DOLF is a revolutionary psychological theory that usurps current thinking and research, which relies largely on observable behavioral methods to judge mental wellness or illness. DOLF, an acronym for the Distribution Of Love in Families, introduces a new concept that takes account of a subtle, free floating emotional force that was never discovered before, one that gives precedence to free-floating emotions over less flexible intelligence, and embraces the feelings of children rather than the thoughts of adults.
Adults and children occupy two separate mental domains. As described in the blog titled Intelligence and Emotion on this website, a child’s behavior is driven by powerful emotional forces that fall squarely into the parent-child LOVE domain. Unfortunately however this LOVE, which exists in all families, is perceived and only makes sense to children. It is an entirely separate, secret world of emotion that is difficult for adults to detect, follow or even conceive of!
Picture this LOVE as a cloud, a thin veil of golden fairy dust that falls from the sky. It appears in every nuclear family, constitutes the language that children continually use to communicate, and is vital to their mental wellbeing. Yet, due to its subtle, intangible nature, this quantity of LOVE has so far bypassed psychological study, and unfortunately set the entire field of psychology/psychiatry on a treacherous path of pitting parents and children against each other due to our sheer misunderstanding.
The Family of Origin is the first family where you grew up with your parents and siblings. While adults are engaged in their reality-based, intellectually-driven realm of daily routines that involve time, money and social obligations, children are continually preoccupied with that wispy fairy dust of LOVE in their family! Not tuned in to our world yet, and like a dog’s acute sense of smell, their ears, eyes and nostrils are focused purely on this free-floating LOVE in the air, almost to the exclusion of everything else in their environment. They clearly sense its force and monitor it closely as they detect it traveling between themselves, their parents and their siblings. Parents must believe that their LOVE is the full time concern of their children. They are obsessed with it, and their innate instincts command them to respond to it, without fail, automatically and continually.
The irony here is of course that we were all once children and all once lived in that same world. However as we grow into adolescence and adulthood, we lose touch with this hidden world of free-floating, intangible LOVE emotion. As adults, we become oblivious to the way we used to think and feel as children, and fail to understand how our children think and feel now. In other words during the course of our lives, intelligence slowly overtakes emotion. hink about it you will very quickly realize that when a child is born s/he has
Think of it this way. When a baby is born her/his intellectual functions, which mainly occur in the brain, are still only a potential. Picture the head at birth as an empty box ready to be filled, and will remain that way for many years, open to knowledge that will slowly creep in with time and experience. But in contrast to this nearly void intellectual status, all the bodily functions, such as the five senses, the hormones, digestion and circulation are all up and running and ready to go! Now how about the emotions? Well yes of course, the emotions too are fully functional and up and running and ready to go too! So in a child we see all 3 emotional states, Anger, Depression and Anxiety through various modalities of expression which, though in infancy are more blurred, will be better differentiated states later in life, say by 2-3 years of age, when accompanied by behaviors such as temper tantrums (Anger), frequent crying spells (Depression) and Fears or avoidance behaviors (Anxiety).
But perhaps the greatest tragedy is the huge disconnect between parents and their children. It means that parents have no awareness of how they are distributing their precious, sparkling LOVE dust among their kids every moment of their lives together, nor any realization about their children’s desperate yearning to win over this LOVE. They casually dismiss their children’s pleadings for LOVE, and consequently fail to respond to their utter frenzy in trying to capture that coveted prize. They get angry and frustrated and judge their children solely by their overt behavior, labeling their LOVE-seeking actions as attention-seeking, destructive, bad behavior, or worse yet, reduce it to simple sibling rivalry! Children and parents may occupy the same household, but their minds and hearts occupy separate worlds. So we hear children wail “You don’t understand! You don’t understand!”, hardening their hearts and attitudes toward their parents. And their parents, at a loss for how to respond, harden their own hearts too in ways they once would never have imagined possible toward their own children. They feel compelled to clamp down, demand respect and punish non-compliant behavior with verbal rebuke, disciplinary measures such as deprivation of privileges, time out, Tough Love or even physical punishment! And if we search deep, deep into the hearts of both parties, we find that sadly with time, this marks the beginnings of outright hatred on the part of both parents and children, and bodes the detriment of their entire futures as a loving family group!
DOLF psychology affirms that until now, perhaps through no fault of their own, parents and adults have in fact been the guilty party in this equation! Though they are the older generation and the ones responsible for facilitating the lives of their children, adults have in reality misunderstood children, judged them wrongly, and in far too many cases, unwittingly mistreated their own children, often to the point of abuse. All the while they have been condoned and urged on by educators, professionals, specialists and “experts” of various stripes to exercise discipline, “team up” to work in solidarity against their child, and deprive them of privileges using a reward-and-punishment model, a model that has not proven to be effective and has always been best suited for training animals!
DOLF psychology points out the enormous gap between the mind of a child and the mind of an adult, and explains that this difference is the crux of our misunderstanding, but more critically, the key to mental disturbance! DOLF instructs us that discipline and its associated activities, such as warnings, threats, deprivation of privileges, time out, spanking or other corrective actions are of little use in dealing with children, are received as nothing but subversive by them, and only serve to exacerbate a bad situation. For example, DOLF advises against parents working as a “team” because of the failure of this tactic to take into account a child’s point of view, which is that two parents behaving as a “team” of disciplinarians and conspiring about what policies to implement toward the child is seen and felt by any child as “ganging up”. In response, children rightfully react with self-defense, feeling as if all the adults who are important to them in the world are acting in secret, teaming up and plotting against them. A child thinks: “What? All you large, powerful older people are ganging up against little old me? But how could you? I’m so little and so innocent! It’s not fair! I hate you!”
