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'Love Bombing' - the solution to children's emotional and behavioural issues?(144 Posts)
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 ) a blogger - let us know what you think here on the thread.
I think it sounds fantastic and definitely think it could work.
I read about this over the weekend, and I think it does work. Certainly, I have always found that the was to handle a difficult period with either of my children, was to give them very specific one to one time and lots of attention, so I guess many of us do this instinctively anyway.
This absolutely works. I use this technique with my dd who does struggle with managing her emotions and it often manifests itself in tantrums and bad behaviour. Never realised it had an actual theory behind it or a name it was just something we did instinctively that worked. Never needed to go as far as a weekend away though!
Yes I think this works too, I didn't realise it had a name either until I read about it in the paper.
Sometimes we have a day when everyone has to do what one of us wants and they know it's ok as they get their da in turn. So one might want to play board games literally ALL DA?Y (so boring but actually becomes fun) and with another we have to all have a go at awful shooty computer games, which is really, really funny and you get to see how bad/not bad they are. Then the computer games fan has to go out and play hockey which is just dire and equally amusing. But it all works somehow, and that child feels so special all day.
Great technique. We use it at work and so many parents have a hell of a hard time giving up any sort of control at all with their children, they don't realise it until they try. Even just 5 minutes a day playing with a child how they choose to play makes a huge difference to their communication skills and their emotional wellbeing.
I'm definitely going to try this with DS1 who is nearly 5. One-on-one time has always helped us feel closer to each other, but the idea of relinquishing control for a period of time is something I've not tried (not sure a whole weekend staring at a TV screen eating chocolate might be too long though! Which is what I'd predict he'd choose!)
I do ask him what he wants to play and what games and we do that. But I've never positioned it as 'his time' him.
I would be, erm, interested to see what evidence he has to back up his claim that it makes any measurable difference to children with autism.
If anyone is interested this has already been discussed a little bit on the Special Needs Children board. Consensus there (to plagiarise a poster on that thread, hope she won't mind ) seemed to be that it sounds like a nice idea, and who wouldn't benefit from having some unconditional love and attention. Not quite the same thing as solving major behavioural problems just like that.
I think it works. I've been doing this for a while without knowing there was a name for it! My DDs are 7 and 10 and we have phases of bad behaviour every now and then. I blame it on the fact that me and DH both work long hours and the kids sometimes don't get the attention they should individually. A bit of time one on one really seems to get the girls to snap out of the bad phase they're in. I think it makes them feel they're important, and because of that their behaviour improves.
I love the name 'love bombing'. DD2 hasn't been at her best on the behaviour front recently. Perhaps I'll bomb her this weekend
Yes that would be interesting because while some behavioural problems can be caused by a lakc of attention and resolved by giving it, you can't say that autism is caused by a lack of love and attention, that would be going back years and years in the ideas about what causes it. I'm sorry if by saying "I think it could work" I implied that, I just mean it can work with behaviour problems generally (in my opinion and experience)
So he's taking what sounds like something most parents should do anyway (play with your child and express your unconditional love for them) and coined a fancy new name for it...hmmm. Are people seriously going to pay money to be told that they should play with their kids? (I am soooo in the wrong job if so, think I'll set myself up as a 'parenting consultant')
I do this with DD and it works well but she is NT so cant comment on behavioural issues.
Nothing to do with her spending too much time on iPad and me feeling guilty, oh no
Ever since Oliver James wrote that tripe about nurseries not being good for under 3s (unless of course their mother is depressed) I try to avoid any of his helpful advice and have mentally filed him away with Gillian McKeith and Andrew Wakefield.
I agree with this wholeheartedly: who wouldn't benefit from having some unconditional love and attention. Not quite the same thing as solving major behavioural problems just like that.
I did something similar with my daughter when she was feeling pushed out by a younger sibling and behaving badly as a result. I took her out for "Mum and ** Time" Let her choose what we did, gave her lots of attention and positivity. It worked really well.
By the way, MNHQ, much as I would love to win a competition, for the love of God please don't send me his book!!!!
