They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
During the latter days of my pregnancy I spent a lot of time resting and reading. It was summer time and I’d lie on my bed with the sunlight streaming in, reading. I didn’t read any conventional “what to expect when you are expecting”, “attachment parenting” “how to be the perfect mummy” books.
I read a book called “They **** you up” by clinical psychologist, Oliver James.
They **** you up is a brilliant book that basically explains that the way we are cared for in the first six years of our life has a crucial effect on who we are and how we behave. Nurture, in effect, shapes our very nature. The book really isn’t meant to be a pregnancy book but I can’t help thinking that actually it is one of the most important books to read when bringing life into the world. Sure it won’t tell you what to do, how to deal with sleepless nights and tantrums etc but what it will tell you is what NOT to do. It’s a real insight into just how important it is to offer a loving, stable, secure home life to children. I mean if what we do as parents forms the foundation for the rest of our children’s lives, how they view themselves and how they form relationships with others, we owe it to them to try to make it as secure as possible. I’m sure this is something we are all aware of just perhaps not something we always want to remember. It’s hard when you have such a realisation because the responsibility is enormous and at the end of the day we are only human ourselves.
Still it made me stop and think. Think about what I wanted to ‘equip’ my daughter with for the rest of her life. And when the beautiful Littlelish was born it made me stop and think about how I was handling a situation and what effect this could be having later on down the line. I know, I know that sounds very over analytical but for those of you that know me will know that I am actually quite a relaxed, go with the flow person. It didn’t make me anxious rather served as a good reminder of just how important my job as a mummy was. For example James explains the reasons for insecurity in most adults is down to a less responsive parent in the first year of life. Basically attachment is everything.
Yet I didn’t read any attachment parenting books either. Although I’m pretty sure we adopted many of the key concepts of attachment parenting. I’m an intuitive kind of person and being a mum came naturally to me. Littlelish and I had a very strong bond and I knew what she needed and I always gave it to her whether this was breastfeeding, responsiveness, cosleeping or wearing her in a baby sling. We never, ever let her cry it out or forced her to fit into our adult routine. This meant putting her first almost every time but at the end of the day that is what being parents is all about.
On further research I see that Oliver James has more books on parenting out, one interestingly titled “How NOT to f**k them up” and “Love bombing – reseting your child’s emotional thermostat”. Haven’t read these ones but if they are anywhere near as good as this one I’d say go forth and purchase.
It may just be the most important book you’ll ever read.
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