Essential “Love Language” Skills for Children

What social skills are you seeking to develop in your children and grand- children? May I suggest five essential skills needed by every child.
1. How to receive and show affection
2. How to express appreciation.
3. The skill of anger management. Few things are more important than
learning how to handle anger.
4. The skill of apologizing. If a child does
not learn to apologize he will have fractured relationships.
5. The skill of focused attention.
If a child can show affection, appreciate others, deal with anger, learn to apologize, and pay attention, he will be a responsible adult.

The “Food” of Love

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.

Reach for Help

Over the past 35 years, I have counseled many couples who were contemplating divorce. The one scripture that always comes to my mind is Gal. 6:7. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” God gives us real freedom, but we are never free from the seeds we plant. The pain and brokenness of divorce follows us and our children for a lifetime.
When the Bible says that “God hates divorce,” it’s because He knows the pain that divorce causes. I know that you cannot make your spouse reconcile. But you can reach out for help. Call a pastor, a counselor, a friend; read a book. Discover your options and don’t forget that God is the God of miracles.

Unconditional Love and Love Languages

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.

Growing Up Social – Questions to Ask

Do you know what your children are watching on TV or on-line? I want to share 4 questions that every parent should ask.
(1) What factual data is my child learning from this program?
(2) What kind of character traits is this program seeking to
(3) How does this program treat family members? (does it
denigrade fathers?)
(4) Is this program consistent with our family values?
Remember, you are the gate-keeper of your child’s mind. Parents should set time limits and boundaries on what children view on screens.

Your Marriage is Worth It!

Does divorce seem like the best alternative to you? If so, I hope you’ll read my book – Desperate Marriages. Divorce, unlike death, does not end contact with the other person, especially if you have children. Nor is divorce a pretty picture financially. Research indicates that 73 % of divorced women experience a decline in standard of living. One wife said, “Our marriage was bad, but our divorce is even worse. I still have all the responsibilities I had when we were married, but now I have less time and less money.” The effects of divorce linger for a lifetime. So do yourself a favor, call a counselor, read a book, or reach out to a pastor. Your marriage is worth it.

The Answer is in Learning

There are three radical and negative approaches to a troubled marriage: suicide, homicide, and divorce. The first two are considered unthinkable by intelligent, mentally healthy people. On the other hand, divorce is often seen as a humane way of ending the pain of an unhealthy marriage. Some have divorced two, three or more times and are still in search of a happy marriage. When I did the research for my book: Desperate Marriages, I discovered that divorce does not solve problems; it creates problems. Problems that never go away. The answer is not found in running, but in learning. Learn what is behind your spouse’s bad behavior. Then you can ask God for wisdom on how to respond. You can be a part of the solution.

Growing Up Social

Recently, I teamed up with Arlene Pellicane and wrote a book entitled: “Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World”. Our research led us to amazing insights. Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid television viewing and screen time for children under 2 years of age? That’s right – no screen time! Young children grow by discovering the real world – things they can touch, taste, see, hear, and smell. They are developing motor skills, such as crawling, pulling themselves up and walking. Sitting in front of a screen is detrimental to the mental, physical, and social development of young children. Talking and playing with your young child is much more productive.

You Can Be a “Change Agent”

Do you feel like giving up on your marriage? I’ve been counseling people with marital struggles for over thirty years. And, often they have no hope. They are living in very difficult marriages. I am under no illusion that I can give a magic formula to bring healing to all such marriages, but I do believe that in every troubled marriage, steps can be taken by one partner, that have the potential for changing the emotional climate between the two of them. The first step is to make the decision not to give up. Read a book, talk with a counselor or pastor, share with a trusted friend, but don’t give up. You can be a positive ‘change agent’ in a difficult marriage.

Don’t Ignore Failure!

Many couples are at a stalemate because they have allowed a wall to develop between them. Walls are erected one block at a time. It may be as small as failing to take out the garbage or as large as failing to meet sexual needs. Instead of dealing with the failure, we ignore it. The wall becomes high and thick. We were once “in love” but now only resentment remains. There is only one way to remove a wall. We must tear down the blocks on our side. Someone must take the initiative. Will your spouse forgive you? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try. Confess your past failures and ask God to help you make the future different. The wall is not as thick when you remove the blocks on your side.