'So he's taking what sounds like something most parents should do anyway (play with your child and express your unconditional love for them) and coined a fancy new name for it...hmmm'
I agree most parents 'should' do this purplepansy but in my experience, most don't. Even parents who do make the effort to spend time with their children really struggle with letting the child lead and take charge for brief periods. And sad as it undoubtedly is, I have worked with hundreds of parents for whom playing with their child was a whole new concept which they had to work really hard at. It sounds bizarre but it's true.
it is not new.
the late Dr Greenspan called it floortime stanleygreenspan.com/about-floortime/ the main principle being "Follow your childs lead, i.e. enter the childs world " and the approach yes can work with special needs - but treat/cure autism? the mind boggles. as said above, let's not go back to the idea of autism being caused by refrigerator mothers....
so he is wrapping up "spend time with your child one on one" into a so-called brand new approach and giving it a nice middle class name..... and nicely allows the well off to spend time in expensive hotels while doing it ! (rather than focusing on free stuff)
Oliver James has some good points to make but a lot of what he says is either common sense (spend time with your child! duh) or intended to pile on more guilt wrapped in science - nursery and cortisol levels and bla bla bla
and we should consider why playing with your own child and spending time with them is alien to parents.
where is this not being taught? why isnt it in the free NHS birth to five books etc? why dont prenatal classess spend more time on this than on the single birth event which lasts only a few hours (ok mrore in some cases)
(tho i have picked up leaflets at libary ec for parents which do emphasise the importance of spending time, reading with child, playng etc... does it really need a fancy name and marketing? perhaps it does... alongside the "five a day" campaign...
But love bombing has been on MN for years. There's a thread back in 2005 where aloha talks about it, here.
I seem to remember it always being mentioned when teenagers going through a difficult phase were talked about.
Is this different?
'why dont prenatal classess spend more time on this than on the single birth event which lasts only a few hours (ok mrore in some cases) '
Excellent point cestlavie. I agree there is a lot of written information around about the importance of play, reading etc but to be honest, a lot of parents don't read information, for various reasons. Also, it's such a brand new concept to so many parents that they actually need to be shown how to do it - if you just tell them to play with their child, they have no idea where to start. They don't even know how to spend time with a child, just how to 'be' with a child. It's really sad and the impact on every single aspect of the child's development is huge.
"Are people seriously going to pay money to be told that they should play with their kids?"
It isn't that simple.
I read about this in the Guardian, and cut it out to keep. I play with my children, interact, do stuff with them every day- But we rarely get a day where they take the reins and get to decide what they'd like to do.
My DS1 does not have any behavioural problems, but he is short on self-esteem.
Just mentioning to DS1 that we're going to have a special day, just him and I, and he gets to make the decisions etc, has made a lot of difference.
I don't know what "take up this blog prompt" means, but I'll have that book, ta very much!
Giving children bursts of very focused one-to-one attention and control over what happens isn't a new idea - I can think of several parenting books going back several years that suggest it. The only "new" bit of this seems to be the "bombarding them with expressions of love" bit (versus just commenting very frequently on what your chikd is doing without asking questions, which is what the others suggest) - I'd be interested in the evidence for that aspect in isolation. I'd wonder whether, if you are "bombarding" them, you can also be giving them proper attention and control, because that seems to be imposing your own agenda on the course of conversation.
I''d wonder whether, if you are "bombarding" them, you can also be giving them proper attention and control, because that seems to be imposing your own agenda on the course of conversation'
Absolutely and so, if the parent doesn't feel comfortable with verbal expressions of 'love', or doesn't mean what they say, the child will pick up on this and it could undermine the whole experience.
Hello all - just a quick one to let you know that Oliver's written a guest blog about Love Bombing this week - it's over here.
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.
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.
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...
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Yikes, double post - computer's playing up a bit here
So someone's written a book about doing a common sense thing that parents often do anyhow, and given it a ridiculous name.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I have been doing this for years but ds1 is still autistic - does Oliver James have any more bright ideas ?
"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.
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.
(Only book I have read by OJ is Affluenza which I thought was very good.)
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.
I want to love bomb dd but she won't say anything at all she'd like to do!
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
behavioural guru's book that was supposed to say
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 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.)
"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.
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.
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.
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!
How does anyone get all of this lovely one to one time??? What do you do with the other kids?? clingy 2 year old & whingeing 6 year old???
I heard an Oliver James talk over the summer. It sounds like a great idea and I would love to try it. My son needs it but finding the time... well that's another thing altogether.
