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4.4 out of 5 stars
Love Bombing: Reset Your Child's Emotional Thermostat
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2012
I've been waiting for this book ever since I read an article Oliver James wrote sometime ago describing the method in overview. I tried out Love Bombing with my son based on my understanding of it from the article. I didn't consider I had a particular problem on my hands regarding my son's behaviour yet I do find with the distractions of modern life, that it is near impossible to give the attention that I would really like to my children. How often do we put our children 'on-hold' to attend to the many devices that demand an instant response?

I took my son away for a weekend to London and we had a ball. We both gained a reconnection and deeper level of trust. Coincidentally it was not long before he turned seven and I suspect that having had this weekend together helped in his transition towards this new age of greater independence. My husband spent time at home with our younger daughter while I was away with our son and this also helped deepen their father-daughter relationship. He travelled considerably in her early months and it has been a joy to see how they connect so much better as a result of that intense period of time together Love Bombing at home.

Reading the book helps me understand how we will build in further 'top up' time. Next time we do a trip away or one-on-one time at home we'll swop and I'll spend time with my daughter.

Families are about multiple relationships between several individuals. I'm convinced that family life can be much improved through Love Bombing. We can get to know one another's feelings at a whole new level thus make better decisions about how we want to live going forward. As can be understood from reading the book, there are many scenarios when the method will prove helpful to families. Love Bombing helps release a variety of negative emotions that may have arisen from decisions that we would take differently if we had our time over again or in cases when the child was exposed to trauma beyond our control. Love Bombing is an exceptionally helpful method for all families to be aware of.

Marie Vijendran Author of Mindful Decisions
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
I really wanted to read this book for two reasons: one negative and one positive. Initially I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, but my negative reaction was `why make something special out of something that should be so commonplace?'

Then I remembered reading about how Penelope Leach (who kind of `invented' time-out) said she actually hated the very premise of time-out but that she was writing in an age when smacking children as a punishment was considered the only way to discipline a child, and in order to get parents to stop doing it, they needed to be given something else they felt might work. So maybe that's what Mr James is doing when he suggests parents give their children special time...?

The basic premise is that you give a struggling child intense and long, if possible, time with just one parent doing whatever he or she wants and with lots and lots of `I love you's from that parent. The book is divided into a `why' section, a `how to' section' and then the largest section is parents' stories from families who've tried it and for whom the technique of Love Bombing has `worked' (and some from a few where it hasn't worked).

Anyway, I read the book, feeling half sceptical, and half intrigued, and here's a tidied up version of the notes I wrote while I was reading it:

I'm feeling dubious about this. I try to ensure my children get plenty of this `love' and `time to choose' all the time, and I have noticed the competitiveness between my children that ensues when I single out one of the children for one-to-one time.

However, I have also noticed the vast improvement in our children when we give them time like this when they're struggling with something so I guess the premise makes a lot of sense.

He suggests that nearly everything should be allowed and the child really should be in control, but I find myself worrying about the `can I watch tv all day?' idea, in that I've noticed a very big deterioration in the emotional well-being of my children when they've watched a great deal of television, so I'm wondering if this couldn't end up being counter-productive in some respects?

Maybe my scepticism about the whole idea is that none of my children really are as out of control as some of the children in the book? Maybe this is a fantastic, amazing resource for creating a turning point in families where the child really has become `lost' in some way.

He does suggest that it's possible to do Love Bombing in short bursts, such as half an hour daily or so, which seems far more feasible to me (some of the parents actually took their children away to hotels for the weekend!).

I really loved reading some of the insights from the parents who tried it, for example Dawn's mum wrote:

"We have learnt to go to the place where she is at, rather than drag her to ours, it's incredibly rewarding. We are getting to know the child that she is rather than the one we would like her to be in theory."

I like to think we already do this with our children, but it's always good to have a reminder as we are far from perfect and often slip into that too-busy-to-really-notice-the-children mode that some parents seem to reside in 100% of the time (which are clearly the sort of parents this book could create incredible revelations for).

My criticisms of the book are this:

1. I would like to see an acknowledgement of the possibility of giving children more control over bigger areas of their lives, not just in very short bursts.

2. I don't like that it's labelled as a `technique', but then I guess that could be appealing to many parents in the same way taking a pill is - you feel like you're actually doing something proactive about a problem.

3. There are far too many stories of hotel stays and trips to expensive places like posh restaurants and theme parks . It's very off-putting as it's just not feasible for many families and these stories could very well alienate many parents very quickly.

4. I have looked and looked in the book, and there is nothing about how to manage the hurt feelings of the siblings of the child being `Love Bombed'. This really frustrates me as I have four children. Creating time for just one of them means taking that child away from the family completely ie. not just into another room, or doing something with just them, because otherwise all the other children want a look in, or suddenly need you urgently and Daddy just won't do (I think we've all experienced this phenomenon!)

Taking one child out for the day inevitably involves spending money, unless it's nice weather and what they want to do most in the world is have a walk and a picnic. It also takes up a lot of time when the other children will want the same at a later date...and by the time you've got through all four of them, it's probably time to start on the first again.

(I joke to my children that they have a `baton of dissatisfaction' that they pass from one to the other. Just when one child's current issue seems to have passed, another one picks up the baton and needs our attention!)

So what if your child urgently needs time with you alone, but you have no one who can care for your other children? Take one up to your bed and cuddle up with them hoping no one else notices? That works for a few minutes, I've found, but invariably one comes to ask for something and then what do you say? `Sorry, I am having special time with your sister at the moment, you'll have to wait'? Yes, that would work if the people we were dealing with were adults, but unfortunately they're not, they're children, so they don't just say `OK, I'll ask later, let me know when you're free'. They don't even say `OK, but can I have some special time later on as well?'. No, usually they say `Aw[...] I neeeeed yoooooooou noowwwwww, Mummeeeeeeeeeey'. Or they go away and come back thirty seconds later with some other `need'.

