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'Love Bombing' - the solution to children's emotional and behavioural issues?

(144 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 27-Sep-12 12:29:33

This week sees the publication of a new book by Oliver James called Love Bombing: Reset Your Child's Emotional Thermostat.

'Love bombing' involves spending bursts of one-on-one time with your child, away from other family members, in which you hand over to them as much control as possible while bombarding them with expressions of love. According to James, it's a technique which can help a wide range of challenging emotional and behavioural issues in children. 

The idea might seem counterintuitive; often, when children's behaviour is causing problems, parents feel that the solution is more control, not less. But James insists the system work - and that many children could benefit, from the fundamentally happy, to those with depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, perfectionism, even Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and autism. He explains the principles behind the technique in our guest blog this week.

What do you think? Does it sound like something you might try? Or is it an unrealistic 'fix-all' which can't really address deeper problems? A new idea - or something you've already tried?

Let us know if you take up this blog-prompt - we've a signed copy of Oliver's book to give to the first name out of the hat next Wednesday! And if you're not (yet wink) a blogger - let us know what you think here on the thread.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 27-Sep-12 14:31:28

hmm this is exactly what I was doing last night.

Giving DD2(11) my undivided attention and doing what she wanted.
Which was having a hug and falling asleep. She's had a horrible cold. Usually we play board, card or computer games when DH and DD1 are out.

DD2 is beautifully behaved at school and in public generally.

At home DD2 can be a highly strung stroppy madam who needs to be in control to feel safe and loved. Clearly this can't always be accommodated and strops and tears happen. As does a lot of shouting since I don't do patience.

Thus when I have an opportunity I try to find a space in our lives for DD2 to decide what to do and space for love and cuddles.

I don't need a book to tell me that love and a bit of feeling empowered is incredibly valuable to her.

Her big sister does it naturally, she quietly and instinctively let's her sister have choices and shows she loves her.

DD1 is much more laid back and bends the world to her liking far more subtly. Yes she enjoys one to one attention and lots of love, but she squires it along the way.

She doesn't need the obvious "love bomb" reset button that DD2 does.

hattifattner Thu 27-Sep-12 14:31:32

meh - sounds like an old idea with a new name. Loving your kids, spending time with them doing stuff they like and easing up a little on the cotton wool/bubble-wrap need to control every aspect of their lives.

oliverreed Thu 27-Sep-12 14:34:00

I remember reading about this sort of approach in a Miriam Stoppard parenting book. The idea that you set aside time (an hour a day in Stoppards case) to really focus on your child, play what they want to play, do what they want to do. I've fallen out of the habit of doing this now my child is a bit older - I end up saying 'no' to a fair few things like getting out the painting stuff because I can't be bothered to clear up for example. I am going to make more of an effort to reinstate this 1-1 unconditional, 'golden' time...

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 27-Sep-12 14:42:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 27-Sep-12 14:58:24

Yikes, double post - computer's playing up a bit here blush

ouryve Thu 27-Sep-12 16:07:27

So someone's written a book about doing a common sense thing that parents often do anyhow, and given it a ridiculous name. hmm

We try to give the boys some 1:1 every few weeks, since they both have SN and very different needs. DS1 loves some 1:1 dad time, but ends up melty and argumentative once it's over because he finds the change in routine hard to deal with. Meantime, last time we did this, DS2 spent the day indulging in that week's particularly challenging behaviour of slapping me because the others had dared to go out without him.

BollocksToKarma Thu 27-Sep-12 16:08:10

Is this bloke suggesting that I dont love my ADHD son enough?

That bursts of love and affection and quality time could improve his behaviour in a way that has never been suggested before?

I'm sorry, sorry no, I apologise if I sound a bit off but it seems to me as though he's stating the obvious.

Old idea, new name.

TheCrackFox Thu 27-Sep-12 16:30:59

I thought Oliver James thought that all emotional problems could be pinned on working mothers but no actually all mothers are doing everything wrong and should be love bombing.

He can shove it up his arse.

Why do people pay good money (especially in a recession) for this bilge?

thunksheadontable Thu 27-Sep-12 16:38:37

I really dislike the idea of "love bombing". When I was a kid, my father read something about holding therapy and I have vivid memories of how when I was upset he would hold me and I would just have to give in to being hugged even if I didn't want to, I can remember the feel of squirm-squirm-rage-squirm-give up. Dad was very well-intentioned of course but holding therapy has been discredited. A bit of rage is good for a kid, you know?

Here's my perspective Mr. Oliver James: you can't be a perfect parent. Trying to be one is automatically dooming yourself to failure. What you need to be for your kids, more than anything, is present, mindful and respectful of their boundaries. If you are present and mindful, you will naturally provide what is needed in your relationship with your child. If you respect their boundaries, you won't control their behaviour unnecessarily, infringe on their space or damage them by projecting your own agenda on who they need to be. It's not easy, it requires work and it can't be structured, ticked off on a list nor taught in a book. Crap will happen, you will get it wrong, life will confound some of your best attempts to be there for your children, things may and probably will go terribly, horribly wrong from time to time... but for the love of God, precisely what ISN'T needed in parenting your child is some prescriptive formula for perfect parenting with an aggressive sounding name.

willowthecat Thu 27-Sep-12 16:52:04

I have been doing this for years but ds1 is still autistic - does Oliver James have any more bright ideas ?

bealos Thu 27-Sep-12 16:52:04

"Love bombing" is a technique that's been much used in attachment parenting circles for years - a few friends tipped me off to it.