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.
Karlos I couldn't agree more. The fact that he brings ADHD and autism into the equation at all really pissed me off.
I must admit when I read the Guardian article I just thought 'where's the evidence'? Especially for kids with additional needs, and I agree the article in the Guardian (maybe not the book) did IMPLY that this technique would produce a measurable improvement in behaviour for kids with certain developmental disorders.
Ok, so my 16 month ds, chooses where to go with his father (the beach, they are both happy ) he does what he wants (sploshing) and I tell him (continually ) how much I love him and how clever he is . So we will have a perfect child ?
Isnt it just making time for one child and asking them what they would like to do?
His last book made me a nervous wreck and feel extremely inadequate for a few weeks. Im not sure I want to spend money on his thoughts again. My mil can do that for free.....
As far as I can see, making mothers feel inadequate is what this man has built a career on. To people who are attempting to deal with disorders like ASD and ADHD day-to-day, he's a joke. What he does has absolutely no relation to any of the work being done by serious academics and practitioners in the field.
Oh he's a whanger and I wouldn't trust him to advise on keeping Flobberworms alive. Met him once, years ago. Him big qualified psychologist, me slapper who works for porn mags. I pointed out a great big logical flaw in the argument he had presented (which was that all people with [fetish] are mentally ill because all the ones he had ever met were. I asked him if he'd ever considered the fact that mentally well people, regardless of their sexual tastes, don't waste their money on getting psychologists to talk bollocks at them).
Also anyone who has ever been to speech therapy or had input due to postnatal mental illhealth or probably a raft of other interventions will have heard of this "new technique". I know my sister had to do "special time" with her son who stammered, a key intervention for my own OCD has been "watch, wait and wonder", following a child's lead is a major "thing" in developmental circles. It really irritates me that OJ is pawning this off as something new or revolutionary, it's just typical of him.
He is indeed a whanger with a covert (or not so covert) misogynist agenda.
Why is MN giving him the opportunity to spread his bullcrap here - surely the DM is more his speed?
Will go back and read tomorrow, but wanted to say IME this works wonders at curing shouty / aggressive / tearful behaviour in DS. I am on the hippy / UP/ woo / attachment end of parenting anyway though.
Sorry if this has been said but is 'love bombing' not a technique from the book 'Playful Parenting'? Not read the Oliver James thing yet so apols if he talks about it there (or if it's a different thing altogether)
this does just sound like a good way to sell a book. from the descriptions from the blog I instinctively prefer the similar 'playful parenting' approach and found that book really helpful.
I expect its something that most parents do very well day to day without even realising it though. every day when I'm with ds, ever since he could first toddle around, we have gone out for little walks where I let him decide where we go and how long we stop and pick up pebbles /stare down a grating etc. and every bedtime he has twenty minutes wind down time in his room where it is entirely his choice whether we do stories/ cuddles / boisterous play or whatever and as much attention as he wants. plus a lot of other times through the day I let him take a fair bit of control over the activities we do. I think what I am trying to say is there is some sense in this but I expect most people don't need to buy a book and will do it instincitvely, and further more that it is healthier and better to build time into every day life rather than concentrated bursts.
I thought this thread might be about a new phenomenon similar to Photo Bombing...
It's just attachment theory extension really.
But if it needs saying again it needs saying again. I'm happy about that.
I work with young adults everyday who have suffered from a lack of love. It's heartbreaking the damage that having no love does to people, so Love Bomb away world as far as I'm concerned.
I think generally most children do need more time, attention, and praise ... So, I'm all for a bit of positive parenting.
But as a feminist mumsnetter I do wonder a bit why all us mothers are turning to a man for advice ... it's bad enough when it happens with cooking and chefs !
But it's irresponsible and wrong to advance it as some kind of amelioration of conditions like ASD and ADHD. There is no evidence to support this and it's a cynical exploitation of parental desperation. There are ways to help kids with ASD and they're a lot more complicated and involved than anything James gets near talking about and they don't, i'm afraid, involve letting the child lead. If I had done that DS would probbaly still be sitting in a corner flicking the pages of a book back and forth. the fact that he is not is due to concentrated intervention based on the pricniples of behavioural psycholgoy, not the sirt of BS james spouts.
