Friday, March 4, 2011

The Five Love Languages of Children

I recently read The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. I'm sure that many of you, like me, have read The 5 Love Languages, but I was interested to learn more about how to apply the love language concept with my children. As the authors state at the beginning of the book, "A child's emotional tank must be filled before any effective training or discipline can take place."

The book says that you can't really expect to identify your child's primary love language until they are age 5 or older. (The book also mentions that love languages are not set in stone, and your child's primary language can switch at different stages.) However, after reading the chapter about quality time, my "suspicions" were confirmed that this is Nathan's primary love language. The authors define quality time as "focused attention." Nathan will often say to me, "I want to do something special with you, Mommy." I have also learned that when he is having a hard day, it is really calming for him to snuggle with me on the couch and read books together. I have been trying to be more intentional about doing a little something with him after Natalie goes down for her afternoon nap and before he begins room time.

As a mother with two young children, I needed and appreciated this insight: "As you express your love by acts of service to your children, doing things they may not be able to do for themselves, you are setting a model. This will help them escape their self-centered focus and help others." The book also suggested in this section that we teach our children how to serve others.

In addition to the individual chapters on each of the five love languages, the book contains an entire chapter about discovering your child's primary love language. The authors state that one of the languages will speak most deeply of love to your child; conversely, when that same language is used negatively, the child is very hurt. Some suggestions given for determining your child's primary love language: 1) Observe how your child expresses love to you. 2) Observe how your child expresses love to others. 3) Listen to what your child requests most often. 4) Notice what your child most frequently complains about. 5) Give your child a choice between two options (for example, a gift vs. an outing together).

Why go to all the work of figuring this stuff out? "The supreme value," the authors say, "of discovering your child's primary love language is that it gives you the most effective means of communicating emotional love."

The chapters on the relationship between discipline and anger and the love languages were interesting. I admit I'm not sure if I agree with the authors on all of their points, but it was definitely food for thought. I did appreciate the distinction between "making requests" and "issuing commands," and there was a particular quote I liked in the discipline chapter: "Being pleasant but firm not only conserves your authority, but it enhances your authority, because you are gaining your children's love and respect as well as their gratitude."

Speaking of the love languages, I was thinking back to my birthday a couple years ago when Eric blessed me with all five gifts in one day. What a treat! You can click here to learn more about the love languages, and to take a brief quiz that will help you identify your primary language.

Has anyone else read this book? Have you identified your own primary love language, or that of your child(ren)?


Katie said...

I have heard of the book but never read it. I used to listen to a radio show by The Rosbergs several years ago who often referred to it. I just took the quiz, though, and my love language is "Words of Affirmation" (scored 9). I am intrigued by how you applied this to your children...what worthwhile insight into their lives to help us as parents!

(Also, I do remember that very thoughtful post by your hubby -again creativity abounds in your relationship!)

~*Marie*~ said...

Hi Carrie, thanks for stopping by my blog. I have been absent lately due to the fact that I have been planning the St. Patrick's Day parade for my city, but I will be back soon! Thanks for visiting.... see you soon!

Susan said...

Great post! I know my child is very touch oriented and I am not. I am more words of affirmation. So I have to go out of my way to hug and touch him. But he is so cute, I cannot help myself!