I've tried it with my now 6yo boy and it's definitely helped during very angry periods, when he was 4/5 years old.

MrsEricBana Thu 27-Sep-12 17:16:41

Yes, tried it here too after a seemingly unresolvable problem cropped developed (about which ds was due to see a counsellor). Took him out on my own for hours and hours and we walked and talked, went where he wanted etc then worked out a way forward on the problem and it has made a HUGE difference. Agree not a new idea but perhaps no harm to point out its value as everything always seems so busy that one to one time is rare, here anyway.

MrsEricBana Thu 27-Sep-12 17:17:28

(Only book I have read by OJ is Affluenza which I thought was very good.)

sittinginthesun Thu 27-Sep-12 18:18:11

Got to laugh. Asked 5 year old if he'd like some Mummy Time on Saturday - he can choose what we do.

Very positive reaction, but so far his suggestions are:

1. Playing on my iPhone
2. Watching Total Wipeout

Not sure that's quite the idea. confused

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 27-Sep-12 18:20:09

I want to love bomb dd but she won't say anything at all she'd like to do!

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 27-Sep-12 18:53:49

Love bomb???!!! Really isn't just what I would refer to as one-to-one time. Wow it amazes me the new names that are thought of or ideas that have been around for ages.

And before anyone says ... well some parents need help...the parents that need help raising their children are NOT the parents to be buying some self appointed behavioural guru IMHO

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 27-Sep-12 18:54:40

behavioural guru's book that was supposed to say

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 27-Sep-12 19:08:26

Just read the blog and still think its one-to-one time which has been around for years even though he says this is something new hmm

DoubleYew Thu 27-Sep-12 19:10:33

Hmm I'm just wondering if many of you have actually read his blog about Love Bombing. A few quotes:

"Its premise is that nearly all parents do their very best for their children and that these problems are absolutely not anyone's fault." He doesn't claim it will cure ADHD or autism, just that families he has worked with who have these issues have found it has helped them.

"This is not the same as 'quality time', just hanging out with your child. When you love bomb, you create a special emotional zone wholly different from your normal life, with new rules."

"Your child then draws up a list. It doesn't matter if that includes lots of watching Sponge Bob Squarepants: the key is that it is your child who has chosen it."

He specifically says that the instructions are there in the Guardian article, you don't need to buy the book to see how to do it. And he's a qualified clinical child psychologist not a Gillian McKeith self appointed "expert".

(I'm not OJ or his wife btw, I'm just someone who has found some of the things he has said interesting and get slightly irritated by the cha! its just common sense! attitude as if there is no opportunity to ever improve your parenting.)

DoubleYew Thu 27-Sep-12 19:14:05

X-post voddie!

"Throughout the experience you are trying, as much as possible, to give them the feeling of 'whatever I want, I get' – a very unusual one of being in control and of being gratified, as well as bombed with love.

You may be thinking, 'Are you mad? My child is already a tyrant – rewarding him like that is just going to make it even worse!'

But the point is the Love Bomb zone is separate from ordinary life. Out of that zone, you continue trying to set boundaries, consistently and firmly."

I suppose it depends how you do one-to-one time already. I do think the control thing is more the point than just being with your child.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 27-Sep-12 19:14:36

As the parent of a child with ASD I object strongly to this twunt roping in the condition as a means of flogging his gimmicky book.
There are plenty of psychologists and others out there doing real, important work to further our understanding of ASD and similar problems. Oliver James isn't one of them.

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 27-Sep-12 19:17:11

No it's not the same as "quality time" if YOU decide what you are going to do. But my interpretation of quality time, or one-to-one is to allow the child to decide what they want to do and go along with it, whether it be a board game for a few hours or a day out at a theme park and allowing them to take the lead.

Maybe I am just not the type of parent to be his target audience.

Chandon Thu 27-Sep-12 19:23:34

not sure it is in any way revolutionary or new TBH.

My oldest always had very challenging behaviour (tantrums, rage, outbursts), and experience taught em that he needed to feel listened to, to feel less frustrated.

So at least once a day I would make sure we would have some one on one time, have a hug, ask him if anything was bothering him, listen properly, tell him I thought he was great, very clever, or if he had done something I was proud of (even a small thing like remembering to put his stuff in the dishwasher, or to ask someone how they are).

Seems i could have written a book on this!

Chandon Thu 27-Sep-12 19:23:51

me, not "em" !

Chandon Thu 27-Sep-12 19:26:40

impressed with thunks post BTW

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