Your Child's Love Language

One thing that I want to clear up now is that I am not a bookworm.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to read.  It is a habit that I am getting better at, and I have read books that have changed the way I think and pray.  I tell you that because over the next few posts I will be giving you the “Jeff’s notes” version of one of those books, The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  I will suggest that you do a couple of things that might help you have a better understanding of your children AND it might even help you in your parenting:

  1. Follow the link and take the short quiz on each of your children.  This will help you to begin to identify what love language they speak.  Click here to go to that site.
  2. Find the book and read at least the chapters on your children’s languages.
  3. If you like what you read, there is a study guide that you and/or your spouse can do.  It is also available for free.  On average there are 3-5 questions per chapter.  Click here to go to that site.

Alright, by a show of hands, who would say that they love their children?  Would you say you love them unconditionally?  Here is how Wikipedia would define it… ”Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations.  An example of this is a parent's love for their child; no matter a test score, a life changing decision, an argument, or a strong belief, the amount of love that remains between this bond is seen as unchanging and unconditional.”

Here’s the catch:  no matter how much you know that you love your child, your child may not be feeling loved.  For a child to feel loved, we must learn to speak his or her unique love language.  Every child has a special way of perceiving love.  There are five primary ways people speak and understand emotional love.  They are:  physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.  If you have several children, chances are they each speak different languages.  When I walk in the door from work, my youngest daughter, Madison, asks me for tickles while she is in the middle of hugging me with her legs wrapped around me.  My oldest, Rachel, loves to spend time doing things with me no matter what the activity.  If I tickled Rachel like I do Madison, she might wonder why I was hurting her.  While both ways are healthy examples of showing you love somebody, if you never speak the right language to them, they may never feel that they are completely loved.

By speaking your child’s own love language, you can fill his “emotional tank” with love.  When your child feels loved, he is much easier to discipline and train than when his “emotional tank” is running near empty.  When we are filling their tank with unconditional love, it can help them have the emotional strength to get through the challenging days of childhood and adolescence.  Just as cars are powered by reserves in the gas tank, our children are fueled from their emotional tanks.  Unconditional love is a full love that accepts and affirms a child for who he is, not for what he does or does not do.

You may find it helpful to frequently remind yourself of some rather obvious things about your children:

  1. They are children.
  2. They will tend to act like children.
  3. Much childish behavior is unpleasant.
  4. If I do my part as a parent to love them, despite their childish behavior, they will mature and give up their childish ways.
  5. If I love them unconditionally, they will feel comfortable about themselves and will be better able to control their anxiety and their behavior as they grow to adulthood.

Article by Jeff Neeley