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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:
LynetteScavo · 28/09/2012 22:44

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"?

ilovetermtime · 29/09/2012 03:56

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).

ilovetermtime · 29/09/2012 04:00

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.

Rumplepump · 29/09/2012 07:09

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.

achillea · 29/09/2012 11:01

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.

garlicnutty · 29/09/2012 16:01

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achillea · 29/09/2012 17:11

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.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 29/09/2012 19:58

"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.

bialystockandbloom · 29/09/2012 20:25

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"?

achillea · 29/09/2012 20:31

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.

willowthecat · 29/09/2012 20:46

"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 Smile

willowthecat · 29/09/2012 20:49

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......

littlebellsmum · 29/09/2012 22:24

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

narmada · 29/09/2012 22:51

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 Grin.

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.

beyoglu · 30/09/2012 06:54

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.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 30/09/2012 12:44

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.

narmada · 02/10/2012 00:31

Karlos-so true.
Yy to the cynicism re autism. Makes me boak.

2under2blog · 03/10/2012 12:23

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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