Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How can I ensure my child feels loved?

Every human gives and receives love in different ways.  The same is true of children.   Gary Chapman wrote a book entitled The Five Love Languages of Children.  In it he describes 5 different languages or ways we humans can give and receive love.  Quality time, physical touch, acts of service, giving/receiving gifts and words of encouragement.   It is very common for a parent to try to communicate love to a child in a way that the child can’t understand just as I would understand very little if you spoke to me in German. 

If you as a mom express love to your family by keeping the house clean and you wonder why your 14 year old son does not appreciate it, consider it might be because it is not a way he CAN feel love.  If he feels loved through words of encouragement rather than acts of service, the efforts you make to show love though cleaning will not be “heard.”  Instead try telling him how proud you are of the things he is accomplishing and make an effort to show you care through your words.  

 If you are the type of father that really takes the time to explain why you think your daughter is amazing but she never seems to respond perhaps it is because her love language is quality time instead of words of encouragement.  What she really needs is for you to spend 30 minutes a day with her where she has your full attention. 

To find your child’s “love language” all you really need to do is think about the way he or she responds when you give a hug, a complement, a gift, spend time one on one or do something for him or her.  If your child loves to be given comforting back rubs, there is a good chance physical touch is one of her love languages.  If your child enthusiastically receives a gift from you and then spends every moment for the next week with that gift, he probably feels loved through receiving gifts. 

Remember that a person can have a very different way of giving love than receiving love.  If your child loves making you gifts, that may not be the way he or she receives love.  Young children are still developing their “love language.”  If you want your child to grow to be an adult who is able to receive love in many different ways, the best thing to do is to show him or her your love in all 5 of the languages.

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