• How Not To F*** Them Up by Oliver James

    Sex! Car chases! Guns! Shoot-outs! Sex! Ok, none of the above feature in this book. Well, sex does, but not in a salacious – or even mildly stimulating way. Instead, what we have here is an excellent treatise on how to raise and nurture children.

    The book is aimed at children up to around three years of age, however, most of them will probably not be able or willing to read it, since there is a distinct lack of fluffy bunnies, talking engines or hedgehogs with super-powers, so it is therefore directed at the parents or carers of these ankle biters.

    The author, a clinical child psychologist, as well as a publisher, broadcaster, author, television documentary producer – and possibly even a saver of galaxies – has written self-help books on such subjects as capitalism, affluence and dementia, so children should be a doddle. Actually, they all sort of link together when one thinks of it. Children soon reduce capitalists and affluent people to a state of dementia, especially the under threes!
    The author identifies three basic types of mum. ( no, not MILFS!) and details their characteristics and behaviours. These are The Hugger; The Organiser and The Fleximum. Ok, the first and last type do sound interesting to most of you who may read this, but I fear you may be a tad disappointed. These are the behaviour patterns, the way that they act toward their children.

    The author recognises that every parent is different, and that equally, every parent receives advice that is often conflicting, sometimes spurious and usually inadequate and useless when directed toward raising children He tries to asses this, to remedy it and to reassure you that you are not turning into your own parents.

    There are very helpful and useful tips, advice and guidance, and some basic strategies for dealing with most child orientated problems. Good advice for working parents and equally good advice for those that don’t.

    The author shows how our own personal experiences, both as children and parents, can influence and impact on the way we deal with our children, and how we can ultimately we may be able to provide that happy and stable environment that we all crave for our children.

    The book is a fairly easy read, despite the lack of gunfights, helicopter derring do and glamorous seductions, It does not overwhelm with psychological trade-speak nor does it patronise. Rather it is an instructive and constructive way of looking at parenthood, and the pitfalls that it carries.

    A book that I would recommend to any new parents, or those with those carnivorous and deadly creatures we call ‘toddlers!