and theorists so it was fairly straightforward to absorb and comprehend. I certainly began to understand what may have caused many of my first child's behavioural issues through innocently made errors at the time and I don't feel bad about that being that I made these mistakes without realising the impact that they would have e.g putting my son into daycare from a very young age so I was able to persue a career. I learned how to prevent my second child from developing similar behavioural issues through nurturing my under three. I will proceed to read 'they f*** you up' and 'love bombing' in order to attempt to rectify some of the mistakes I made with my first child.

I agree this is not a parenting manual but it is an interesting read with lots of good references to extensive studies.
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