As for the ADHD links, I think what he is saying is that where there is a misdiagnosis of ADHD for a child (i.e. reactional behavioural problems).....when actually their behavioural issues are a result of attachment issues, then this technique may help. But not for children who have the actual neurological condition of ADHD. Diagnosis isn't brilliantly accurate for ADHD and I do see children diagnosed with ADHD when they are simply human being reacting to trauma in their lives, and that is very different to the actual permanent condition of ADHD.
My intepretation anyway.
Well, I'm going to keep an open mind and give it a go. DS1 is a generally happy child but we have ishoos with homework/organisation/not listening (the usual stuff) and at the minute I feel like all I am is shouty-bossy-no-fun parent. It can't do any harm to give him a day of freedom and one-to-one time with me, and if it improves things then that will be a fantastic bonus. I know that demonstrating unconditional love for your child is common sense but sometimes when you're stuck in a bit of a parenting rut it's easy to forget that the solution may be easier than you think.
Can i just say if anyone wants to love bomb me in a material way feel free to PM me for my paypal details A Toyota Yaris wouldnt go a miss if anyone has one going spare
In all honesty , i have done this in the past and would say it definately works . The love bombing , not scrounging on mumsnet !
I agree that:
a] It isn't new;
b] It's not done enough.
I'm constantly stunned by how many parents seem incapable of relating to children as children. Speaking completely non-professionally, fathers seem worse in general than mothers for speaking to kids as if they were undersized adults. Both sexes look pretty poor, on the whole, for being always in 'teacher' or 'monitor' mode. Playing with children should be on some sort of national agenda - if Oliver James promoting his book does the trick, fine!
It's not at all new. My highly-prized skills with 'difficult' children in the early 70s came down mainly to this: it was called something like "child's-eye" and may well have been the 'floor time' mentioned earlier in this thread. There's also been quality time, child-focused time, king/queen for the day (I like this one) and, I'm sure, dozens of other names. Doesn't matter what you call it - it's missing in many families. Go for it, I say!
It won't harm an autistic child and could, I imagine, make a positive difference over time. Patience and allowing the autistic child to lead, with plenty of positive feedback ... Textbook, isn't it? What's not to like?
The Yaris is mine! Your day's on Monday
garlicnutty It won't do any harm, of course, to lavish love and attention on any child. But letting a child with autism lead will not teach that child. The thing is that autism isn't a emotional/behavioural issue. And no, this is not textbook intervention for ASD.
There is Relational Development Intervention, and DIR therapy (similar-ish to Floortime) which begin the teaching process through following the child's natural interests, but these are wholly different things.
I don't know (or care) whether James is proposing "love bombing" as an intervention, bialy. Even if it's being spun as an ASD cure - which I've got to doubt - that's no reason at all to dismiss the importance of this for all children, whatever their abilities.
I'm glad HeathRobinson and farrowandballs have said this already, because when i read last week's Guardian column about it I straight away thought 'I've heard of this before, and with it being referred to as 'love bombing', too'. I haven't read HeathRobinson 's link yet but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the concept and term had been used already on here and/or in other parenting books.
Can we get to the bottom of this at all? I know lots of posters have said 'it's just a new name for X' but I also really feel deja vu about the term 'love bombing' and am a bit uneasy at it being hailed as OJ's new invention.
Far from new. We've done it with out AS child. Guess what- she still has AS, she wasn't any less tantrummy nor anxious bless her.
Yippee another book trying to recreate common sense and sell it as the holy grail.
I think it would only work if the child was screwed up to begin with
I don't understand how you can play with your child and not give them control to play how and what they like?
I don't understand the animosity to it.
Just because something seems like common sense, doesn't mean it should be dismissed. It's not compulsory and the book's not expensive.
This is SO not new. I think this MN poster, for one, may have a claim for plagiarism - this post is from over 3 years ago.
"screamingabdab Thu 13-Aug-09 13:27:30
The only thing I can recommend to redress things a bit (and I'm sure you've thought of it), is to have some time alone with your DS, and what I call "love-bomb" him. Do something that he really enjoys and get stuck in with him as a way of seeing his good points again. Make it explicit that it's special mummy and son time."
