Knowing your child’s love language is another tool that parents can use as they build a connection with their children, a connection which will enable them to have a stronger influence in their child’s life. As I talked about last week, a strong relationship with your child can make them more receptive to the boundaries you set.
For a full study on the Love Languages, check out the books The Five Love Languages of Children and The Five Love Languages of Teens. I’m going to give a brief summary of the love languages which may help you pinpoint your child’s and enable you to speak that language to them.
Your Child’s Love Language
Every person has a love tank and in order to fill that tank, the person has to FEEL love. How they feel love can vary with each person. One person may feel love by spending time with you, another by hearing affirming words. When you know your child’s love language you can focus on speaking it to them and filling their love tank, which in turn will help them feel loved, build their self-esteem and give them a sense of security. When a child feels loved, they are less likely to exhibit negative behavior.
The Five Languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation are sincere and specific words of praise for efforts, not just results. Another way to express words of affirmation is with words of affection. How often do you say “I love you”, “I’m proud of you,” or “I love hanging out with you.” They need to hear words of affection every day.
Are you being intentional about affirming your child every day?
To give your child quality time is to give them a portion of your life. Harder than words of affirmation, Quality Time means TIME. And this is not just being in the same room, it means you are actually “in touch” or connecting with your child. When you are having quality time, your child feels that they are the focus of your attention.
A big part of quality time are the quality conversations that happen in that time. Whereas words of affirmation focus on what you are saying, quality time focuses more on what you are hearing.
Are you creating space so that you can spend quality time with your child?
Acts of Service
Of course, parenting by nature, is a very service-oriented occupation. We serve our kids in numerous ways every day–feeding, taxiing, cleaning–but acts of service as a love language is different.
Let’s clarify what acts of service is NOT. It is not bribery, manipulation, or behavior modification. It is not you being a martyr when you do something for your child and they don’t seem to appreciate it.
Acts of service is you serving your child in little ways when they least expect it. It is noticing a need and stepping in to fill it when they don’t ask.
Are you cheerfully looking for ways to serve your child when they are not expecting it?
Hugging and snuggling are the obvious ways to show affection, but there are a lot of other ways to give physical touch:
- tousling their hair
- patting on the back
- holding a child while reading a book
- tuck them in at night
- hug after disciplining
- snuggle while watching TV
- family group hugs
Are you giving your child some physical love every day?
With gifts as a love language, giving should be genuine expressions of love, not payment for services rendered or bribery. They should not be given out of guilt by a parent who has not been able to spend time with them or feels remorse for how they treated a child.
Gifts do not have to be store-bought; they can be made or found as well. Most importantly, gifts must be given with love and affirmation to be truly meaningful.
When your child is small, they need all the love languages and honestly, I think we all could do with all the love languages, but as they get older, there will be one or two languages that speak love louder to your child and fill their love tank more quickly. If you would like to know more about the love languages and how you can love your child more thoroughly, reach out and schedule a free call with me here.