Category: Children

The 5 Love Languages Of Children

Do you know the five love languages of children?

They are: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. One of those five is the primary love language of your child.  If you don’t speak that language, your child will not feel loved. This does not mean that you speak only the primary love language. No, you give heavy doses of their primary love language, then you sprinkle in the other four.

The ideal is that children learn to receive and give love in all five languages. This prepares them for good relationships as adults.  Your example is the most effective method of teaching. Love your children effectively and they will learn to love others.

Emotional Foundation

During infancy, a child does not distinguish between milk and tenderness, between solid food and love. Without food a child will starve. Without love, a child will starve emotionally and can become impaired for life. A great deal of research indicates that the emotional foundation of life is laid in the first eighteen months of life, particularly in the mother/child relationship.

The ‘food’ for future emotional health is love expressed in five ways: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Speak all five languages to your child the first eighteen months and you are laying the best possible foundation for emotional health.

During infancy, a child does not distinguish between milk and tenderness, between solid food and love. Without food a child will starve. Without love, a child will starve emotionally and can become impaired for life. A great deal of research indicates that the emotional foundation of life is laid in the first eighteen months of life, particularly in the mother/child relationship.

The ‘food’ for future emotional health is love expressed in five ways:  physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Speak all five languages to your child the first eighteen months and you are laying the best possible foundation for emotional health.

Q&A: Halloween

Q: My wife loves to participate in Halloween activities every year but I feel like it is celebrating dangerous things. What do you think?

A: You know, Christians have different opinions on Halloween. Some think, “This is a totally pagan holiday. Christians shouldn’t be involved at all.” Others recognize it simply as a culture phenomenon; a time for kids to have some fun in a safe environment.

I do think parents need to be in charge and with their children when they go trick-or-treating. Most people are happy to give children some candy or something when they come to the door but it certainly needs to be supervised and they don’t need simply to be turned loose out in the community. I would say, try to find a meeting place rather than preaching or condemning. Try to see it as a cultural event rather than as something that has roots in a non-Christian culture.

Wrapped in Love

“I love you, no matter what!” This is unconditional love, and it is what children crave. Don’t withhold your love from a child when they miss-behave. Does this sound like permissiveness? It is not. Rather, it is doing first things first. A child’s emotional love tank must be filled before any effective training or discipline can take place.

A child with a full love tank can respond to parental guidance without resentment. On the other hand, when the child does not feel loved, the discipline seems harsh and unfair. Discipline wrapped in love is the most effective discipline. So, if your child’s love language is ‘physical touch’ give him a big hug before you give the correction and after you give the correction.

Special Way of Receiving Love

Every child has a special way of receiving love. When Dr. Ross Campbell and I wrote the book: The Five Love Languages of Children, we discovered that children understand love in five basic ways: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service. If you have several children, chances are they each understand love in a different way.

Often parents think that the ideal is to treat each child in the same way. They think of this as equality. However, a hug means more to some children than to others. So, if each child gets a hug, some actually receive more than others. Discovering the primary love language of each child is the key to effectively communicating love.

Loving Children Effectively

Most parents love their children, but many children do not feel loved. When children don’t feel loved, they do poorly in school, they don’t respond well to discipline, and they are filled with anger. I believe that inside every child is an emotional love tank. When the tank is full: that is, the child feels loved by parents, the child grows up emotionally healthy. But when the love tank is empty, the child will grow up with many internal struggles.

Loving children effectively requires parents to express love in a language that the child understands. In my research I discovered five basic love languages: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.

Do Your Child A Favor

When parents divorce, typically children feel intensely rejected. Children get angry at their parents for violating the basic rule of parenthood–parents are supposed to make sacrifices for children, not the other way around. Because we are creatures of memory, we may carry the pain of broken relationships for a lifetime.

After the divorce, most parents plan to continue good relationships with their children, but parent-child relationships are forever altered by divorce. As adults, they often fear that their own marriage will fail. And in fact, the divorce rate for ‘children of divorce’ is higher than for those whose parents stay together. So, do your children a favor, continue to work on your marriage.

Q&A: I don't want to be a stay-at-home-dad anymore. Can you help?

Q: I’m starting to regret my decision to be a full-time stay-at-home dad. My wife works very hard but my gift is really not staying home with the kids. Advice?

A: This is a role that many wives have struggled with in the past. They stay home with the children and, because they have been taught that if they are not out there in a vocation then they are not doing anything significant. So, they feel their life isn’t significant. However, there’s nothing more important than raising and influencing children, and bringing them up to know and walk with God.

I’m not telling you what to do. However, I am telling you to accept the importance of the role of working with your children. Discuss this with your wife. Perhaps you’re at a stage where you need to make a change in this. Your situation doesn’t have to be a life long set up where you stay at home and she works.

Q&A: Do you have suggestions on teaching the love languages to children?

A: Recently we published a book for children called A Perfect Pet for Peyton. It’s for children 4-9 years of age and a fabulous story with great art work and lots of color. As the child reads the book, they come to the end and not only discover the five love languages but also their love language. So that’s a tool parents can use. Children pick up on this concept quite easy–They love a hug from mother if physical touch is their language; it’s really important to them. I encourage parents to not only learn each others’ love language but also to learn your child’s love language and teach your children the concept.

Q&A: My high school daughter wants a tattoo. Do you have any advice?

Q: My high school daughter had come to me repeatedly asking to get a tattoo. Several of her friends have them. Do you have an opinion on this?

A: I think you have to share with your child why you don’t think this is a good idea. Obviously, one reason is it’s a life long thing and very hard to retract. I think I would try to put this off as long as I could—maybe tell her she can get a tattoo when she’s 21 when she’s on her own and can pay for it herself. So, you can push it out into the future until she gets a little more mature and decides for herself that maybe getting a tattoo isn’t a good idea.

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