DOLF is a revolutionary psychological theory that usurps current thinking and research that relies largely on observable behavioral methods to judge mental wellness or illness. DOLF, which stands 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 embraces the feelings of children rather than the thoughts of adults, and gives precedence to free-floating emotions over intellectual endeavors, which are subject to constraint.
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 a powerful emotional force, that of parent-to-child LOVE. Unfortunately however this LOVE, which exists in all families, seems to be perceived and makes sense only in the world of children. It is an entirely separate, secret world of emotion that is difficult for adults to detect, follow or even conceptualize!
Picture this LOVE as a cloud, a thin veil of golden fairy dust that appears in every nuclear family, constitutes the language that children 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.
The Family of Origin is the first family where you grew up with your parents and siblings. While parents and adults are emotionally engaged in their reality-based realm of daily issues 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 on this free-floating LOVE in the air. They clearly sense its force and monitor it closely as they feel it traveling between themselves, their parents and their siblings. Their parents’ LOVE is their full time preoccupation. They are obsessed with it, and their innate instincts compel them to respond to it automatically, continually and without fail.
The irony of course is that we were all once children and all once lived in their 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, failing to understand how our children think and feel now. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is 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 yearning to win this LOVE. Consequently they fail to respond to their children’s utter desperation to capture it, judging them solely by their overt actions, and labeling their love-seeking actions as attention-seeking, destructive or bad behavior! Children and parents may occupy the same household, but their minds and emotions occupy two separate domains. So we hear children wail “You don’t understand! You don’t understand!” and harden their hearts and attitudes toward their parents. And their parents, at a loss for how to response, feel compelled to shout back!
DOLF psychology affirms that until now, perhaps through no fault of their own, parents and adults have in fact been the guilty party! 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 them, often to the point of abuse, all the while condoned and urged on by educators, professionals and specialists to exercise discipline, work against the children as a team and deprive them of privileges using a reward-and-punishment model that is best suited for training animals!
DOLF psychology points out the gap between the mind of a child versus the mind of an adult, and posits that this difference encompasses the key to mental health or 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 subversive and usually exacerbate a bad situation. Most specifically, DOLF advises against “teamwork” because of the failure of this tactic to take account that, from a child’s point of view, two parents acting as a team is only perceived by a child as “ganging up”. In response, the child rightfully reacts with self-defense, feeling as if all the adults who are important to them in the world are teaming up and acting against them, as in: “What? All you powerful, larger, older people are ganging up against little old me? How could you? 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 try to change the children. Perhaps its time we understood what our children are trying to communicate instead of judging them by our own 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 social demands that require them to (a) conform to rules of time, money, propriety, self-restraint, political correctness, the law, etc. and (b) exercise empathy for others around them who might be hurt by their actions. In contrast children, who are new to our world, are not subject to the same restrictions and inhibitions. They express their feelings openly and freely, squeal with delight in the playground, and become excited at the most inane novelties, like a balloon.
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. In this first family the first emotional attachments are formed. 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 within the time frame of their interactions inside their first family. To this end, DOLF delves deeply into the emotional dynamics inside 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 that family did YOU receive from your parents, as compared with the next sibling in your subgroup of children?
Once we diagnose how LOVE was spread around in that early family, 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 by a quantum leap, making them incomparable to any other animal. At the same time, just like all other animal instincts, human instincts are compulsory 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 possibly even death!
A DOLF analysis of family dynamics for the first time allows parents to (a) understand the reasons behind their children’s behavior, (b) respond by restructuring the LOVE components among their children to achieve a more agreeable balance among siblings, and (c) 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 determine the future lives of 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 the family, its individual members, and all their futures.
As you read on, you will find out more exactly how children take on their particular personalities and behaviors, why PARENTAL LOVE or LACK OF LOVE is THE KEY to all psychological outcomes, and how this constitutes the most influential factor in the diagnosis of all mental illnesses, as well as criminality, substance abuse, suicide and more.
Although the LOVE in DOLF does not refer to spousal love since it is a separate domain of psychological dynamics, 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 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.
By understanding 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 an understanding of how their own behavioral and personality problems were conceived, and 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 family they produced with their spouse and children.