Unless screamingabdab is Oliver James, of course.
jubjub some narrative for you as an example:
"Come on darling, stop playing with the trains, it's a lovely day, let's go to the playground. Well I'm sure you'll enjoy it when we get there. Come on, coat on. Scooter? No you're a big boy, let's walk today.... Why not try the slide darling? That roundabout is for the little children. Come on, go on the slide! No, don't climb up it. Why don't I push you on the swing for a bit?"
Parent in above narrative would surely describe themselves as having quality time, yet child is getting NO say in the activity.
This from his blog: "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!"
Erm - no. I'm not thinking that at all and I don't know any parents that do. Does he think we all hate our children? Presumably so, and that's why we all go out to work...
Totally agree with the deja vu, and I think it's insensitive, to say the least, if there's even an implication that autism etc is exacerbated because parents are failing to do this.
Like many others, though, I'm in favour of the technique itself. I only have one child, though, so in terms of sheer logistics, it's easier.
We've done this with DS1 (7) who has Asperger's. His "behavioural challenges" (quick temper, frustration, opposition, anxiety) tend to stem from his self esteem (because he knows he's different). His dad and I are also not together - we split when he was nearly 3, and I am remarried.
There is NO WAY that we tried this with him to try and "cure" his Autism. We have simply done it to boost DS's confidence and self-esteem and to provide deep bonding time which has really helped DS's relationship with DH.
We have all really enjoyed our King of the House weekends. DH and I do it separately with him. DS talks about our times very fondly, and we notice a marked difference in his overall well-being (sleep, and morning mood improves) and "contentedness" which is extremely satisfying to see as a parent.
"Patience and allowing the autistic child to lead, with plenty of positive feedback ... Textbook, isn't it? What's not to like?"
No, it isn'ttextbook. The only intervention for children with ASD with any evidence base to support it at all is Applied Behvioural Analysis which involves active intervention to reinforce certain behaviours, shape others and actually extinguish those which are presenting barriers to a child's learning on their integration into the home or school environment.
insofar as James is suggesting his approach is likely to have benefits for kids with ASD he is potentially quite dangerous; there's enough woolly nonsense from schools, LEAs and the D of E about ASD interventions without him adding his worthless contribution. and as I've said, he's exploiting parental desperation to seel more books, which makes him something worse.
as you may have gathered, I rather despise the man.
I also read about this in Guardian and am planning to have a day with dd (and then ds1 and ds2 later on) to do this. DD doesn't have any behaviour issues, quite the opposite, she is a complete delight, but she does worry about school and has definitely got some perfectionist tendencies (which she may have picked up from me ). Over the past year she has developed a sort of tic - she holds herself tightly and shudders for a moment or two, sometimes making a face at the same time, and then stops. She's not sure why she does it, but it's clearly some kind of stress relief. We've been through quite a lot over the past couple of years - dh made redundant 3 times, moving house, me going back to work outside the home - and I'm hoping a bit more one to one time with me might calm her, and I thought a love bomb (although I'm a bit at the name, sounds like some kind of rave drug) might get us off to good start with that. Would love to read the book at some point.
Excellent observation, Seventheverything, the technique has been used for years and I advocate it frequently, although I have never used the term 'Lovebomb'. Do you think screamingabdab coined the phrase? If so she may now get a hefty royalty cheque after a quick visit to a solicitor!
Unless of course screamingabdab is Oliver in disguise...
agree this isn't new, and despite my misgivings about Oliver James, this is a book I'd like to read (so please put me in the hat!). my dd2 aged 7 is extremely difficult. But I know that she is just insecure and wanting attention. On the few times that I have taken just her out or taken her lead (I have 5 other children!), she really thrives. I'd be v interested in reading this.
I learned something with my autistic daughter called Intensive Interaction which sounds similar (responding to their prompts, mirroring etc). It was never suggested as a cure though- just a way of making a connection.
(Oh, and it irritated me a bit, tbh, to have it labelled as 'technique' to teach presumably clueless parents: I thought it was common sense.)
he is too smart, I suspect, to suggest it is a cure. He is suggesting it may help, which is a clever way of exploiting parental concern to increase the profile of the book. I persist in regarding with extreme distaste anyone, let alone a qualified professional, who uses a serious disability in this way.
I have blogged about it for the Blog Prompt
I was interested in your comments, Karlos. I have no experience with autism or ADHD so have not gone deeper into that, but I hope that some bloggers who have children with these illnesses will write about it.
