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I have read a book thats got me scared.....How not to F*** them up Oliver James

(35 Posts)
LaCiccolina Mon 20-Jun-11 12:49:33

I go back to work in September. DD will be just 9mths. I saw this chap, Oliver James, on Matthew Wright and as he was promoting a book and talked DH into getting it out of interest. A couple of his ideas seemed interesting at the time.....

It starts off ok enough, apparently there are 3 types of mother Organised/Hugger/Fleximum. Havent yet worked out which I might be but Im really quite concerned about the distinct hatred he obviously has for nurseries through the whole book.

Whilst Id love to be at home, I have to return to work for the time being. I am requesting an FWA. My parents will have dd for one day and nursery for 3. Im waking in cold sweats now about the nursery. If going to work wasnt scary enough and I feel guilty enough about this in the first place, this is nearly finishing me off. I was at least comfortable and hopeful about this situation. Now Im anything but....

His book continually cites articles where nursery is bad for under 3's. Its apparently shown that anything but 1:1 care is horrendous and probably will turn out sociopaths or kids in therapy. (Im egging a pudding a bit but it aint far off this threat!!)

I dont know any childminders, I feel (rightly??) that this is best by word of mouth and I dont know any mouths to recommend one in my area. Nursery for 3 days seemed a logical, hopefully safe option. Now as I say Im second guessing and panicking that my beautiful girl will be damaged, hate me, hate others, turn into a nightmare brat all because of 3 days a week.

Does anyone know of any studies that show the opposite view? ANY opposite view? Im trying to be logical that as plainly he hates them hes picked out information that only fulfills his personal world view point - nursery = hell hole, but does anyone have anything I can see now to tame my terrified imagination?

I cant talk to my dh about this. He would freak. I cant talk to a mate as nobody would know an answer. Im really hoping someone on here might know something to help me or just offer a professional word of guidance.

Thank you, xxxx

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Mon 20-Jun-11 12:54:56

I don't think you'll find a study that suggests nurseries are the best form of care for very young children, but they're not the disaster that Oliver James says they are either. Lots of children go to nursery and love it. And like you say, it's often the most reassuring choice for parents because finding an excellent one on one carer is not easy.

Anyway, your daughter is doing three days, and I'm pretty sure the studies that show negative affects of nurseries refer to children who go to nursery full time. And even then, I've never seen one that suggests the difference in outcomes is anything but minimal.

CMOTdibbler Mon 20-Jun-11 12:57:36

I think what you have to remember is that it is totally impossible to do a proper study on childcare. Those that are out there are not randomised, and don't control for quality of childcare, and are often from the US where childcare isn't regulated, and I think only found negative effects where children were in daycare for very long hours.

Obviously a bad nursery is a bad thing. Just as a bad childminder is - and there are good and bad of both out there, and you need to look closely at whoever you choose to care for your lo.

FWIW, ds was in nursery full time from 4.5 months, and at 5 is a loving, huggy, intelligent child.

Iggly Mon 20-Jun-11 13:05:11

Oliver James admits his mum was a bit offhand so that colours his view.

However it makes sense that one to one care is generally better provided the carer does a good job - but doesn't mean that nursery care is rubbish!

Think about why you chose nursery. Is the nursery you've chosen a nce environment? You wouldn't pick a crap nanny over a great nursery would you?

OrangeClouds Mon 20-Jun-11 13:20:55

I don't have any studies but I really dislike Oliver James! I started reading his book, 'Affluenza' (which covered some of this ground on nurseries but also looked at 'successful but dissatisfied' professionals) and found his general tone so horrid that I stopped reading it. He seemed to actively dislike all the people he was writing about.

Bear in mind he is starting with the 'nursery=bad' hypothesis and selectively quoting from studies or examples. IIRC, in 'Affluenza' he seemed to draw some odd conclusions such as 'the child is quiet when she is picked up' means 'the child is detached from her parent now' not, say, 'the child had an active day and is a bit tired!'

One thing I found helpful when worrying about how DS1 would cope with nursery was remembering that nothing is irreversible. If you put DD in nursery and it's not for you after all, or she doesn't settle, or whatever, you can seek a childminder, a different nursery or any other options then.

And, as with CMOT, DS1 was at nursery 3 (now 4) days a week from 5 months and DS2 similar - at 3.10 and 16 months respectively, I think they are both happy and well-balanced!

I do wonder what Oliver James's DW thinks of his stance.

faintpositive Mon 20-Jun-11 13:21:24

This is just another stick to beat mothers/parents with from another "expert" whos opinion is just opinion.
It cant possibly be based on scientific research.
There has been childcare solutions for years, yearsand years and years, and yet there is still no concrete evidence stating catagorically that this is damaging.

I have done what is best for my child, who is happy, healthy and sociable. He is an only, therefore he has needed to learn about other folk in this world apart from his dad & me.

