Counselling, Supervision, Training, Research, Teaching, Writing. Providing therapeutic services to the people of East Lancashire and beyond.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

All You Need is Love

Did you read Oliver James in the Guardian this morning? His article, All you need is love bombing, contains advice to parents on how to help their unhappy and defiant children. What James calls  'love bombing' involves two things: devoting time exclusively to your child and letting the child control what happens in that time. As a result the child experiences what all children need if they are to flourish: love and security. It seems such a simple idea, maybe too simple.

So my first reaction was favourable: many children in the UK are growing up in families that simply do not meet a child's basic physical, social, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs.This has a huge negative impact on the child's development and on their ability to function well (as children, adolescents and adults) in our fairly unforgiving society. But the remedy is to hand, love and security, and if it isn't ever-present then it needs to be scheduled. Scheduled? Has it come to this? Could it be that James' solution is actually symptomatic of the problem? Have we really created a society where we have to 'find a window' to 'love bomb' our children?


  1. Yes John, it seems that we really have created a society where we have to find a window to lovebomb our children.

    It's why we need counsellors; I find that most clients have not ever experienced unconditional acceptance of who they are (in their entirety) and part of the work is helping them to see that if I can offer it to them, then they can offer it to themselves. Ideally every child would have the security of knowing that they are okay but instead they are left too much to draw their own conclusions about why mum and dad argue/they don't see much of one or both parents etc.

    The article might help a handful of families to find a more effective way of being a family, but this is a superficial sticking plaster to the wider, sociological dis-ease of dehumanisation in favour of capitalism. I gave up holidays and nice clothes and meals out to be at home with my kids when they were very young to give them a secure base. I also gave up recognition from society that I was doing anything useful. Tax credits make it easier these days, but I understand that this option is deemed impossible by many as they truly believe that we need as big a house as we can mortgage, at least one new/ish car per family, new, fashionable clothes, holidays, huge flatscreen tv's...I could go on...You don't. You need a home, food and clothes, but these needn't be expensive. Love, time and attention are free, and I believe, much more rewarding for all those concerned.

    I am very much in favour of shared childcare and giving mum a break - isolated, stay-at-home mums (and even more so dads) have their own challenges. I know a couple of friends that went back to work 2 days a week to "have a break" from childcare! Bolstering the social standing of stay-at-home mums/dads and part-time working parents would be a great step in the right direction.

  2. I agree with everything you have said here Amanda, in the pursuit of material wealth we have lost what is truly enriching.

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  4. I also think that counselling helps people to find their own truths and needs, rather than what they think they should want and need based on the messages in magazines/movies/advertising media media media. I gave up reading newspapers and magazines when my 13 year old was born, apart from the pretty neutral Economist which doesn't even publish the journalists' names aka ego is left pretty much out of it. I read books which have longterm ideas and information. Anything truly newsworthy finds it's way to me without me having to seek it out by sifting through titillating, gossipy, biased pap... I have seen a number of clients who's self-image is most definitely influenced by the media, even if they aren't initially aware of it, and giving up reading gossip mags/looking at websites about what the celebrities are wearing is literally giving up an addiction. Like picking a scab, they want to perpetuate the low self-esteem because it's what they're used to. Enough ranting for now.

  5. A good rant though Amanda! I always get a reaction when I tell my students I don't have a TV, like I'm pre-historic! But it does protect me from an awful lot of dross and from the kind of propaganda that you're describing. I suppose the celebrity culture we have created is where post-war consumerism leads but what next?