It must be frustrating to read these 'quick fix' articles when you are doing so much to help your children <understatement>
Bof it is common sense, but many parents lose their bond with their child when behaviour gets out of control or there is a conflict that can't get resolved. Many parents over-control or go completely the other way and give up, meanwhile the child gets more tormented by not being heard. Whether these parents will buy a book by Oliver James is quite another matter though!
It is common sense, but sometimes we need reminded of it.
Wouldn't buy the book, but the basic idea seems good.
Btw, for the bloggers - could we use #lovebombingMN so that we can all find each other's posts on Twitter?
The 'Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities' programme, a US scheme uses this technique as the foundation of its work. In a slightly more convoluted way though - it is used as a bargaining tool to change behaviour.
Olly hasn't been doing his homework. On the other hand I need to read his book before I criticise too much.
Unless I am missing something vital aren't we just talking common sense here. Isn't this how we bring our children up anyway. Spending time with your kids 1 to 1 wow what a new conception. Whoever would have thought. However, there are people I guess who don't have common sense who will buy the book and start doing what is advised if they have not paid much attention to this in the past. No family is perfect, we all have times of being tested by our dcs but surely we all know what to do, or have friends/ relatives or Mneters to ask
No family is perfect, we all have times of being tested by our dcs but surely we all know what to do, or have friends/ relatives or Mneters to ask
I'd say no, we don't all know what to do, and many don't have people to ask.
It is frustrating, MMeL, because unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation about ASD, its causes and treatment out there still, and whether i like mit or not, people will listen to this man, so him adding his twopennorth is profoundly unhelpful.
I'm sure you don't need a book to tell you how to bring your children up Lambethlil, as I'm sure the majority of us don't. As for those who don't know theres a problem and carry on regardless, they'd hardly be looking for help, especially a book. Only my opinion though.
This isnt for people who are already doing everything right and whose children have no behaviour problems, it is for people who are struggling and may have got into a negative cycle with their child and need to go back to basics and try a new approach. Those who are saying "Surely we should be doing this anyway" are not who this book is aimed at.
I'm more than happy to read anything to help. I disagree with you that the majority don't need help and ideas. I don't understand the resistance.
I agree with Lambethlil
I read it. Interesting. I like the idea of it being a set period of time, because of course it's good to 'bombard' with love anytime, but very difficult especially if your child is being challenging. I think it could really work and I will be trying it, particularly the handing over control.
I would definitely respond well to this. If you are reading mother, I am free most weekends in November.
I think the issue is not that parents have no idea what to do, but that that they are bombarded with often conflicting advice and opinions.
From their relatives and friends, and from whichever parenting guru is popular at the moment.
And it does sometimes feel like we are being blamed for our children's bad behaviour, that if we just read this book or watch that programme that everything will be solved.
Isn't love bombing a technique used by religious cults to get their recruits hooked?
My kids get control where it's practicable, 1-to-1 attention wherever possible, expressions of love all the time - all woven into the fabric of the day. I find the idea of it being a different, set-apart 'zone' (which may be discontinued if the desired effects show themselves?) a bit odd tbh. A special day where the child is in charge, fair enough. But maximum control and maximum attention and maximum affection all at once as something entirely separate from the usual run of life?
Far from new, AFAIK. And Evenifyouseeapoppy (hey! I know where that name's from. Is it MillyMollyMandy? ) I was about to comment that as far as I'm concerned, 'Love Bombing' is or was a technique used by cults to brainwash converts. Rather unfortunate re-branding here!
I personally agree that ABA is the only evidence based approach to follow if your child is autistic - although I think OJ just stuck in 'autism' at the end of his list of claims as it has a great 'this really does wash whiter' look to it.
ReshapeWhileDamp - spot on!
As a single mother it's not really something that's open to me very often at all- I don't get to spend time alone with each of the children, it's nearly always both of them.
I was a very reserved and unemotional mum and DH was worse. The book would have been useful to point out to DH that he should be doing one to one with DCs which I doubt he every did and to point out to me that I should have expressed my love vocally and demonstrably.
I and DH are middle aged and copied some of the reserved styles of parenting from our upbringing and most of our aquaintances at that time were the same.
But want to point out that none of my 3 fun loving and 'normal' adult DCs are autistic due to 'cold' mother.
