Do you know your child’s love languages?
I kept hearing about love languages but I honestly didn’t care very much. What did it matter? You love how you love and that’s all there is to it. Also, I really wasn’t into self-help books so I had no plans on reading that mush. Until…
My husband and I were going through some stuff, as husbands and wives do. “Do you know your partners love language?” our therapist asked us one day. To which I replied by blowing my nose into a tissue because I was so overwhelmed and did not need this.
So she gave us the homework assignment of reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Champan. Of course many of you know the five:
- Words of affirmation– words matter, no matter what. But to someone who values this above all, both words of affirmation and hurtful words hit harder than it might for other people. This person needs to hear, “I’m so grateful you took that off my plate. Thank you.” “You’re amazing, you know that?” Or even something like, “I”m so glad you’re in my life.” This makes them THRIVE!
- Quality time– this is fairly straightforward. This person feels the most loved when the ones they love the most want to be near them sans distraction. They want to do everything and nothing as long as it’s together.
- Gifts– Some people put stock in material objects. But this is more than that. This is saying “I thought of you, took the time to buy it, wrap it and gift it to you.” This makes the person feel like the most important person in the world.
- Acts of Service– “Hey babe, I know you’re busy so I filled your car up with gas while I was out.” Those small or big things that can make this person’s life easier means more than all the gifts in the world.
- Physical Touch– as humans, we all need physical touch. We can’t live without it. But there are some that need to be touched all the time; a hug, a quick squeeze of the hand, rubbing your back as you walk past them. These are just as important as cuddling and kissing. This person feels SAFE when they are touched by those they love.
So my husband and I learned what our love languages were for ourselves and each other. But that got me thinking, what are my kids love languages?
I began to watch my children to see when they seemed the most at peace in my presence. I first noticed it with Ronan, my six year old. He would stop what he was doing to run to me and ask for a hug. I always hugged him back but I never noticed how often it occurred and how important it seemed to him. He would come into the room, hug me tight for a few moments, then leave. His cup seemed to be filled. Physical touch was what he needed the most.
Sammy, my eight year old, doesn’t go out of his way for hugs. That doesn’t mean I don’t hug and kiss this gem of a human. It just means it’s not his primary way of feeling love. Sammy needs quality time. He needs me to be really interested in his discoveries about bugs or plankton or sharks. He wants to know that his interests matter to me. He lights up when I am amazed at a science fact he regales me with.
Both boys have secondary love languages- Sammy loves gifts. He’s so much fun to surprise with something when he hugs me and says “thank you, mama, thank you thank you!”
And Ronan really thrives on Words of Affirmation- he loves knowing how strong and brave he is.
With children, you’ll find that they speak all of these languages, some more fluently than others. And it will change as they grow.
However, this taught me to pause and notice; when Ronan wants a hug I don’t let him wait for one. It’s immediate. He NEEDS it.
When Sammy wants to show me something, he’s asking me to love him. And so I desperately try not to put it off.
Learning these has helped my children feel more emotionally secure and loved- they know they can fill their cup whenever they need it, fulfilling their emotional needs.
And while we make sure to tend to our children physical needs, it takes a bit more practice to fine tune their emotional needs. But it’s worth every ounce of effort.
Do you know your love language? You can find out here!