Im sorry, but i do not accept this crap,
1) There is no way in hell i will have paints/water/playdoh, plastercene etc etc in my house.......he had many hours of great fun with it at nursery though....see, no guilt from fainty because ds has not missed out!
2) I NEEDED that 2.5 hours while he was at breath, to be me, to go to Morrisons and do my weekly shop without having to recover a welly thrown at an old ladies head from the trolley.
3) I was not a fun mum while suffering from PND...the aunties at playschool were though, and ds bloody loved them.
4) He made stuff that i would never in a million years think up...his imagination was allowed to fly
So in summery, it was very good for us grin

Al1son Mon 20-Jun-11 13:21:37

Ok I'm doing a research project on this and have read a fair few publications in the past few weeks about different studies. These studies have been peer reviewed and were done fairly.

It is clear that poor quality group settings can have a very negative effect on a child's well being and they are clearly shown to have consistently high levels of stress. This is mostly in settings where they don't have a really effective key-worker system and children do not get the chance to build a secure and affectionate relationship with one or two members of staff.

In settings where children do have those secure relationships and staff turnover is low the children have similar stress levels to those at home or with childminders.

Clearly there is good and bad in nurseries, childminders and parents and you can't legislate for any eventuality.

If you are still worried, go and talk to the nursery manager and see what their staffing arrangements are and listen carefully to how they speak to the children of all ages.

If the number one priority is the needs of the children in terms of consistency of care and feeling safe and secure and you hear the staff speaking to the children with genuine kindness and affection I think your DD will be fine.

If you are fobbed off with lots of excuses about difficulties arranging rotas to suit staff needs or some other such rubbish, or you don't feel a caring, comforting atmosphere around you, go and look at other provision.

I'd look at childminders as well as nurseries and keep going until you find somewhere which feels right.

It's important for both of you that you find a place that feels right for you to leave your DD each day. If you don't you will be dreadfully stressed and that's bad for everyone.

BerylOfLaughs Mon 20-Jun-11 13:31:44

Can I suggest that you go and visit some childminders? Yes, a personal recommendation is good, but in my experience as a childminder the parents often get a vibe about the person/setting they are visiting. Feel free to visit a childminder several times, preferably when she has other children around so that you can see how she is and how happy the kids are.
Take your time looking around until you find one you are happy with. I genuinely cared for all the little ones I looked after and treated them as I did my own. I only have after school kids now so things are different.
Ask lots of questions. If you are lucky enough to find a great childminder you will probably find that she is worth her weight in gold.

Childminders can be a fantastic option and much more of a steady person to create a bond with than nurseries where key workers change every couple of months.

SultanV Mon 20-Jun-11 13:36:18

If you look on [ahem] Netmums for your local area, you will be able to find lots of local childminders. You might even find some on here, on your local MN section.

Oliver James is like Marmite; plenty of people who use/have used nurseries really hate him. I think he tells it like it is. [shrug]

FingandJeffing Mon 20-Jun-11 13:52:20

I agree with Sultan but I'm in the other camp. There are loads of threads on here about him if you look. I can't stand him, he lives in another world to me. I have said this before but I have zero respect for someone who uses the word retarded (in the guardian) and has limited acknowledgment for the genetic input for some conditions like ADHD.

Do a search, there is a lot of discussion about him and he did a webchat.

CMOTdibbler Mon 20-Jun-11 14:00:28

Keyworkers don't necessarily change every few months in a nursery Beryl. DS had 3 in his time at nursery (4.5 months to 5yr 3m) and kept seeing them all during that time

MovingAndScared Mon 20-Jun-11 14:19:58

I agree that a good nursery with a low turn over of staff for 3 days a week is very very unlikely to cause harm to your daughter -I have known loads of kids who have been to nursery that are thriving
however I did choose a childminder for my DCs partly because of various research - not so much Oliver James but other studies - ( I don't like OJ as I resent men telling women to stay at home - which is what is comes down to effectively -I know its a bit more complicated than that) - - and in general I liked the idea of continuity of care - most nurseries would change carers at least once or twice in the time a child is there although that does varies - and just one person caring for my child (at nurseries even if there is a key worker system there will be times when someone else is looking after them)
It also turned out to be cheaper and more flexible
I didn't know any childminders when I choose mine - just got a list from the council - rang them up and interviewed a few - if you are concerned do visit a few - it will clarify things for you I am sure - it is really a case of personal preference as much as anything

Meglet Mon 20-Jun-11 14:24:33

I think Oliver James only saw bad nurseries. My kids don't get yelled at or watch cbeebies all day at nursery blush. Much more fun to be playing than being grumped at by me.

LaCiccolina Mon 20-Jun-11 15:33:57

Gosh these all help so much. I knew it would! I will search the other threads on him and no doubt add a few choice words in myself! Ha!

I hadn't considered just calling a childminder up, how silly(?!), and visiting. I'm plainly out of date there. I'll try netmums too.