OJ makes a living from his books so imo stretches the info a bit and also wants to cause some debate as it's good publicity but there is usually a bit of sense in what he writes.
Oh god, reshape, that's where I've heard it before. Religious cults. I think Oliver needs a new researcher.
Now I've done my research and according to Wiki, abusers in romantic relationships do this in the early stage to their victims.
Silly old Olly.
Nice title, Ollie.
Like the terms 'love-in' and 'tough love', 'love bombing' really doesn't sit right.
oh, dear. That is rather unfortunate.
Didn't he or his publishers google the title?
Indulgent, anxious, middle class, boden wearing, private school attending parenting advice at it's worst IMO. Why can't you just spend individual time with your kids & be nice to them without reading how to in a book?
Oh it's a great technique rumplepump he's just used a really bad name for it.
yeah bastard mcs reading books to make their kids happy.
I think people do forget how to have fun with their children, I think Rumblepump that is very harsh. I think it's quite easy to get into a routine or rut or bad habits, vicious circles of impatience and resentment. Sometimes a jolt out of the vicious circle is helpful. So what if it's in a book. At least it's people who really want to think about how they're doing things with the family and their children. He's not soppy at all, didn't he used to recommend tying bedroom doors shut or something? Maybe some of it is commonsense or what should come naturally! but how it's possible to get cross and angry with somebody recommending doing this stuff with children, I dont' understand!
I think some of the anger seems to be because he has previously suggested that nursery may not be the best type of childcare for babies. Is that right? I noticed a few people had tacked on comments about this to the end of their posts.
"Indulgent, anxious, middle class, boden wearing, private school attending parenting advice at it's worst IMO. Why can't you just spend individual time with your kids & be nice to them without reading how to in a book? "
I don't know. Perhaps for the same reason you can't avoid being a class-obsessed bigot i.e. human frailty?
I also agree with KarlosKKrinkelbeim
I'm sure love bombimg is a very nice thing to do with your DC, despite the nauseating name, especially if you have nice "normal" who play up from time to time.
And who wouldn't want to have a bit of one to one time, being told how great they are? Maybe I will suggest it to my boss at work.
But to throw in a few disorders which "love bombing" may help is just attention seeking. Why not just say "all children" or "all family members"?
This would have completely changed my mum and mine's relationship if she had done it to me at any point in my childhood. We got stuck in a cycle/rut of each trying to be in control, leaving me feeling extremely unloved and resentful towards her. This technique would have been brilliant at jolting us both out of our negetive behaviour patterns.
I'm sure I read it about it years ago though as I remember recommending it to a friend who was having problems with her DD (she never did it, the problems are now worse and I still believe that this would work a treat).
I love the way some people think that it's obvious too! As in, don't we all do this anyway?
No, a lot of parents don't, hence why there are so many people with issues on mumsnet!
And since we tend to learn our parenting skills from our parents, it means that those of us who don't want to parent like our parents need to get their ideas from elsewhere.
Sorry that was harsh, I just get so fed up with authors & journalists feeding off the anxiety (and sometimes fuelling) of parents and renaming obvious things as if they are some kind of parenting guru.
"Co-sleeping, baby led weaning, love bomb and blah blah", rather than "Our DC sleeps in our bed, we let him try to feed himself and spend time with him and give him lots of affection". I know it is simply another word for it and appreciate some people obviously find parenting books really helpful but I can't help feel that it is a very profitable field where parents often come off feeling more anxious.
This was my experience anyway, I didn't have my parents around to ask for advice so surrounded myself with baby and child care books, they boggled my brain, made me feel anxious and cost a lot of money.
This technique would have been brilliant at jolting us both out of our negetive behaviour patterns.
Ilovetermtime this approach is very very effective where there has been a stalemate or the bond is weak. I hope it flourishes but - what a terrible title. Sorry to hear about your experience.
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garlic Love-bombing as an abusive strategy came from me - via Wiki. It said that emotional abusers use it in the early stages of relationship, showering with gifts etc. but that is a very superficial use of the term. Adult abusers may be in arrested development but they are very capable of manipulation and this is one way to get what you want. The term is also used to describe a brainwashing technique by cults.
