Sunday, October 6, 2013

Five Love Languages of Children

Back in May I posted about a summer book club I planned to do:  "The Five Love Languages of Children". {I'm a little behind in blogging but wanted to recap this insightful book!!!!}

Well first, about the book club!  It was great to read it with other people, but sadly most of us had a very busy summer and no one {including me!} posted regularly.  Also I hadn't led something like this before so I lacked skills on how to make it really interactive.  I definitely need to research how to do this better for next time, because I want there to be a next time!

I love the concept that we each feel love in different ways.  And if a child FEELS loved, they are easier to train and discipline.  Feeling loved is a constant effort because it's like a gas tank.  You fill it up and it slowly depletes so you have to constantly check the gauge and fill 'er up!!

Many parents say they love their kids but the issue isn't if the child IS LOVED, it's if they FEEL loved.  And that can look different for each person.  We need to be purposeful to love our kids well.

We feel loved in five ways.  It's a balancing act of all 5 but there is often 1 or 2 that really stand out as a "primary love language".

Physical touch
This isn't just hugs, kisses and cuddles but tickle sessions, messing up your child's hair, wrestling, high fives, back rubs, etc.  It was really good for me to see the various suggestions for how to show physical touch because one of my children DEFINITELY falls into this category!

Words of Affirmation
It's not just the words you say but the tone and mood around it.  I thought this was key because again I have another child whose first language is definitely words of affirmation.  I have said affirming things and there are times it isn't received as well as other times.  Now I know why!

Quality Time
This is the area I struggle with although it's my own love language!  I came to understand why!  It's easy to give small babies and toddlers quality time because their physical needs demand it.  But as kids grow and become more independent, that can actually put more distance in relationships, especially for the child whose love languages is quality time.  Because it's soooo much more time consuming to do!
This has been in part why I decided to homeschool my kids!
Good quality time involves eye contact and conversation beyond correction {some parents only speak to their children when they correct them... this was convicting to me!}.
It was this chapter that had the quote:  "Don't be  victim of the urgent."  I love that!

The book had a great recap on page 76 on how parents use gifts to buy love and affection.  I thought it was excellent and insightful because again, it's not as time consuming as quality time!  I also loved how he explained the effects of giving excessive gifts to children.  Anyone know an ungrateful child?  Maybe it's more the parents' fault after all!

Acts of Service
There was a warning in this chapter to not just do nice things for our kids when they are behaving well.  For a child who feels loved when you doing something nice for him/her, that can make your love feel conditional.  What a huge revelation for me again!  I don't want my kids to feel that they are loved only when they are behaving well or doing as they're told.  I love them always!  But sadly, I can get pretty proud and hold a grudge and say:  "Do it yourself!" when I get ticked off.  And below is exhibit A... A day I was so mad at the kids I told them I was off duty and wouldn't make them lunch.  My daughter made sandwiches for everyone.  I took a photo as God worked on softening my heart.  {We had a bad homeschool morning and later had a good talk about our responsibilities and expectations.  It ended well but before that... probably one of my worse parenting days EVER!}

I also realized that when my children ask for help with something that I know they can do themselves, some times this is a subtle cry for love in this area.  Again, I have a child who has done this to me and I felt manipulated but now I see that it can also be a genuine request for love.

The rest of the book had oodles of great information!  It talked about how to determine our children's love languages.  I learned more about my own kids and have been much more sensitive to them and am more intentional about showing them love, even when it isn't natural for me.

They are my most important investment of time right now and I don't get do-overs!!

There was a chapter on discipline and in it a great tip about not using a discipline that is close to your child's love language.

There was a chapter on anger and love that was beyond amazing to me.  Very insightful and I learned a lot about myself and my own anger.
"We cannot be loving a child and at the same time be treating her poorly." {Makes love meaningless}

Here are some other quotes I loved and want to remember:

"But you should try to understand your child's innate drive to learn, to explore, and then to satisfy his developing brain's urgent need for sensory stimuli and enjoyable learning experiences." p.130
{It's exhausting chasing a toddler but good tip to remember when they are exploring rather than being necessarily defiant.}

"Children are more emotional than cognitive; they remember feelings more readily than they do facts." p.131

"Parents who do not take time to speak the five love languages, but simply seek to meet a child's need for food and clothing, shelter and safety, provide an unstimulating environment for intellectual and social development." p.132

I definitely recommend this book for all parents!  I also HIGHLY recommend the couple version for married people too because it just reveals some key points that maybe we haven't thought of before.  I care about the people in my life but I know I'm not always great at showing it.  Getting some outside advice and information really helps me live more purposefully.... making my life a productive endeavor!  *wink*

Thanks for swinging by!

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