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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:
aquashiv · 28/09/2012 09:32

Yippee another book trying to recreate common sense and sell it as the holy grail.

harvestvestibule · 28/09/2012 10:06

I think it would only work if the child was screwed up to begin with

jubjubbird · 28/09/2012 10:13

I don't understand how you can play with your child and not give them control to play how and what they like?

Lambethlil · 28/09/2012 10:17

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.Confused

SeventhEverything · 28/09/2012 10:19

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SeventhEverything · 28/09/2012 10:22

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Longtalljosie · 28/09/2012 10:45

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!"

Hmm 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...

NicknameTaken · 28/09/2012 10:50

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.

Badgerina · 28/09/2012 11:39

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.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 28/09/2012 11:50

"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.

wilbur · 28/09/2012 11:55

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 Blush). 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 Hmm 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.

achillea · 28/09/2012 11:56

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...

BeattieBow · 28/09/2012 12:03

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.

SuperB0F · 28/09/2012 12:03

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.

SuperB0F · 28/09/2012 12:05

(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.)

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 28/09/2012 12:08

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.

MmeLindor · 28/09/2012 12:11

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

achillea · 28/09/2012 12:11

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!

MmeLindor · 28/09/2012 12:18

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?

achillea · 28/09/2012 12:23

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.

morethanpotatoprints · 28/09/2012 12:46

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

Lambethlil · 28/09/2012 12:52

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.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 28/09/2012 12:58

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.

morethanpotatoprints · 28/09/2012 13:01

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.

QuangleWangleQuee · 28/09/2012 13:01

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.

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