Tag Archives: attachment

Love Bombing – A Guest Blog by Oliver James

This blog post has been written by Oliver James, psychologist, Guardian columnist and author. His books include ‘Affluenza’ and ‘How Not to F*** Them Up’.

Here Oliver describes the subject matter of his latest book ‘Love Bombing: Reset Your Child’s Emotional Thermostat’ – having had the benefit of trying Oliver’s Love Bombing technique with my own son (see THIS POST) I can heartily recommend this book if you are struggling with your child’s behaviour.

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Nine year old Tim hated himself, he told his mum Marianne he was ‘rubbish’ at everything and became more threatening towards his talented older sister.

Marianne was at her wits’ end, having tried everything suggested by her son’s GP and teacher, including a stricter punishment regime. My advice was to try the opposite – a technique called Love Bombing.

It entails giving your child a very intense, condensed experience of feeling completely loved and completely in control. It works best with children aged three to the onset of puberty and can be applied to depressive children such as Tim, as well as classic cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or when a child is aggressively defiant. It also works well for shyness or academic underachievement. But there does not have to be any ‘problem’, it would improve the well-being of both parent and child in almost every case – over 100 parents have done it (put ‘love bombing oliver james’ into google to see thousands of threads).

Interestingly, a significant number of the parents who found it useful had used strict routines with their babies or toddlers. They reported feeling that the Love Bombing seemed to reset their child’s emotional thermostats as well as enabling them to parent in a more loving and effective fashion (for a more detailed account click HERE and for my view that strict routines with babies are harmful click HERE).

The child is told that they are going to have a period when they can do whatever they like, within reason. during this time, they have the exclusive attention of a parent. the child is in charge of where they go and what they do, including meals and bedtimes, and told he or she is loved, along with lots of cuddles, as often as possible. The period can be 48 hours, a single day or shorter bursts. Whatever the duration, the experience needs to be rekindled daily for half an hour for lasting effects.

Perhaps surprisingly, children are more willing to accept boundaries afterwards. the opposite of stricter discipline is often what is required when a child is playing up. they are feeling needy and deprived, loveless and powerless. Give them an intense period of feeling loved and in control, and the neediness and anger dissolve.

Almost all the arents who have done it report a more biddable, calmer child. parents who have been sucked into a nagging, niggling pattern become more authoritative.

Marianne took Tim away for 48 hours to a hotel. he chose it and they spent time watching TV and messing about. a week later she said, ‘it definitely worked. so far we haven’t had any major unhappiness.’ eighteen months on, the self-loathing was extinguished. tim recalled, ‘the best bit was just being alone with my mum.’

As part of a professional couple Marianne could afford a hotel. but dozens of parents have found ways of doing love bombing that require little or no cost.

It might sound like just spending ‘quality time’. this is something entirely different. Going that extra mile into the love bombing zone can save you a huge amount of grief – and it can be a whole lot of fun.

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To learn more about Oliver’s Love Bombing technique visit www.lovebombing.info.

Oliver will be speaking about Love Bombing at the BabyCalm & ToddlerCalm 2013 International Conference next year, for more information or if you would like to book a ticket visit the conference website HERE.

‘Love Bombing: Reset Your Child’s Emotional Thermostat’ is published by Karnac Bookson Friday 28th September 2012, £9.99

“Why don’t you ever put that poor baby down?” and How to Deal with Babywearing Negativity.

A huge thanks to Anne McEwan from Natural Mamas for this guest post:

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Carrying your child in a sling has many well documented benefits yet it often seems that society is still playing catch up. Parents using slings report negative reactions from friends, family and even complete strangers. Being told that a choice you are making for your child is wrong can be hard, especially if it is a choice that feels so right for you.

Why the negativity? 

When deciding how to deal with negativity to your choice to carry your child in a sling – or any parenting choice- it can be useful to consider why they feel the need to express the negativity in the first place. The vast majority of comments fall into these two categories:

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1) That is not what I did/would do and I feel judged by you or think you are crazy 
Regardless of whether you intend to judge someone else for not carrying their child, some people will allow their own insecurities to coax them into putting down your choice. Remarks from these people are often phrased in a ‘I could never do that’ or ‘It never harmed mine to go in a buggy’ way.

2) Lack of understanding 
Just very simply a lack of understanding as to why you would want to carry your child. Sometimes people react with ridicule to something that they have not encountered before as a way to hide their lack of knowledge. ‘Look at that woman with two heads’ or ‘can you not afford a pushchair’ are ways in which this can be expressed.

What can you do? 

The first thing you can do when you are approached in a way which feels negative to you is to examine whether it was meant to cause upset, is a misunderstanding or someone suffering from a case of foot in mouth syndrome.

It is possible for someone to say something which was meant in a very innocent way but which comes across as negative to you. By taking a step back and asking yourself whether you are being over sensitive you can gain an extra insight into the situation rather than going into defensive mode straight away.

If you have established that it was not merely an innocent remark you can then decide whether and how you want to respond. A teenager passing in the street may not be worthy of any response since it does not matter what they think of you, whilst a negative remark from a family member can have a much bigger impact.

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Tried and tested responses
These are some tried and tested responses to negative remarks. Choose the one that suits you and your situation best or have fun making up your own!

‘I love carrying him it makes both of us happy.’ 
The truth and nothing but the truth. So many reasons to carry but this is the most important of all and really it is also one that people should just be able to accept.

‘Carrying her is so easy. I wish slings like this had been as easily accessible when you had your babies.’ 
This one is great for those who you feel may have wished they had carried their children. It works in two ways. One, it gives an excellent non emotive reason for carrying and two, it empathises with them and expresses a wish that they would have been able to do the same.

‘I am sure carrying him has made him so much more confident, just look at how he loves to play with his train. Do you mind looking after him while I go and make a drink.’ 
If you feel that the person expressing the negativity is worried that they will not get to interact with your child in the way they had imagined, this can be a good way to redirect their attention. Please note that using this technique with a child who will scream when you leave their sight is probably counter productive…

‘Do you know I burn a lot more calories carrying her. It is great exercise and my back has never been stronger.’ 
A concern for the carriers back is often borne from an inability to understand how a soft sling distributes the weight evenly over your body. They imagine themselves carrying a child as heavy as yours and simply cannot imagine being able to do so.

‘Have you seen his latest trick? He can blow bubbles.’
Sometimes it is not worth your breath arguing or trying to explain. Focusing the attention on your gorgeous baby can then be the least confrontational way to move forward. After all, regardless of what they think, you are doing what you believe is best for your baby and as his parent you are in the ultimate position to make those decisions.

For some great independent advice on slings and babywearing see www.slingguide.co.uk 

Anne McEwan – Babywearing consultant and educator.
www.naturalmamas.co.uk The home of natural parenting.