By Angelique Dormehl – Good Night Consultant
Sometimes I wish that my children would know how much I love and care for them. I drive them up and down, give them plenty of hugs and kisses, help with homework, plan birthday parties, cook and clean for them and the list just goes on and on… I truly love my children beyond words and the fact that I would do anything for them should make them realize that I love them…… or does it?
We tend to forget that we all receive love in different ways. For me it might feel like I am showing love to my child when I do all of these things, but perhaps that is not the way they receive love. Dr Gary Chapman PhD. writer of “The 5 Languages of Love” explains and theorizes in his book that we all receive love, attention and affection in one of 5 ways. Acts of service, gifts, physical touch, quality time and words of affirmation. To sum it up, physical touch is hugs, cuddles and kisses, words of affirmation is loving words or praise, acts of service is doing chores without complaint, gifts is special surprises or any gift and lastly quality time is distraction-free time together and doing something your child loves, not what we as a parent want to do.
Dr. Chapman also states that if your child’s needs are met according to their love language your child will feel loved and appreciated. He also suggests that children should be exposed to all 5 love languages, but their top love language should be your focus. Also keep in mind that some children might even have a combination of love languages.
As parents we have to remember that our children are mini humans with their own needs and their own feelings, yes, they might need help with all the basics in life as they are growing up, but they also have emotional needs which we can use to strengthen the bond we have with them.
As a working mother of 2, I have to split my day between work, the house, the kids and my husband. As a working mom, I don’t always have 4 hours per day to spend with my child to ensure their emotional needs are met, but I have come to realize, that it is not about the quantity, it is all about the quality. I wanted to identify their love language. Remember it’s not about what I feel I need to give them, it’s all about what they need from me. I started watching my children. As humans we tend to give love the same way we would like to receive love. My eldest loves spending time with me, spending my money on something nice she likes, so her love languages are quality time and gifts. I needed to identify my youngests love language. For her it was all about hugs, cuddles, playing tag and spending quality time with her. She had a combination of quality time and physical touch as her love languages and for me this is one of the easiest love languages to fill. I just needed to make sure I switch my phone off and spend some silly time outside with her playing tag, or ball or even just cuddle with her on the couch with her favourite toy or watching her favourite program.
When we look at gifts as a love language. These children love receiving gifts or a special surprise like a treat or note in their lunch box, these children might remember who gave them what gift and the exact detail of the gift.
Acts of service might be a hard love language to fill for some parents, as some parents sometimes feel like they are serving their children all the time, but your child will ask for love and give love the same way, so you are in for a treat! This can be a fulfilling love language for both parent and child as the possibilities are endless, children with this love language want to receive love by parents by doing small tasks for them with excitement and no complaining. Your child might expect you to dress them every morning, or to button up their shirts or to put tooth paste on their tooth brush.
The last love language is words of affirmation. Children with this love language seek praise and words of comfort from their parents. These children tell you that you are the best and they hang on every word you say when you praise them, parents would need to go down to their level and look them in the eyes when they reassure them of their care and love for them.
If your child’s emotional needs have been met, you can rest assure each night that they will feel loved and not seek attention in the wrong way from you.