Last week I asked you to consider the possibility that the people in your life express and receive love in a preferred way. Of course, I highly recommend you read “The 5 Love Languages of Children” by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell or visit 5lovelanguages.com for even more detail, but for now, I will focus on an overview of the love languages of my oldest son.
My firstborn took a little longer than his peers to develop his verbal skills, but once he acquired them, lookout!! As soon as he could string a sentence together, he has talked pretty much non-stop since. After reading “The 5 Love Languages of Children”, I realized this chattiness meant he needed someone to listen to him. I didn’t have to be an expert on what he was saying, be it Minecraft or football stats; all I had to do was give him my undivided attention.
“Quality time is a parent’s gift of presence to a child. It conveys this message: “You are important. I like being with you.” It makes the child feel that he is the most important person in the world to the parent. He feels truly loved because he has the parent all to himself.”
The great thing about providing quality time is it doesn’t have to be lengthy. However, it does have to be authentic. No cell phones, no emails and no multi-tasking are allowed. Doing an activity together while allowing your child to talk is a great way to be productive and provide quality time. The easiest way for me to know I’m being effective is to listen to him in the way I personally want to be listened to. Even five or ten minutes of my undivided attention does wonders for his attitude and patience.
He also seems to thrive on words of affirmation and these are simple, and easy to give. I am careful to compliment who he is as much as what he does. It is important he knows that he is awesome just for being himself in addition to his actions and achievements.
Next week, I will focus on my youngest son who happens to prefer hugs above all else. I wish you well in deciphering the love languages of your own children.
By Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent
Chapman, G. and Campbell, R. (2012). The 5 Love Languages of Children. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, IL.