Children Have Love Languages, Too

I've read Dr. Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, several times in my adult life.  I have taken the quiz more times than I can count to make sure things haven't shifted or that I still convey and receive love in the same manner.  I even recognize when I get frustrated that it is partly due to my love language not being spoken.  When you apply the techniques and observe the information submitted, it really does make sense.  Which is why I can't believe it took me so long to actively pay attention to the fact that my children have their own love languages too. (Especially since there is a book by the same author discussing this at length).

Oh, in case you aren't familiar with Love Languages, there are five ways that people show, communicate, give, and receive love.  They are Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Acts of Service.


Photo credit: Pinterest find.  
My Honeybee is the reason I started thinking about this.  Recently, I had a not great mommy moment when I asked her to stop wrapping her feet on mine during a movie.  Her face fell and she seemed so disappointed.  I apologized for hurting her feelings and decided against my comfort and allowed her feet to once again lay on mine.  After a while, she was smiling and in comfortable mode again.

Thinking about that episode and several more, it became clear to me that my oldest daughter's primary love language is clearly physical touch.  It is, however, closely followed by "Words of Affirmation"  My Bee wants TONS of hugs and to constantly touch you.  She also needs to hear you say "I love you" as she says it multiple times in a row all day long.  She asks if you like a drawing she has done, her hair, her skills.  She needs to hear that she is doing well. 

Physically, she will stop her task to get a hug and will then return to the task.  When it's bedtime, she must go to every member in the house for several hugs before she is tucked in. She follows that with I loves yous in voice and in sign.  When watching a movie, when walking into a location, when talking to someone, she has to touch or be touched.  That information is so important when educating, disciplining, and loving her.  I'll explain how and why shortly.

My Bug is a huge Quality Time person.  He is constantly asking for he and I to go out together, to play games together, to just hang together or watch a movie as a family.  He is happiest when the family is together and loving each other.  To sequester him to his room to think of an action is the absolute worst, especially if his methods of outside communication have been taken as well.  Again, very useful information.

His favorite thing in the world is for he and I to have a Mommy Son night where we are bowling or walking through the stores window shopping...or eating together.

My little A. is still developing.  I have no idea what hers is or what it will be.  She's fiercely independent, strong-willed, and fearless.  I can tell her she's smart and she beams, but she doesn't focus on it for long.  She seems happiest when I'm doing things for her, which would make her acts of service....but I'm not sure if that's her love language or typical two year old angst.  If it is, it's definitely the same as her father's.  One of the things that stands out to me is her desire for me to carry her upstairs for her bedtime and naptime instead of walking and doing it herself.  I suppose it makes her feel like I am doting on her in the way in which I carry her little brother.  It will be interesting to see how we proceed from here.

So now that I've gone through my littles and their languages, let me tell you how important knowing their languages is.



It improves your communication.  When my Honeybee is having a hard time or a difficult day and just wants to vent, I hold her hand while she talks to me.  I hold her in my lap when we are reading and when it is time to discipline, I hold her hands while discussing what has been done incorrectly.  I always end whatever discipline with a hug and an "I love you".  Time out or whatever.  When it is complete, the physical touch is there.

Because she is also so wrapped in Words of Affirmation, like her mommy, I make sure to dote on her accomplishments and the things that she tries hard on.  I will draw pictures on sticky notes and place them in her school lunch.  She's my smart princess and I make sure she knows it!

It makes one on one time special.  With Bug, quality time allows our drives from practice pick ups and one on one time to be so much more special.  We talk about everything and he is free from judgment.  Some things I don't agree with.  Some things I do.  I never discount his feelings and simply ask if there is or was a different way he could have thought about something.  We laugh together.  I come to his room for a few minutes every night and we just spend time together.  It actually bothers me when someone interrupts us to remind him of bedtime.  With four children, there never really seems to be enough one on one time, so I understand and appreciate his love language and need for it.

I make sure to plan Mommy Son nights.  With our family schedule, that can be difficult sometimes, so I have found other creative ways to do so including letting him stay up with me a little later sometimes on the weekends.  We will discuss something, watch a movie, laugh at the movie, and make memories.

Lessons are better retained.  It took me a minute to get that the kids weren't all the same.  S., with his background in education, got this immediately.  But I didn't.  I wanted to raise all the kids that way I did Bug.  He is turning into a great young man and I saw no need to deviate.  However, that wasn't working.

The methods used to explain something to him didn't work with Honeybee or little A.  The interests were different.  The mindset was different.  I finally started applying different methods according to their love language.

When teaching counting, Honeybee and I do work side by side, using coins or something small that we have to touch and share together.  I'm starting to allow her into the kitchen to help prepare meals.  We are right beside each other and she is always so happy to help.

Bug is a bit different.  He loves the quality time of being in the kitchen to work on something together.  But teaching him a lesson usually requires a one on one open dialogue.  I knwo that he and S. have many conversations just because of their proximity.  Some of the lessons he ingests are retained simply because there was no barrier in speech.  Others are brushed aside due to the teen "Parents just don't understand" syndrome.  But he is always listening.

You have a happier child.  Feeling genuinely loved and respected is the best feeling ever.  You feel secure.  You feel happy.  You feel safe.  Children need these feelings on such a deeper level.  It's always an amazing blessing for a child to be happy to come home knowing they are safe and loved.  So many in this world don't have that opportunity.



If you are interested in your child's love language, you can try the Love Language quiz for children and teens.  It can be found below or on Dr. Gary Chapman's website.


You can also order the book The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Love Children Effectively by Dr. Gary Chapman. 

A favorite quote in the book says

Speaking your child's primary love language does not mean he or she will not rebel later. It does mean your child will know you love him, and that can bring him security and hope.
I love that.

Have a very amazing day!
-K

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