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

143 replies

KateMumsnet · 27/09/2012 12:29

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.

OP posts:
Noseynoonoo · 27/09/2012 20:25

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.

bialystockandbloom · 27/09/2012 20:25

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.

Spanglemum · 27/09/2012 20:49

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.

violetwellies · 27/09/2012 21:04

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 ? Grin

LaCiccolina · 27/09/2012 21:05

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.....

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 27/09/2012 21:27

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.

solidgoldbrass · 27/09/2012 21:30

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).

thunksheadontable · 27/09/2012 21:31

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.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 27/09/2012 21:34

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?

SeventhEverything · 27/09/2012 21:34

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

farrowandballs · 27/09/2012 21:39

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)

tiredfeet · 27/09/2012 22:05

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.

TeamEdward · 27/09/2012 22:05

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mcmooncup · 27/09/2012 22:10

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.

JugglingWithPossibilities · 27/09/2012 22:11

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 !

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 27/09/2012 22:14

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.

mcmooncup · 27/09/2012 22:20

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.

UnrequitedSkink · 27/09/2012 22:30

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.

frumpet · 27/09/2012 22:40

Can i just say if anyone wants to love bomb me in a material way feel free to PM me for my paypal details Wink A Toyota Yaris wouldnt go a miss if anyone has one going spare Grin
In all honesty , i have done this in the past and would say it definately works . The love bombing , not scrounging on mumsnet !

garlicnutty · 27/09/2012 23:10

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?

garlicnutty · 27/09/2012 23:14

Grin frumpet

The Yaris is mine! Your day's on Monday Wink

bialystockandbloom · 27/09/2012 23:22

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.

garlicnutty · 27/09/2012 23:37

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.

Tryingtothinkofnewsnazzyname · 27/09/2012 23:43

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.

SmokyClav · 27/09/2012 23:52

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.

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