Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Toddler

LOVE LANGUAGE BETWEEN CHILDREN AND PARENTS

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Having been a pre-school teacher for twenty-five years and a mother for eleven, I am convinced that in the end, communication and God’s love are the keys to a successful relationship with your children. The catch is – how do we successfully communicate this love to our children? 

During my initial married years, I discovered a book called “The five love languages by Gary Chapman”. It truly was an incredible find! The vital knowledge in this book enriched my marriage in so any ways, as it taught me as a woman, to communicate my love for my husband in ways that he would best receive them.

Becoming a first- time mother for me was the most terrifying and rewarding experience of my life! Rebecca was my first born and has always craved lots of hugs and kisses as well as cherishing time alone with me, which became less frequent as I had two sons, Jamie and John after Her! Jamie, at eight, is a typical little boy, always the first to pick up a cricket bat and rugby ball and get on with it. His questions during these times are so interesting though…”Dad, whose going to watch my rugby match on Saturday?” “Mom, are you coming to see me play cricket on Thursday? The coach says I’m really good, you know – he says if I carry on doing so well, I will get to play in the hard ball team! What do you think, Mom?” And then there’s my youngest, John. At four, life is a whole lot of fun, but he has this thing, where he honestly believes every day is Christmas, and just cannot understand why he can’t get a new fire-engine or car daily?

Much to my delight, I discovered there was a love languages book for children, also written by Gary Chapman, and I began to apply the five principals to my children and was so excited by the results!

The goal of the five love languages in children is to recognize and comprehend how your child receives love. This is often very different from the way you, as an adult, receive love or enjoy “giving love out to others”. For all Moms reading this article now, please consider how best out of these five, your child receives love? Children (and adults) may have more than one love language but they will always have a primary and a secondary (one they operate best in, followed by a close second). Of course love languages can change over the years as I discovered in my marriage. When we were first married, all I wanted to do was kiss and cuddle my husband (physical touch), but after three children all I long for is time alone with him! (Quality time). 

Please look carefully at the list below and consider your child’s primary love language…After examining these and praying and thinking about my three children’s different personalities, I experienced that “light-bulb” moment, and my relationship with them deepened. I understood them better, and I didn’t feel that motherly “guilt and frustration”, all the time where you know you’re trying your absolute best but you’re just not “getting through”!

1. Physical Touch – does your child love to be kissed and cuddled regularly?

2. Words of affirmation – My son Jamie’s love language is words of affirmation (as are 90 per cent of men’s!); he so wants to hear from me that he is a fantastic cricket player and that I’m going to be there to cheer him on in his cricket match, and tell him how awesome he is!

3. Quality Time – My daughters primary love language is quality time. At this stage, I have five children (having taken on my domestics children as they were living in appalling circumstances), and Rebecca is taking strain with another “two brothers” in the house. Although she is a very affectionate ten year old, her greatest desire is to go to the Wimpy alone with her Mom and tell me about her day!

4. Gifts – does your child feel loved when he/she receives gifts? Johns love language is gifts right now! (Very typical for a 4 year old!)

5. Acts of service – does your child feel loved when you serve them e.g.: make them a cup of tea, a sandwich, a lovely meal?

Children are our most precious gift from God. In truth, parenting will be the most difficult task you will undertake in this life-time. It is so hard, and many times we just don’t get it right and end up feeling a failure for that day. There is a story in a book about a Dad who so wanted his son to be a good sportsman, and so every day he would come home and be his sons “coach”, always pushing him and telling him he could do better, that he had a long way to go but together they would get him there. In truth, this little boys love language was words of affirmation and physical touch, not quality time (especially the type of “hard” quality time his Dad was giving him!) and sadly for many years, even into adulthood, he felt he was a failure deep inside, even though he became an excellent rugby player…

For me, discovering my children’s love languages was like finding a golden key to a door that unlocked a room packed full of treasure! I trust you will have the same experience….

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