By: Susan Ragsdale
There’s a new holiday on the horizon—Valentine’s Day! While stores around us try to focus our attention on roses, chocolates, cards and potential dinner dates, I want to suggest that families focus on the “heart” of the holiday by reflecting on how love is expressed in the home. Read more >
Dr. Gary Chapman has identified 5 distinct, universal “love languages” that give insights into how our children (or spouses, family members and friends!) are wired to perceive and receive emotional love.
Knowing your child’s love language can help improve your relationship with your child, ensure a sense of security, and strengthen communication once you learn to speak his or her love language. The key is to understand how your child interprets love.
The five love languages® include:
1) Physical touch – hugs, holding hands, pecks on the cheek and physical presence
2) Quality time – undivided attention minus outside distractions and multi-tasking
3) Acts of service – anything done to ease the burden of chores or work
4) Receiving Gifts – thoughtfulness and effort put into choosing personalized gifts show you are truly known and cared for
5) Words of affirmation – words impact: insults can shatter and unsolicited comments can make your heart dance
After reading about these love languages, my friend, Ann, created her own game of either/or questions to ask her children about. She gave her kiddos scenarios like:
- Which would you rather do with mommy: 15 minutes of snuggling (physical touch) or 15 minutes of playing games (quality time)?
- Which makes you happier: to receive an encouraging note (words of affirmation) or to get a surprise present (receive gifts)?
Now, she incorporates their particular preferences into her parenting strategy for each one.
If you’re not quite as creative as my friend, Ann, you can visit Dr. Chapman’s website, which provides assessment tools that support the power of positive parenting. Parents can play the Love Language Mystery game with their children to unlock their secret love languages.
In honor of this month of love, why not spend time learning your child’s primary love language and what you can do to help him or her feel genuinely loved? Assess your love language, then ask yourself: How does my child interpret love? How do I? Are our love languages different from each other? How does that impact our communication?
Tell Us:—->Have you read Dr. Chapman’s book? What did you learn about your (or your child’s) love language?
1. Image via epSos.de on Flick’r.