According to a very popular book by author Gary Chapman, each one of us expresses love through either one or a combination of five love “languages.” Basically, this theory boils down to the idea that we all accept give love in five different ways: through words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. While there is literally an entire book written on the subject (and many more supplementary materials,) today’s blog post will cover how to recognize which love language your child leans towards and how to respond to that language as a parent.
- Words of Affirmation
When someone’s main love language is through words of affirmation, it means that they express and understand love best when someone else specifically tells them that they love and appreciate them. The most literal of the five languages, this love language can be one of the easiest ways to let your child know you love them.Ways to use this love language include: Praising your child, but not over complimenting them. Make sure to pay attention to the tone you are using with your child as well as the actual words you use. Listen to your child and what they have to say.
- Acts of Service
For those whose love language falls into this category, actions speak louder than words. This means that a child may find helping you or receiving help from you to be the most rewarding in your relationship.Ways to use this love language include: Helping them learn a new task, lending a hand with workloads, and showing support when things get hard.
- Receiving Gifts
A lot of people confuse this love language with spoiling your children, but that is not the case. The way people who lean toward this love language express and receive love is through giving things to other people. This usually does not have to mean something expensive; it only means that they took time out of their day to find something they thought you would think is special.Ways to use this love language include: Cooking a favorite meal, remembering special occasions, and finding meaningful gifts over lengthy and expensive ones.
- Quality Time
This is another really simple language to grasp. People who enjoy quality time as their main love language simply want to spend time with you. It is about you giving your child (and your child giving you) your undivided attention. They bond with you the best when they can spend time with you. Ways to use this love language include: Engaging with your child, having face-to-face conversations, and doing things you enjoy together.
- Physical Touch
The love language of physical touch has nothing to do with romance when it comes to unromantic relationships. Physical touch can range from anything such as a hug hello after school to simply being in physical proximity of your loved one. Those who enjoy physical touch as their love language just enjoy being around you.
Ways to use this love language include: Using gentle touches to enforce ideas, being aware of how your body language affects your child, and holding hands while out and about.
As I stated earlier, it is possible for your child to subscribe to one or a combination of these love languages. The important thing to take away from understanding the five love languages is to recognize which love languages your family members respond to, and understanding how to use these languages to express love and appreciation within your daily lives. It may be tricky to pin down exactly the right combination of these languages that is right for your family, but once you figure out what works best for you, you will feel much more connected and in tune with each other.
For more information on the five love languages, pick up Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, “The 5 Love Languages,” or check out the website at www.5lovelanguages.com.