The power of a love bomb: The simple parenting technique this mum swears by

When some of our favourite Instamum’s speak, we tend to listen (they’re not called ‘influencers’ for nothing!). So when Clemmie Hooper – better known to some by the Instagram handle @mother_of_daughters – recently revealed her go-to method for keeping her four daughters emotionally well-balanced, we were ready to take notes.

“Picked this one up early from holiday club today and had a window of opportunity to do some long overdue Love Bombing,” Clemmie, a midwife from Kent, UK, with an online following of over 500,000, captioned an adorable photo of her and her eight-year-old daughter, Marnie. “I read a book years ago by Oliver James when I had just two children (pah) which talks all about this concept of giving them the intense experience of feeling completely loved and in control.”

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Picked this one up early from holiday club today and had a window of opportunity to do some long overdue Love Bombing. I read a book years ago by Oliver James when I had just two children (pah) which talks all about this concept of giving them intense experience of feeling completely loved and in control. We only had 2 hours so we swam in the sea, met some mermaids, built a huge sandcastle and decorated it with shells. We ate fish and chips for tea washed down with Lilt, all in all it was perfect. Parenting is the toughest job I’ve ever done and with my attention constantly being spilt between 4 children I never feel that I do enough or give them what they really need. But this evenings Love Bombing session made me see the light again 💞 #motherhood #thehardestjobwithnotraining #lovebombing #motherofdaughters

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What is love bombing?

The term ‘love bomb’ was coined and developed by psychologist Oliver James and involves spending a period of time alone with your child, during which you offer her “unlimited love and control.” James, who penned the book Love Bombing: Reset Your Child’s Emotional Thermostat back in 2012, believes that giving your child this intense experience can be an effective solution for children with emotional or behavioural difficulties. 


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Who would benefit from it?

Children aged between three and early teens who are prone to mild or severe behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity, underperformance at school, trouble sleeping or defiance, are the ideal candidates for a love bomb. However, all children – even happy ones – will benefit. “So many parents are, or have had, periods of living very busy or miserable or complicated lives, most of us need to reconnect with our children from time to time,” says James. “The method works equally well whatever your social background, ethnic origin, or nationality because the fundamental needs of children are the same everywhere.”

mum cuddles child with teddy bear

How does it work?

Don’t confuse a love bomb with ‘quality time’ – a love bomb is your child’s chance to take control of the time she spends with you. Set aside some time where you can give her your undivided attention; this could be anything from a couple of hours to an entire weekend. In the days leading up to the event, explain to your child that you are going to be spending some time together and that they can decide what you both do and where you do it – yes, really!

Turning the normal parameters of parenting on its head, the message you want to give your child is that – during this period of time only – whatever they want, they will get (within reason!). You want your child to feel “gratified and bombed with love,” says James, who notes that you should continue to set consistent boundaries outside of the love bomb zone.

While you might expect your child to make all sorts of outlandish demands, James believes that children who feel loved are less consumption-obsessed. A trip to the beach, the local funfair or a picnic in the park are all worthy suggestions – the most important thing is that you are free to shower your child with your undivided love and attention (for this reason, a love bomb works best if it’s just the two of you).

If you’re able, keep a memento from the day ­­– it could be a pretty shell or a picture of the two of you – so that you can re-enter the love bomb zone when you look at it and talk about it. What’s more, discussing another special day you can spend together in the near future will further foster feelings of connection.

What Clemmie says  

While a love bomb might seem somewhat extravagant or extreme, believers of the method report better communication between parent and child and overall improved behaviour – and it doesn’t necessarily need to cost you anything other than your time. Clemmie, mother to Anya Rose, 11, Marnie and two-year-old twins Ottilie and Delilah, credits the technique for feeling more emotionally connected to each of her girls.  

“We only had 2 hours so we swam in the sea, met some mermaids, built a huge sandcastle and decorated it with shells. We ate fish and chips for tea washed down with Lilt, all in all, it was perfect,” Clemmie says of her recent love bomb session with Marnie. “Parenting is the toughest job I’ve ever done and with my attention constantly being split between 4 children I never feel that I do enough or give them what they really need. But this evenings (sic) Love Bombing session made me see the light again.”

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