Can you tell this has irked me a little?

I would recommend this book, really I would, but I really would like to see Oliver James tackle this issue of multiple children in a more realistic way in future editions, and also to make it seem less expensive and put less emphasis on the lucky families who can afford hotel stays etc.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2012
Having thought that we were giving all of our children fair amounts of attention and love, it seems that our middle son felt that he had lacked something in the formative years. He went through a prolonged phase of aggressiveness and self loathing that were both infuriating and heart breaking. To hear a young child say "I hate myself and want to die" is one of the most painful things a parent can hear from an otherwise healthy child.

We decided to try this technique and have simply not looked back. His conduct and confidence are so different that it is now difficult to imagine he's the same boy. When we talked about it afterwards he said that it wasn't so much about where we went or what we did; it was the fact of having my full and undivided attention which reminded him that I really loved him. This surprised me to begin with; we have cuddles and are affectionate, we praise the children for their positive deeds and we have no difficulty in saying " I love you". But during a difficult time for the family, and with full time jobs - and therefore, just the evenings with the children during the week - most of the time is spent chasing up undone homework, messy rooms, unworn glasses, late bedtimes and unbrushed teeth.

We're about to do this again with our older teenager who is in the throws of all the angst that this throws up. For us to go away for a night and do exactly what the child wants for a short period is what seems to work for us. Oliver James's book does talk of other stories and different methods other families have used. It is extraordinary to think that once you have more than one child, each of them will rarely get a full 24-48 hours with you alone unless you do something like this. It is also worth knowing that allowing the child to make all the decisions during the Love Bombing does not last when you return to normal day to day life. They instinctively know that the rules are different.

Love Bombing, simple in it's basic premise (time alone with your child, devoting all of your attention to them) and complex as it might be to arrange for some families, is singularly the most effective method for re-engaging with your child the way you always intended - showing that you love him/her unconditionally. It does seem to work like a reset button.

We would definitely recommend this book - and Love Bombing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2014
I think this is a great idea. I think it makes the parent think a lot about themselves and makes you start to behave calmer even if it's false. The more we screamed at our son the worse he got. Now I speak in a pathetically calm voice even when I am so cross inside. Anyway, it makes you think and try yourself to be different. My husband hated this idea and still claims he does, but he did the love bombing idea and I notice a difference in him since. A book for the family not just for the child you are trying to cope with. Our house is nicer to be in since this idea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
This book follows on from Oliver's other books, and is the antidote to family distress. It describes different circumstances where children misbehave and how to counter that with love bombing - spending lots of time doing one-on-one attention and devotion to your child. It works wonderfully well and children understandably love it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2015
I really like the idea of love bombing, and there are many reviews here which explain the premise of the book so I won't repeat that. However, I was alarmed that the author seems to think that some forms of autism and ADHD can be cured with his method. Being the mother of a child with Asperger's and severe ADHD, I can honestly say we have tried every gimmick on the market to help our son, and I was only stopped by his pediatrician who helpfully pointed out that I am not superwoman and I needed to accept my son's disabilities. Therefore I find the promises that this book makes quite worrying for stressed out and hard working parents who are desperately trying to help their children. The idea of love bombing is lovely, and there are some great ideas of how to spend your time together. However, I would approach the rest of the book with a healthy dose of suspicion with regards to the apparent miracles that this method can produce. I'll promise to update this review if my son is miraculously cured by love bombing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I had hopes that this idea might work but sadly it didn't make any difference in spite of following the guidance in the book. So I would just say keep your fingers crossed that it works for you but bear in mind that it doesn't necessarily do the trick for everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
I wish I had read this book years ago! So useful and impactful! Guiding us with practical and effective strategies to have a profound positive effect on our children even during difficult times is heartwarming. Really works!! I highly recommend it!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2014
I found a lot of this book to be positive and helpful but then came across the chapter on autism. James' suggestion that autism may be caused by environmental factors seems to be advocating a return to the dark ages of our understanding of this condition, when 'refrigerator mothers' were viewed as the cause of their child's disability. Whilst the presentation of autism and attachment disorder may appear similar (and as an education professional working in this field I am aware that diagnosis is not always clear cut), the overwhelming evidence is that these are separate and distinct disorders and I can't see how it is helpful to reintroduce this idea. Yes, an autistic child is influenced by his or her environment, but to describe the environment as the causal factor is dangerously misleading. I've no problem with looking at ways to positively improve a child's emotional well-being and it's good to highlight that autistic children do benefit from strong family relationships but the suggestion that parenting is causal in autism is dangerously misleading.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
Oliver Jame's book Love Bombing is a wonderful addition to the vast and confusing array of parenting books available. As a mother-of-two and chartered psychologist there has only ever been one book that I felt I could whole-heartedly recommend to clients wanting help with parenting their children (How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish). This is the second book I am now wholeheartedly recommending. Oliver James' imaginative, yet highly practical, method of making special time to build love and trust with your child is compassionate, insightful and by all accounts, highly effective. The wonderful thing is that this method seems to be as transforming to the parent's idea of themselves and their relationship to their child/children, as it is to the child's behaviour. So much more pleasant and joyful than the dominant ideas of the naughty step and other "correctives"! I urge you to buy this book and give it a go. You have nothing to lose and a huge amount to gain.
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