How Parents Can Connect With Their Children Using The Five Love Languages
Use your child’s love language to bolster them up and show them that they are loved and valued.
Kids at any stage can be difficult to connect with. Toddlers have limited communication skills. Middle schoolers are hormonal and grumpy. And teenagers just want their independence. Your kid may always seem to be on a different wavelength than you. But instead of trying to connect with them your way, try reaching out in ways they understand best.
If you want to build a stronger relationship with your child, keep reading.
The Five Love Languages
Dr. Gary Chapman established that love is expressed in five different ways. He calls these expressions the “Five Love Languages.” These different languages are how we communicate and receive love.
Everyone needs to experience all five of the love languages. But for each of us, one specific language stands out more than the rest. Discovering your child’s love language will help you show your love and support for them.
1. Physical Touch
The first love language is Physical Touch. The most common way to speak this language is through hugs and kisses. Older children may shy away from these tactics, even when their love language is physical touch. If you suspect this is the case with your child, there are plenty of other ways to use physical touch.
Some more subtle and casual forms of physical touch include:
— Shaking hands
— Giving high fives
— Playing patty cake
— Creating a special handshake
— Giving a pat on the back
— Sitting close to each other
If your child embraces physical touch, some more obvious forms include:
— Bathing them
— Ruffling their hair
— Dancing together
2. Words of Affirmation
The next love language is Words of Affirmation. These can be words of praise, affection, admiration, encouragement, congratulations, gratitude, and more. There are plenty of ways to speak this love language.
Some examples of Words of Affirmation include:
— Saying “I love you” when they leave for school
— Putting positive notes in their lunchbox or on their bathroom mirror
— Sending a text or email wishing them good luck for an exam or performance
— Calling them on the phone to congratulate them
—Thanking them for doing their chores
What’s most important about this love language is that your words are sincere. Children are especially good at detecting insincere comments. If your child suspects that your words are hollow, you may be doing more harm than good.
3. Quality Time
The best way to express this love language is to give your child your undivided attention. In today’s busy world, quality time can be challenging for some parents to do. It can be hard to unplug and focus on your child when you’re being pulled in all directions. You may need to schedule your quality time into your calendar to get it done.
Some ways you can squeeze in more quality time include:
— Bring your child with you while running errands
— Read a book with your child each night before bedtime
— Take them out for lunch
— Go for a morning walk or jog
— Cook family meals with them
— Do a puzzle or play a game together
— Visit a museum together on the weekend
This love language can often be over complicated. If your child’s love language gifts, you don’t have to go crazy each time you want to express your love. Keeping it simple is still highly effective. Some examples of gifts you can give include:
— A flower you picked on your walk home
— A bouncy ball you put in their lunch
— A book
— A pair of funny socks
— A coffee mug
— A bag of candy
— A postcard from your business trip
— A small toy
—An old photograph of the two of you
— An ice cream cone or a smoothie
If your child often rejects your gifts or seems hard to please, then Gifts is likely not their love language. Individuals whose love language is Gifts are just excited that you thought of them.
5. Acts of Service
As parents, your role in your child’s life is already service-oriented. Finding additional ways to serve may feel challenging. However, there are still plenty of ways you can speak their love language.
Some examples of acts of services include:
––Helping them with their homework
—Working with them on a specific skill they care about, like shooting hoops or playing the piano
––Assisting them in finishing a project or chore
—Making their favorite meal for dinner
—Helping them study for an exam
Conclusion: Finding Your Child’s Love Language
Use your child’s love language to bolster them up and show them that they are loved and valued. If you don’t know what your child’s love language is, try experimenting with all of them.
For the next few months, give your child options between different love languages. They can get a new shirt (gifts) or go with you to the beach (quality time). You can help them do their chores (acts of service), or you can wrestle after their chores are done (physical touch). Keep track of their answers and which ones they prefer. Over time you will discover which love language stands out.
Using your child’s love language can improve your relationship. You will be better able to meet their emotional needs. They will feel confident and secure around you. They will trust that they can come to you for help when they need it.
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