“The more you love your children, the more they learn to love others.”
Love is a powerful emotion and is necessary in the growth and development of children. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs lists love after food and security. Studies have shown that love makes your child physically healthier, increases your child’s brain development and it makes your child less fearful and more well-rounded. In fact, all aspects of a child’s development require a foundation of love. The question then is, how do you ensure that your child feels loved? Is telling your child everyday that you love her enough? According to Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages of Children, “Every child has a primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.”
Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages are: 1) Physical Touch 2) Words of Affirmation 3) Quality Time 4) Gifts and 5) Acts of Service. Your child will benefit from all five ways of receiving love. However, knowing your child’s primary love language will help you become more effective in meeting her emotional need for love. Each of the five love languages have actions, ways of communicating, as well as things to avoid.
The child who’s love language is Physical Touch wants hugs, pats on the back, sitting close, cuddling and even wrestling on the floor. This love language is mostly non-verbal and pleasant facial expressions communicate love to her. Furthermore, is important to avoid corporal punishment and threats with this child.
The child who’s love language is Words of Affirmation appreciates receiving written cards and letters. The best way to communicate love to her is to speak encouraging words and compliment her. Emotionally harsh words and undue criticism should be avoided.
If your child’s love language is Quality Time, spend extra time with her. Running errands, taking trips, going on walks or even just sitting and talking makes her feel loved. She will enjoy quiet times without interruptions as well as one on one conversations. For this child, avoid too much time with friends or groups and of course, avoid isolating her.
If Gifts is your child’s love language, she enjoys both giving and receiving gifts. She remembers special occasions. Private gift giving communicates love to her. Forgetting special events is something to avoid with the child who’s love language is Gifts.
A child with the love language of Acts of Service enjoys assisting with chores and helping whenever she can. Communicating love to her is a matter of asking, “What can I do for you?” She also wants to know how she can help you. She feels unloved if you break promises or ignore her.
I can’t possibly do justice to the subject of love languages in this BLOG Post. And, because this is such an important subject, I highly recommend The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman. There is a survey in the book that will help you discover your child’s love language.
It is important to speak all five love languages to your child. However, your child will crave one language more than the others. If you know the primary language and incorporate them all, your child will feel loved and will be able to love others.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.