I have used a similar process in parenting groups and it is particularly appropriate for use with children with disabilities as it enables the parent the time and space to really listen to their child and the time and space for the child to really express their thoughts. It's not a cure for autism, it is a cure for when communication breaks down.
"I constrained my response the first time, but am now adding what I wanted to say. If you can only think of interactions with autistic children in terms of treatment, as betrayed by your use of the word intervention, there is indeed an urgent need for books that spell out how to respect and validate the child."
You plainly intended this to cause offence, and you succeeded. I am reporting your post for deletion. I need no lectures from the likes of you in how to "respect and validate" my child. it is precisely because I love ans respect my son that I have devoted huge amounts of money and effort to maximising his skills and his ability to cope with the world that he has no choice but to live in. You have no understanidng of the difficulties of this situation, as your idiotic contributions demonstrate.
garlicnutty how dare you. I assume that you're referring to my earlier post too. You do not have the first idea about how I (or other posters) relate to, spend time with, or bring up our children with (or without) autism.
Do I really need to spell out to you the reasons why both Karlos and I used the word "intervention"?
It's a parenting book. Calm down everyone. It is about the parent / child relationship, not an cure or intervention for autism or any other disorder. I do wish people wouldn't be so tetchy and defensive.
"I constrained my response the first time, but am now adding what I wanted to say. If you can only think of interactions with autistic children in terms of treatment, as betrayed by your use of the word intervention, there is indeed an urgent need for books that spell out how to respect and validate the child."
So are you saying that children diagnosed with autism are actually just the same as typically developing children and that help/intervention/therapy whatever the rose is called/ is not really needed at all ? If you knew or worked with an autistic child, you would quickly realise that a lot of extra input is needed to help the child reach his or her potential. Also playing around with language is not really an answer esp as only mathematical equations can be validated not children
I totally agree achillea it's just another 'here's some mom and apple pie stuff i put together' type book but OJ did say in the article that he thought it could be of use even for autism - erm no......
Just to take the temperature down a bit - I too read about this last week in the Gaurdian and am looking forward to trying it with my older 2. Especially my eldest who acted out at school for most of last year. She really likes the sound of a special day with mummy - next job is to try and find a day that we can do. And then find a day for her brother as he's not acting out but really could do with some special time.
Thanks for all the comments from those who have tried it - I'm hoping for the same result here
Oh my lord not Oliver James again. For a reason I cannot put my finger on I absolutely loathe and despise almost everything he writes. If I met him at a party I am almost certain I would want to flee to the other side of the room, or tip my wine on him .
He is an evidence-free writer. Comes up with half-baked, under-tested theories on parenting which, largely, are misogynistic and blame working mothers for almost everything. He also never ever writes about people taking responsibility for their own behaviour - tis all the fault of the parents. Ugh.
Love bombing sounds manipulative to me. You give your kids some special days when you let them run the show with no limits and tell them they're fabulous, and then you ..... well, what? Go back to how you normally parent?! I did read his Guardian article and the suggestion seems to be that these love-bombing sessions change how you parent for ever after. Trite doesn't even begin to describe it.
I do have a touch of PMT but he raises my hackles even when I don't.
I'm not all that fussed about Oliver James (as a mum of twins, I found his book They F* You Up massively unhelpful - he basically said you need to be really responsive to all your child's needs and that's extremely hard with twins - and that was it. No advice or words of comfort. Just, you've got twins so you're screwed.) but the idea of giving up control makes sense to me. Parenthood is basically about letting your kids learn to be people, right? I taught in university chemistry labs for a few years and I realised that the best way for people to learn a new skill is to show them, OK, but then to sit on your hands and let them do it. And it's more exhausting and frustrating that way - doing nothing is harder than doing something - but it's what is needed. Someone to watch and be involved and give help but not take over. So yeah, giving them a time when they can call all the shots, that makes sense to me.
Evidence is what scientists look for, narmada. Media whores, on the other hand, have no need for it. It has been clear for some time in which category Oliver James has placed himself, but the explotation of autism to sell more books is shockingly cynical even for him.
Yy to the cynicism re autism. Makes me boak.
I love the term Love Bombing! I think it definitely works. My toddler can be a terror with her tantrums but she's so loving (most of the time) and is always hugging and kissing her dolls, as well as making them sit and play with her.
I like to think this is from watching how I interact with her and her sister.
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