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How Not to F*** Them Up
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How Not to F*** Them Up

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  172 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A leading child psychologist argues that children under three do not need training—it's getting one's head straight as a parent that is important

As a mother, are you comfortable in your skin? Want to know how best to be a working or stay-at-home mother? Babies have very simple needs, yet many parents are overwhelmed with elaborate advice on how to meet them. Drawing on ext
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Random House UK (first published May 28th 2010)
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Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Don't get me wrong - there's a goodly scattering of interesting and sometimes worthwhile ideas in this book. But James knows dangerously little about birth or infant feeding... which are kind of relevant to infant existence... without seeming to realise. He does at least say up front that his book is not about working class child-rearing - on the grounds that such people have so little choice in how they rear their children that there's no point addressing them. Ahem.

He also borrows and reworks
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
James's book is well written, with lots of evidence quoted to back up his view. I also found it really useful reading about the different types of mother and how your own childhood experience affects your parenting - not always in the ways you would predict! However, I did find that his attitude to class/income ("no-one on a low income will be reading this book anyway")really distasteful and I would have liked to have seen more on the ways you can mitigate the effects of day care or evaluate its ...more
I could rant about this book, but lets just keep it simple. They need to change the title of this book to: "i'm wealthy! heres my personal sob story of finding the right hired help while i return to work just for fun".

That is all.
Stephen Sanderson
I read this book whilst my wife was pregnant. We now have a happy 5 month old little man. In a nutshell there are two styles of parenting a baby: 1) the baby is made to adapt to the parents lifestyle; or 2) the parents adapt o the babies lifestyle. To let the baby cry or not let the baby cry: that is the question. The author sides with option 2, and I tend to agree. Babies know how to be babies, but first time parents have no idea how to be parents.
This is an interesting expansion of his earlier work, 'Affluenza' (which I love), and most likely 'They F*** You Up' (which I haven't read).

Oliver James presents readers with three types of mother: the Hugger, the Organiser and the Fleximum. To over-simplify and summarise, the Hugger is a stay-at-home Earth Mother, the Organiser is a career-oriented user of substitute care and the Flexi changes approach as and when required. James makes no bones about his bias towards the Hugger approach, but e
Maria A.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found his attitude towards low income mothers offensive and downright classist. This book is nothing like They f*** you up, I guess it's only mildly useful if you're an upper middle-class married woman with an interest in mommy wars, but it will teach you nothing about child psychology. I was a fan of Oliver James but this book was extremely disappointing.
Gargarita Giaca
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an interesting thought, that genes don't have an influence on babies and toddlers'behaviours, but the way we are parenting them. Whilst I am not sure I agree 100% with the theory, James makes some very valid points and it makes you think about the way your upbringing influences your actions.

Overall I enjoyed reading this book as it tacklea an issue I am struggling with. I do agree that James refers to those more fortunate mums who have options, but I think he makes it quite clear in the in
Eliška Vyhnánková
Roky jsem asi měla příliš velká očekávání :D Nakonec jsem si z knihy zas tak moc neodnesla.
Marianne Hawthorne
Mixed feelings towards this book. An interesting and insightful perspective on child-rearing, based on your own personality. I found the language and message a bit clunky. Eg harsh at times harsh (eg, if your toddler is having a meltdown, then it is definitely your fault because you didn't pre-empt his needs). Ouch. But then at other times it was very supportive. As a nerd I loved all the science/studies references.

I really liked his view of really thinking hard about your needs versus the child
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
The good: author gives in-depth analyses on parenting styles for under-threes, with concrete examples and real people, and includes the pluses and minuses of each type. He is definitely a proponent of the "stay-at-home-mom", but unlike the strident folks, he doesn't think it needs to be mom. It could be dad, grandma, an aunt or even a paid sitter, as long as they can provide the security and attention that under-threes need for all 3 years.

The bad: constant references to his other books, his own
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up, non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cliff Watt
Aug 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm SO glad I read this book! I had no idea I was doomed to be a crap parent because my parents, like all other parents, were crap too!

I further had no idea that it was obligatory to hire an Eastern European nanny and then hate yourself for doing so. AND the fact that I ate a mars bar when I was 7, finally explains why I keep punching people for no apparent reason!

I'm genuinely delighted that I spent my hard earned money* on buying this pish. I have flexibly organised this book into my huggabl
Sally Tsang
Makes some good points, but I think is excessively polarised towards 'nurture' in the nature-nurture debate. The implication that you'll 'f*** up' your children if you don't mother 'well' in the first three years has the potential to cause a lot of guilt and angst in well-meaning, loving mothers. Still, James presents his opinions well (and he is entitled to them) and gives plenty of references for further reading.
Grace Stirling
If I could have given a 2 & a half I would have. I found this book interesting and do agree with some of his theories if not all, however I thought it was badly written and felt like it had been rushed and not edited properly. There's quite a lot of repetition and occasionally I could see what he was trying to say but the way he put it could make it easily misconstrued and possibly taken badly.
Not as good as his previous books.
Abi Rhodes
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. It really helped me put into perspective the relationships I have with my family. I particularly enjoyed the section about the 'family script' and was blown away by the concept that you DON'T have to become like your parents, it is possible to consciously choose NOT to be them. A revelation for me!!
Tereza M
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Odloženo, nějak mě to nebavilo, napsané příliš podrobně, chlapsky, vědecky, nevím, prostě nějak moc informací v ne až tak čtivé formě, jak jsem čekala.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Important. Well written and argued.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title is bit confusing but it's really good book for mums to let them know who they really are and how to be better and understand her child.
Sash Uusjärv
Tõlge on ikka väga kohmakas :(
Raamat ise ... Sissejuhatus päris huvitav, nn ematüüpide lahtikirjtamine kipub venma ja läheb juba hirmsaks nämmutamiseks ja kordamiseks. Jätkan.
Jan 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hated it.
Claire Broadley
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Oliver James is a clinical psychologist, writer, broadcaster, and television documentary producer. He frequently broadcasts on radio and acts as a pundit on television.

He is the author of several books, including Affluenza, which examines the role that consumerist aspirations play in making us miserable.

In 1997 he presented The Chair for BBC 2, a series that put celebrities on the psychologist's c
More about Oliver James...