My last post about knowing your child’s love language made me realise that not all of us know what this means. Past experiences of relationships, and even the way that you were raised can have an impact on how you view communication and love. It’s easy for someone who doesn’t know you to tell you what they think you should or shouldn’t do. Sometimes, it’s difficult to be honest and admit that you struggle with certain aspects of communication. This can directly affect how you love your child and those that are in your life. It’s okay, this happens more often than you think.
In 1997, Drs Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell changed the rules of parenting when they first published this article that would later be a renowned book titled The 5 Love Languages of Children. You know that parenting doesn’t come with a manual, yet this book feels pretty close to having a manual to help you to learn how you can communicate with your child without making them feel that they’re unloved. The thing is it’s easy to think that you should discipline your child and that’s that. You’re the parent and they should listen to everything you say. You’re right, your child should learn sensitivity and a lot of other important things from you. Yet, this shouldn’t mean that your child shouldn’t feel love when you communicate with her or him.
In fact, effective communication with your child is so important. It’s an important part of building a positive relationship. Now, you know that a few years ago I didn’t know any of this. I didn’t need to know anything beyond my beliefs about teaching children compassion. Life was much simpler (though not as interesting as it is now); I drank tequila with a slice of pineapple with a dab of hot Tabasco sauce (in case you’re still using lemon and salt, save yourself). If you’re not a parent, finding out about ways to communicate with a child is the last thing on your mind. There are too many Fridays to see and places to be. So, when you become a parent, you don’t expect what’s in store for you. I blame fear mongering and different opinions. It’s difficult to keep track because everyone wants to tell you how to be a parent. You don’t even think about the many ways that you should communicate with your child. This is why I thought that this post in particular should be helpful to all of us; even if you’re the cool aunt or laid-back uncle. You might not have enough time to research this information, so I’ve summarized it for you to keep it short and simple. Read on to find out what your child’s love language is.
1. Physical Touch
Is your child a hugger? Last night, my daughter hugged me as she was drifting off to sleep. She smiles when she does this. It knocks me off my feet all the time. If your child loves physical attention, you should take the time to connect with her or him. For kids like this, physical touch is the epitome of love. Your child knows you love her, but when you hug and kiss her, it communicates your love deeper than any words can.
2. Words of Affirmation
Your child will have more than one way to communicate with you. Words are a powerful tool that you can give your child. They can also be a weapon that can break her down. Your words should be filled with positive affirmations. Use your words to give your child positive guidance that should help them become better adults one day. Gentle reminders every day are important to improve your child’s sense of worth.
3. Quality Time
Remember how I mentioned that I take time off midweek to spend time with my daughter? This should be ingrained in our minds. When you give your child undivided attention it shows them that you value their presence in your life. They’ll always know that they’re important. Do fun things and come down to your child’s level. Being together and doing silly stuff should also help you to forget about the troubles in your life.
4. Gift Giving
You know that feeling that you get when someone that you love gifts you? It doesn’t matter what the gift is; it’s the thought that counts. The same logic applies with your child if they love being given gifts. But how do you know if this is your child’s love language? All children cry for things, especially when you enter a shop with them. In a way, you should be thankful for social distancing because they stay behind nowadays. The thing is if your child sees gifts as an extension of your love, they should respond differently whenever you give them something. This is how she’s affirmed that you love her.
5. Acts of Service
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should always jump when your child asks for something. Acts of service can be a challenge to understand even with grown-ups. Yet, it’s important to know that when your child asks you to do something for her, she’s just trying to get you to fill up her low love tank. This is why you should be careful about how you respond when she keeps asking you for things. Sometimes, all that she’s looking for is a kind and thoughtful response to show her that you love her dearly.
Your child doesn’t have to fit into one box. They can have a mixture of these love languages and it’s important for you to be attentive. This should help you to understand their needs better. Loving someone isn’t as easy as you might think. It requires a lot of intention and at times self-sacrifice. Even if this person is your child. This is why it’s important to ensure that you’re not pouring from an empty cup.