Here is the third, and final installment about the love languages of children. When my youngest was a toddler, he was extremely physically affectionate. He would shower me with kisses while declaring that I was his ‘best friend!’. Sprinkle in some mega-watt dimples, and he was impossible to resist. About the time he entered kindergarten, I noticed a marked change. It seemed as he was establishing his independence, he required less physical affection from me.
As his kindergarten year progressed, he seemed less like himself. At school pick-up, he wasn’t glad to see me and would often be disruptive at home. Neither of us were very thrilled with the other and I couldn’t figure out why.
After reading ‘The 5 Love Languages of Children’, I began to understand him more clearly. In his fight for independence, he had shunned his preferred language of love which remained physical touch.
“When your child begins school, he still has a strong need for physical touch. A hug given as he leaves each morning may be the difference between emotional security and insecurity throughout the day. A hug when the child returns home may determine whether your child has a quiet evening of positive mental and physical activity or makes a rambunctious effort to get your attention.”
I immediately changed how I interacted with him. He fought me at first, but I started each day with a hug. When I picked him up from school, I would open the car door, step out and give him a quick hug before he got in. It took only a week or two before I noticed a real difference. By giving him those extra hugs it seemed to free him up to be more physically affectionate in return. He began sitting next to me more often and giving me more, unexpected hugs. Generally, he seemed happier with me and life overall. Since that time, I continue to make an effort to be physically affectionate with him. The upside is that often I don’t have to think about it because now it is a natural part of our day once again.
To learn more about your own child’s preferred love language, go to 5lovelanguages.com.
By Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent
Chapman, G. and Campbell, R. (2012). The 5 Love Languages of Children. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, IL.