DOLF alerts us that since we are the adults in this equation, and they are our babies, perhaps it is WE who should review our attitudes and approaches, rather than impose on the children and seek to change their behavior. Perhaps its time we understood what our children are striving to communicate to us, instead of judging them by our standards, and that we take the time to respond to their desperation, begin to listen to their pleas, and completely change our ways of dealing with them!
If you need convincing, consider this. Do you love playgrounds, get excited when you see a balloon, or play with toys? Of course not! Adults are bound by the social demands that surround them and require that they conform to rules of time, money, propriety, self-restraint, political correctness, the law, etc. as well as exercise empathy for others who might be hurt by their actions. This is in dire contrast to children, who are new to our world, and not subject to the same restrictions and inhibitions that pervade our world. They live in a world of fantasy where the fairy dust of LOVE is real, express their feelings spontaneously, squeal with delight in the playground, and become excited at what we might consider to be the most inane novelties.
DOLF finally brings the study of human psychology around to looking at life from a child’s point of view. Every human being comes from a Family of Origin with one or two parents, and one or more siblings, and it is in this first family that the deepest emotional attachments were made. DOLF maintains that each person’s unique pattern of mental health or illness, and all features of current and future personality traits and behavior, were established in that time frame of interactions with parents and siblings. This is why DOLF delves deeply into the emotional dynamics of the invisible cloud of LOVE dust that hung in that first family’s atmosphere, focusing particularly on HOW THAT ORIGINAL LOVE FROM THE PARENTS WAS DISTRIBUTED AMONG THE CHILDREN. In other words, to understand and/or treat your personality and behavior now, DOLF asks: How was LOVE portioned out in your family when you were a child? And more precisely, how much of the available LOVE in your family did YOU receive from your parents, as compared with the next-born sibling in your subgroup of children? Were you Favored or were you Disfavored?
Once we diagnose how LOVE was spread around in that early family, who received it and who did not, DOLF surprisingly arrives at a quasi-mathematical equation! Bear in mind that the DOLF formula is rendered unchangeable and even provides the necessary tools to predict personality and behavioral styles because it comes from the RAW COMPETITIVE INSTINCT that every human being brings into their family as soon as they are born. These childhood instincts are innate drives that are equivalent to those found in animals, and are so deeply embedded in the human psyche that the actions and behaviors associated with them are virtually automatic, or reflexive. Yet in their type and style, these instincts are different from any others found in the animal kingdom, even those of the highest primates, by virtue of the unique intelligence and extensive emotional/social attributes that belong to humankind alone. In fact, it is fair to say that in terms of overall functioning, the human creature supercedes any other, even the highest primate, by a quantum leap, making them incomparable as to psychological make-up. At the same time, just like all other animal instincts, human instincts are compulsory and mandatory for their owners. They MUST be followed, and can under NO circumstances be stopped or curtailed. And like any others in the animal kingdom, when unheeded, they will drive their owners to distraction, and even death!
A DOLF analysis of family dynamics for the first time allows parents to understand the reasons behind their children’s behavior and respond by restructuring the LOVE components among their children to reach a more agreeable balance of power among siblings. In the end it helps them arrive at greater peace in their family life. By re-distributing their prized parental LOVE, parents can build new family dynamics that effectively modify the personalities and behavior of their children, and bring about a better, more peaceful future for all concerned.
Like the flow of a river, the diversion of emotional dynamics, specifically LOVE, creates a better balance and a more positive direction in the overall life of a family and its members, now and forever.
As you read on, you will find out more precisely how children take on their particular personalities and behaviors, why PARENTAL LOVE or LACK OF LOVE is THE KEY to all psychological outcomes, how it is the most influential factor in the diagnosis of all mental illnesses, and why it will affect our attitudes toward criminality, substance abuse, suicide and much more.
A final point. The LOVE in DOLF does not refer to spousal love, which occupies a separate domain of psychological dynamics. However, couples benefit secondarily from the DOLF technique due to the dramatic reduction of anxiety in their children. Unfortunately, the rivalrous and competitive dynamics conjured up by children’s instincts understandably interfere with the functioning of families, and hence marriages. Methods of maintaining discipline and order, issues of whether to punish or not, and parenting styles more often than not become the precursor to emotional division, disagreement and animosity between the couple, leading to separation and divorce. In large measure a DOLF perspective greatly improves on, and can actually have a significant influence in rectifying this.
Through an understanding of the methodology behind DOLF, parents also benefit by acquiring insight into the emotional workings of their own Family of Origin. By looking at their sister-brother-parent relationships, they gain insight into how their own behavioral and personality problems were conceived, as well as how these problems created generalized anxiety, depression, mental illness, substance abuse or criminality in their first family. By mastering the LOVE dynamics in their Family of Origin, parents are empowered to make improvements in their personal mental health, as well as the mental health of their Family of Procreation, the new family they produced with their spouse and children.