I'm still very disappointed with him. Just shows, anyone can print a book eh?

questionable Mon 20-Jun-11 15:39:49

You are right, anyone can write a book. He has degrees in psychology, I think, but it doesn't mean he isn't biased. Some of his stuff is very emotive and extrapolates things that aren't there. A good nursery will do just fine. Smaller group care is often considered better, so ring around a lot of childminders if you think that would be better for you. Lots of people prefer nurseries because then the children are never left on their own with one adult for a long time.

thebody Mon 20-Jun-11 18:28:20

never heard of him love...

i have 4 dcs, 2 just out of teens one in teens and one 12 year old... childmind 4 children a day so have lots of experience with kids... my advice is,

1..stop reading any books about child care.. they are not designed to help you but to make the author money. there is no professional guidance as all kids are individuals...

nursery will not screw up your dd or being with a a cm neither would you do that as a sahm or a working mum.. whose to say whats best!!!! you need to work so end of.. dont torture yourself..

2.. you will never get it all right.. can you imagine what an insufferable bore the 'perfect parent' would be...

3.. there will always be rocks on the road, you will climb over them with your dcs and hit new ones, some big some small but together you will beat them..

4 dont take it all too seriously, have a laugh with your dcs, love them to bits, get proper control of the toddlers and you will have control of them as teens..

5 the baby and toddler years are by far the easiest time you will ever have as a parent...

6 do what works best for you and your dcs and ignore any other helpful advice..

smile, enjoy, kids are supposed to be fun so enjoy them...

AnonymousBird Mon 20-Jun-11 18:34:30

Burn the book.

Delete it all from your head, it is complete tripe.

Get some sleep.

Your DD will be fine in nursery. End of.

nenevomito Mon 20-Jun-11 18:38:34

If you could see me, I would be rolling my eyes at Oliver James. He has an opinion, but that is all it is. Being a psychologist doesn't make you an expert on nursery care and as someone else has pointed out, he writes not from the position of "Is it good or bad, lets look for both" but "Its bad, lets look for proof".

My DS went to a childminder and a nursery, doing a few days at both. My DD has a childminder and will start nursery last this year too. Both are lovely, happy children. DSD went to nursery from a young age and is not doing well at Uni.

As a mum its easy enough to feel guilty all of the time without reading that stuff. Bin it!

Spagbolagain Mon 20-Jun-11 19:51:54

Don't forget that in a nursery it will usually be 3-1 care with the youngest children, which is the same as if you had 3 children and were SAHM or a minder with 3 minds! As long as your child has a key worker and maybe one or 2 others they can build a bond with, it's not so very different from a numbers POV. I think people sometimes view nurseries as a mass of kids with a bunch of faceless, constantly changing adults. Reality is that they operate in small teams who all know your child, and 1 special individual who is their key worker. My DS is 19mo, nursery 4days, happy, confident and thriving.

Yes, bin the book!

Spagbolagain Mon 20-Jun-11 19:52:25

Mindees obviously, not 3 minds.

CatIsSleepy Mon 20-Jun-11 20:02:33

i think basically whether you choose childminder or nursery you just need to go with your gut instinct. Visit nurseries, visit childminders, ask lots of questions, check out the atmosphere and whether the kids seem busy/happy or just running about in chaos. And Orangecloud made the good point that once your dd has started, if things don't seem right you don't have to put up with it you can move her. FWIW I use a childminder, the first one I found from the council list and she looked after my dd1 for over 4 years, and dd2 for over a year, she was wonderful and only stopped because her husband was very ill. Just check out all the options and go with your instincts.

Al1son Mon 20-Jun-11 20:04:41

Spagbolagain in high quality settings your comments are quite right but there are enough settings where this continuity of care is not considered important for it to be worth ensuring that parents aren't making assumptions.

Parents should check the ethos in their nursery, ask specific questions and expect full and frank answers. A child might not suffer significant harm from being denied the opportunities to build secure relationships but I would still be upset to think of my baby feeling stressed on a daily basis because I didn't ask the right questions.

Reality is that there are many high quality settings and there are a fair few for whom the well-being of the children is not always the highest priority. That goes for all sorts of settings.

I'm not being a judgy-pants. I have seen it with my own eyes.

RitaMorgan Mon 20-Jun-11 20:10:36

Poor quality nursery care is damaging, large numbers of children in a limited space and high child:staff ratios have been shown to be very stressful, high staff turnover and poorly trained staff is obviously a problem.

So, visit nurseries with those things in mind. Ask how long the staff have been with the group/nursery, check the number of babies in the room (personally I would avoid a baby room with more than 6 babies), ask if they have staff above the required ratio 1:3 or do they only have the legal minimum, find out what quals the staff have. And definitely visit some childminders too.

LaCiccolina Mon 20-Jun-11 20:14:15

I have not just burnt it, I ripped the pages out, spat on it and It's now in the pooiest nappy bin known to man woman or baby. That's dd's chance to have commented and she took it!

I'm off books. Thebody love ur list. I feel much calmer and more sane since I posted this. Thanks people xxxxx

thebody Mon 20-Jun-11 22:17:11

go girl.. with a mum obviously as caring as you are you dd will be just fine..

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